It is important that dogs eat healthy, age and breed-appropriate food as soon as possible, eat the right amounts at meal times, and get regular exercise to maintain a healthy weight. Sadly, while more than 60 percent of dog owners believe we are already doing this for our pets, 30 percent admit to never weighing their pet and UK vets estimate up to 45 percent of all dogs they treat to be overweight.
Thus, despite believing otherwise, many dog owners don’t know how much their dog should weigh and so might be unintentionally causing harm. Being over or underweight can lead to poor quality of life and even a shorter lifespan, so it is crucial owners know how much their dog is supposed to weigh, in case they need to act to improve their dog’s health.
Different Breed, Different Weight
Because different breeds and dog sizes mature and grow at different rates, healthy ranges are generally determined by a dog’s expected adult weight. To help owners get an idea of what weight their dog should be, James Wellbeloved have created a chart of average dog breed weight ranges for the UK’s most popular dog types. For instance, Merrie, our female Newfoundland, is considered a large breed and, thus, should weigh between 50 and 55 kg.
However, a breed’s recommended weight range isn’t only determined by their anticipated size, but by their demeanour and genetics, too. While Merrie is a large dog who needs to consume a lot of food, she only needs about an hour of exercise a day to maintain a healthy weight. In contrast, a German Shepherd, who is also considered a large breed, needs more than 2 hours of exercise per day to stay healthy, and less will likely lead to weight gain.
Look at Mum & Dad
Of course, some dogs grow up to be lighter or heavier than the breed average and can still be perfectly healthy. To anticipate this, take a look at your puppy’s parents. If mum and dad are heavier (or lighter) than average, then it is likely your puppy will be, too.
Consult Your Vet
Above all else, the best way to get an accurate idea of your dog’s healthy weight is to speak with your vet. Vets are not only more knowledgeable about specific breeds, but they can perform more thorough tests to understand if your dog can bear to lose or gain some weight without putting their health at risk. Vets are also the best people to speak with when it comes to creating a diet plan for underweight or overweight dogs, recommending suitable dog food, and suggesting appropriate exercise routines.
So, whether you have a large dog, like Merrie, or a small or medium-sized breed, it is crucial to understand your dog’s ideal weight. The sooner you know this and the better you keep them within the recommended weight range, the healthier and happier they will be in the long-term.