How to Determine Your Dog’s Ideal Weight


Finding and maintaining your dog’s ideal weight can significantly extend your pet’s life.

A 14-year landmark study by Purina found that…

Dogs fed to ideal body condition lived 1.8 years longer than their overweight litter mates.

That’s a bonus of nearly 2 extra years of life — just for keeping your dog close to his ideal body weight.

So, where do you go to find your dog’s ideal weight?

Where Not to Look
for a Dog’s Ideal Weight

To get an idea of what your dog should weigh, you could simply look it up in a table of ideal pet weights.

However, nearly every table provides this important information in a range of weights — and not a specific number.

For example, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention suggests a weight range for Labrador Retrievers of 65 to 80 pounds.

That’s a significant difference of nearly 23%.

And that figure can vary even more — depending on whether your pet is a male or a female.

What If your Dog
Isn’t a Pure Breed?

And what about mixed breeds? Where do you go to look up their ideal weights?

Unfortunately, there’s no clear reference for every individual dog. Because dogs come in so many builds, shapes and sizes.

The Ideal Dog Weight System
Used by Veterinarians

Here’s a solution that works for all dogs.

The very best way to determine your dog’s ideal weight is to use the same method used by vets.

The Purina Body Condition System1.

The following 1-minute video2 demonstrating how you can ensure your dog remains in ideal body condition.

The Purina Body Condition Score

The Purina Body Condition System uses two simple steps to rate the state of your dog’s body…

  1. Visual inspection
  2. Palpation (sense of touch)

Purina Body Condition System

By using your senses of sight and touch, you assign your dog to one of three categories

  • Too Thin (Body Condition Score = 1-3)
  • Ideal (Body Condition Score = 4-5)
  • Too Heavy (Body Condition Score = 6-9)

Your rating will be based upon comparing your dog’s appearance to this standardized diagram — and then palpating (feeling) his ribs and frame.

The Bottom Line

Determining an ideal weight goal can make a real difference in how long your dog lives.

And once you determine that ideal weight goal, it becomes important to serve the right amount each time you feed your pet

So be sure to estimate the right serving size for your dog. And be ready to change that amount whenever you switch to a different food.

Sure, it’s a little extra work. However, if you love your dog as much as we love Bailey and Molly, maintaining your pet’s ideal weight can be a very rewarding goal.


  1. Nestle Purina Pet Care Company, St. Louis, MO 63164
  2. Produced in association with Purina
  • InkedMarie

    Good advice!

  • disqus_SBl7sCuYS7

    Has she been to the vet for a senior workup? Labs?
    Rule out medical causes for her frail condition.
    That’s were I would start.
    Then, if the vet agrees. Why don’t you feed her twice a day and add a bit of real food to the dry, scrambled an egg with a splash of water. Add a little homemade plain chicken broth (no onion), Or a little chopped up chicken breast, hamburger, broiled chicken liver?

  • Zack Watson

    My collielab mix is 7 human years old is going blind and is severely thin. We feed her dry food once a day and we dewormed her a month ago or so. Please help

  • Sarah Hopkins DVM

    I have a 12 year old intact male JRT, so I completely understand. I constantly worry about his eating habits. A couple of things to question. Has he been dewormed, have you noticed a difference with his stools or urine, is he drinking too much at one time and then urinating like its never going to stop. If all those things are ok, then yes he is absolutely enjoying having the run of the yard. That’s what the breed does run jump and eat. Usually they are obsessed with the trash can! Or anything they think they can get food out of. Also he spent a great time confined to a cage, he is going to have period of adjusting which means his metabolism also has to adjust to his new exercise routine. So you will see ups and downs. But be aware when he comes inside make sure he is sleeping well, he should be because all that energy has to leave for him to rest. Also be aware they do not stop the constant going and jumping, this will and does show wear and tare usually on the hips and knees. My JRT tore his left knee, very expensive surgery and since he is 12 that puts him at high risk surgery. So monitor his routine. It warms my heart you were able to open your home to him and your heart, because they are highly intelligent and for that he will fight to the death over you, mine has for me. On the other hand lol its been 12 years of his little habits he chooses to do to me if I don’t do what he wants me to do immediately, OMG you just want to pull your hair out!!! but then again I did teach him some of the English language. Yes he does understand, you will be surprised at what they will pick up or figure out. BTW, I am a DVM, practicing emergency animal medicine. It is my calling in life.

  • George Peterson

    My dogs was underweight and my vet suggested miracle vet ( I haven’t tried it yet. I’m trying to gather some feedback from other dog owners who have used this product before. Has anyone here used miraclevet before? If so, how long did it take for your dog to gain weight? Thanks in advance and have a great day.

  • Babslynne
  • It may be a good idea to have your vet rule out hypothyroidism. Here’s some information that may be helpful: The thyroid glands are responsible for the production of thyroid hormones, the chief instigator for how quickly the body uses energy. That is, the speed at which energy is metabolized. Energy is taken into the body in the form of food, and under normal health conditions, the body burns this energy during the course of normal activity. However, under production of thyroid hormones can result in a sluggish metabolism, and too much energy being retained in the body, resulting in a burden of weight. The name for this condition is hypothyroidism, where the prefix hypo- means “under.” It can be confounding to observe that even while your pet is eating very little, she is continuing to gain weight. This is because even the small amount of food energy she is taking in is being stored rather than released through the metabolic process.

    Some of the other symptoms seen with this disorder are fatigue, coarse hair coat, slow heart rate, and itchy, dry skin. Your veterinarian can conduct some straightforward blood tests to determine if your pet has an underlying case of hypothyroidism. If the diagnosis is positive for hypothyroidism, your doctor can prescribe medication to treat it

  • Renate Alkan

    My dog was put on a weight control method and he hasn’t lost any weight instead he has gained weight. Now I put him on a raw diet and his weight is still going up. He now weighs 17.9 Kg. and his perfect weight is supposed to be between 12 and 13 kg. what can I do???? Please any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks Renate.

  • Cannoli

    Don’t go by solely weight but go by how your pup looks. Simply use the body condition index above. If you can easily feel the ribs and see the waist you are good.

    Amazon sells great scale

    It’s a great investment better than my vet’s scale

  • Marie Joy

    Well I’m sooooo confused, one of my chihuahuas is taller than the other, I’ve tried to find out how much they should weigh, in accordance with the height and build, but cannot find this anywhere, it’s all about how much they should weigh, but how can I determine this if I can’t compare their height?

  • aquariangt


  • Pitlove

    Sometimes I can see my pitbulls ribs depending on the way he bends or something. Seeing some ribs is not always a sign of being too thin.

    Let us know what the vet says!

  • Donna Kovacic

    Thank you everyone for all your input! It has definitely confirmed what I’ve been thinking. A vet visit is definitely in order, I’m not just a worried momma. I might not be able to identify IDEAL weight but I’m beginning to see ribs through his coat. I don’t care what breed it is, that’s too skinny. I will be taking all other advice into consideration as well, it is appreciated! Thanks!

  • theBCnut

    I have a JRT and knowing her the way I do, I would never leave her outside alone while I’m not home. She could get into anything, and get out of anything. I put my little girl out one day and went back into the house to get my shoes. In that short period, she found a depression in the ground under the fence that she used to get out into the horse pasture. Then she went under their gate and around the house and down our long drive way out onto the road. I found her 1/4 mile down the road with her entire front end in a gopher tortoise hole. She was going to get that thing. That’s actually why they cut JRTs tails the length they do, so you can grab them by the tail to haul them out of burrows. My little girl is about 12 lbs and very thin and athletic, but at 14 years old, she is still in perfect health. And she lives to hunt.

  • Pitlove

    “The vast majority of pet owners cannot identify ideal weight, erring on the side of overweight as “normal” & “healthy” (not).”

    I could not agree more! I’m constantly told my pitbull is too skinny. He is a 4/9 on BCS.

  • GSDsForever

    I hate to say it, because they are such wonderful dogs, but I rarely see labs nowadays that are NOT overweight. It just seems to range from a little to quite a lot.

    And with regard to yellow lab guide dogs, since the ones I see are also nearly always overweight also, I can’t help but wonder whether their average early retirement age is directly related. My own dog had a much longer working life (and life period).

  • GSDsForever

    I would not decide he is underweight without consulting with your vet and judging based on body condition scoring charts.

    The vast majority of pet owners cannot identify ideal weight, erring on the side of overweight as “normal” & “healthy” (not).

    I have more than a little experience with dogs that have difficulty putting on and keeping weight up, from a combination of breed, work, and high mental-physical energy calories/fat requirements in German Shepherds. IF your dog does need to gain weight, and struggles to keep weight on/eat enough, I would select from foods that are calorie dense, i.e. in the 500+ calories a cup range. Feeding multiple times a day can also help, even frequent small feedings throughout the day. (This is often done with 24/7 working GSDs.)

    The food needs to be desirable to him — and this varies by breed, individual, and has to compete with other doggie interests he has access to (i.e. chase rabbits vs eat kibble?). Free feeding does not always encourage dogs to eat or ensure they are eating.

    You may also want to add in a good quality wild oily fish oil anyway — as it is so good for brain, skin/coat, any joint issues or inflammation. (I use and recommend Grizzly’s Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, which I keep in the fridge door and pump onto food.) Organic virgin coconut oil, if already adding an Omega 3 source, can be another good fat to add. Most dogs do very well with a higher percentage of fat in their overall calorie intake than typical commercial foods supply.

  • GSDsForever

    Agreed. And I would not restrict his exercise, or the combined physical-mental stimulation he has now, to improve weight.

    He seems to have a life of pure joy and natural pursuits for his breed right now, plus a family who loves him. Yay!

  • DogFoodie

    Hi Donna,

    I agree with what’s already been said by the others, and would also add that I wouldn’t leave him outside unattended while no one’s home. My yard is fenced, but my little dog can manage to squeeze out next to one of the gates. You wouldn’t want your guy to get lost or injured, or overcome by heat in your yard while you aren’t home.

    I would leave him safely inside your home, crated if necessary, and find a trusted friend, neighbor, or professional dog walker to let him out until you get home. He’ll be thrilled to go out run and play with you when you’re home from work.

    Congratulations to both you and your new little guy!

  • bojangles

    Hi Donna,

    I’m so happy for you and your pup!

    He’s having a great time. After being cooped up it sounds like he is really enjoying his new found freedom.

    I would try and figure out how much he is actually eating each day. Once you figure that out I would feed him twice a day instead of free feeding him. Feeding twice a day will help if he ever gets sick. You’ll immediately be able to tell if he’s off his feed. You’ll also be able to add freshly cooked meats and other goodies to his meals that could otherwise spoil if you left them out.

    If you go the twice a day route, you put the bowl down and pick it up after 15 minutes. Most dogs will get accustomed to this new routine pretty quickly. You might add a food that’s really high value to him in the beginning. My guys are real cheese heads. Just add a little to get him interested. Then monitor his weight and adjust his portions accordingly.

    I would NOT coop him up, he’s having fun!!!

    P.S It’s always a good idea to do routine blood work at least once a year, I do it twice a year, this way if there’s something going on you catch it quickly. Worms could be sharing his food with him and keeping him skinny 🙁 If you can have your vet do a fecal float that might be a good idea.

    Good Luck and keep up the good work 🙂

  • LabsRawesome

    I would let him run. Dogs are supposed to be active and thin. 🙂

  • Donna Kovacic

    I rescued a Jack Russell terrier less than 8 months ago. Best we can figure he’s about 2 years old. His previous owners kept him in a relatively small pen ALL THE TIME and just didn’t have time to mess with him. I GLADLY brought him home and he quickly fit into our family! When we first got him he was borderline overweight. But here he gets to RUN! And he runs A LOT! He LOVES to chase after rabbits and squirrels (not that he ever catches any, lol). But I fear that he is borderline UNDER weight now. We let him run in the yard while we’re at work and he comes in the house at night but we have a gravity fed food dispenser in both places, so he has food ANY time he wants it (water too)! I am not sure if he is just running off any food he eats or what, but I can’t seem to put any weight back on him. Am I worrying too much? I know that breed is naturally active (that’s what we love about him!) so I don’t want to have to “coop him up” (as suggested by friends, too keep him from being OVERLY active) but is that something I should consider?

  • theBCnut

    Since labs can be any where between 22 inches tall and 28-30 inches tall, there is no way to know just by a number on the scale if the dog is overweight, though most labs are overweight. They tend to live to eat and don’t know when to stop. If the dog doesn’t have a waist and a tuck up, it is definitely overweight.

  • Susan Grove Moore

    I have a handicapped friend who has a chocolate lab 6 yrs old and he is 77 lbs is that overweight??

  • Dahne Yeager

    Does anybody else think that it’s kind of …incongruous ..that this weight study and nutrition “Body Condition” charts are done by Purina..Who have the second to LOWEST nutrition rate only above Ol’ Roy?

  • Suzanne

    Your dog’s weight (lbs) X 10 = grams of meat and bones per day + 25% of this in veggies. Mine is a little over 70 lbs so 750 gr meat a day + 250 gr veggies, so 1000gr/day split in 2 portions. One in the morning and one at night. I got this off Dr Dobias, a holistic vet I follow on FB.

  • D’andre Harris

    Thanks for the reply, sorry it tooks so long to respond.

    I could care less what the dogs age is, if I feel a connection with a dog I will get it, its why I cant volunteer at shelters because I wouldnt be able tos top myself with walking out with 10 dogs haha. I also completely agree, to many people overlooks adult dogs and in my area small dogs are also much more popular so to many large adult dogs never get adopted. We have 3 dogs, a 10 year old Pitbull/Mix named Mocha, 5 year old Rottweiller/Mix named Sasha, and a 1 year old Black Lab/Mix named Taz all with opposite personalities. We found Mocha when she was 3 years old in a trash bag next to a department store dumpster, she was so weak she couldnt even move and we spent thousands rehabilitating her. To this day is scared of bright lights, fire, and loud noises and will run of you point any object in her direction and cries when shes alone. This is why I always look at the older dogs first when I plan on adopting.

    For Sasha, shes very moody and shows some signs of past abuse. Shes my shadow and follows me everywhere and cries and paces when Im gone. Ive tried to reduce her anxiety by challenging her with new tricks and tasks but many times she just refuses do anything and lays down, even during walks. Ive started cutting back on the amount of food I give her on days she doesnt excersise enough, Ive started taking her on a 30 minute power walk in the morning and 15 minute jog at night. She also loves to play with the puppy and I believe she teaching the puppy so much, as she definately had a litre or two based the size of her nipples. Its been a few weeks now and There has been noticable change in her attitude and her mood is becoeming more consistent. I havent weighed her yet but Ive noticed a slight difference in her body tone. Unfortunately the Rottweiller in her gives her a massive chest frame and its hard to tell how much her belly should be tucked and how prominent her waste line should be, but ill keep at it and let her know, I just have to get my lazy but up and stay involved in it, because its more me than her as much as I hate to admit it lol

    Thanks for the reply, much appreciated
    I attached picture of her the day I dopted her from the shelter, how could u not take that home with you haha

  • Crazy4dogs

    Hi D’andre!

    First let me say: Thanks for adopting a mature adult dog! I foster those and so many people overlook them at the shelters!

    In regard to your question, I have always had shelter dogs and have several of my own right now and none of them are overweight, even the senior ones. If her ideal weight was 62 then, @ 78 lbs, she’s 25% over her ideal body weight and that’s a lot. Many people don’t realize that playing in the yard, even a big yard is simply not enough exercise. I am very careful to measure my dog’s food and they get long, brisk daily walks in addition to playing in the yard.

    You can check with your vet about the weight gain. It might have simply been an oversight since the 1st check up was an initial exam and the 2nd was a medical problem. Here are some links with guidelines on body condition to help you:

    There is also a dog food calculator on this site:

    If she’s overweight you need to cut back on calories and don’t forget to include the calories in any treats you give. Good luck with it! There’s always someone on this site that can offer additional help.

  • D’andre Harris

    I adopted an 5 year old rottweiler/mix about 8 months ago from the local animal shelter. I took her to the vet the day after i got her and she was 62 lbs and they told me that was an ideal weight for her and i should try to keep her around that size. I took her to the vet last week for a problem with her eye and found out shes 79 lbs now. I dont overfeed her and although shes not as active as she should be since I work all the time she still spends plenty of time outside playing with the other dog and I try to play fetch with her everyday before work. We live on 1 and a half achers so she has plenty of space to run. The didnt mention her weight but Im just wondering if I should be worried about her weight gain or is this normal when coming from the shelter?

  • serena

    hi could you pls share the exact recipie for my dog is also very overweight and im scared she might get heart problems. thanks a ton

  • BlahBlahBlah

    Actually, onions and garlic are lethal to cats too.

  • Suzanne

    Dog food has been a big issue in my house for the last 2+ yrs. We re-homed a 2yr old choc lab and he had separation issues that became food issues. He was on cheap kibbles, injures (torn ligament in hind leg) and freaked out about being re-homed. So, I put him on expensive dog food, spent all my time with him (he would follow me to the bathroom!!!) and kept him fairly quiet for the winter, to give his ligament time to heal. Then he developed “allergies” to his food and, by trial and error, we discovered it was anything chicken. This got better when we changed to a no chicken fats or anything poultry dog food. But I knew that he had on a few extra pounds and that didn’t help with the ligament (he couldn’t play as much as he wanted) so I started making his dog food. I make a 15 qt kettle of veggies and meat (usually bovine liver) that I doctor up with nutrients (turmeric, some garlic…yes, garlic, black pepper, Omega oils, etc…). Veggies include a variety of squash, sweet potatoes, fresh pumpkin if I can get it, carrots, BEETS (dogs love beets), and rice. He gets a 650gr container of this twice a day and this is when we now see him dance from the fridge to his feeding station! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to put him back on kibbles after this. And…he has lost weight and visually appears in the ideal category, if I go by those details. Now, what to do with a 2.5 mo old Husky/Bernese cross who is starting to look like a little bear?????

  • Suzanne

    Although I’d love to have your dog, I don’t envy you your dog food bills! Would love to see pictures!!!

  • Shawna

    Cat food should also be free of onion and onion products. Per the University of Sydney Center for Veterinary Education, cats develop heinz body anemia from onion just like dogs do.

    For good measure I looked up the Pet Poison Helpline which is staffed by professionals like veterinary toxicologists etc. Per this site, onion is more toxic to cats than most breeds of dogs. “Onions, garlic, chives, and leeks are of the Allium family, and are poisonous to both dogs and cats. Garlic is considered to be about 5X as potent as onions. Certain breeds and species seem to be more sensitive: Japanese breeds of dogs (e.g., Akita, Shiba Inu) and cats.”

  • Crazy4cats

    Cat food is NOT dangerous for a healthy dog. The biggest difference is that cat food often is higher in fat and would be bad for dogs that are prone to pancreatitis. It also averages a little higher in protein and has added taurine which in my opinion are both healthy for dogs. None of the food I am feeding to my cats either wet or dry contains any onion or garlic powder. It is true that onion can be toxic to dogs, however and garlic in excessive amounts can also be toxic to some dogs. I’m sorry about your co-worker’s dog.

  • Bobby dog

    Yes, carrots and green beans can make great snacks. I believe brushing your dogs teeth is best for dental health. You replied to a post I made to Ashley. Maybe reply to that post as well since that was the OP. Ashley might still need suggestions!

  • brooke

    Another good idea might be to give your dog baby carrots or green beans with dinner – very filling but adds little calories. Plus the crunchy texture will help keep their teeth and breath in good shape!

  • Deal with it CUNT

    Once again we quote: : “It is really just blowing my mind that you are writing paragraphs and paragraphs trying to dissect a stranger”

    Ironically- Is that not exactly WHAT you are doing- projecting- look it up research it- moreover, the unemployment line- it was meant for heartless beaches. The Agency teaches, it is a learning body of intellect, further it allows those of us with true skill sets to advance. They don’t keep dinosaurs there. Lets just assume you need to read the writing on the wall, you are so judgmental as well as heartless, feel free to give me the name of your employer. Lets see if i can assist. Ahhhh, the bar door doesn’t swing both ways does it- What you are in an immature little girl, expounding upon ,”opinion” as if it were fact, which it is not. While you are at it, perhaps you should indeed return that MBA, is is obviously a farce in that your level of command of the English language revolves around the vocabulary of a junior college student, never mind a graduate. I am saddened for your employer as well as the school that issued such a worthless sheepskin. Evidently they hand them out like candy to grade schooners these days. i did mention that glass ceiling , ahhh yes, i did. Age becomes me, as i need not be in that rat race of a grind- tootles and enjoy your workday tomorrow 😉

  • Paules Amaya

    Just always have to have the last word. Please do send along your credentials, with your updated CV, to You will need to include being a heartless beach as a qualification. as apparently you can not keep 2 paragraphs straight without your disingenuous lies.

    Obviously you need to flag peoples comments as you are unable to cite facts or debate utilizing anything other than an uneducated opinion,

    To quote you: “I think you just like to put people in categories in order to feel better about yourself. I don’t feel the same need: REALLY?

    Try to read, AND comprehend that all your last post was is a dichotomous validation of judgmental arrogance as wall as an underlying passive aggressive personality.

    Further you state:
    “I truly am sorry that your poor financial decisions have led you to be this hostile”

    CANCER of a spouse you heartless beach, is not a CHOICE, it is a fact of life. It runs in the millions of dollars to treat. They must have taught you how to assimilate your lies in your alleged MBA. Ironic, MBAs are a dime a dozen. You need not complete a thesis, apparently you lack the skill set there as you can neither cite your meritless and unfounded “opinions”

    Being a STRONG 30-40 years older than you, trust in the fact that YES, I can and was paid quite handsomely to profile for 35 years in the CIA. Which affords me the luxury of a nice strong Pension and life long healthcare. . Something your generation will never have. Lets hope for the best that you get cancer at a later stage in life and don’t have the benefits to ascertain treatment. perhaps your heartless comments will come back toy you in your “poor financial decisions” Your disposition screams passive aggressive know it all, with deep seeded psychological issues. Yes, MY Master’s Degree, as well PhD stipulates that i have earned the knowledge base in which to counter your lack of maturity, as well as inept competency.

    At least you provide some form of genuine entertainment as to what incompetency a formal institutions will stamp a sheepskin with these days. just rest assured, mortgage or not, strong pensions allow for gated condominiums that exclude the judgmental youth of this day and age like yourself. Thank GOD for small favors.

    Sadly I cant use some of the skill sets of my former employer to assist you further.

  • Paules Amaya

    Yet again another “opinion” from Apparently you just have to have the last word in so much as to flag peoples comments. Cant stand to be educated, or cant debate when you cant cite facts can you?

    Being a good 30-40 years older than you, I can tell you the glass ceiling is in place to keep hormone raged females like yourself in check. Dream on in the unemployment line. Apparently you confuse
    your last statement of:
    “I truly am sorry that your poor financial decisions have led you to be this hostile.”

    To be the heartless punt that you are- CANCER of a spouse is not a decision – you heartless beatch- it is a fact of life. It has no bearing on financial choices.

    For the record- YES, I can determine that from a “stranger” in less than a paragraph. What do you think the CIA teaches one to do in 35 years, take the uneducated opinions of the likes of people like you? get a life, grow up OR at least try not to be such a liar in the same breath- you state you are not judgmental- than go on to rant and be just that for two whole paragraphs. Keep it up- You are nothing but a silly child to me that is quite entertaining. When the unemployment line strikes, and it will, mark my words- remember this. Ironically it is apparent that you MUST have the last word- imposing such an authoritative stance, when you cant cite fact. No man, no employer will tolerate that- so get over yourself. I am gainfully RETIRED- with a lovely pension and have all the time in the world to deal with such BS. So do me a favor, make sure you update your resume. to include heartless overzealous beach.”

  • Paules Amaya

    Wow, not your a Veterinarian too ….seems that your opinions keep just cropping up to lay proof that you just don’t cite facts.

  • Themis Spanopoulos

    How am I supposed to know what her ideal weight is in Kg. just by looking at her ribs and her waist.And also doesn’t ideal weight vary by age?Easy to find the adult weight but what is ideal for a 3 month old female Siberian Husky

  • Akįrå Cαт †εetн

    No, what Elizabeth meant to say was that her dog is doing better than WHEN he had worms, as in he no longer has them anymore.

  • Ruth

    Hi, I was wondering if freshly popped popcorn (not microwave) is bad for my lab? I have been giving it to her, no butter, no salt. About 1/2 cup in the evening.

  • theBCnut

    Yes, after there is already a problem and it has progressed to a certain point, the processing of protein leave certain chemicals in the blood that cause problematic symptoms for the person with kidney disease. But they have to ALREADY have severe kidney disease for protein to be a problem. It does not cause kidney disease.
    Sent from my iPod

  • 1bestdog

    Back skinny legs can mean Cushings.

  • 1bestdog

    That is interesting because too much protein is bad for human kidney problems.

  • JDog

    thank you! That’s a great idea. We got the box (GIANT box) of milkbones before we even adopted him because they were on sale at Petco. I will look into getting him some of those meat treats you suggested, and i’m sure he will be super happy about that, anyway. thanks again.

  • theBCnut

    Wrong! Protein does not cause kidney problems. Ask a vet that actually knows what the current(15-20 year old) research says. If your vet told you that old myth, you need a new vet, badly!!!
    Sent from my iPod

  • dw

    wrong! please don’t feed cat food to dogs….way too high in protein…..which can cause kidney problems, which are common enough in dogs, esp as they age. ask your vet , please….no cat food

  • dogist

    Hi JDog,

    He is a super cutie!!!

    For treats I would try to avoid milk-bone type cookie treats. Instead I would look for Freeze-Dried or Dehydrated 100% meat treats that are sourced AND made in the USA.

    They are a little more expensive, but they are much better for your cutie guy (instead of cutie PIE).

    Good Luck!!!

  • JDog

    Thank you everyone for your thoughtful responses! I am just seeing this now. No real weight loss yet–we did find out he DOES have a thyroid problem, so he’s been on the pills for a few months. We cut his food down to 1 c. at breakfast and 1 c. for dinner. He’s super stubborn so in order to get him to come back inside we sometimes give him a 1/3 of a milkbone. Sometimes this happens 2x per day. I hope that isn’t killing his diet…

    Anyway, we’re starting to think perhaps he is just a big dog. I feel so bad not giving him more food cuz’ he is always STARVING and looking at me like ‘is that all I’m getting for dinner????’ But that could just be his sneaky trick to get more food. Anyway, here’s a pic of the cutie pie with his favorite bone…

  • JDog

    We actually did find out that he does have a thyroid problem, so he’s been on thyroid pills for a few months now. It doesn’t seem to be helping too much. I’m honestly starting to think he’s just a big guy, because we cut his food down to 1 cup at breakfast and 1 cup at night with no major weight loss occurring!

  • JDog

    Thank you 🙂 but we are the lucky ones!

  • theBCnut

    Well, she might get an unsettled tummy just from the diet change. My Border Collies eat a little over 1000 kcals a day. You can add canned pure pumpkin to help with any soft stools resulting from a food change and you can give probiotics to help them adjust to the new food too.
    FWIW, if my cats don’t clean up their food, the dogs get it. There is nothing in cat food that is bad for dogs.

  • Jennifer

    I have just taken in a 4 year old border collie, former owner was feeding her cat food & not walking her.. so I’m looking for advice on what a recommended daily amount of dog food I should be feeding her? Today she has had 1 cup of iams dry food mixed with half tin of pedigree which she wolfed down after her hour of running around the park. Last thing I want is for her to end up with an unsettled tummy. Thanks. X

  • DogFoodie

    I’m confused, Elizabeth. Are you saying your dog currently has worms?

  • Elizabeth Koonce

    I have a 9 year old pug and he is doing better than before he had worms, but his back legs are really skinny and weak.. I feed him both wet food and dry food and I give him treats daily, so he’s slightly ideal on his stomach, but those legs are just too stick-like. He weighs about 16 pounds and regular weigh 20, so I don’t know what to do

  • Maddison Gipson

    hi I have a 6 month old male german shepherd and im feeding him on autarky puppy/junior the problem I have is the feeding guide is a little confusing, is the weight down the list expected size and weight or current? I want to verify so I don’t over feed and would appreciate a response asap to put me out of my misery haha

  • theBCnut

    Nobody can just pick a number out of their head and accurately tell you how much your dog should weigh. There are multiple factors that affect how much any individual dog should weigh, such as the amount and density of muscling and the amount and density of bone mass. Visually, you should be able to look at your dog from above and see the bumps on the spine, the last couple ribs, and the hip bones, whatever weight that is. Your vet can help you come up with an actual number to shoot for right now and a food amount, but even that will change over time as her musculature and metabolism changes.
    Thanks for rescuing and good luck with your girl!!!

  • Debora Switzer Hopper

    I have a female 4 year old boxer we rescued from NWBR couple weeks ago she is a smaller boxer brindle her weight was 54 pounds I think she is at 55 now where should her weight be and how much should we feed her right now we are feeding her one cup in the am and one cup in the pm grain free

  • Barbara

    Hi Ashley, I think it is too much if you need her to loose weight. My lab is 5 1/2 to 6 yrs and I was feeding her 2 cups twice a day and I was shocked when she weighed in at 84 lbs at the vets office in May! I thought she was looking a little overweight but did not realize she was like 10 lbs overweight. She always wanted more and was eating too fast! Some dogs just love to eat and don’t realize when they have had enough! Vet told me to cut her food by 25% which I did at first than I cut it a little more to 1 cup of dry and 1/2 can of wet twice a day. I use Victor GF joint health and Costco’s Kirkland’s ND Turkey and Pea stew both 5 star dog foods. Between the 2 it mixes up the proteins and carbs to keep her happy and healthy and loosing weight slow and sure until I am comfortable enough to rotate her food. She is down to about 78 lbs so I do give her a little more now but trying to keep her calories around 1,200 a day. I am happy with the quality and prices of these 2 foods that my 2 large dogs have been on for awhile now. My 3rd dog is a 13 1/2 yr old Border Collie mix and has been about 49 lbs since I adopted him at 4 yrs. He is a fussy eater so I rotate his foods and he gets more unsalted meat and veggies as toppers than the other 2 just to get him to eat. Good luck with your lab they are such fun dogs. Be sure to give her enough exercise because labs will get fat fast without it. 🙂

  • neezerfan

    If she’s overweight, you are feeding her too much. Feed her the amount recommended for the weight she should be.

  • Bobby dog

    Hi Ashley:
    Not sure what food you are feeding; different foods have different calorie ranges and amounts to feed.

    When I have to tweak my dog’s diet because he gained a few pounds I feed the amount of food his ideal weight should be, increase physical activity, and limit or stop in between meal snacks. People often forget about the extra calories in snacks!

    If Bobby weighed 45 lbs and I have been feeding him the recommended amount for the 40 – 50 lbs range and his ideal weight is 40 lbs, I would feed him the recommended amount for the weight range below what I currently feed. For example, the feeding guidelines for his food might recommend 1 ½ – 2 C/day for 40 – 50 lbs dogs; 1 – 1 ½ C/day for 30 – 40 lbs dogs. I would feed an amount in the range for the 30 – 40 lbs dog along with increasing physical activity, and little to no snacks.

  • Ashley Wriske

    my lab is 2 years old she is about 70lbs the vet said she was slightly over weight i feed her 2 cups twice a day of dog food is that too much ? or too little

  • Hannah

    I have a boxer and he’s 6 months old and weighs about 30 pounds, is this normal?

  • Jennifer Stanfill

    We recently got a lab ( black ) he was biggest of litter . He weighed 23 lbs when we took him to vet couple weeks back . How much food should we be giving him ?

  • Barbara

    Hi JDog, like Cyndi I also believe that it is wonderful that you rescued a senior dog. All my dogs have been rescues and I also had a golden retriever that lived to almost 16 yrs. I still miss her. One of my dogs is a 6 yr old lab and was overweight at 85 lbs also. My vet told me to decrease her food by 25% because she also needed to loose about 10lbs. I also checked the DFA calculator and for an ideal weight (75 lbs) for her was about 1,000 calories a day. I also feed my dogs 2 times a day so I decreased her food to 1 cup of dry (Victors grain free) and 1/2 cup of canned (Kirkland’s grain free ND Turkey and pea stew) in the morning and about the same again at night. I do add in a little nonfat plain yogurt and a little water to the dry, also a tbs of pure pumpkin puree as her treat a couple of times a day. She is loosing the weight slow and steady. Good luck and I hope your golden is doing well and is loosing weight since your posting 2 months ago… 🙂

  • Dori

    Hi JDog. You didn’t mention what treats you are feeding your dog. We often forget to include the calories in treats as part of their overall daily calorie intake. For treats you can switch him to carrots, cucumbers, berries, string beans, broccoli, kale. Just google healthy fruits and veggies for canines and you’ll get a huge list. Probably stuff that’s already in your fridge.

    You may also think about cutting his food down to 1 1/4 cup for breakfast and 1 1/4 cup for dinner and that should also help.

  • Kami Kaze

    feeding 2 times a day is good for their metabolism.

    take away 1/4cup of food replace with pumpkin purée.(boxed pudding aisle. pure pumpkin).

    (squash. butternut or spaghetti squash is cheaper. u will cut squash in half put in oven at 350* for about 30min. or until fork goes easily through the SKIN.

    leave some out for the next 2days and freeze the rest . (for small dogs mush up squash, and fill ice cube trays with it. then into ziplock baggys once frozen. take out and unthaw as needed.
    For med/large dogs. *u could do the same* I scoop with an ice cream scoop/make balls, onto a cookie sheet, freeze then ziplock bag).

    U can also add in some green beans.

    This gives them fiber, but it also FILLS their BELLY without* all of the added calories. Works a charm every time . :))

    a friend of mines rescue dog was obese. he lost 30lbs over 1year, this way. 🙂

    My Yorkie lost 3lbs and now at a healthy weight. :)) Good Luck

  • Cyndi

    I don’t have any advice for you, I just wanted to sincerely thank you for not only rescuing a dog, but rescuing a senior! You are awesome! God bless you!

  • Crazy4dogs

    JDog you might actually need to feed a little less than that. I feed my 80 lb Lab 2.5 (or slightly less) cups of grain free food per day & 1/3 canned dog food. He walks over a mile a day (I carry a pedometer and it’s a pretty fast walk) and is pretty active playing with my foster dogs all day. Are you giving him treats in with that? You need to count all the treats in for a total calorie count. A lot of people don’t think their feeding much and are actually adding a lot of calories with treats. Also, I use an exact measuring cup that shows every increment of food down to 1/8 cup. You might try switching to a grain free food that’s a little higher in protein. If you’re feeding Canidae Platinum, it’s pretty low in protein & higher in carbs. Higher protein and less carbs could help him lose weight.

    Crazy4cats has a good suggestion about a senior blood panel as well. They are always good and lets you know where your dog is at healthwise. I do them every year on my dogs.

  • Crazy4cats

    Have you had a senior blood panel done checking his thyroid levels?

  • JDog

    We just rescued a 10 yr old golden retriever. He is male, 85 pounds, purebred, LOTS and LOTS of hair. We have him on Canidae dry food for overweight seniors (1.5 cups at breakfast and 1.5 cups at dinner). He hasn’t lost a pound since we got him (1 month ago), and the vet recommended he lose 5-10lbs. He normally goes on 2 walks a day (morning and night) that are around 1/2 a mile each. How can I help him lose weight?

  • Mrs Arby

    How much does he eat? how many cups of food each day?


    I have a 9 year old Chiweenie that is considered obese…he weighs 30 pounds…what is a good canned dogfood to help him lose weight?

  • Betsy Greer

    Large and giant breed puppies have the same nutritional need for controlled levels of Calcium in their diet. LBPs don’t self-regulate their Calcium intake and if we feed them excess levels of Calcium it can contribute to skeletal disorders like hip dysplasia. Keep your Calcium level at no more than 1.3% and closer to no more than 1.0% is ideal. Keep your puppy lean and avoid over-exercising him ~ those things also stress joints in a rapidly growing puppy.

    Here is a great thread about the nutritional needs of LBPs to visit in the forum area of this site:

    Here’s a list of foods with appropriate Calcium levels for LBPs (which I think you’ll find on page 15 of the aformentioned LBP thread): It’s a Google document so you may have to register in order to view the document; and, most people can’t print the document, but you can copy and paste the information using a word processing program in order to print the information to take with you to local stores to see what’s available.

    There are lots of very good, budget friendly choices. I’d take a look at Dr. Tim’s, Whole Earth Farms, Victor, Pure Balance, Earthborn Holistics, NutriSource and Eagle Pack to name a few.

  • Amy Cardwell

    I was told he is a black mouth cur mixed with border collie, but I simpky don’t see the border collie bit. So y ou thonk large breed, not extra large? We are just using puppy chow right now. The vet we went too said it would be fine, but his trainer wants him to be on something much pricier… I am getting mixed messages! This is tge first dog I have ever owned and I am completly in love, I want to do what’s best for him, but as inexpensively as possible.

  • Betsy Greer

    He looks like he has some Black Mouth Cur in him. You’re wise to feed him as a LBP. His body condition looks and sounds good based on your description. Have you visited the forums to read more about LBP nutrition? What are you currently feeding him and how much are you feeding?

  • Amy Cardwell

    2nd attempt to load a photo

  • Amy Cardwell

    I have a 4 month old dog, and no clue what breed he is mixed with. I suspect pyrenees and shepard, but really that is pure guess. I am feeding him according to the large breed suggestion on the puppy chow bag, but he seems hungry all the time. Should I be feeding like an extra large breed, or as much as he wants… I walk him about 2 miles a day, I don’t know if that factors into his calorie needs or not. He looks thinner in the photo probably because he is laying down. His ribs are difficult to feel, but I can find them. Thanks for your help, this is difficult not know his breed, or his parents since he is a rescue pup. He is currently about 35 lbs.

  • Darlene Bridge

    i have a 90 lb boxer i was told she needed to lose 5 lbs i feed her 1 cup shredded proplan dry and one chicken breast twice a day i need to know how many ounces of food he needs each day moderate excercise

  • USA Dog Treats

    Hi Isabella

    Pictures of your Neo would help us to determine if your dog is under or over weight.

    Here are some pics for you to look at.

  • Melissaandcrew

    That depends on the individual dog and its build. Some might look “thick” at that weight and others may look emaciated.

  • Isabella Parellada

    Hi, I have an 8 1/2 month old Neapolitan mastiff and she is 72 puunds, is this ok?

  • Betsy Greer

    Both puppies are awfully young to be away from their mother. It does sound like you’re saying that both pups have a surrogate mother however, which improves their outlook considerably.

    As long as the pups are eating normally, gaining weight steadily and having normal bowel movements, I would think their respective weights are appropriate.

    I would suspect that being taken from their mothers at such a young age might have resulted in an interruption of their normal growth at their ages.

  • InkedMarie

    Both of your puppies are not old enough to be away from their mommas.

  • Rajkumar Richard

    Actually I bought two newf. A couple. The male is 48days old n weigh to 5.9kg. Is this consider healthy?

  • Rajkumar Richard

    Hello Betsy Greer. Thank u for ur response. About the puppy, I hv recently bought it and it’s not nursing frm her mom… But nursing with a GSD I hv hu gave litter about the same time… So, about the newf.. should I be concern? What should I do to ensure good health? Advices r appriciated.

  • Betsy Greer

    Your 39 day old puppy is nursing from his mother, right?

  • Rajkumar Richard

    I hv a female Newfoundland dog who weigh just 4.8kg and she is 39days old. Is this healthy?

  • aimee

    Hi Ross,
    I agree 100% which is why I said “they really don’t tell you anything”. I didn’t make it clear enough that I too think that a vet “not believing” in titers may well be a vet who understands titering the best and knows that having a titer in hand isn’t really helpful. While a vet that “believes” in titers may be one that doesn’t understand them as well. I do think though that titers can give people, as Shawna said, the “warm fuzzies” from seeing a number on a page saying “protective” . But Cornell is the only lab I know of maybe Schultz’s lab too, with challenge data to back that up. Even then it isn’t a given as degree of challenge or immune suppression can still result in a dog with a “protective titer” falling ill.

    I titered Jack to see if he seroconverted as he only had a “puppy” series. If this titer comes back that he converted I’ll likely never titer again.

  • Ross C.

    Titers do not measure immunity, never have and never will. Titers measure exposure by measuring circulating antibodies. Immunity is not “held” in circulating antibodies. That is the reason why many Vets do not think they are worth the trouble. Simply put, a low titer dog has not been recently exposed whereas a high titer dog has. I would never bother with titers.

  • aimee

    I’d agree with that. If the dog has a protective titer, no matter how “low” that protective titer is, I’d expect that the antibodies will interfere with the vaccine just as maternal antibodies do.

    The question though is do we always know what a protective titer is and is the titer result accurate? It is possible to take a blood sample and send it to the same lab on 2 different days and get 2 different results.

    And what constitutes a protective titer will depend on the testing methodology. If the lab doesn’t have challenge data for their testing can we really trust their “cut off” between protective and non protective?

    Realistically I suppose titers can tell us when we don’t have to revaccinate but they can’t really tell you when you should.

  • Crazy4cats

    I really don’t think they knew. Which is worrisome also. Like I said above, the fifth office did explain that to me, finally. Thank you, I’ve learned so much on this site.

  • Crazy4cats

    Ok, thanks. The kennel will accept the three year shots and/or titers, however, having trouble finding a vet that will administer them. On my fifth try, I found a vet that does a three year distempter/parvo shot. Will not do a 5 in 1 shot due to being dangerous for the dog. Sounds like maybe I finally found a winner! Of course, this office is more expensive than the other ones I’ve called, but probably worth it down the line. It is getting very frustrating that I am finding out that they are doing more and more for their pocket books, not for the best interest of the pets. Thanks again.

  • Shawna

    I didn’t word that well at all…

    Peanut’s distemper titer was on the low side of protective (versus “normal”). My vet wanted to booster even though still showing protected – albeit on the low side. From what I read, there would be no benefit to doing that.

  • Shawna

    I am a bit frustrated that not one of those four veterinary offices didn’t bother to take the time to explain to you why the DHLPP vacc would not be licensed for 3 years. If you spoke with the front desk staff it may be that they simply didn’t know why themselves?? If that is not the reason, it seems deceitful in my opinion. 🙁

  • Shawna

    Current recommendations for distemper, adeno and parvo are vaccinate every three years. If your kennel won’t accept these recommendations OR accept titers it may be time to find a new kennel? Several of my friends pay someone to come to their home to walk and feed their pets if that might be an option as well?

    In addition to distemper, adeno (aka hepatitis) and parvo, the DHLPP vaccine also covers leptospirosis and parainfluenza. These last two are not core vaccines and, like bordatella, are those that would have to be given yearly (or more frequently) to be affective. This is why there is no 3 year DHLPP vaccine.

    If you must stay with your current kennel you can split the vaccs up where offered and give the 3 core shots every 3 years and the other 3 yearly — this just costs you more money — BUT it is believed to be WAY healthier for the pup as “combo” vaccines are believed to be quite problematic and anything with lepto in it is even more so..

    Edit — I edited this once to address the titer question but the edit disappeared?? Let’s try this again..

    They use one blood draw but, it is my understanding, have to do three separate tests for parvo, distemper and adeno from that one blood draw.

  • Crazy4cats

    Our kennel requires the DHLPP (5 in 1), either 1-year or 3-year and the Bordatella. If i were to titer, would it be 5 different titer tests to cover all five vaccines, or would they have to do 5 different titers to cover them all? I’m guessing that would be very expensive if need to be done separately. As I said earlier, I called 4 vets in my area and they all only offer the 1 year vaccines. Is this so we will come in every year for them to get paid, or do they really think it is best? I think I know the answer.

  • aimee

    Hi Shawna,

    He has a titer to distemper 128 but the parvo came back as <20 with 40 or above being considered protective.

    I'm not sure what you mean by titer within normal limits. <20 could be 0 ..a non responder or maybe there was still maternal ab present when he had his last vaccine so never was properly vaccinated or maybe he responded to vaccine and his ab is low but he has memory cells.

  • Crazy4cats

    I just called 4 vets in my area and not one of them offer a 3 year vaccination, except for rabies. 🙁 I’ll keep trying, I guess.

  • Shawna

    I will definitely titer after last set of puppy shots for any new puppies I get!!

    Edit — it is my understanding that even with a low titer, but still within normal limits, re-vaccination will not “boost” immunity above where it currently is. Do you agree with that?

  • Shawna

    I left a post under Marie’s comment but will reiterate here — the ONLY vaccine that is required by the LAW is the rabies vacc. All others are optional — your boarding kennel may require them and your vet may require them but the law only requires rabies.

    Some folks don’t vaccinate for anything but rabies – ever. Not even “puppy shots”. It is perfectly legal to do. May not be recommended but it is legal.

  • aimee

    I wonder what he meant by not “believing” in titers. I can see that some labs or testing methodology are not accurate but then it is simply a matter of using a lab that has a reputation for accurate results, Cornell for example.

    But other than telling you if the dog responded to primary vaccination they really don’t tell you anything as a low titer does not mean unprotected .I wonder if that was what the vet meant?… The test could be run but really may not tell you anything

    I’m in a bit of quandary right now as Jack as titered very low. But since I didn’t titer right after his puppy series ( kicking myself now) I don’t know if he is a non responder or if he was a responder and just has a low titer. So I vaccinated and then will re check titer to answer the question.

  • Crazy4cats

    I’m in WA state. (Yes, WA state, the home of the superbowl bound Seattle Seahawks!) I’ll have to look in to the 3-year thing. I certainly hope we have adopted that as well. And, I’ll make sure that I find a vet that supports it. Thank you.

  • Shawna

    I think you know this Marie but for others reading — the only vacc that is required by law is the rabies vacc which, I’ve read, is now three years in every state but maybe not every municipality.

    The other vaccines are recommendations only — no requirement by law for any but rabies. Some kennels may require certain ones for boarding however. And, your vet may “require” vaccs in order to be seen by him/her but that is his rule not a state law.

    Dr. Schultz gives puppy shots by titering mom to determine when pups will no longer be protected by mom’s immunity. He then gives pups (and kitties) one shot for the 3 core vaccs, titers to confirm they are not non-responders and then, in most cases, doesn’t vaccinate again for the life of the animal. With rabies he follows his local laws (at least that is the official record).. 🙂

  • Shawna

    No, you would still only “need” to vaccinate once every three years OR titer yearly after three years from the last vaccs.

    BUT most kennels want to see a vacc for kennel cough as well as the core vaccines. Kennel cough is a yearly vacc. To be fully protected, it’s best to give it before exposure. The AAHA 2006 guidelines state if not vaccinated 6 months or less before exposure a booster is recommended one week prior to kenneling. Page 7 in the “Comments and Recommendations” column

  • InkedMarie

    What state are you in? Everyone else, I thought the whole country went to every three years. Is it possible some states haven’t?

    Either way, I am pretty sure that dr Ronald Schults has said all vaccines are good for three years, at least. I will research later but someone may know.

    If my vet told me every year, I’d find a new vet. I’m also very forward with my regular vets. I tell them what I’m doing, I tell them don’t bother talking food. I do it nicely but firmly.

  • Crazy4cats

    My vet told me that the rabies was for 3 years, but the others were only 1 year. Time for a new vet?

  • InkedMarie

    Ask your boarding kennel if they accept titers now, not when you need to go. Titers show that they are “good”, the vet should be able to tell you for how long. Your kennel may require a titer yearly. Thats still better than vaccinating! Btw, vaccines are good for 3 years.

  • Crazy4cats

    My problem (well one of them, lol!) is that we have to have our dogs boarded now and then if we go out of town for our son’s baseball team. The kennel requires proof of vaccinations. I guess we would either have to get them titered or vaccinated every year then? Or, does the titer test show that they are good for a few years?

  • Crazy4cats

    Me too! It pains me to see all the things I’ve done wrong with my previous dog and my new ones. I wish I could start over, but they are 2 1/2 now. I got them too young, had them vaccinated too much too young and had them neutered too young. Dang! But, like you said, water under the bridge and we’ll know better from now on.

  • InkedMarie

    I hear you. I asked two vets over the last few years about titering; neither believed in them. Both said they’d do it though. It was my choice to say no, for me, I want a vet who believes in titering & understands them to do titers. Boone will be 8 in a few days, he’s been titered once, when he was three or four, I think. Vet hasn’t felt the need to re-titer. Same goes for Ginger, she’s had one titer at age 1.5.

  • Shawna

    Afterthought —- I’m flabbergasted that a vet wouldn’t “believe” in titers when his own profession is allowed to get titers instead of mandatory rabies shots.

    “How often should veterinarians and their support staff have their rabies titers checked?

    Most practicing veterinarians in the United States are considered to have a frequent risk for exposure to rabies and should have their titers checked every two years, per the CDC’s ACIP recommendations. However, some veterinarians might need their titers checked more or less often,”

    In a Facebook post, Dr. Becker said she hasn’t had to be re-vaccinated for rabies in 20 years (that was a year or two ago).. Her titer is adequate every time checked. She is a wildlife rehabber so definitely a “high risk” individual..

  • InkedMarie

    oh, I went by Neezerfan asking yearly or every three years. Nevermind!

  • Shawna

    Sorry, when to START titering for the very first time. Example — there is no reason to start titering a 7 year old dog for the first time right after getting his/her core shots. Since the core shots are known to be effective for at least three years the 7 year old dog wouldn’t need his/her first titer test til he/she was 10 years old.

  • InkedMarie

    My regular vet doesn’t believe in titers so there’s no way I’d have him do it. I want someone who understands and believes in them; thats my holistic vet. She believes in puppy vaccines then thats it, titers if the client requests. I don’t know how she feels about no vaccines, never asked.

    As far as WHEN, that would depend on the numbers. If the titers should be 4287 and a dog is 4275, they discuss whether the dogs needs a booster.

  • Shawna

    LOL, my holistic vet doesn’t recommend vaccinating at all so doesn’t offer titers.. 🙂 If I want them, I have to get titers through my regular vet and they try to push vaccs even if the numbers are on the low side of protected. 🙂

    Neezerfan is actually asking WHEN to get the titers done though, not what the numbers should be.

  • neezerfan

    Ack! Have done yearly since the beginning so that is water under the bridge. I’ll know better for the next one.

  • InkedMarie

    Not Shawna but I leave it up to my holistic vet. She knows what the numbers should be and what my dogs numbers are.

  • Shawna

    For those, like yourself, that want the confirmation regularly, you can wait three years after the shot is given as they know the shots last at least 5 years. After that you would want to titer yearly.

    Actually, the best way to do it is to titer within a few weeks of the last puppy shots as some dogs are non-responders. Meaning that it doesn’t matter how many times they are vaccinated they will NEVER become immune from vaccination. These dogs should be watched carefully around the disease they do not have immunity for. After confirming puppy is not a non-responder titers can wait for the three year mark and then yearly thereafter.

  • neezerfan

    So Shawna, in your opinion should titering be done yearly or every three years? I have to do it for my own piece of mind so not doing it isn’t an option for me.

  • Shawna

    That is fantastic that your vet (and local government) have adopted the 3 year rabies revaccination protocol!!

    It is also important to address the other vaccines given too. The American Animal Hospital Association put out a vaccine guideline in 2006 that has some great info. In the guidelines they suggest ALL core vaccines other than rabies (so distemper, parvo and adenovirus) be given “every three years or longer”. They also note that these vaccines have been proven to provide immunity for 5 and 7 years, depending on the vaccine given.. They KNOW that they last longer than three years so giving yearly is WAY overkill. Many vets have adopted the three year protocol for rabies but not for the other “core” vaccines. Here’s the link for your convenience (the chart starts on page 4).

    Also if interested, Vet Dr. Karen Becker has a video interview with Pathobiologist Dr. Ronald Schultz. There is TONS of valuable information in the video/s. There are four videos in the series and each one is about 15 minutes long. This is part one (parts 2 through 4 are linked at the bottom of this page)

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  • ELisdying

    Sorry about your pom’s. I guess with their much smaller bodies their reaction will be much more intense if they have one.
    What an awful thing!
    You think you are doing the best you can for your buddy and end up changing their lives for the worst.
    We are going to refrain from another Rabbies vaccine for a while, and check into the link you gave me.
    Bureaucracy is slow to keep up with these changes, to get dog tags for the year we need to prove rabies vacccination, our vet has changed his approach to every 3 years after the initial puppy doses.
    Thanks again Shawna and Betsy. This is why I posted here, hoping someone would give us more information we did not consider.

  • Shawna

    You touched on something else I was thinking. The leading US expert on pet vaccinations is Pathobiologist Dr. Ronald Schultz. Dr. Schultz is currently on a project to determine that the rabies vaccine has a longer duration of immunity than three years. They write on the site

    “Reactions that have been documented include:

    Behavior changes such as aggression and separation anxiety

    Obsessive behavior,self-mutilation, tail chewing

    Pica – eating wood, stones, earth, stool

    Destructive behavior, shredding bedding

    Seizures, epilepsy

    Fibrosarcomas at injection site

    Autoimmune diseases such as those affecting bone marrow and blood cells, joints, eyes, skin, kidney, liver, bowel and central nervous system

    Muscular weakness and or atrophy

    Chronic digestive problems”

    I don’t know if there is any correlation but it apparently is not uncommon and symptoms may not manifest for some time after the fact. Over-vaccination is a hotly debated topic right now..

    Hopefully others will give you some of their thoughts as even if it really has no relevance there may be a diamond in the rough in one of those suggestions..

    PS — I am certain it is the rabies vaccine that took my 6 month old Pom from a happy, healthy little goof ball to a neurotic, frightened little ball of fear. One day she was great and then snap..

    My other Pom has a seizure within four days of her rabies vaccine. NEVER any other time, only after a rabies vaccination.

  • ELisdying

    I’m familiar with holistic medicine a little, used it for myself years ago when I was still working for a large corporation.
    The thing with Mitch is that I picked him out of a liter of 8 pups especially because he seemed the most calm and well adjusted. His first months with us were amazing. He was confident, patient, and funny. He slept through the night within 10 days, and when awake would play in his crate till his humans were ready to get him out. No trouble putting him to bed at night either.
    Did not seem the type that would be neurotic or depressive. This we experienced with our first male golden who WAS very high strung. Took 3 years or more to calm him down. He would literally cry his hearth out if left alone, and wanted constant reassurance.
    I’m more inclined to think after this lenght of time Mitch would have adjusted to his new circumstances, and that his problems are physical. His elimination is normal, he gets 2 long walks a day and has play time with other dogs and people. He has had all his shots and boosters.
    He did have 2 strange episodes of vomiting multiples times during a period of 24 hours, were we stopped feeding him for a bit, and then switched to small portions of plain rice and cooked hamburger for a few days. Elimination was still normal during these episodes.
    We blamed it on stuff he eats in the wild. Goldens will eat anything, and I mean anything.
    After talking with the two of you I will insist on some investigative testing from our vet’s clinic in the next few weeks. I will keep you posted. Appreciate the support and feedback very much.

  • ELisdying

    to be continued on Shawna’s reply.

  • Betsy Greer

    Love you Shawna!!

  • Shawna

    Love you Betsy!!!!

  • Shawna

    Like Betsy, I wonder if there isn’t something more going on.. Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome can be caused by stress and would make digestion more difficult. Have you noticed an increase in size or frequency of bowel movement? Or any mucous in his stool. Are stools at all greasy?

    Not to freak you out but cancer would even be a concern. It very well could be nothing but behavioral and maturing but, if you can, I’d certainly have some, at least, basic diagnostics done.

    If it is depression over the loss of your other pup, a holistic vet specializing in homeopathics etc could be a huge help. My Pom has obsessive compulsive disorder and had some pretty significant behavioral issues. Holistic vet recommended a $6.00 bottle of a specific homeopathic that I purchased at my local Whole Foods and the difference in my Pom was AMAZING!!!! She became a different dog. Some holistic vets will do phone/email consultations.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi ELisdying,

    Ah ha, I see. So Mitch has a good appetite and his eating habits don’t justify his weight loss. That is concerning.

    How is his digestion? How is his stool quality? Is his belly ever tender or bloated?

    I would definitely visit the vet soon. This is far beyond my field of knowledge, and my speculation is far reaching, but I wonder about Protein-Losing Enteropathy. I have no medical / veterinary background and know what I’ve learned here for the past couple of years.

    I’d love for someone else to weigh in and am going to email a friend and ask her for her opinion.

  • ELisdying

    Hi Betsy,
    That is part of the confusion. Mitch has a good appetite we are feeding him a higher grade of dry food with lots of natural protein. When he lost the good amount of weight, we increased his food a little, and we have done so again after finding out what he weighs now. He eats twice a day and also gets dog treats several times a day.
    We have realised he may be depressed and try to give more attention and affection, this is more or less welcome. He is more jolly outside the house with strangers.
    We live in a very remote area and have to drive quite a distance to see the vet, there are few in this region.
    I see where you are going with your reply. I would concur except that his appetite has not changed. Unless we are seeing some kind of digestive problem caused by the stress he has gone through, he is very sensitive and sweet. What are ‘bully sticks’?
    Thanks again for taking the time to try and help.

  • Betsy Greer

    Hi ELisdying,

    Poor Mitch!! He has a broken heart, doesn’t he.

    So, from the timeline in your original post, I gather that Mitch is just over two years old, right?

    I think the first thing I would do is get or a check up right away. Do you by chance use a holistic or integrative vet? I think Mitch needs someone who is more accustomed to looking at the big picture and who can think outside the box since Mitch might be dealing with a behavioral issue that has now affected his physical we’ll- being.

    What is Mitch currently eating and how much per day is he eating? Do you offer him things like bully sticks as treats?

  • ELisdying

    Thanks for your reply. The breeder, this is a purebreed golden, felt that fat puppies were a good idea to manage the transition and loss of appetite when they were adopted… I did not agree with this.
    Our young male Mitch had the company of the much older female for a while, and was merciless in his attentions to her and just generally goofy and good humored with lots of energy.
    That female had to be put to sleep, Mitch was depressed when she was gone, then the new puppy arrived, which caused a big change where he was not the one getting all the attention. Mitch became jealous and sullen. Now after five months he will play with the puppy, go for walks, and get along fine. But Mitch’s demeanor is entirely different than it used to be, especially for a golden retriever, he looks solemn, never looks happy, and lays around most of the day. Adding this change in temperament to the weight loss has me worried. It could be nothing, a young male maturing. I checked his size yesterday, 25.5 inches at shoulder by 27 inches from breast to butt. His ribs are not sticking out, but his head and shoulders are skin and bones. He does have a yearly check-up coming up, I think we should have him checked for parasites and perhaps a blood test.

  • Betsy Greer

    When you say “lethargic,” that’s a big red flag to me. Has he matured, or is he truly lethargic?

    There should be no such thing as “baby fat” in a novel sense. A lean pup is a healthy pup.

  • ELisdying

    We retired 14 years ago, and are caring for a second generation of golden retrievers. At first, we had an under sized male and oversized female, our adult male’s healthy weight was 65 pounds, our adult female’s healthy weight was 70 pounds.
    Our new goldens, are the opposite, the male is oversized at over 25.5 inches high at shoulder at two years, with a large dad that is a healthy 85 pounds. Our female is a mix and only six months, she is heavy at 50 pounds but compact, lean and muscular.
    Our concern right now: the male was a fat puppy when we got him at 7 weeks, gained a lot of weight quickly as he aged, food was reduced at one year & half, and his weight dropped from 85 pounds to 76 pounds, now he has lost another 6 pounds and weighs 70 pounds at 27 months or he lost 15 pounds in 9 months.
    It’s hard to tell how skinny he is because he has a very dense coat of fur.
    We think that he has more growing to do and should be getting heavier not lighter, he does not have that chunky male appearance yet (he has been neutered). There is no signs of disease or symptoms of malnutrition, his coat is very dense and smooth, skin, eyes, ears and mouth healthy. He is lethargic and quiet compared to a year ago. Vet staff say he lost his ‘baby’ fat. We don’t know….

  • LabsRawesome

    Where did you get that information? “Human” foods are some of THE BEST things to feed your dogs. Please watch this video.

  • Crazy4cats

    Actually, healthy leftovers are very good for a dog’s immune system. That is, such things as, lean meats and vegetables.

  • Tally C

    I had 2 newfies.. 50kg is about a decent weight for the age my male was 180 by the time he hit a year old… I feed all of my dogs ukanuba dog food also they get homemade snacks once a day! My female Newfie only made it to 5 years old from a health problem that no vet found in her. SHe had it when she was a puppy they say.. Very rare.. Don’t give you’re pup and kind of humane food it makes the dog immune system shut down after years as well…

  • Jennie

    I have a springer spaniel and a jack Russell my springer is 7, the jack Russell is 12 both a bit podgey, living back home with mum we have all piled a few pounds and now I’m trying to loose the weight, mum likes to feed them mixer biscuits with meat but were not sure on the correct ratio so they are only getting what they should. Any ideas?

  • Pattyvaughn

    That sounds yummy! Though you should be aware that the cottage cheese has enough calcium in it to balance cottage cheese, not enough for the rest of the diet. And it still needs fish oil and probably vit E. When I make homemade food, I like to add super greens, usually a dark green leafy veg and some kind of seaweed/algae, like kelp or spirulina. It’s best if you make sure that half the time you make sure to make it without cruciferous veggies.
    You are putting me in the mood to make dog food. Woo Hoo!!

  • DonnieC

    2 pounds of hamburger, cooked
    4 cups cooked brown rice
    6-8 cups vegetables – mixture of carrots, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, zuchini, celery, beans – almost whatever you want
    Oats, and flax or bran – together in a pot – about 8 cups worth

    Cottage cheese
    We mix it all together in 2 big bread-making bowls, put it in tupperware containers and freeze it. We mix this with dry food. Used to be 1:1 but too much work for 4 dogs. Portions are all smaller and they LOVE it!

  • Karen King

    Thank you for your help


  • Pattyvaughn

    Not mad monkey, but for a food elimination trial, you pick one protein source that your dog has never had before and one starch source that your dog has never had before and feed only that until symptoms subside. Then you start adding single ingredients back in for a period of time to see if your dog reacts to them. Many people don’t want to go through this so they look for a Limited Ingredient Diet kibble that would fit the bill as the base food then start adding the single ingredients to that.

  • Karen King

    Mad Monkey- I am having the problem with my Shepard of itchy skin and ear infections that the Vet thinks is food related. I am looking for a cheaper way to do food trials than the prescription food. How do you make your own food?

  • MadMonkey

    Helen, I just came across your post.
    I have a 3 year old Lab that has food and plant allergies. She is allergic to rice, potatoes, duck, lamb, and many other ingredients. It manifests as skin irritation, like your dog.
    We went through months of reading labels and testing foods. Finding food that she is not allergic to was impossible. Finally we resorted to making our own. It is quite a bit of work, but our dog is mostly not itchy any longer. There is also other food that your vet can have prescribed with hydrolyzed proteins so your pet does not have a reaction. Since I have a 70lb dog, this would have run me over $75 per week in food, making it is far cheaper.
    Prednisone is no good long term. Okay for occasional use if the itching really acts up, but is not good for your pet long term. We use Cyclosporin now when needed and it really works well.
    For a diabetic dog it is important to monitor what is in their food, again, another reason to make it. There are many articles out there on what to use to make your dogs food and about diabetic needs. It depends on what they are allergic to. We had blood tests done to determine that.
    You are going to need to do some reading and figure out a plan that works for your dogs needs.
    Best of luck.

  • Pattyvaughn

    I can’t see a waist or tuck up, so I would assume your vet knows what he is talking about. And when you consider that large breed dogs are prone to joint issues, keeping them on the light side just makes sense.

  • Walt

    My vet says my 2 year old golden should be 70lb but I think he looks fine at 96lb

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Cat –

    No one can tell you how much your dog should way, the ideal weight will vary based on gender and build but 50 kg. is definitely within the breed standard. As far as the “best food” for a Newfie – there is no “best food” and nutritional requirements don’t vary much from breed to breed. The best advice I can give you is variety is important and feed the freshest, least processed and most species-appropriate diet possible. So raw food is best, followed by fresh cooked, dehydrated or freeze-dried, canned and kibble would be the worst. If you must feed kibble, top it with raw, canned or fresh foods as often as possible (eggs, plain yogurt or kefir, tinned sardines and leftover meat make good kibble toppers). With whatever you feed, rotate brands and protein sources often and look for foods high in animal-derived protein, moderate in fat and low in carbohydrates.

  • Cat Manning

    My newfoundland is 15 months old and weighs 50kg is this ok? And what’s the best food for a newfoundland?

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  • Pyr mother

    Hi. Great info btw. I have 6 month old Pyrenees Mountain dog. Last time he was weighed just under 6 month he was 58 pounds. Pyrs should put on 10 pounds for each month so he’s on track but I still fret about whether I’m feeding him enough. Maybe it’s just a mother’s worry.

  • anonynous

    i thought the same about my 7 year old west highland white terrier and found that really helped as it showed the normal weight for her and gave me something to compare to. it turned out she was actually taller than her normal breed size too.

  • Pattyvaughn

    How tall is he and how hard to you have to work to feel his ribs? When people mention feeling a dogs ribs, they are talking about placing their hands flat on the dogs rib cage and feeling the ribs, not digging around for them. For an example of how ribs should feel:
    Make a fist and feel your knuckles. This is how ribs feel on an underweight dog. Open your hand and turn it palm side up. Feel your knuckles on the palm side. This is how ribs feel on an over weight dog. Now turn your open hand over, palm down. Feel the knuckles from the back of your hand. This is how ribs should feel on a healthy weight dog.
    I have met a few Goldens that really should weigh 105 lbs, but they are much taller than Goldens are supposed to be. I’ve also met Goldens that weighed that much that shouldn’t and they don’t live the long healthy lives that they should, nor are they active happy dogs.

  • David & Megs

    Hi all, we have a beautiful 2 year old golden retriever who weighs in at
    48kg (105 pounds). We personally think he’s just a big boy and not
    overweight as we can feel his ribs and frame and there is no evidence of
    fat on his body – any thoughts?

  • Zara

    I just read that Purina dry dog food was one of the worst yet when reading about ideal weight it is put out by Purina! quite a contradiction!

  • Helen C

    I found out my Carlin 7 1/2 years old developped allergies 2 years ago, so the vet suggested to put him on Medi Cal hypoallergenic HP Royal Canin, it did not seem to help so he added Prednisone to calm the itching. We put him on a diet to verify if he was allergic to that food and YES he definitely is allergic to one or more ingredients.

    Unfortunately, we just found out that he his diabetic type 1. Do you have any suggestion to what kind of food a diabetic dog with atopic dermatitis could eat, and that would be affordable.

    Thank you in advance for any good advice.

    Helen C.

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  • InkedMarie

    Dogs can eat anything. Purina One Smartblend is not a good food. Look at it’s rating here on the Dog Food Advisor.

  • LawofRaw

    Can you also do your dog a huge favour? Incorporate a variety of raw meaty bones that its carnivorous set of teeth were designed to gnaw. I say its okay to feed artificial commercial dry pellets as long as you choose some better higher protein and grain free ones. Then give an RMB each night after its dinner. Proportion the kibble meal size down a bit if you’re going to give it an RMB an hour later so. This will avoid your Chihuahua getting periodontal disease and keep its carnivorous set of teeth healthy, sharp and intact for many years to come. And you’ll save a fortune down the track on vet bills,

  • Storm’s Mom

    Yes, but something like Amicus.. or almost any other food, really…would be infinitely better. Check out/pick something from this list:

  • Cindy

    Can my standard pure breed Chihuahua 2 years old 3 pounds eat Purina One Smart blend dog food?

  • Cindy

    Can my 2 year old 3 pound chihuahua eat Purina One smartblend dog food?

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  • MaryAbel

    We recently adopted a rescued dog from Midwest Rescue. He is a male, Germain shepherd, and is underweight because of his former circumstances. He weighs appox. 76 lbs. and we were advised he should be between 88 lbs. and 92 lbs. How many cups of Iams should we be feeding him to gradually build him up. (He was several treats during the day.)

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  • Pattyvaughn

    Make a fist. Feel your knuckles. That is how the ribs of a too thin dog feel. Open your hand and feel the knuckles on the palm side of your hand. That is how the ribs of a dog that is overweight feel. Turn your open hand over and feel the knuckles on the back of your open hand again. That is how the ribs of a dog in good weight should feel. Breed should not matter, healthy weight is healthy weight. That being said, if you are dealing with show dogs, some of them are kept overweight on purpose, because judges like that look better.

  • Christine

    curious. what kind of business do you have where you need to know that?

  • Miller

    Hi, I have a dog care business and I need to know how to make sure certain typs of breeds are the write whieght for well their breed. Please help.

  • My dog is a mixed breed -possibly Jack Rusell terrier, blue eyes suggest some husky, and she is a rescued dog. If I cut back on the amount she eats, she compensates by waiting u til Ed time so she doesn’t go to sleep hungry. She about the size of a terrier, so is 12-15 pounds reasonable?

  • mlwodo

    I have an 8 lb papillon who eats dry science diet. If I change her diet, she gets bloody diarrhea. She has has part of her pancrease and part of her intestines removed when she was 9 months old due to a dog attack. She also gets bloody diarrhea when she gets anxious. ( when we go out of own on vacation for more that 4 days). Any suggestions would be extremely valued.
    M White
    [email protected]

  • Unfortunately that can vary. Go by his body condition. There’s a link in the article above to a chart but you can google “body condition score dogs” and see several different ones. My pugs look in good shape but are technically over weight. I just make sure they don’t get too tubby looking or start looking like a sausage or potato and accept what weight that turns out to be.

  • karan

    how much should my Chihuahua pug at 4 years old weigh

  • sgb20

    how can i figure out the corect serving size of food for my American Bulldog mix. She is almost 2 years old and weigh about 66lbs. I found some healthy recipes to make for so she doesn’t have to eat her dog food all the time to help her eat a little heathier. How do I figure out what her serving size should be?

  • Roze

    Thank you for your answer. He’s a rescue and a very happy dog. I call him my velcro dog cause he never leaves my side. I want to make sure he never gets overweight. He gets lots of exercise and that helps alot.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Sounds like he is in good weight. A lot of times when someone who isn’t the dogs primary caregiver thinks that a dog is overweight, it’s because they can’t adjust for coat. Sometimes you just have to put your hands on the dog.
    I have a friend that has people stop her on the street so they can tell her how overweight her dog is. The problem is that the dog isn’t carrying an extra ounce anywhere except in fur. Her dog looks well over 10 lbs overweight, and it’s a 40 lbs dog, because of how heavy it’s coat is.

  • Roze

    I can feel his ribs without digging for them and I do not feel any fat around his hips. He feels pretty solid.

  • Roze

    Do not have a recent one. I’ll take one as soon as I can. Thanks

  • InkedMarie

    If you could post a picture, ESP one taken from above, that would be helpful

  • Pattyvaughn

    Does he have a visible waistline and tuckup? Can you feel his ribs without digging for them? How about his hips?

  • Roze

    I have a corgi and mini australian sheppard mix who will be 4 years old in November and weighs 23.6. My husband thinks he might be overweight. I think he looks great. He just has his dads (corgi) body barrel shape. We excercise him alot and he’s a swimming fool in the summer. What do you think?

  • Pattyvaughn

    The ideal is different for every dog based on its individual height and build. Ask you your vet to help you with that

  • cristian diaz

    I have a 3 yr old female puggle . What is ideal for them?

  • Jmastercurly

    I have a golden retriever he is a 7month old golden retriever and he weights about 40pounds

  • Mastercurly

    I have a golden retriever and he is 7months old and like the hip bone looks out of shape and .im asking this question that how many pounds do golden retriever has to weight at the 7mobth old

  • Mndhowell2011

    ugh boxer* and food***  sorry this isnt easy from my phone

  • Mndhowell2011

    I have a 56lbd boxr/ bulldogge and she only eats 3 cups a day and we use raw as a treat and she get pic ears when she is in a mood to chew but never actully eats them. SHe loves merrick duck and sweet potato and has had no issues she will be 5 months the 26th. Thats alot of foof for one dog.

  • Herk

     I am not a vet  but you are a dog lover I think you are on the right track  But ma-be  the pooch needs more   activity   like a good run   dogs are like us they need a work out    & guess what you will feel better & the dog will love you more  Try It ?

  • Mike P

    My 68lb Boxer gets one and a half cups of Brothers Complete.I add 1/3rd canned 3 times a week,! can sardines a week,6 to 8 oz of fresh meat twice a week.Once a week she gets just kibble but that is on marrow bone night.I don’t give snacks except for a few pieces of boiled liver or chicken breast when I leave for work.She also gets a tablespoon of full fat plain greek yogurt before bedtime.I may have to up her kibble a half cup as now with the cold temps we are getting lots more exercise so she is using more calories.Staying steady at 68lbs…

  • InkedMarie

    holy crap, that is alot of food! I have a female brittany who weighs a little less than yours; when she is on kibble, she ate 2 cups a day, which is actually alot but she gets too thin if I fed her less. Right now, she has one cup of Brothers Complete Allergy formula in the afternoon and either a dehydrated or pre made raw in the morning. I don’t get how people know their dogs are hungry, did they tell you? Snooping around for things to eat doesn’t mean they are hungry.

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  • Storm’s Mom

    My 26lb guy eats no more than 1.5 cups per day of any food he’s on (I rotate through a bunch of different brands/proteins). He maintains a healthy weight and doesn’t beg for food or anything like that (gets excited when it’s time to feed him, but that’s about it). Honestly, I cannot even imagine feeding him (or him eating!) 6 cups of food per day!! Might be that the Authority food has a lot of fillers that your dog simply isn’t digesting, and thus he’s constantly hungry? Most of the 5 (and probably 4) star foods on this site only recommend between 1-2 cups of food for a dog that size because they contain more ingredients that the dog can utilize, so you might consider switching to one of those.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Wow, that’s a lot of food for that size dog. My very active 40lbs Border Collie eats slightly more than 2 cups a day. I’ve never had a dog that wouldn’t sniff around for dropped food or whatever even right after eating. I don’t think of that as being hungry so much as attempting to self treat.

  • JasonC

    My 4-5 yr old brittany spaniel weighs about 30 and stays slim eating 6 cups of authority pet smart food a day…
    And hes still hungry and snoops for anything in the house ????

  • Hound Dog Mom

    Richard –

    No one can answer that. The ideal weight of the dog will vary depending on the dog’s frame. For example, I have a male bloodhound and a female bloodhound that are just about the same height (the male is maybe 1/2 in. taller at the shoulder) – my male weighs 110 lbs. and my female weighs 70 lbs. Both are healthy weights. They have such a difference in weight because they have completely different builds. My male is stocky with a very large thick bone structure, my female is tall and lanky with a very thin bone structure. How much you feed will also very greatly from dog to dog. The calorie requirements of the dog vary depending on factors such as where does the dog spend most of its time (indoors or outdoors), activity level, is the dog spayed or neutered, etc. My 110 lb. un-neutered male eats the same amount as my 70 lb. spayed female. The best thing you can do is assess the dog’s body condition. When viewing the dog from the top there should be a visible waist and there should be a defined abdominal tuck. You should be able to feel the ribs easily but not see them. If the dog is too heavy, cut back portions and if the dog is too thin, increase portions.

  • Richard

    How much should my friends husky boxer pit mix weigh at 7 months?

    And how much should he be fed a day

  • AJ

    What is the ideal weight for a cavalier? 

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi Fembowhunter2002, if you scroll down & click on tips for owners, it shows you a top view of what your dog should look like. Whether it is too thin, ideal weight, or too heavy.

  • Pattyvaughn

    What size? How much muscle? How heavily boned? Anywhere from 60 to 120 pounds. I’ve actually seen both smaller and larger.

  • Fembowhunter2002

    how much should male sherman shepherd weigh at one year of age

  • Shawna

    PS — my foster Papillon went from 29 pounds down to 14 pounds on a high protein kibble diet with canned and raw toppers (higher in protien then what would be with the kibble only).  I didn’t count calories with her either. 

  • Shawna

    Hi sharron ~~ Toy breed dogs have the same protein requirements as large breed dogs. 

    Vets, Drs Foster and Smith have a webpage devoted to small and toy breed dogs.  Here’s what they say —

    “Provide a premium high-protein dry food as the staple diet.”

    I’ve had toy breed dogs my entire adult life ranging in size from a 3 pound Chihuahua)to a 14 pound Papillon mix.  I currently have 8 dogs in my home all ranging in size from 5 to 14 pounds.  Three of them eat high protein kibbles in rotation (foods like Orijen, Merrick Before Grain, Acana etc).  The remaining 5 eat a raw diet.  Their diet ranges in protein levels from 45% to 54%.  This is much higher then what is in most kibbles..

    Don’t fear protein 🙂

  • sharron

    hi melissa

    thanks for your reply
    i was told by lexee’s vet that she should get about 200 cal,/day. horizon select is 25% protein, 12% fat and don’t know what the carbs is and has 360 cal./cup. I’ve been told that she needs a high protein food and been told that the food should be low in protein because she is a toy breed.
    i honestly don’t know what food is appropriate for her.

  • melissa


    I have not used horizon select, but guessing its a decent food. Choose which works for you(price availability etc) and use the cals per cup to figure out how much to feed. I have had good results with the Acana, but I feed based on visual versus calorie counting.

  • sharron


    acana duck and pear or horizon select duck formula
    for a 3 1/2 yr old yorkie/chihuahua that is 1-1 /2 lbs overweight?


  • Hound Dog Mom

    Hi Joyce,

    Did your vet tell you that your beagle is now overweight? I ask because beagles generally weigh between 18 and 35 pounds, with 13 inch dogs generally being in the 18 – 25 lb. range. So 23 lbs. should fall in the normal weight range (although I can’t see your individual dog to say for sure). As long as you can feel the ribs and see a waistline when viewed from above she wouldn’t be considered overweight. However, if she is overweight there really isn’t a magic cure – all you can do is reduce the amount she is eating at meals, limit treats, and try to get her to exercise more.

  • Joyce

    I got my Sadie from my son. When I got her ( a 13in beagle) her weight was 12lbs that was in Feb of 2012 she will be 7 this yr. The vet said she was to thin so I needed to fatten her up I think I went over board cause she now weighs 23lb. I’m worried and dont know what to do. Can someone help

  • Toxed2loss

    TOW does contain “natural flavor” which is known to be high in free glutamic, and Aspartic acids. These are addictive, excitotory neurotoxins which stimulate the appetite. The more your pet consumes, the hungrier they will be. The dog is whining because the chemicals are telling his stomach and brain that he’s starving. Try feeding something without a source of free glutamic or aspartic acids.

  • hounddogmom12

    Yeah my 70 lb. female eats more than my 110 lb. male and according to the vet my female is slightly underweight and could stand to gain a couple pounds…I’m already feeding her close to twice the recommended amount for her weight…

  • someperson11111

    yes, i so agree, that there sure is a big discrepancy for some dogs needs for various amts of food to maintain a proper weight, vs. another dogs!! SO SO TRUE!!

    My dog must have slow metabolism or something, cuz he is pretty active dog, yet, he eats probably about half of what other dogs of his breed and size eat, even though he is way more active than most dogs…..

    go figure.

  • someperson11111

    Bert, do read the reviews of Purina here on this site, i bet you could find a much less horrible dog food for even less than you are paying for this dog food.

    also, beware the low fat dog foods, sometimes this is a good way to set up skin/fur problems, as dogs DO need a certain amt of fat.
    It’s probably better to feed the dog a quality dog food, but feed LESS of it, than to use a lowfat dog food, imo.

  • someperson11111

    yes, getting weight off of a dog can be hard, i once inherited a fat dog, and i was stunned at how difficult it is get weight off.  wow, what a shocker, took me a year!!

    still, your whining dog, could EASILY be distracted with games, tricks training, taking a walk, fetch, tug-toy play, etc, dogs are INCREDIBLY easy to distract and keep busy.
    ALTHOUGH, you’d want to be careful you do not inadvertently “reward” her whining— with playtime.  If dog whines, ask for a cue she does know, and reward THAT with playtime, walks, etc.
    Overtime, a dog’s oversized tummy can and will adjust, and the dog can and will adjust to less amts of food.

    Overfeeding a dog is abuse, imo.  Food is NOT loving a dog.  Keeping a dog busy and fit IS loving a dog.

  • Guest

    I have a 50 pound Labrador-hound mix who eats 1.5 cups of food per day and is getting a little chubby.  My tiny 60 pound  German shepherd eats 10 cups per day and stays slim and healthy.  Yeah, I don’t think there is a chart that can predict that.

  • Red & White setter owner

    We feed our dogs Taste of the Wild Wetlands dry dog food. I have a red & white Irish setter spayed female that’s 80 lbs but should weigh less and get more exercise. My problem is if I cut back on her food, she whines in the evening wanting more food. I only give her maybe 1/5 cup and that satisfies her. My other dog is a huge Irish red & white setter male, senior, neutered that doesn’t get a lot of exercise and if he’s not fed enough to his satisfaction, will then eat the female’s food and then I can’t police how much each eats. They don’t get any treats. The only people food they get are raw carrots, raw green beans, raw broccoli and sometimes apple slices.

  • BertLasagna,

    I don’t know how much Purina Fit & Trim costs but according to their website my 20 pound dog should eat a little more than 1-3/4 cup (since mine are 23 pounds).  On their current food which has no grain/fillers (other than the binding agent that makes it a kibble) and has meat-based proteins and fat they only eat 2/3 cup of food and are very lean and muscular. 

  • Bert Lasagna,

    Your pup needs protein and fat from quality meat-based sources.  Most “Diet” and “lite” products are just filled with fillers that are not nutritious and even can make it harder for a dog to lose weight.

    I have small dogs and foster small dogs (obesity prone pugs) and alot have luxating platella and some hip problems. I just finished fostering one that had heartworm and then had double knee surgery.  My obese fosters ALL have lost weight eating meat-based foods with full fat like Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Core, Instinct, Amicus. And they get meat treats and even raw chicken wings/necks/feet.  I have several that have gone from 38 pounds to 28 or 30 down to 24 (even seniors).

  • BertLasagna

    My Toy Fox Terrier appears to be about 1/2 lb too heavy. She turned six last month and gained from 8.25 to 8.60 in one month.  She gets 1/3 cup of Purina Fit & Trim per day, about 1 oz of Purina Puppy chow as treats for going potty, don’t have to worry about that when we are away from home or during the night, and we give her about 2 baby carrots a day for fiber and special treats.  She was spayed at the proper time, her activity is limited to, on command, running around the back yard in fast sprints (about 5-7 minutes) several times a day. I want to get her down to 7lbs, however, I believe that might be too thin.
    Last pet child I had was a Chihuahua-Toy Fox Terrier mix and weight an average of 9-1/1 lbs her entire life.  I fed her Neese’s livermush 1/8″ x 2 x 3-1/2 inches each morning and 1/4 cup of Purina Dog Chow in the afternoon her entire life. She lived 13 years and 3 days and passed away due to a stroke.  Both the current pet and the one that died at age 13 were distant relatives and both had knee problems (knee slippage), something that is common with small boned legs and very expensive surgery to repair.  Weight was not the problem, jumping from heights and at angles they should not have done, bad as a kid at a young age. Hope the current one lives as long as I do as she is my baby and a very loving pet.  I do wish Purina would put the calorie info on their packages as it would help us pet parents have an easier job giving our pets the correct amount and not have to call Purina for the info.  Purina fit & Trim has 352 calories per cup and Puppy Chow has 399 calories per cup.  I guess the weight gain this past month was due to human food, a very small amount (20-30 calories per day). She thinks, which is the case, that she is just one of the family and we should share.  A difficult thing not to do.

  • riti29

    i got my golden retriever puppy last week. she is 3 month 5 days old. her weight is 7.6 kg. is she underweight? what should be her ideal weight at this age? i am giving her Eukanuba Puppy start 320 gms paer day.
    i am a lil confused. it is the first time that we are keeping a dog. please give me some advice.

  • shalini,

    Take a look at this video about best and worst foods. Some people who just love, love their dogs have the best intentions by making homecooked meals.  But if the meals are not “balanced” with the proper macro/micronutrients, this homecooked food made with love can actually be unhealthy for them over time.  Please use a recipe book as a guide.  I’m only familiar with one by Dr Karen  Becker.  It gives homemade raw and cooked recipes and lists vitamins and other supplements to keep your dog healthy.

  • Hi Shalini,

    There’s nothing wrong with supplementing your pug’s diet with “carrots, apples and potatoes”.

    But these must never be a significant part of the diet in an animal engineered to favor meat based protein.

    Weight loss in dogs is primarily a matter of reducing calories in the daily menu and an emphasis on reasonable levels of fat and fewer refined carbs.

    I’d suggest sticking with a 3, 4 or 5-star dog food and adjusting the quantity of each serving until you achieve a gradual loss of weight.

    Weight loss can definitely be challenging. However, with a better understanding of how to go about it properly, predictable weight loss doesn’t have to be so difficult.

    For help, please be sure to visit my FAQ page. Then look for the topic, “Weight Loss for Dogs”.

    Hope this helps.

    P.S. As a former serial pug owner myself, I can assure you: these guys (even when at ideal weight) never quite fit the ideal image of a typical “lean” animal.

  • shalini

    i have a pug who i love very very much , i have adopted him from a family and he seems pretty plump…..i want to ensure he gets to his appropriate weight by following right diet plan for him and want to do this by making fresh food at home and not packaged ones..he is a pug , almost three yrs old , weight is 9.2 kgs , fawn . I feed him two egg whites in the mrng, one roti and 25 gms boiled chicken , and the same at night too , i may give him dog biscuits in the evening about maybe 6-7. My question is , is this his right diet , is his weight correct , i have tried giving him carrots , apples , and potatoes which he eats only if mixed in egg or chicken ….am i going the right way?

  • Ed

    I got turned on to Darwins dog food..Maya was not happy with other food, from Costco, or any dry food, mighty dog, in cans, but Darwins is real meat and comes frozen. I give it to her cold or heat it up and she licks her bowl clean.. not enough time to determine if she is loosing weight yet. She was 87lbs last time i weighed here. going to weigh her to day. its been almost two weeks

  • Jan

    I have an 11 year old Sheltie/Collie cross breed (big for Sheltie/small for collie). She has had skin problems for several years now and 2 former vets only put her on Prednisone. She gained a lot of weight and it did nothing for her skin problem. My new traditional/holistic vet put Star on a temporary antibiotic and a holistic med to cool her down (summer only). Her skin has healed and her fur is coming back and she has lost weight on the starvation diet and now weighs about 60 lbs. with the goal being 55. Her arthritis is almost gone. Before I found the new vet I placed Star on Pinnacle Wild Duck holistic dry and canned because so many of your readers advised it was good. The vet has had me continue this food. That is all I give her, no treats.
    So, for all of you with dogs with skin problems, find a good vet. I can’t tell you if it is the Pinnacle or the vet, maybe both, but Star is better than she has been in about 3 years and many dollars later.

  • Hi Theresa… When it comes to weight loss, dogs are like us humans. It’s mostly a simple matter of calorie reduction. Smaller portions. And sometimes, using foods containing fewer calories per serving. Low fat can help, too.

    For more information, please see our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Weight Loss for Dogs”. And be sure to follow the links there, too. Hope this helps.

  • Theresa Rafferty

    I have a 5 year old Miniature Poddle who has been neutered recently and he has put on a lot of weight.

    Should I try low fat food?

  • Melissa

    I completely agree with your assessment of the situation and your process.

    Steve –

    I would only add that a good rule of thumb to know when your dog has achieved it’s ideal weight is to look at the ribs – or rather feel them. They should be covered so you do not see obvious indentations but when you feel the ribs you should be able to distinguish them beneath the layer of skin and muscle/fat. If you’re feeling rolls of fat/skin instead of smooth tissue with slight bumps of ribs underneath then just keep up with Melissa recommendations.

    I also think you will also begin to see a marked improvement in activity levels.

    It”s funny, but people as so used to overweight dogs these days that after putting their dogs of a good grain / potato free food they often come into our store to show us how the dog is ‘too’ skinny. 99 out of a 100 times the dog looks GREAT but they’ve gotten used to seeing fat versions of their dog all over the place.

    Look at wolves. They are always lean and ready to chase down a meal. Look at people who live the longest – doesn’t it seem like they are always on the thin side? Extra weight is not great on your dog – they’re much happier when sleek I think – so you’re doing the best thing.

  • melissa


    When we take in a dog that is visually overweight, but we are not sure what weight the dog SHOULD be ideally, we estimate, and readjust our though process until visually things look great.

    With bone structure etc, what one dog should weigh, may not be what another should weigh, and even when you ask the vet “what should my dog weigh” its a guess-

    Take your 62 lb dog-she might need to weigh 50 lbs or she might look best at 55-you don’t really know until you get some of the weight off. What we do is this-pick a conservative number- (or ask your vet how much they think she needs to loose) If the answer is 5-10 lbs, then we pick a number in the middle, feed to that specification, and keep reweighing the dog. If the ‘7″lbs we picked is not enough when the dog reaches that number, we refigure the ideal weight(typically in 5 lb increments) and go from there. As you get some of it off, you should be able to better judge what she should weigh. You may find she doesn’t need to loose as much as you thought to look and be healthy, or she might need to loose a whole lot more than you thought.

    The key is to keep monitoring and weighing the dog so that you do not take too much off too quickly, or so that you take enough off. Unfortuently, there are no easy answers.

  • Lebb

    I have four dogs. Two are overweight. Your dog food calculator has been a Godsend. Thank you! After using it to figure out how many calories to feed my dogs, I’m so pleased to report that one of my dogs has lost seven pounds and one has lost five pounds. They have about four or five more pounds each to lose. It has been a nice, slow, gradual process, and I am very happy with the results thus far. My dogs are all happy. The two that lost weight have noticably more energy than they did when they were heavier, and they’re running and playing more, which is an absolute joy to witness. Measuring the food is definitely very important. Please don’t ever take this site down!

  • Steve

    Thank you Mike,

    My challenge is the dogs have been fed exclusively Wellness Dry, and I am shifting to a combination of canned and other low cal hi volume foods ex: meal = 1/2 of a 12.5oz can Wellness, 1/2c dry wellness (till it’s gone), 1c green beans, 10 baby carrot, +- 1/2c light-cook meats, so I’m juggling caloric content and balancing proteins trying to minimize carbs… but struggle to find a target weight to equate with daily caloric needs for a sedentary dog.

    I will look at the references you gave. Again, thanks much.


  • Hi Steve… You’re making a great choice to help your dog lose weight.

    After reading this article, if you still find it difficult to come to an exact “ideal weight” for your dog, you’re not alone. In any case, since each dog has its own unique energy requirements (just like people), there’s no way to reliably predict the exact serving size that’s right for each pet. No matter which method you use.

    So, I’d suggest starting with the package’s feeding instructions. Or use our dog food calculator. Always measure the food with a real measuring cup. Not a scoop. Never guess. Keep an accurate record of how much you’re feeding.

    Be sure to weigh your dog periodically (every few weeks or so). Then, simply adjust (titrate) that serving size up or down to establish and maintain your pet’s ideal weight.

    You may also visit our FAQ page. And look for the topic, “Weight Loss for Dogs”.

    Hope this helps.

  • Steve

    Could you please clarify ref: The Ideal Dog Weight System… I already know my 12.5 yo Lab Mix is overweight. It’s obvious to the eye. It’s also obvious at 48 and 62 pounds yet only 22-24″ shoulder height/torso length respectively, she and her littermate are MUCH smaller than a purebread Lab. I need to know what her ideal weight is, rather than just that she’s overweight. That’s the only way I can feed her to her ideal weight. Vet is not helpful in getting at that number. Just wants to sell Weight Loss Diet food from her shelves. Needless to say I’m looking for a new vet. Any help greatly appreciated.


  • Hi Jason… There are hundreds of great foods rated here. Just look through the 3, 4 and 5-star dog foods and find a good food that looks interesting and give it a try. Unfortunately, due to the biological uniqueness of each pet, I cannot provide customized product recommendations for each reader. For more help, please check out my reviews and visit our FAQ page. Look for the topic, “Help Me Choose a Dog Food”. Or check back for a possible response from one of our other readers.

  • Jason

    Hi – Since having unexpectedly lost my 10 yr old golden retriever from stomach cancer, I have learned a great deal about wholesome dog foods. I have a 2 yr old yellow lab that has been on Orijen / Acana grain free since I adopted him, now eating 1600 cal/day (just shy of 2 cups twice a day). He is a house dog, but I take him running 3-4 times a week for about 30 min each outing. He now weighs 100 pounds and sometimes eats his feces (among other house hold items) – gross I know. He always seems hungry. The vet has told me he needs to lose 10 pounds, which I agree. The vet recommended a high fiber food with fillers (so he feels full without reducing the quantity of food) and subsequently recommended the Purina OM variety. This appears to be a very low quality 1* food. What recommendations would you give so that I continue providing a high quality food that can help keep him feeling full and lose weight? Acana Light and Fit came to mind. Any other recommendations? Thanks!

  • Karyn Dossenback

    I have an American Bulldog, and according to the rescue we got her from she is supposed to be a pure breed. She had 11 litter mates but 2 died and we got her at 6 weeks of age. She is now 3 and a half years old. Her weight shot up to a little over 90lbs and I have been working very hard to get her to lose weight and she has lost about 15 lbs. She looks much thinner now and you can see her waist but I have no idea what her ideal weight should be – do you know how I can figure this out so I can be sure I am feeding her the correct amount?

  • Cathy

    Chris, One of the benefits of a raw diet is better weight management, per Mike Sagman’s information at this link:
    Dogs are simply not genetically optimized to consume the fifty percent carbohydrate content of today’s commercial kibbles.
    The Benefits of a Raw Diet
    Feeding a raw dog food diet has many notable benefits…
    • Improved digestion
    • Healthier skin and coat
    • Firmer (less smelly) stools
    • Reduced allergy symptoms
    • Better weight management

  • Jonathan

    Feeding him raw or kibble, it still comes down to calories in versus calories out. If you have the time and money for the raw diet, than you need to know the calories of raw meat and bones. Otherwise, with kibble, just review the calories per cup, check out Mike’s dog food calculator, and godspeed. 🙂

  • Chris Esposito

    Hi, I have a 5 year old rat terrier who used to weigh in at a really nice 13.5 – 14#. Now he weighs in at 17.5#. I have exercised him and exercised him till he can’t anymore and he is also in agility. The vet I go to has told me to cut his food intake about 25% and see what happens. I have been feeding him 1/3 cup 2x daily. I would like to feed him a mix of Orijen Sr. and raw food. Is that something I should not do or do you think he would just do better with the kibble for right now and leave the raw until he is better fit?

  • Hi Ni… Unfortunately, other than the information contained in this article, I cannot answer your question with confidence. You’ll probably do better to consult with an expert on Afghans. Sorry I can’t be more help.

  • Ni

    I have a female afghan. The examples for checking weight by feeling won’t work. She is 1.5 years old, and we feed her a cup of dry mixed with a 1/3 of soft food twice a day. She is very active, but naturally boney, so not sure if we should be feeding her more.

  • Meagan

    Ok great that makes sense.
    Thanks Mike!

  • Hi Yvonne… I’m a whiz at dog food labels but I know nothing about what a 14 month old male Maltese should weigh. I’ll leave that specialized information to a Maltese owner.

  • Hi Meagan… If I understand your question, you just measure 1/3 cup and place it on a plate. Then divide that into fourths. Hope this helps.

  • Meagan

    My little mix gained about two pounds from last fall, but she looks like she has gained more thatn that. I am amazed at what just 2 pounds will make a difference. Anyway she was getting 1/2 cup morning and evening. Now I have put her down to 1/3 cup morning and evening. I will be transitioning their food soon and I wasn’t sure how I will do that when she gets so little. I know its 25%-20% but how in the world will I get that from her already getting so little of the old food?

  • Yvonne McK

    What should my 14month old Male Maltese Terrier weigh??

  • Jonathan

    Yeah, Yvonne, please take a look at Mike’s review of Purina’s various products… only 1 variety (pro plan selects) even merritts 3 stars… And I personaly think of it as a 2+ (animal fat and synthetic vit. k? eww). the rest are 1 star trash.

  • Bob K

    Hi Yvonne – Now that you have found this website, Why do you continue to feed your dog Purina?

  • Hi Yvonne… The answer to your question can be found on our FAQ page regarding the topic, “How to Feed a Dog”.

  • Yvonne

    I have a 8 month old bull terrier male and I want to know how much he must eat daily, he is very active and always hungry, he is on Purina.