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Is Your Dog Too Thin?

By: Dr. Dawn Ruben

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Nutritional status is crucial to your dog's health. Ideally, your dog should not be overweight; however, he should not be too thin either. If you are concerned that your pet is too thin, here are some ways to determine his body condition.

  • Body fat. Stand behind your dog and place your thumbs on the spine midway down the back. Fan out your fingers and spread them over the ribs. With your thumbs lightly pressing on the spine and fingers on the ribs, slide your hands gently up and down.

    If your dog is normal, you will feel a thin layer of fat, and you will be able to feel the ribs, although you won't be able to see them. If your dog is too thin, you will readily feel the ribs, and you will see them, too.

  • Appearance. Normal dogs have an hourglass appearance. Thin dogs have a very narrowed waist and protruding rib cage. The processes of the spine are evident and the shoulder blades readily apparent.

    If you feel that your dog is too thin, contact your veterinarian. Tests may need to be performed to eliminate underlying disease as a cause of the thinness. In addition, your veterinarian can help you improve your dog's body condition and overall health.

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