How to Assess Puppy Weight
Now that we realize how bad it is to have an overweight puppy (http://pointseastwest.com/ideal-puppy-weight/), and no one wants to feed their puppy too little, the next question becomes “How do I tell if my puppy is the right weight?”
The number on the scale is useful, but not nearly as useful as feeling your dog all over and assessing its body condition, paying particular attention to the ribs, shoulders, back and pelvis.
Remember that not all breeds are the same. Different dogs have different amounts of muscling. What may be acceptable for a Greyhound is not acceptable for a Bernese Mountain Dog. For some breeds, it is acceptable to see the last few ribs, but for some it is not.
To make matters worse, overweight puppies have become so prevalent, that for some breeds it has become the new norm. When that happens, it’s the dogs that are actually at a fit weight that look abnormal. Every day in parks across this country, owners of overweight dogs scold the owners of fit dogs, accusing them of starving their pets.
Below is a list of general guidelines to help you decide if your puppy is the correct weight. If you have any doubts, consult your veterinarian.
Shoulders: Palpate the shoulders and feel for a bony ridge running up the shoulder blade. It is normal to feel the top of the ridge, but the sides of the ridge should be buried in muscle. If you can feel the sides of this ridge, your pet may be underweight.
Ribs: Palpate the last 3-4 ribs. You should be able to feel them distinctly, bumping your finger over each rib and into the depression between. If you can feel any softness between the skin and the last few ribs, then your puppy is too fat. For some dogs (whippets, pitbulls, boxers, dobermans, pointers etc.) it is normal to see these last 2-3 ribs through the skin.
Spine: It is normal to feel the bony tips of each veterbrae down the middle of the back, but as your fingers roll to the side, the rest of the vertebrae should be buried in muscle. If you can feel bony points along the sides of the vertebrae, you pet may be too skinny
Pelvis: You should be able to feel the tip of the hip bone, but not the spoon shaped bone behind it; once your fingers roll off the tip, they should encounter muscle.