How to assess your dogs weight at home

Written by Louise Horton RVN
April 9, 2024

Dogs come in all shapes and sizes. Body Condition Scoring is a quick and effective way to assess if your dog has the right amount of lean muscle and fat for their body size. This allows you to easily assess your dogs weight at home. Body Condition Scoring is based on how easy it is to feel their ribs and spine. You can easily do this at home with your pet. It’s like having a hug with some extra healthiness thrown in! 

Dogs often require 25% less total daily calorie intake after they have been neutered? Weight related health issues are experienced by pets long before they are considered very overweight or obese.


Firstly, ensure your pet standing up on a non-slip surface before completing this assessment. Always check your pet is happy to be touched before starting the Body Condition Score. 

Assessing your dog's weight

Start with a nice cuddle to relax your pet and then run the flat of your hand over your pet’s rib cage.

After that compare what you are feeling to the hand assessment below.

Finally use our pictures to help you assess which category your pet comes into.

Hand Assessment

Under Ideal Weight

  • Make a fist. 
  • Gently run your fingers over the back of your knuckles.  
  • If your knuckles feel the same as your pet’s ribs, they are under their ideal weight.

Advice: We recommend contacting your Veterinary Healthcare team ASAP to discuss this further

 Ideal Weight

  • Place your hand palm side down. Your fingers need to be extended and pointing upwards. 
  • Run your fingers over your outer knuckles
  • If your knuckles, feel the same as your pet’s ribs, they are close to their ideal weight. 

Advice: We recommend checking your pet’s body condition score monthly. This will help maintain optimum weight management 

Over Ideal Weight

  • Place your hand palm side up. Your fingers need to be extended and pointing forwards. 
  • Run your fingers over the base of your fingers on the inner surface of your hand. 
  • If your lower knuckles, feel the same as your pet’s ribs, they are over their ideal weight. 
ideal weight hand assessment

Advice: We recommend discussing this with one of our experienced veterinary team, who can offer tips and advice on weight management and nutrition 


Checking your pet’s BCS once a month will help you to maintain an ideal weight for your pet.  

Following this record your findings in a diary or on a calendar. This allows you to assess change over time.

Where to get help

Assessing your dogs weight at home is a great step to keep them healthy. Our experienced veterinary team are able to offer tips and advice for effective weight management throughout your pet’s life. They can also assist with body condition scoring if you require help with this.

I want to know more

Out veterinary team are happy to discuss weight and nutrition in more detail with you. They can offer advice tailored to the needs of you and your pet. Call and be sure to speak to us within a few seconds.

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