The Importance of Your Dog's Weight

Health Risks for Overweight Dogs

Feeding a very high-calorie diet to growing dogs can exacerbate a predisposition to hip dysplasia because a rapid weight gain places increased stress on the hips. Being overweight supports the genetic potential for hip dysplasia, as well as other skeletal diseases. Studies have shown that lean dogs live an average of two years longer than overweight dogs and that lean dogs have far fewer health problems. 

Health Risks for Underweight Dogs

Too-thin dogs have their own set of risks. Underweight puppies are in jeopardy of improper musculoskeletal development. Underweight dogs are less likely to be able to defend their body against illnesses and will take longer to recover.

Recommended Weights for PWDs

• An adult male PWD should weigh at least 45 pounds (very short male), with 55 pounds being the average.
• An adult female PWD should weigh at least 35 pounds (very short female), with 45 pounds being the average.

Show Dogs

It is a well-known fact that the solid, well-muscled dogs do better in the show ring than their thinner counterparts.  If you have a PWD that you are actively showing or preparing to show, you may have to temporarily fatten him/her up to be competitive in the ring.  After the championship goal is met, you should then gradually reduce your dog's caloric intact to bring him/her back down to a healthier weight.

Each dog is unique and may have different dietary needs from the average dog. You may have to use trial and error to find the right type and amount of food for your puppy or dog.

Owners should base the correct amount of food to feed on what their dog looks like, not what the bag says or how much the bowl holds.

If you are in doubt as to whether your dog is the correct weight, check with your veterinarian.

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