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Old 07-08-2013, 09:03 PM
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Default How to tell if a longhaired dog is underweight

I keep wavering back and forth on whether I should try to get Summer to gain weight or not. She is still currently weighing more than when I first got her but some of that could be maturity. She's over half a pound from her heaviest though.

She was at the vet a couple weeks ago with full blood workup and said everything is good. I asked the vet about her weight and he said (quote) 'she is very very lean' but he did not feel she was underweight.

This year she is tolerating the heat a lot better than last summer, when she weighed more. Energy level is good. She sleeps a lot during the day but when we go she is very zippy. She has a very well defined waist. No spine that I can really feel at all. Her rear end is very muscular. She has that really distinct muscle 'line' down her thighs (no idea what to call it but I mean this: http://i933.photobucket.com/albums/a...dogs/pit96.png)

But she has NO fat covering at all over her ribs. Especially a part of her rib cage under her arms is very very boney. It's actually kind of gross feeling because you can barely touch it and feel every bone there. I'm not sure if that's normal or not.... Mia is bonier there than over her sides but it is not that pronounced. But I think it may be that Summer's rib cage is odd. She has a couple ribs that seem to stick out more than normal.

anyways, kind of worried that she's getting a bit ribby lately.
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Last edited by Laurelin; 07-08-2013 at 09:47 PM.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:22 PM
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The photo isn't loading for me, but maybe get her wet and take photos from above and the side and post them here? Nola was how you're describing Summer a few months ago, and that was too skinny for her. I'd put some weight on Summer if she were mine, IMO.

ETA: Just got it to load. Nola has thighs like that, too!
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:33 PM
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This is what Summer looked like when I first got her:





I'll have to get some pictures tomorrow. Don't want to get her wet right before bed. She's definitely not as narrow now, I don't think.

Last year as a comparison:


last year by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr


last year 2 by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr

Definitely skinnier now than that by a bit.
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Old 07-08-2013, 09:45 PM
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Honestly with a coated dog the only way you can tell is with your hands.

I prefer to keep my dogs lean as everything I've seen indicates that being lean promotes longevity and long-term quality of life. That said, there has to be enough to support healthy body function, muscle mass, injury prevention, endurance, and so there is something to fall back on if the dog would somehow be injured or fall suddenly ill.

From your description she sounds like she's on the light end of lean, but it's really impossible for me to say based on a text description of what someone else's hands feel.
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Old 07-09-2013, 02:42 PM
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It's hard to say, but from your description of her lifestyle and behavior, and your vet's comment, plus from the way you describe her muscle tone and how you can't feel her spine (although that varies by dog's body shape a lot), I would guess she's at an acceptable weight.
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