Is My Dog Too Skinny? This is How You Can Tell

by | Feb 26, 2020 | Health and Nutrition

As you pet your dog you can’t help but notice that you can feel a few of their ribs. This has you asking yourself “is my too skinny”? There’s a fine line between too slim and ideal weight.

When your dog has passed this line, you’ll need to talk to their vet about changing up their feeding schedule. Either that or add a few more calories to their diet. So, how do you know when it’s time to consult the vet?

We’re about to tell you. Keep reading to find out how you can tell if your dog is too skinny along with a few ways to treat the issue.

1. Visual and Physical Examination 

The main way to tell if your dog is underweight is by looking them over. Take a glance at them from the side and stand over them to look at them from above. If you can see their ribs or their body shape is a bit off, then they might be too skinny. 

Look at Them from the Side 

Their stomach should slope upward from their chest. If it’s even with their chest and you can see their ribs, they might be underweight. Keep in mind that there are some breeds such as Greyhounds where you can see their ribs regardless of rather they’re at a healthy weight or not. 

Also, if your dog has fluffier fur you won’t be able to use this method to judge their weight because you won’t be able to see. 

Take a Look From Above 

Stand over your dog and take a look at them from above. As long as they have a tucked-in waist, and their hips bones aren’t protruding out, they’re probably fine.  

Feel Their Sides

The best way to tell if your fluffy dog is underweight is by feeling their sides. If you can feel their ribs along with a little bit of padding then they are at the correct weight. If you can feel obvious protruding ribs, they’re underweight. 

Dull and Matted Coat 

If your dog is underweight you’ll start to notice that their coat isn’t as shiny or well kept as it normally is. No matter how often you take them to the groomers to try and remedy the situation. 

2. Underweight Symptoms

Underweight dogs won’t only show physical, outward symptoms. Being underweight makes them feel sick. This will be evident by their appetite and energy levels.  

Eating Less

Pets eat less in the summer so if you’re in the middle of the hot months their decreased appetite isn’t an immediate cause for alarm. Same if the dog is new to your family. They could be still trying to get used to you and their surroundings. 

If your pet is eating less and experiencing gastrointestinal issues and low energy levels, they may be a bit malnourished. 

Gastrointestinal Issues

If your pet is underweight they’ll start vomiting more than normal or experience diarrhea. When they do eat food you might notice that it’s harder for them to get it down.  


Your once hyper pup has stopped being as active during walks. Nowadays they lay around and do nothing. They won’t even touch their favorite squeaky toys. 

It’s not that your malnourished pupper doesn’t want to play with their toys. They just don’t have the energy to. 

Encouraging Your Pet to Eat

If your dog is showing any of the signs above there is good news. There are ways for you to correct the problem and get your playful, hyper friend back. Talk to your vet about changing up their feeding schedule, increasing their calories, and giving them supplements.  

Change Their Feeding Schedule

Dogs like to be on a feeding schedule. The structure makes them happy. If they aren’t eating during their scheduled mealtimes, however, you may have to leave their food out past the normal time you take it up. 

Stop giving them their treats and offer them food after they’ve burned energy on a walk. 

Increase Their Calories 

Your pet could be eating plenty but still, be skinny because they aren’t ingesting near enough calories. Talk to your vet about changing up their food to a high-calorie one. They might be able to send you home with special food or at least make some diet suggestions. 

Make Their Food Tempting

People joke all the time that cats are picky eaters but dogs can be just as bad. You’ve got to make their meal seem enticing. If you’re giving them wet food, try warming it up before you give it to them. 

Some dogs don’t like to eat with an audience. Experiment with secluding them from your other pets during mealtime. 

Give Them Supplements

Talk to your vet about giving your pet supplements. If they approve of it or provide you a prescription for some, slip these vitamins in the dog’s food. They’ll help your dog gain weight back and keep them from getting dehydrated. 

A Word of Caution 

As a word of caution, sometimes these methods work a bit too well. They’ll gain the weight back and then some. Be gradual about these dietary changes and go back to the way things were as soon as your dog gets back to their normal weight. 


Are You Asking Yourself “Is My Dog Too Skinny”?

Do you find yourself asking “is my dog too skinny”? The answer is maybe. There’s a fine line between being at a healthy weight and being underweight. 

If your dog is showing some of the signs we’ve listed they may have crossed that line. Consult their vet as soon as possible to help get your best friend in top shape again. 

Fido isn’t the only one who needs to keep a balanced diet. Check out some of these healthy dinner ideas