At almost every general vet visit for my dogs, their weight has been mentioned. At one point, Izzie was too fat. Yep, she’s a couch potato. Gotta get her to move more. Maddie was usually too skinny. Yep, she never stops moving, gotta feed her a bit more. But here is where I was confused. If according to the vet, my dogs were either too fat or too skinny, what weight was just right?
Lord knows I’ve been to Weight Watchers enough to have had the concept of “goal weight” drilled into my head, so I’d always ask the vet for an exact number each dog should weigh. Nine times out of ten, the vet would look at them both and instantly say 17 pounds. 17 pounds is how much my dogs should each weigh? For dogs with clearly different sized frames? It all seemed very unscientific and still very confusing, but hey, I’m not a vet.
I decided I would consult the internet for how much my dog breed should weigh. Because certainly the internet knows, right? Uh, nope. More confusion. My girls are both Schnoodles, which can be made up of any combination or percentage of Schnauzer (which come in Miniature, Standard, and Giant size), and Poodle (which come in Toy, Miniature, or Standard size). How do I know which combo and percentage each has? And then do you do some sort of average of whatever you guess they are? Blah. I’m not a mathematician either, but I think that is possibly 72,679 different combinations. Too much math. Too much guessing.
A simpler answer must exist, right?
With people, sometimes they say focusing on the weight number sometimes isn’t as effective as focusing on the way your body looks and how your clothes fit. So maybe there was a similar standard for dogs? You know, without the tight jeans and self loathing part, though.
As it turns out, there IS a way to eyeball your dog’s shape using the the widely accepted Body Condition System, developed at the Nestle Purina Pet Care Center. It’s a quick and easy way for you to estimate your dog’s condition, and keep them where they should be, without ever needing to know or calculate an exact goal weight number for your dog (although you still need to know your dog’s actual weight to make sure they are getting the correct caloric intake).
And in the end, my dogs aren’t as fat or skinny as I’d made them out to be. Maddie is about a 5, and Izzie hovers between a 5 and 6 depending on season.