Body-wt vs "Condition" - fit isn't a number...

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Body-wt vs "Condition" - fit isn't a number...

This is a discussion on Body-wt vs "Condition" - fit isn't a number... within the Dog Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; People often confuse a dog's weight with her or his fitness - but the 2 are very different. Posting "my dog weighs X-pounds, is s/he ...

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Old 08-27-2017, 02:04 PM
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Lightbulb Body-wt vs "Condition" - fit isn't a number...

People often confuse a dog's weight with her or his fitness - but the 2 are very different.

Posting "my dog weighs X-pounds, is s/he in good shape?" is rather like asking how tall is a tree, how wide is a door, or how long is a road - purebred dogs will fall within a certain range, Chihuahuas don't weigh 20# & Danes don't weigh 5#, but individuals have individual fitness: what's fat on one is perfect for another, & too skinny for a 3rd.

Measure
Eyeballing one's dog for wt [gain, loss, maintain] is no more accurate than eyeballing "a scoop" for their meals. If ya want to know the size of each meal, ya gotta measure.
Similarly, if ya want to know the weight of a dog, ya need a scale.

PACC, a non-profit rescue in Virginia, had 5 young dogs, siblings, who arrived from a North Carolina hoarding case; they were a little thin, but in good shape physically, just minor internal parasites. [Their emotional / mental state was disastrous, but physically, they were OK.]
3-weeks later, Dakota - who'd arrived at 18# - weighed THIRTY-FIVE pounds! His foster blamed his weight gain on my training rewards, which were 100% protein & pea-sized; remotely possible, but unlikely.

When i visited her, i watched as she threw "a scoop" into every dog's bowl, stacked the filled S/S bowls, & plopped one in front of every dog. // Her other fosters weighed 60# & up. An unmeasured 'scoop' for one of them was 2X what Dakota needed for an entire day, & he got it twice a day.
A dog who's lived in semi-starvation, fighting for his food, will eat anything on offer, just in case there's no food tomorrow.
Cody went on a diet - it took 2-months to take off the pudge he'd gained in 3-wks flat, LOL.

to track body condition
An easy way to check fit vs f-a-t for body condition, not 'weight', is to palpate ribs: the edge of each rib should be easily felt under a thin, springy layer of muscle. They should feel like a xylophone in a suede bag. // If the ribcage feels -smooth-, that's f-a-t spatula'ed over the intercostal muscles, & it needs to come off.

A dog's spine should never be visible [except in sighthounds, & then only the lower spine, never the upper].
There should also be no valley to either side of the spine - smooth appearance, barely-palpable vertebrae.

Double-coats or curly coats can hide many sins: underneath, the dog can be fat as a hog or a scrawny rack of bones, but fingers on their ribs can "see" where we can't.
Smooth coated dogs are of course, easiest to see, & most ppl don't realize that the last 2 ribs should be visible under that smooth coat; not staring & gaunt, but U should see 'em.
80% of Labs these days look like steers ready for slaughter, they carry so much extra flab. Pitbulls, too, & other bully-breeds are often lumps of lard, along with the Usual Suspects: Pugs, Frenchies, Beagles, Dachsies, & other cute small smooth-coated dogs.

All dogs should have:
- visible waists, seen from above
- tuck-up before the rear legs, seen from the side
- necks that visibly taper from shoulder to skull
- visible shoulder layback: the line of the shoulder blade on each side

Dogs aren't pipes, & shouldn't be cylindrical. From above, the shoulders should be the widest part of the body; in most breeds, the butt should be approx 2/3 the width of the shoulders, seen from above.

Signs of morbid obesity:
- fat blankets with vertical edges draping butt & torso
- dimples in the fat
- fat-pad on the chest
- necks like pipes
- underline from chest to rear legs runs STRAIGHT, seen from the side.

Lean is always better than a little pudgy, as extra weight not only adds stress to joints & wears them down, but added fat increases risk for many diseases: metabolic disorders like diabetes or Cushings', inflammatory diseases that are autoimmune malfunctions, cancers of all kinds, & of course, cardiac & pulmonary problems.
Simply keeping a dog with poor hips or bad elbows or knees lean will keep them more comfortable, allow them freer movement, & extend their lifespans.

Hard condition describes a dog who is not only lean, but very fit with it, & very muscular. Muscles demand feeding, & dogs with more muscle have faster metabolic rates than dogs with higher body-mass indices [their fat to muscle ratio].

I'll post some good diagrams & a few photos, to illustrate the range from severely underweight thru lean to "hard, fit condition" to morbidly obese.

- terry
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Old 08-27-2017, 09:49 PM
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Arrow some illustrations...

a good diagram series -



https://www.dogforum.com/attachment.p...1&d=1503888568


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Old 08-27-2017, 10:54 PM
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I learned that it's very, very, very, easy to misjudge just how fast extra calories add up when going from med-small, and med. dogs to a toy sized dog. Back when I had my larger dogs they were at a perfect weight at 24 lbs and 44 lbs, the extra calories didn't hurt. They never gained weight. They passed away and I got Zody, he was a year old when I got him and already over weight at 9 lbs.

I fell into the oh that's so little, a bit more won't hurt trap. Then I got into the habit of giving him 1 bully stick a day. On top of that neighbors loved to give him treats, enough treats for 2 large dogs, and I wasn't firm in saying NO. By the age of 3 Zody got up to 11.6 lbs and was plain fat. He also had very little energy and then his back messed up. I got serious about getting the weight off him. I cut back on his food, stopped giving him bully sticks except as a once in a blue moon treat. I only let neighbors give him treats that I give to them. He'll be 5 years old in Jan and he's down to 8 lbs and looks fabulous, he also now loves to run and play.

I keep Zody at a fit pet dog weight, and one thing I did learn last week with Zody getting sick is that having a toy breed at fit sport dog weight could have been dangerous for him. While sick and not able to eat, then being feed small amounts to make sure his stomach didn't get upset, he lost around a pound and was trending towards being emaciated. I was shocked at how fast it happened. If I had had him at fit sport dog weight he would have been emaciated.
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Old 08-28-2017, 02:42 AM
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Lean is not always better than pudgy.

Having a little, and I stress little, extra padding on an elderly dog or one that has a tendency to get sick or go off their food is fine. The problem is that pudgy means obese to some. I'm talking mid way between three and 4 on the above scale.
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Old 08-28-2017, 08:17 AM
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A mixed bag - here's a challenge:
- pick out the TWO-YEAR OLD
- pick out 2 FIELD-TRIAL CHAMPS, one of each sex

Good luck, all.

BTW, notice how young over-feeding begins: LOOK at those puppies!
Their joints are overloaded & IMO / IME, they'll have early-onset joint problems, as young adults.
I'd expect at least half of that litter to pace when 'walking' by 18-MO to 2-YO, vs a normal 4-beat walk.
[Pacing, when both legs on each side move together, moves wt off the rear & onto the shoulders.
It often indicates discomfort / pain in the hips, knees, hocks, or connective tissue.]
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Old 08-28-2017, 08:29 AM
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Field champs: last two photos.
2 year old: 1st photo.

Those puppies are huge! Though they may also have worms, which would exacerbate it.
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Old 08-28-2017, 10:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chas View Post

Field champs: last two photos.
2 year old: 1st photo.

...
Congrats, Chas! Ya got 1 FT Ch, but missed the 2-YO.

Close - no cigar.

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Old 08-28-2017, 12:44 PM
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I mean I don't really want to get into an argument but confirmation bred labs and field labs are 2 totally different dogs. While they may be the same breed they are completely different. I would not expect a confirmation bred lab to be lean like a field lab just like a thick field lab wouldn't really work out hunting duck. While I do respect what you are saying about obesity (what I have read) consideration into the breeding also plays a role.

Also speculating that those puppies are obese is kind of far fetched. Puppies are supposed to be tubby as they grow and need that added protein for their bodies to burn. Also from the surrounding I wouldn't be surprised if what Chas said about worms is true.
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Old 08-28-2017, 02:40 PM
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My sister has a Rat Terrier that she does Agility with so she is very conscious of her weight. You would think she would starve on what she has to feed her to keep her at a good weight. Just a few ounces more of food and she gains a few ounces which can add up quickly. The treats she uses for Agility training are smaller than a small pea so they won't add more weight. She has a scale at home that she weighs her on regularly, if she didn't she would put on a lot of weight before you would really notice it. Her perfect weight is 10 lbs.
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Old 08-28-2017, 07:52 PM
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Generally, when it comes to a well "conditioned" dog, it's all about the exercise, too many cite diet. Diet is important but you'll never get a a fit dog solely through diet. I guess that is intuitively obvious.
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