Keeping your dog at a good weight is important for all dogs, but particularly so for Rat Terriers, a breed with a delicate structure and thin legs. Rat Terriers should be very lean dogs.

Carrying excess weight — even as little as 1-2 extra pounds — can cause joint and limb problems and make the dog more prone to injury. It also puts him at greater risk during any surgical procedure. Overweight dogs are at increased risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, digestive disorders, and liver and kidney disease. Excess weight can worsen osteoarthritis and cause respiratory problems in hot weather and during exercise. And obesity causes dogs to have less energy and stamina, leaving their immune systems weaker, putting them more at risk for contracting viral and bacterial infections.

Being underweight, like the dog pictured at right, has health risks, too–such as anemia, skin disorders, muscle wasting, osteoarthritis, mental confusion, and physical fatigue. But from a health perspective it is better to be a little too thin than a little too heavy. It has been proven that a lean dog lives an average of TWO YEARS longer than an overweight dog, so it is crucial to pay attention to your Rat Terrier’s weight to keep him healthy, feeling good, and living a good quality of life. 

Shockingly, more than half of dogs in the U.S. are overweight, and some 20% of them are obese. Obesity in dogs is defined as being more than 20% over ideal body weight. For a dog who should weigh 15-16 lbs., that means just 3 pounds of excess weight! Overweight dogs have minimal (or absent) waist tuck-up and a thick layer of fat over the ribs. Obese dogs have no tuck-up plus very heavy (grabbable) fat over the ribs, along the spine, around the neck, and around the tail.

Do you know how to assess a Rattie’s weight? Click HERE for tips and a quiz.

Need to help an overweight dog lose weight? Click HERE for Rattie Weight Loss Regimen.

Need to help an underweight dog gain weight? Click HERE for Rattie Weight Gain Regimen.