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To determine the accuracy of pet owners, veterinary technicians, house officers (interns and residents), and attending clinicians at estimating dog weights in a veterinary emergency room.


272 dogs weighing over 2 kg presenting to the emergency room between June 1 and July 29, 2022.


Pet owners, veterinary technicians, house officers, and attending clinicians recorded the dogs’ weight estimations on individual data collection cards. Pet owners were also asked to estimate their dogs’ weight during the triage period. The dogs’ actual weights were then obtained and recorded.


Pet owners were more accurate than veterinary professionals at providing weight estimates for dogs. Weight estimates were accurate to within 10% of the dogs’ actual weights for 67.9% (181/267) of pet owners. Forty-one percent (112/270) of attending clinicians, 35.3% (95/269) of house officers, and 35.4% (96/271) of veterinary technicians’ weight estimates were within 10% of the dog’s actual weight. There was no difference noted in the length of veterinary experience and ability to closely estimate the patient’s weight. Overall, veterinary professionals were more likely to closely estimate the weight of large dogs compared to small dogs.


The pet owner is most likely to provide an accurate weight for dogs and questions about the dog’s weight should be directed to the client for situations in which a weight cannot be rapidly obtained.

Open access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association