Overweight Dogs

How to Tell if Your Golden is Overweight

Owning overweight dogs is not good news, especially when it comes to Golden Retrievers.

Goldens are prone for hip dysplasia, which is a degenerative joint disease that can cause severe limping and other serious problems.

Though hip dysplasia can be hereditary, being overweight can greatly increase, and sometimes even cause, this very destructive disease.

©Photo Courtesy of Karima Selehdar
Golden Retriever holding his food bowl

Obese dogs put a much greater strain on their individual joints.

Ideally, male Golden Retriever dogs should weigh between 65 and 75 pounds at full maturity.

Female Goldens should weigh between 55 and 65 pounds. However, this is a guideline only.

The best indicator of whether or not your dogs are overweight, is to look at and feel their bodies.

Male or female, your Golden Retriever should have a “curvy” look to him.

©Photo Courtesy of Cindy Quellette
An older and younger Golden Retriever posing in the snow

While standing over your Golden and looking down at him, you should be able to see a “waist” in front of his hips.

Looking at him from the side, you should be able to see a streamlined, abdominal uptuck, not a straight, flat line all the way across.

You should not be able to see your Golden’s ribs, but using your hand and running it down along the sides of his body, you should be able to feel his ribs with your fingers.

If you can not see a waist or feel any ribs, then you probably have overweight dogs, regardless of what the actual weight is.

This only applies to adults. While puppies are growing, their bodies go through many changes, and judging their ideal weight can not be assessed in this manner. Also, puppies rarely over eat, and never should be put on diets.

©Photo Courtesy of Brandon Harris
Golden Retriever playing in water

There are several ways to remedy overweight problems, and get him back to his ideal size, if he has put on too many pounds.

First, notice how many treats you give to him. It doesn’t matter if you have been giving him table scraps, or dog treats. If he is overweight, these will need to be stopped.

Many times stopping these daily treats will be enough to slowly get your Golden’s weight back in order.

Has he been getting enough exercise? Exercise for dogs is pretty simple, since they don’t look at exercise as we do. They consider it fun, rather than a dreaded chore!

Start taking him for daily walks, playing fetch or similar games with him, or even taking him for a swim.

©Photo Courtesy of Gregory Hullaert
Golden Retriever looking into the inground swimming pool

Many people leave dog food in the bowl all day and allow their dogs to eat when they are hungry. This is fine, if you do not have overweight dogs.

However, if being overweight is an issue, then you will need to change this, if this is how you have been allowing him to eat.

Though there are many, various types of dog diet food on the market, it is not necessary to purchase these.

Instead you can simply measure out his normal dog food into the amount that he is suppose to eat in one day. On the dog food packages, there are guidelines for general amounts of food that should be consumed daily.

If you are trying to help him lose weight, it will be easier on him, if you divide the amount of food that he is suppose to eat in a day, into small meals and feed him 2 to 3 times a day.

This way, he won’t be as hungry throughout the day.

©Photo Courtesy of Monty Bludworth
Beautiful Golden Retriever that is not overweight

Remember that the guidelines are just that, guidelines only, and you may need to cut down on the amount that the package recommends.

If you have always measured out his food, and he is overweight, then obviously, he needs less than the recommended amounts.

Most people do not measure out their overweight dog’s food, and it can be quite surprising to find out that you have been unknowingly, but greatly, overfeeding him!

There are also a few other things that you can do, if these other changes are not enough.

Unsalted, rinsed, green beans, and/or baby carrots can be fed to overweight dogs. Either of these can replace one or more of his feedings, depending on how much weight he has to lose.

© Photo Courtesy of Gavin 'Tex' Warren
Melbourne, Australia

Use caution with this though, as adding all of this additional fiber to his diet, may cause loose bowel movements.

If you are not home with him all day, you may come home to an accident in the house, even though your dog is housebroken.

It will take awhile for your overweight Golden Retriever to lose the extra pounds, but it can and should be done. Dogs that maintain a healthy weight, are healthy dogs, and will live a longer, happier life.

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