Obesity is a big problem in dogs. Dogs that are overweight and obese can suffer from many serious health issues. Some dog breeds are particularly prone to overeating and obesity. One of these breeds is Golden Retriever. Goldens seem to be genetically predisposed to quickly gain weight. Therefore, it’s no surprise to meet a fat Golden Retriever on the streets. In fact, studies have shown that a staggering 63% of Golden Retrievers were overweight and obese.
This is a big problem that can have serious health implications for your dog. Therefore, you need to educate yourself on how to recognize and solve this issue. So, let’s start!
How To Tell If My Golden Retriever Is Fat?
Weigh Your Dog
The best option to determine if your dog is overweight or obese is to weigh him. You can do this at your house or the vet. After you weigh your Golden, compare his weight with an ideal weight of Golden Retrievers. Few pounds above or below ideal weight is nothing to worry about. However, if the weight deviates too much from the normal weight, that is a reason for concern.
A dog is obese if his weight is 20% over ideal weight. Since the average weight of Goldens is around 70, the obese Golden would weigh around 85 pounds.
Visually Inspect And Feel For Dog’s Ribs
Also, you can visually inspect your dog from different angles to determine if he is fat.
A fat dog will have:
- No waist when viewed from above
- The stomach appears rounded when you look from the side
- Abdomen at the same level as the chest when you look from the side
You can also feel for your dog’s ribs. When the dog is fit, you can easily feel them. On the other hand, an overweight Golden Retriever will have too much fat around the ribs. Therefore, you won’t be able to feel for your dog’s ribs.
Fat Dog Behavior
One of the tell-tale signs that your dog is overweight is his behavior. Overweight dogs will be less active, have breathing issues, have trouble walking, etc.
Why It’s Dangerous For A Golden Retriever To Be Fat?
Obesity and overweight are triggers for a wide variety of health issues.
Some of the most dangerous health issues that overweight dog can develop are:
- Heart problems
- Certain types of cancer
- High blood pressure
- Breathing issues
- Joint problems
- Liver problems
- Difficulty walking or running
How To Help My Golden To Lose Weight?
Before you start with a weight-loss plan, you need to be sure that your dog’s excessive weight is not caused by a medical condition. Certain diseases and disorders such as hypothyroidism, parasites, or fluid retention.
Once you are sure medical issues aren’t causing excessive weight it’s time to help your dog. To ensure he stays happy and healthy you need to help him lose weight.
There are several ways you can reduce your dog’s weight.
Golden Retrievers have an insatiable appetite and will eat everything you put in front of them. Therefore, Goldens are prone to overeating and obesity.
To prevent this from happening you need to reduce the amount of food, treats and table scrap your Golden eats. Treats should never make up more than 10% of the dog’s daily diet.
Also, stop giving your dog table scraps and notice other family members, friends, and visitors your dog is on a diet.
Another important aspect of a weight-loss plan is exercise. Start with slow, 20-minute walks and gradually increase the difficulty. Remember, don’t ask too much from an overweight dog by putting him under physical stress his body can’t endure. This approach can cause injuries and other health issues.
Therefore, gradually build up the intensity as the dog’s fitness levels improve. One of the best forms of exercise is swimming, since it doesn’t take as much toll on the dog’s body, but it still activates all the muscles.
Pick high-quality nutrient food and avoid cheaper but more caloric foods. Make sure your Golden likes the food you picked and stick with it. Also, don’t feed your dog more than once per day. However, you can take that daily portion and divide it into three smaller portions to feed your Golden three times during the day.
If your Golden is still gaining weight despite, reduced amount of treats and exercise, you are simply overfeeding him. Therefore, start reducing the amount of food you give your dog by 10% and monitor if things started to change. If weight doesn’t start to fall off, reduce the portions by another 10% and you will start to see the results.
It may seem cute to us when we see a fat Golden Retriever. However, overweight and obesity can cause a wide variety of health issues and shorten the dog’s lifespan by two and a half years. Therefore, make sure your Golden Retriever is not fat by monitoring his weight, providing high-quality food, avoiding table scraps, and feeding too many treats. Also, make sure your Golden has at least one hour of exercise every day to stay in shape and burn extra calories.