Most of us, Golden Retriever owners, know how insatiable their appetite can be. Goldens are smart and highly motivated by the food, this is simply in their nature. They have mastered the art of begging and asking for food to perfection. We have learned to control that nature to our advantage. But that also carries certain consequences we will address in this article. It is important to notice that the most common health problem in Golden Retrievers is obesity.
Studies have shown that more than 60% of Golden Retrievers in the USA are overweight. This is concerning information, as Golden Retrievers are almost 20% more overweight than the USA national average.
Obesity can cause and worsen many health issues in Golden Retrievers. For example, heart disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, diabetes can all be caused by obesity. Most importantly, it can even shorten the lifespan of your dog.
So, let’s go through all the risks and problems of obesity in Golden Retrievers, as well as the means to prevent and treat it.
What Are The Risks Of Obesity In Golden Retrievers?
As mentioned above, obesity can cause or worsen a whole range of medical problems. The most common risks for overweight Golden Retrievers are:
- Hearth disease
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory diseases
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Weakened immune system
- Increased risks during surgery under anesthetic
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
So, What Is My Golden Retriever Ideal Weight?
The American Kennel Club standard states that a male Golden Retriever should weigh between 60 and 80 pounds (27 to 36 kg). A female Golden Retriever should weigh between 55 to 70 pounds (25 to 32 kg).
These grow charts below from k9web.com shows the puppy’s projected growth and predict its weight when fully grow. Consider these charts more as a guideline, few pounds more or less are not a problem.
One of the best ways to check if your Golden Retriever is overweight is to check it by sight and feel.
Every 2-3 weeks perform the following check-up to track your dog’s state regarding weight.
Overall visual Appearance of your Golden
Take a look at this technique of visually inspecting your dog’s weight from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and try to apply it.
You can also check if your dog is overweight by putting your hand on his chest. Press very gently, and you should feel every rib. If that isn’t the case, your dog is overweight.
How To Prevent And Treat Obesity In Golden Retrievers?
Take your Golden to the veterinarian
This is the first thing you need to as the obesity in Golden Retrievers can be caused by underlying health issues such as low thyroid function or Cushing’s disease. Once the vet has performed all needed medical tests, you can with a weight loss program.
There are few things you can do to combat obesity in Golden Retrievers.
Keep an eye on the treats
Control the number of treats you are giving to your dog, as they can very much contribute to the overall weight problem. If members of your family or guests still do this, ask them not to do it and inform them why it is important to stop it.
Stop giving table scraps completely
We all know how hard it is to resist those eyes that ask for table scraps but remember, it is for their own good.
Regular exercise and activity will hugely contribute to weight loss.
Don’t feed your golden retriever more than twice a day
There is really no need to feed your dog more than twice a day. One portion in the morning and one in the evening is perfectly fine.
Provide quality food
Find high quality and nutritious dog food that your Golden enjoys and stick with it.
Portion the food
Buy a measure and feed your dog the same amount every day. Most dog foods come with guidance on the package. However, these are just guidelines, and you need to feed your Golden based on its size and individual needs.
If you notice that your dog is still gaining weight despite all the exercises and methods, then reduce the portions by 10% and monitor the situation. After a few days, he should lose some weight.
Dogs, and especially Golden Retrievers, have no measure when it comes to food. Therefore, we must control their food intake and weight to keep them healthy and happy. As we already mentioned in this article, obesity leads to many serious health issues and even causes a shorter lifespan.
In conclusion, if you want your Golden Retriever to be healthy, happy, and there with you for a long time, you will make sure he won’t get overweight. It can be tricky to endure those eyes and that begging at certain times, but remember, it’s for their own good.