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Golden Retriever Rescue of Mid-Florida, Inc
PO Box 1449, Goldenrod, FL 32733-1449
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Is Your Dog Overweight?


It happens more than we’d like to see at GRRMF. People, thinking they are showing love, overfeed their pets. As the dog gains weight, it becomes less energetic, making a regular exercise routine more difficult – a potentially deadly cycle for the dog.

Obesity in dogs is a serious medical problem. And just like their waistlines, the problem is growing. It is estimated that 25 percent to 50 percent of all American dogs are overweight. The bottom line: If you overfeed your dog, you are shortening his or her life span.

Overweight dogs at risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, joint and hip problems, digestive disorders and liver and kidney disease. Obesity causes dogs to have less energy and stamina, leaving their immune systems weaker and putting them more at risk for contracting viral and bacterial infections.

Assess Your Dog:

  • You should be able to feel her ribs without prodding. If you can't feel the ribs, or if you have to apply pressure to feel them, your dog needs to lose weight.

  • Look at her abdomen from the side - there should be a modest "tuck-up" area between her rib cage and hind legs - not as pronounced as a greyhound, for example, but still there.

  • Stand directly above your dog and look down at him. Can you see a waist - does his body have an indent between the rib cage and hips? It should make an hourglass figure. Too much of an indent, and he's too thin. If it's not there, or if it bulges out, it's diet time.

Weight Control Strategies:

  • Start with a high-quality dog food. Measure his food and reduce the ration slightly - if you feed 1 cup per serving, reduce to 2/3 cup. Try this for a few weeks, and reduce by another 1/4 cup if necessary.
  • Add a half-can of no-salt-added green beans, cooked sweet potatoes and/or pumpkin to each meal to help your golden feel full without adding calories.
  • Watch the treats. Buy low-fat biscuits and dole them out carefully Even better, try these low-fat alternatives: carrots, rice cakes, unbuttered popcorn, apple slices, unsalted pretzels, melba toast or bananas.
  • Your dog is not a disposal for uneaten people food. Throw leftovers in the garbage, not on your dog's food. If he's already overweight, he doesn't need the extra calories.
  • Establish a daily exercise routine. Sniffing around the backyard isn't enough. It might help to consider it a family effort – everyone can benefit from daily exercise.
  • Beware of "diet" dog foods – many contain fillers such as peanut hulls, which are not nutritious. Read the label before you buy a “low-cal” dog food – it’s your best assurance that your dog is eating quality ingredients.

Dogs are opportunistic scavengers. They’ll eat themselves into oblivion if given the chance. YOU can control your dog’s weight by realizing that food is not a substitute for love and attention. Your golden will love you just as much if you give him a massage, let him lie by your side, throw a tennis ball for him or take him for a walk.

The above information is not meant to replace professional advice from a licensed veterinarian. Please consult with your veterinarian concerning your dog’s medical condition.


Bo is grossly overweight