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Golden Retrievers and Obesity Issues

Golden Retrievers and Obesity Issues

For decades, the Golden Retriever has been one of the most popular breeds of dog on the planet because they make such wonderful family pets. With this said, they are among the breeds that have a tendency to plough on the pounds with obesity being a real concern. When a dog carries too much weight, it can lead to all sorts of other health issues that can dramatically shorten their life spans.

The one thing that Golden Retrievers are extremely good at it's getting the kids and their owners to give them a treat or two, and it's when this gets out of control that dogs are more at risk of putting on more weight than it is safe for them to carry. It would be a mistake to think that by offering your Golden Retriever unhealthy treats is a great way of showing them how much you love them when in fact you could end up killing your canine companion with kindness.

Overweight Dogs Find It Hard to Exercise

Just like in humans, if a dog carries too much weight they find it that much harder to go on walks. It puts lots of strain on their bodies and more especially their hearts and other internal organs. In short, when a Golden Retriever is too fat it becomes a vicious circle because they need to be given exercise to help get their weight down, but they find it hard to walk. The result? They don't lose any weight and are more at risk of putting the pounds on if you are not careful with their diet. Being obese or overweight affects the quality of your dog's life and will have a serious impact on their life spans shortening them by anything up to 2 years!

Planning Your Dog's Diet

If you are thinking about sharing your home with a Golden Retriever, whether you choose to get a puppy or adopt an older dog, it's really important to plan their diet according to their age and to give them the right amount of exercise every day. If you adopt a Golden Retriever or already own a dog that's carrying too much weight, it's time to think about their diet and to cut anything out that may be the cause of them ploughing on the pounds. It's estimated that over half of Golden Retrievers here in the UK are carrying too much weight with a high percentage being obese through no fault of their own, but rather because of the diet and treats their owners feed them.

If you let your Golden Retriever puppy get too fat, it can cause all sorts of issues with their ligaments and tendons. Just the fact they may run after a toy can have a serious impact on them. Older dogs run the risk of developing serious health issues which can include the following:

  • Respiratory diseases
  • Heart diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • Damage to bones, joints and soft tissues
  • Internal organ damage, in particular to liver and kidneys
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Various forms of cancer
  • Digestive issues
  • An increased risk of developing infections and diseases because their immune system is compromised

The Ideal Weight for a Golden Retriever

The ideal weight for these lovely dogs depends on several factors which includes their parentage. Some Golden Retriever lines are smaller than others where dogs tend to be larger and taller. However, the general concensus is that the ideal weight for the breed should be as follows, but these are only guidelines and if you need to find out what your dog's ideal weight should be, then you need to talk to your vet:

  • Males should weigh in at anything between 65lbs and 75lbs
  • Females should weigh in at anything between 55lbs and 65lbs

Can You Feel Your Dog's Ribs?

When looking at a Golden Retriever, you should not be able to see their ribs. However, when you run your hand along their flanks, it should be possible to feel their ribs and if you can't, then your dog is overweight. At the other end of the scale if you can see your dog's ribs, they are underweight and that's another issue that would need to be addressed.

Helping Your Golden Retriever Lose Weight

If you suspect your dog is carrying too much weight, you need to discuss your concerns with the vet who would be able to offer advice on how to go about helping your dog lose those extra pounds. The vet would check your pet over to make sure their weight gain is not medically related which could be due to a thyroid problem or other condition. Once they have ruled any health problems, they would then be able to offer valuable professional advice on your dog's diet and the amount of exercise they should be given on a daily basis.

Cutting Out all Unhealthy Treats

Needless to say, it's really important to cut out all treats, especially any unhealthy or people"" ones. You should stop giving your Golden Retriever any scraps from the table and you need to educate the kids on the consequences of feeding their canine companion any of their sweets or biscuits. Older children understand only too well the problem of over feeding a dog too, but younger children may not which is why you have to keep an eye on them when they are eating and your dog is around.

Making Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Daily Exercise

You also need to make sure your Golden Retriever gets enough daily exercise and this means taking them out for a walk a couple of times a day and not just letting them out into the back garden. Dogs will not exercise themselves, but will do their business and then typically sit on the doorstep waiting to be let back in!