Golden Retriever | Weight Issues | Tips, Suggestions, and Recommendations for Controlling Weight
While many dog owners stress, fret, and worry about unlikely and uncommon health problems in their Golden Retriever dogs, checking obsessively for every potential symptom of a rare disease, all too many dog owners overlook one health issue particularly problematic for Golden Retriever dogs, one that has the potential to lead to a whole host of serious health problems later on. This is obesity, which occurs when your Golden Retriever dog regularly consumes more calories than he or she is able to burn – which can be a result either of insufficient exercise or of continued over-feeding. Keeping your Golden Retriever dog at a healthy, fit weight is important for ensuring that your dog avoids more serious health issues – such as arthritis or hip dysplasia – later in life. Obese dogs are also at risk for injuries sustained by lack of control of their own movements – making exercise even more difficult.
To avoid obesity, be sure that you are feeding your dog no more than two times a day (when he or she is out of puppyhood) and be sure that you take your dog out daily for regular bouts of exercise – a large, energetic dog like the Golden Retriever dog requires a great deal of time in the great outdoors. If your dog is already overweight, try to remedy the situation immediately. Reduce the amount you feed your dog in each sitting, and make an effort to focus on the quality of the food. Plenty of store-bought dog food pumps calories into that bowlful of kibble – at the expense of nutritional value. Consider putting your dieting dog on a course of home-made food, or combine a small amount of adult dog food with a mixture of green beans, carrots, pumpkin, courgettes, and apples. Keep non veggie-and-fruit-based carbohydrates to a minimum.
It's also important to up your dog's exercise rate if you want him or her to lose weight. While obese Golden Retriever dogs may have trouble doing what a fit dog can do, start with a relatively laid-back regimen of power-walking: start your exercise plan with ten minutes of hard-core power walking on a flat surface, before upgrading by a minute a day until your dog is able to walk thirty minutes at a brisk pace. Then experiment with different surfaces, trying hills, grass, and other terrain. Remember to keep out of direct sunlight and keep a bottle of water on hand in case your dog dehydrates.
How can you tell if your dog is overweight or obese? The average male Golden Retriever dog weights 65-80 pounds, while the average female weights 50-60, but a better way to tell if your dog is at a healthy weight is by “sight,” not by the scale. If your dog has palpable but not visible ribs, a waist that can e observed underneath the ribs when viewed from above, and an abdomen that is tucked up when viewed from side-on, your dog exhibits ideal proportions. If, however your dog does not exhibit a waist or you can feel the dog's ribs covered by a small covering of fat, he or she may be 'overweight,' between 5 and 20 percent over his or her ideal body weight. An obese dog, classified as one who is 20% or more above his or her ideal weight, will have ribs that cannot easily be felt under a large amount of fat, exhibits fat deposits in the lumbar and tail base area, has no visible waist, and no abdominal tuck (or has a distended abdomen). If your dog exhibits any of these qualities, consider starting him or her on a diet and exercise regimen.