It’s hard to resist giving your Poodle some of your breakfast sausage or slipping it chicken at dinnertime. Just a little won’t hurt, right?
Unfortunately, the same mentality that many people have about their eating habits can transfer to their Poodle. As a Poodle expert, I am seeing a worrisome number of obese Poodles in recent years.
Causes of Obesity in Poodles
Except for certain medical issues, owners are almost always responsible for their Poodle’s obesity. As you might guess, the obesity culprits relate closely to those in people.
Some of the biggest reasons Poodles become overweight are:
- They don’t get enough exercise.
- You overfeed them.
- Older age causes them to move less.
Calories in versus calories out are important with Poodles, just as with humans. If you’ve given your dog one too many table scraps or opted to skip too many walks because you live in a cold climate, you will need to change your habits to help it lose weight.
The Ideal Weight for Your Poodle
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know when you have an overweight Poodle. But, since you’re here researching “fat Poodle [Poodle obesity guide],” it is essential to have a baseline to know how much your Poodle should weigh.
There are two factors to consider here:
- Male Poodles almost always weigh more than females.
- The ideal weight for your Poodle depends on its size.
The American Kennel Club indicates that there are three different Poodle sizes, each with corresponding ideal weights. They are:
- Standard Poodle: 40 – 70 pounds
- Miniature Poodle: 10 – 15 pounds
- Toy Poodle: 4 – 6 pounds
Since these are large ranges, I recommend speaking with your veterinarian, as he or she can narrow down the ideal healthy weight for your Poodle.
5 Ways to Help Your Poodle Lose Weight
If you are ready to put in the work and help your Poodle lose weight, below are some top strategies to implement. As a bonus, you might also find yourself shedding pounds with some of them!
Increase its Exercise
The amount and intensity of exercise your Poodle needs depends on its height. Whereas Toy Poodles should be walked at least two times per day for 30 minutes, Standard Poodles need this much walking or more with high-intensity exercise incorporated.
Ideally, you should let your Poodle run freely in a yard and play fetch with it. Alternatively, taking it to a dog park is a great way for it to get exercise as it plays with fellow canine companions.
That’s right—your Poodle can lose weight by eating vegetables. One of the best ways to do so is by giving your Poodle a standard portion of food in the morning. Then, at dinnertime, replace most (but not all) of its meal with green beans.
You can opt to cook the green beans at home or buy them canned. In either case, make sure the beans do not have a lot of salt. Giving your dog a canine multivitamin will also support its health, helping to put its body in prime shape for shedding weight when it’s exercise time.
Find Alternative Rewards
If you have an overweight Poodle in training, it can be challenging to get it to lose weight, as positive training techniques often require the use of treats. In this case, it is okay to use treats as a reward, but you should choose low-calorie options and break the treat into small pieces.
Under all other circumstances, try to find an alternative reward for your Poodle. For example, consider giving it a synthetic chew bone or keep its favorite toy out of sight until you want to reward it.
Assess its Food Quality
As you can imagine, a bag of chips and the equivalent calories in lean protein and veggies can have vastly different results on your waistline. The same goes for your Poodle.
Not all dog food is equal in terms of quality. So, even if you are giving your Poodle the recommended amount of food, its fat content might be too high or it might lack nutrients that can keep your dog healthy. If you are unsure what the best food for your Poodle is, consult with your veterinarian.
It may sound tedious, but counting calories is one of the safest ways to know that you’re not over- or underfeeding your Poodle.
All dog food comes with a nutrition label, so you can easily determine how many calories your Poodle is eating per portion. Remember, because Poodles vary so much in size, a Standard Poodle will need more food than a Miniature Poodle, and a Miniature Poodle will need to eat more than a Toy Poodle.
Risks Associated With Poodle Obesity
By now, it might not surprise you that the risks of your Poodle being overweight are similar to those that obese humans can experience.
Veterinarians have found that owners often have a skewed understanding of obesity in their pets. That’s because “chunkier” Poodles and other dog breeds have become such a normalized part of our life that we struggle to identify when our Poodle is gaining too much weight.
For this reason, taking your Poodle to an annual vet checkup is essential, as your veterinarian can guide you on where your Poodle stands weightwise. By keeping your Poodle’s weight in check, you’ll help it avoid the following risks associated with Poodle obesity.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Early death
- Skin diseases
Furthermore, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears are more common in overweight Poodles. Typically, the only way to alleviate this painful condition is via surgery.
That brings up another obesity-related issue for your pet—an overweight Poodle has a higher risk of complications when undergoing anesthesia. Its heart and lungs have to work extra hard to breathe, making it challenging to get it to sleep.
Once the anesthesia works and an overweight Poodle is asleep, it often takes the dog a long time to wake up when compared to a healthy-weight Poodle.
As far as skin diseases go, it is essential to groom your Poodle at least once per day, as the extra folds in its skin can trap bacteria and cause an infection. Then, as your dog loses weight, it will become easier to keep up with its grooming.
Are You Ready to Help Your Poodle Lose Weight?
Hopefully, this is the only time you will need to research “fat Poodle [Poodle obesity guide],” as I hope this article has encouraged you to make changes to your Poodle’s lifestyle.
As with humans, making dietary and exercise changes can be challenging at first, and it’s easy to look into your Poodle’s begging eyes and believe it is hungry.
However, as long as you are following the recommended caloric intake for your dog and giving it ample amounts of exercise, you will help it be on its way to living a healthier and hopefully longer life.