It’s hard enough for humans to lose weight. But when it comes to our pets, we fret over whether they’ve had enough to eat and spoil them with treats.
So, if you’re petting your Poodle and can no longer feel any signs of ribs or if they seem extra out of breath when exercising, it’s time to do something about it.
Fat Poodles can lose weight by exercising more and eating less. Yes, that’s right—the same way humans lose weight.
While most Poodle fat gain is from inactivity and overeating, there may be a medical reason. I’ll help you understand the nuances of Poodle weight gain and loss so that you can get your beloved pet back to its optimal health.
5 Strategies for Helping Your Poodle To Lose Weight
Below are the best ways to help your Poodle lose weight. And if you have a few pounds to lose, may I suggest jumping on the weight loss bandwagon with your dog?
1. Reduce Their Treat Intake
Cutting back on how many treats you give your Poodle is an obvious but important step in helping them lose weight.
So, if you’re the type of Poodle owner that rewards their dog with a treat every time they go to the bathroom or look at you with loving eyes, it’s time to give their snack drawer an overhaul.
I’m not telling you never to give your Poodle a treat. Instead, look for high-quality treats that advertise being easy on a dog’s waistline.
You can also replace their treats with vegetables. Many safe veggies exist for dogs, including carrots, celery, and green beans.
2. Check Their Food Quality
Many dog foods contain fillers to help a Poodle feel full without offering any nutritional value. These fillers can often be fattening. Examples of fillers include:
- Animal fat
- Chicken by-product meal
- Animal digest
And that list doesn’t even contain plant-based fillers like beet pulp and straw. Yuck!
So, it’s worth it to splurge on your Poodle’s food and buy a more expensive brand that offers a balance of fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
3. Keep Them on a Schedule
Experts recommend keeping dogs on a feeding schedule, with adult dogs requiring one to two meals per day. That said, if you have a Miniature or Standard Poodle, you should feed them twice daily, as they have a greater chance of experiencing bloat.
Puppy Poodles need more frequent feedings. They need three daily feedings when they’re three to six months old.
However, you shouldn’t attempt to have your Poodle lose weight until they’re at least 12 weeks old—until then, they’ll have normal puppy pudginess.
4. Get Them Exercising
Yes, just like humans, fat Poodles will benefit from faster weight loss by exercising more. You should ensure your Poodle receives a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day, assuming that they’re an adult and age isn’t a limiting factor on their ability to move.
Ideally, you should split the 60 minutes into at least two exercise sessions.
Now isn’t the time to get lazy on your Poodle; putting them alone outside in the yard and calling it part of their exercise isn’t sufficient.
Instead, throw the ball with your Poodle, take them to a dog park, or bring them with you on a hike. Like I said earlier, helping your Poodle lose weight can be a great opportunity for you to shed pounds too!
5. Take Your Time
If a human wants to put themselves through a highly restrictive calorie diet to lose weight, that’s their prerogative. But don’t make your Poodle suffer through extreme dietary or exercise conditions.
Instead, make moderate adjustments to your Poodle’s diet and watch for signs of overexertion during exercise.
According to veterinarians, it’s safe for a dog to lose 1% to 2% of its body weight each week. In other words, it would be dangerous to your health if your Poodle loses the two-pound per week average that’s safe for most humans.
Although I know you came here because you want a DIY approach, if you’re unsure how much food to give your Poodle to help them lose weight without depriving them, I encourage you to call your veterinarian for advice.
How To Tell if You Have an Overweight Poodle?
If you have an overweight Poodle on your hands, you’ll notice several changes to their physical and emotional health. Examples include:
- Inability to feel their ribcage
- Little to no waistline indentation
- Running less than before
- Difficulty breathing with easy tasks
If these look familiar, you’re onto something. An overweight or obese Poodle has similar symptoms to a human struggling with weight.
Risks of an Overweight Poodle
Fat Poodles are at a high risk of many life-threatening conditions. They include:
- Joint pain
- Liver disease
- Heart disease
- Premature death
- High blood pressure
- Low thyroid hormone production
Killing their dog with love is something that many owners of overweight Poodles have to grapple with when acknowledging that their pet has a weight problem.
So, the sooner you start helping your Poodle lose weight, the healthier your Poodle will be, and the more potential the two of you will have for spending more years together.
Other Reasons Your Poodle Is Gaining Weight
Many Poodles gain weight because of their owners overfeeding and underexercising them. But that’s not always the case. Instead, below are three scenarios where your Poodle might gain weight that has nothing to do with your care.
1. They’re Aging
Many dogs, including Poodles, naturally gain more weight as they age. The reason often boils down to a slower metabolism and the inability to move as much as when they were younger.
Unfortunately, this situation is even worse for older dogs because the weight can lead to joint issues and arthritis.
For this reason, one of the best things you can do for an older dog to help them avoid putting on too many pounds is to change their meals to senior dog food. Make sure to follow the serving instructions on the label, as you might need to adjust the quantity you give them as well.
2. Spaying and Neutering
If you notice that your Poodle recently gained weight after you had them spayed or neutered, it could be a temporary situation because of the operation. Part of this is undoubtedly due to swelling.
However, your Poodle’s metabolism might also have slowed due to the surgery. Therefore, they may require fewer calories to maintain their ideal weight in the time after their operation.
Before making changes to your Poodle’s diet after surgery, though, consult with your vet.
3. Medical Condition
Sadly, fat Poodles sometimes have a more serious medical condition that causes them to gain weight. The two most common types of weight-inducing medical problems include:
- Cushing’s disease
- Thyroid issues
Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
Cushing’s disease is a hormonal condition that results in excess cortisone flooding the body, leading to kidney damage, diabetes, and even death. Approximately 80% to 85% of Cushing’s disease involves a tumor on the pituitary.
The only way to treat Cushing’s disease is by removing the tumor, an invasive and challenging process. So, most Poodle owners choose to help their dogs manage the symptoms of Cushing’s, keeping them as comfortable as possible for the remainder of their lives.
Another common medical reason why Poodles gain weight is hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism happens when your dog doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones.
As a result, your Poodle loses its ability to regulate its metabolism, causing them to gain weight. But it can get even more serious than this. Your dog might no longer be able to withstand intense exercise and shed excessively.
Although there isn’t a cure for hypothyroidism, you can give your dog medication or treat them with thyroid hormone replacement therapy to help manage the condition.
Getting to the Bottom of Your Poodle’s Weight Problem
Hopefully, your Poodle is overweight because of overfeeding and not because they have a medical problem. But in either case, taking steps to help them manage their weight will have innumerable benefits for their health.
I applaud you for wanting to take action to assist your Poodle with weight loss.
But if you have questions or doubts after reading this article, it’s best to speak with your veterinarian. Every Poodle is different, so your vet will be able to recommend the best meal and exercise plan to get your pet back into shape.