Is Your Dog Overweight? It May Not Be Diet Related

Every time we would take Miss Ruby to the veterinarian, he would lecture us about her weight. He would say we are going to kill her, that we are simply feeding her too much food. I did my best to protest but we were giving her a lot of treats, how can you not? She was a big dog to begin with but when she started tipping the scales at 136lbs, we had to do something. Were we actually giving her too much food as the vet suggested?

Source: J.Cunha

Ruby was not overweight as a puppy. She did not start noticeably gaining weight until about the age of 4.

Source: J.Cunha

All of our dogs get ample exercise daily, more than an hour per day of free time off leash on 8 wooded acres. We tried cutting her food and treats back, it seemed cruel as the other two dogs Leah and Roe were getting the same exact daily calories as her and they managed to maintain a svelte 70lbs and 55lbs respectively. So why not Ruby?

Source: Jeff Cunha Subject: Leah 70lbs

All three dogs get the same amount of play time outdoors as well, so exercise quantity was roughly equal and Ruby with her girth should have been expending more calories to cover the same distance. So something was not adding up. We were lucky to have three dogs to make the comparison or else we might have just been starving the poor girl for her entire life.

Source J.Cunha

Roe comes in at 55lbs, granted he is missing a front limb but still exactly the same quantity of food per day.

Source: J.Cunha

In the summer they swim multiple times a day in the pool for additional exercise.

Source: J.Cunha

In the spring and winter the dogs swim almost daily in the pond even when it is freezing outside. So it was clearly not from a lack of exercise that Ruby was gaining so much weight. On the next visit to the veterinarian I insisted on a thyroid test for Ruby. 3 weeks later we started Ruby on thyroid medication. Within about 6 months she was back down to a respectable 86lbs without any changes to her diet. So for those that only have one dog out there to compare, and if they are on the chunky side, insist on getting their thyroid checked. It might just not be your fault.

Source: Jeff Cunha

So if you find yourself feeling guilty for having a slightly obese furry family member, it may be worthwhile the next time you are at the veterinarian to ask to have their thyroid tested.

Source: J.Cunha

Ruby now maintains her weight between 85-89lbs and seems to be doing very well. She will be on the medication for life, but that life will be greatly extended if we keep her at a healthy weight.