More than 52 percent of dogs in the United States were considered fluffy, or overweight according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website’s survey results in 2012. Overweight poodles, as cute as they may be, often experience the same issues as overweight humans, including joint pain, diabetes and heart disease. Determining the cause and curbing excessive weight gain may help your poodle maintain a long, healthy life.
The amount you feed your poodle and how often you feed him may lead to obesity. A puppy often requires three small meals a day; whereas an adult needs one or two feedings based on his activity level. Just because he looks at you with big, brown eyes and begs, doesn't mean you should give in and feed him. After consulting your veterinarian, follow his guidelines for feeding based on the size and activity level of your furry friend. Adjust the amount until you can feel your poodle’s ribs with ease, making sure she doesn't lose weight too fast.
Just like humans, poodles need exercise to burn calories. When her caloric intake is more than what she burns, she may become obese. Walking your poodle is a great way to reach daily exercise goals. For instance, if your poodle is a standard, he needs 30 minutes of walking a day. Additionally, a toy poodle requires about 20 minutes a day to burn off extra calories.
Several diseases may cause poodle obesity. For instance, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough of the hormone that controls metabolism. Also, Cushing’s disease may cause weight gain because the adrenal gland produces too much glucocorticoids, which increase appetite. When changes in diet and exercise aren’t successful, your vet may order additional blood work to check for diseases.
Sometimes canine breeds have a predisposition for obesity, even poodles. While breeds like Labradors and dachshunds are more likely to suffer weight gain due to heredity, poodles may reach the same fate if both parents are overweight. When every other cause is ruled out, heredity is the most likely assumption.