Most dog owners are concerned about their dogs becoming overweight. This is especially true with toy dogs, including Pomeranians. Because he’s already very small, it doesn’t take much for him to be too thin or too fat. Because your dog is furry, it can be hard to tell if he’s carrying extra pounds or if it’s just the fur. Even a meagre one pound of weight can make a Pom look much fatter because of his initial size. If your dog was a Husky, the one pound wouldn’t make any difference. Until your dog reaches two years of age, don’t be overly concerned about weight because he’s in his growth phase. Once he reaches two years of age, then he’s an adult and his weight should stabilise. As a puppy grows, he can gain weight rapidly and this should balance out as the structure of his bones grows. Diabetes and thyroid diseases are often blamed for weight gain but these issues aren’t often seen in puppies. They’re medical problems that adult dogs may contract as they age. Once he hits the two year mark, you must focus on ensuring his weight remains stable so his health is as good as it can be.
What Happens if Your Dog is Overweight? Humans and dogs suffer health problems if they carry excess weight. In dogs, the problems can include:
- Additional stress on his heart and other vital organs.
- More stress on his joints.
- Restricted mobility which means he’ll find it harder to play with you and your family and get enough regular exercise to maintain good health.
- Diabetes – a very complicated chronic disease in dogs as well as humans.
- So the list goes on and on.
If you can’t easily weigh your dog using scales, weigh a basket and then put him in the basket on the scales. Deduct the basket’s weight and you’ll have your Pom’s weight. Is the Weight due to Eating or Medical Problems? Any adult dog that seems to be overweight must be thoroughly checked out by a vet so that medical problems can be eliminated as the cause. Most owners will say their dog “doesn’t eat much” and that the cause must be a medical one. However, 43% of dogs carry excess weight and only 6% of that group are suffering from genuine medical conditions that cause the weight problems. What Caused my Dog to Become so Large? It’s the same with dogs as it is with people. If the dog eats more calories than he burns off, he’ll gain weight. Most dog owners only have good intentions and don’t think their dog eats too much. However, there are four different ways for your dog to take in extra calories:
- Snacks – It’s common for dogs to be given treats during the day and each treat has some calories which all add up by the end of each day.
- Performance Treats – Owners often give their dog a treat when he behaves or does what you tell him to do. Food shouldn’t be used for rewards. Use hugs, kisses and praise as training tools, not edible rewards which have calories in them.
- Begging – It’s almost impossible to resist your dog’s “puppy dog eyes” when he’s begging for food. He’ll beg until you train him not to beg by never giving him anything when he begs. If you give him something even once, it breaks all the training you work so hard to achieve.
- The Fussy Eater – If your dog doesn’t eat his food, that can cause problems. Don’t give in and feed him your human food because he’ll keep on ignoring his own food.
Exercise is a vital part of your dog’s life. It’s easy to neglect him so you must schedule time to take him for walks every day. It helps his health and yours if you do it for a minimum of 20-30 minutes per day. How to tell if your Dog Is Overweight. Look at his rib cage. Look and touch the bones to learn what you need to know. Looking – Stand over your Pomeranian. The easiest time for this is after his bath when the fur is wet and not in the way. Does his stomach curve inwards? Can you see the distinction between the lower and upper parts of his torso? If you can’t, he has too much fat. Touching – Using your fingers and pushing his fur aside, touch his ribs. If he’s underweight, his bones will be against his skin and may even protrude in spots. If he’s overweight, you’ll feel a thick amount of fat between the bones and your fingers, if you can even find his ribs at all. If you can’t touch the ribs, your dog is obese. Use this equation to work out how many calories to feed your Pomeranian. Decimal: Weight in pounds divided by 2.2 x 30 + 70 = calories required. E.g.: 5 pounds divided by 2.2 = 2.27 x 30 = 68.1 + 70 = 138 calories needed each day. Metric: Weight in kilograms x 30 + 70 = calories required per day. E.g.: 2.26 kg x 30 = 67.8 + 70 = 137.8 calories required per day. You can help your Dog shed some Weight You can give your dog more exercise and reduce his food each day to help him lose weight over a period of time. For toy dogs, this is ideal as they can’t handle sudden major changes due to their sensitivity. Increasing the walks by 10 minutes and reducing meals by around 20% will certainly help in the long term. Calorie Counting If you use the calculations about calories covered above, you then feed your dog normally in three days time but monitor all the calories he ingests. Average it out to see how much he consumes every day and if it’s higher than what your goal is, slowly reduce it. Additional Help Whether you have questions about the size of your dog, diet or feeding, you can find the answers you seek easily by asking your vet, a breeder, another owner or by Googling your questions. A Pomeranian could be too big for other reasons. In some cases, a purebred Pomeranian could be a “throwback.” This is where he has the look and possible behaviour of some of his bigger ancestors. If he’s more than 10 pounds and isn’t overweight, you may wish to do more research. Copyright. Denise Leo 2015 All Rights Reserved. www.pomeranian.org