My Golden Retriever is Overweight! What Do I Do? 

By Britt Kascjak

Are you worried that your Golden Retriever is looking a little plump? Has your veterinarian expressed concern about your dog’s weight?

A growing number of dogs are meeting the qualifications to be considered overweight or obese.

Keeping your Golden Retriever’s weight down will improve his health and extend his life.

The Health Risks of Obesity

Carrying extra weight is about more than just your Golden Retriever’s appearance. It can also introduce some serious health risks.

Obesity increases your Golden Retriever’s risk of:

  • Arthritis and joint problems
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Urinary bladder stones
  • Many types of cancer

With all these risks, carrying excess weight can significantly reduce your Godlen Retriever’s lifespan.

What Weight is Overweight for a Golden Retriever?

The weight of a healthy, adult Golden Retriever according to the American Kennel Club is:

  • Male 65-75 lbs
  • Female 55-65 lbs

But, the best way to determine if your Golden Retriever is overweight isn’t actually his weight. Instead, it’s by monitoring his body condition.

This means the shape of his body and how he carries the weight.

Stand up and look down upon your Golden Retriever. You should see a defined curve coming inward at his waist.

You should also be able to feel your Golden Retriever’s ribs when you run your hands along his body.

What Can I Feed My Golden Retriever to Lose Weight?

The first thing to consider is whether your Golden Retriever is eating high-quality dog food.

Many budget foods are made with a higher volume of fillers. These ingredients add calories without adding nutritional value.

The other factor about your Golden Retriever’s diet to assess is how much he’s eating.

Even high-quality dog food can contribute to weight gain if your Golden Retriever is eating too much.

If you are feeding your golden retriever homemade food, check with your vet to be sure your dog is getting the right nutrients.

Finally, don’t forget to account for treats. Your dog’s daily calorie intake should be 90% from his food.

If he is eating more than 10% of his daily intake in treats, it’s time to cut back.

In some cases, diet food may be needed. These foods are nutrient-dense with fewer calories.

There are many different diet dog foods available including both wet and dry food, and a variety of protein sources. If you’re interested in more information, contact your veterinarian.

Why Won’t My Golden Retriever Lose Weight?

The most common reason for a Golden retriever not losing weight is the buy-in of other family members.

If you are keeping your Golden Retriever on a strict diet but your spouse is sneaking him treats, he won’t lose any weight. His well-intentioned treating is sabotaging any weight loss efforts.

You should also take a look around to see if there is anything your Golden Retriever can get into on his own.

Whether he’s snacking on the garbage or breaking into the pantry, he may be eating food that isn’t on his diet.

There is a possibility that your Golden Retriever’s inability to lose weight is caused by underlying medical reasons.  Weight gain may be a sign of conditions like hypothyroidism or Cushing’s disease.

Contact your veterinarian and discuss your concerns. They can run some tests and rule out any medical reasons.

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Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.