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View Full Version : I think my cavalier is obese



Libby Lonigro
24th June 2012, 01:12 PM
She is 3 years old and weighs about 14 kg however she is quite tall for a cavalier and I feed her twice a day Beneful dog food for diet. I think it is the snacks I sometimes give her so that she remains occupied. Bones, pigs ears and long lasting chewing treats. She goes for an hour walk with me twice a day. Otherwise she is healthy.

RodRussell
24th June 2012, 02:55 PM
You can determine whether your dog is overweight the same way veterinarians do, by comparing her appearance to a Body Condition Scoring (BCS) index. See two different BCS indices here: http://cavalierhealth.org/diets.htm#Body_Condition_Scoring

waldor
24th June 2012, 07:54 PM
I have both read and heard it said that dog snacks and treats are the equivalent of junk food to humans. I know someone with grossly obese labrador retrievers, because her husband is always giving them treats, literally killing their dogs with his "kindness".

Lani
24th June 2012, 09:28 PM
I hope your dog is not obese as you probably know extra weight on a dog prone to heart issues isn't good. The good news is you can put your dog on a diet to drop a few pounds. My dogs were really just slightly overweight, but I put them on a diet and they lost 4 lbs between late November and April. They acted ilke they were starving, but they got plenty of food and I kept reminding myself that the diet was an investment in their long term health so they can be with me longer. I heard something on the radio about the impact of extra weight on a dog and how it greatly reduces life expectancy. Can't remember the details now though.

That said, a couple tips that might help you:

1) consider giving healthy treats that have good nutritional value. This will help make sure they still get good nutrition when you cut down meal portions. I have a high quality kibble in the treat jar so when we do training or whenever I give them a treat throughout the day, it's just a piece of kibble or a few pieces max (and all that still even ads up! so if your pet is obese, try just one piece of kibble at at time).

2) to keep her occupied, think about using a kong instead of the more fattening pigs ears. I know you can stuff those with biscuits, peanut butter, maybe even put in a carrot or apple which is lower calorie but as long as you get it in there good can take some time to get out. Some people even freeze the kongs to make them extra challenging

3) I know you said you feed bones. Raw (not cooked) meaty bones are really good for them and keep them occupied. I recently discovered split Elk Antlers which my dogs just LOVE! They really keep them occupied and even after they got most of the marrow out they still really keep their interest.

4) Exercise makes such a difference. I'm not sure how much you walk your dog now, but a well exercised dog is less prone to boredom, so you'll have less need for treats to keep her occupied. I know this can be tough, we all get busy, but your dog will really enjoy getting out more to sniff around and explore the neighborhood. Plus, the exercise will help get and keep the weight off your dog, just like with humans.

Good luck!

Karlin
24th June 2012, 11:02 PM
What does your vet say? Weight is not the issue; it is whether her weight is correct for her build. The breed standard is not a precise weight guideline; you need to consider each individual dog.

As others note, in this breed in particular, obesity is an early death sentence and will reduce the time you have with your dog plus reduce her ability to enjoy life-- so if your vet agrees she is fat, please do work very hard to reduce her weight.

A single pigs ear is very fatty and has the calories of at least, a full normal meal for a cavalier. You can get pig ear strips and give one of those *on occasion* instead -- never ever every day! A dog doesn't need treats every day. If you feel you must give treats, switch to something without calories like carrots or other alternatives. There are lots of healthy treat ideas in the Library section of the board. But obesity on our pets is all due to human inability to restrain from feeding -- almost never is it something medical in the dog that cannot be addressed by owners feeding less and exercising more with their dog.

Beneful isn't a great food, but if you wish to stick with it -- and your dog is indeed fat -- cut what you feed by a third, cut out treats, and walk more -- you and your dog will both benefit! :)

For kongs -- I'd recommend mashed banana myself, rather than fattening sticky fillings like peanut butter (a kong full of peanut butter would be more fattening than a pig's ear, but peanut butter can be used definitely with restraint! :) ). If you use banana and freeze them they last even longer.

Do you precisely measure food? Most cavaliers need only about a cup or less in food in total DAILY -- and most people feeding twice daily will feed too much unless they measure. I find most people use bowls way larger than the amount the dog should get -- and then top up. Half a cup of food in a dog dish looks like too little. I feed once a day and measure amounts. I also use small cat sized feeding dishes which then are full with the correct amount a cavalier needs.

MomObvious
25th June 2012, 12:03 AM
I never considered dog treats until I started researching this breed. Since you would rather have a cavalier on the thinner side (not underfed) than the chubbier(not over-fed) side you are going to want to work on that.

First tho, you need to ask your vet about her weight, I believe my Fletcher is going to outgrow the standard for cavaliers but my vet says I'm feeding correctly and he looks find for now, but he's just a puppy.

I think you would benefit if you researched dog food brands try www.dogfoodadviser.com (http://www.dogfoodadviser.com), personally I'm still on the fence about switching my dog to raw but people swear by it. I feed what I think from research and talking to my vet a high great dry kibble and the ONLY treats he gets is raw baby carrots, or frozen green beans on a normal day he really only gets one treat at bedtime anyway. Fletcher it's into Kongs which was a disappointment to be but I too have learned those baby elk spit antlers are wonderful!!!! Also Karlin is right you must measure food.


Melissa

Valentina
26th June 2012, 01:51 PM
Hi, if your dog isn't obese, she's certainly EXTREMELY overweight - please rethink the snacks.

My girl is 7.4kgs & pretty much spot on. She is also slightly longer legged than the average cav.

Please address her diet & keep her in good health. I think sometimes eating is a habit. My cav comes in from a walk, she is a rescue BTW & she would wait & wag her tail for her 'treat'. Her treat is a frozen chicken wing & she loves them, however, this is pretty much it for her until tea time...

BTW the dry kibble is rubbish food for dogs, in fact all animals. It's created for the convenience of humans. Having said that, I'm still offering it to my dog as I move over to raw feeding - she hates it though, which is probably a good thing otherwise I wouldn't be looking into alternatives !

murphy's mum
26th June 2012, 03:33 PM
Murphy weighs in at 11kg, and is super slim. He makes me very jealous :D

He is very tall and long. As had already been said, with different shapes there is no perfect weight that every cavalier will be. Can you feel or see ribs? If not then a pound or two should come off :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Karlin
26th June 2012, 04:32 PM
Hi, if your dog isn't obese, she's certainly EXTREMELY overweight - please rethink the snacks.



How can you know this though? :) We haven;t seen any images of this dog and cannot tell if weight is appropriate. I have had cavaliers into rescue that weighed close to 40lbs and they were appropriate in weight to their build, despite being well beyond breed standard. Breed standard is a basic guideline for show dogs and cannot be used to assess appropriate weight for any given dog. Any more than saying all women should weigh 125-135 lbs. :thmbsup: A vet would be best to make this call for this dog -- someone who can actually see and assess the individual dog in person. :D

MadeleineSarah
26th June 2012, 07:59 PM
Murphy weighs in at 11kg, and is super slim. He makes me very jealous :D

He is very tall and long. As had already been said, with different shapes there is no perfect weight that every cavalier will be. Can you feel or see ribs? If not then a pound or two should come off :)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Oliver is also a skinny mini and 11kgs.
😃

M&O

murphy's mum
26th June 2012, 08:02 PM
Oliver is also a skinny mini and 11kgs.


M&O

"Skinny mini" love it! I call Murph my "wee sausage" :-D

MomObvious
26th June 2012, 08:53 PM
How can you know this though? :) We haven;t seen any images of this dog and cannot tell if weight is appropriate. I have had cavaliers into rescue that weighed close to 40lbs and they were appropriate in weight to their build, despite being well beyond breed standard. Breed standard is a basic guideline for show dogs and cannot be used to assess appropriate weight for any given dog. Any more than saying all women should weigh 125-135 lbs. :thmbsup: A vet would be best to make this call for this dog -- someone who can actually see and assess the individual dog in person. :D


Where is the LIKE button???


I agree, I have a 4 year old son who weights 26 lbs which is 11.7 kg, that is extremely small for a 4 year old however, he's just a small kid he has small parents. Everyone is different so are dogs...

Melissa

DZee
26th June 2012, 09:34 PM
Where is the LIKE button???


I agree, I have a 4 year old son who weights 26 lbs which is 11.7 kg, that is extremely small for a 4 year old however, he's just a small kid he has small parents. Everyone is different so are dogs...

Melissa

Okay...double "LIKE". Soooo true Karlin * The Vet would be the best judge of whether the dog is obese..needs a different diet or not. I agree...there cannot be a set standard. Every dog is different like every individual.

..and like you said Melissa..our grand-daughter is very small for her age ( & doctor says that's fine)
So was I..and so was her Mom.
In fact..my little grandma from Scotland...she was only 4" 11"..and my grandpa was only 5" 6"...so we come from small stock...lol..
My hubby on the other hand comes from the opposite....haha !! He is tall..and his family were all BIG guys.
Yep...everyone is different ( including dogs)....that's what makes it interesting ;)

Super Princess
27th June 2012, 02:29 AM
i remember i was in ireland on a adventure trip a few years back..i googled my user name (As one dose from time to time) and came across a pciture *I* took of MY OLIVER..posted by someone else on another cavalier fourm..saying how horrible of a owner we were for letting him get so 'fat'. i was DEVESTATED and so hurt and angry..i came on here and ranted. then went to the link and deleted all pictures so that this picture didnt show up on the fourm any longer.

we didnt LET him get that fat...we walked him all the time..he was on DIET food.. he was just a round guy.

Valentina
27th June 2012, 05:05 PM
I think this is part of the problem....diet food.

I have a very fat cat who is on diet food. She eats half the amount she's supposed to, but /and is very lazy. As far as I can see her diet food is full of carbs & fat. Ok, so she has a lovely glossy coat, but ribs ? What ribs ?! I'm moving her over to raw very soon (just plucking up the courage !)

I 'm struggling a bit with images of slim Cavs that weigh more than my cav - surely there is a breed standard or else they wouldn't be pedigrees ? Also am wondering if people have lost sight of what is an appropriate weight ?

Maisie is taller & longer than average, yet weighs 7 something kgs - she must be very thin ?! Interestingly, all the cav 's we've seen out walking are, at best, plump. I'm not sure how much she was walked before I got her (a rescue) but its been commented that she doesn't have a lot of muscle on her shoulders.

Yes I realize kids & people are different, I have a tall, strong, but not fat daughter & a short, narrow but not thin daughter. Neither would get into crufts :cool:

murphy's mum
27th June 2012, 06:40 PM
Hi, if your dog isn't obese, she's certainly EXTREMELY overweight - please rethink the snacks.

My girl is 7.4kgs & pretty much spot on. She is also slightly longer legged than the average cav.


What a huge leap to make considering you've never clapped eyes on the dog! Cavalier come in such a wide range of height and length now, my two are complete opposites in both these area's. Misty is shorter, not as long, and has well sprung ribs, she recently lost 1kg after ballooning while on Prednisolone. Murphy is not to breed standards at all, he is 16 inches at the shoulder, and really long, like I said he's 11kg, but looking at him he's not overweight at all. He runs everywhere, and my vet often comments on how muscly he is.



I 'm struggling a bit with images of slim Cavs that weigh more than my cav - surely there is a breed standard or else they wouldn't be pedigrees ? Also am wondering if people have lost sight of what is an appropriate weight ?


I certainly haven't lost sight of either of my two's weight's, overwise Misty wouldn't have been on a diet lately. Here's a picture of my boy(who I'm perfectly happy with!)
http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r215/icklp360/Our%20Life/photo-4.jpg

Kate H
27th June 2012, 08:05 PM
As with humans, dogs vary according to their inherited metabolism, as well as how much they get to eat. Some dogs never put on weight, others only have to look at food to add on the pounds. A fit Cavalier should have a visible waist and you should be able to feel their ribs quite easily. Instead of guessing at a one-size fits all target weight, get your dog to that level of fitness, weigh them and make that their optimum weight and try to keep them to it.

The UK breed standard specifies 12 - 18lb (roughly 5.5kg - 8kg), but very few show dogs are 12lb and quite a few are over 18lb. A lot of pet Cavaliers are bigger and taller, so will weigh a little more. My Oliver has been a (moderately successful) show dog, is 14ins at the shoulder, weighs 10kg/22lb and is very fit. Aled is a little smaller, also fit and quite slim and usually weighs around 9.8kg. He eats about half the amount Oliver gets and isn't greedy. Oliver eats twice as much and is a constant hoover and thief when he can manage it! So although you will need to have a target weight in mind when trying to slim down a very overweight Cavalier, with other Cavaliers just keep them at what for them as individuals is fit and don't worry too much about comparing weights.

If your vet is like mine, they will tell you when your dog is fit and the right weight by constantly exclaiming 'It's so nice to see a fit Cavalier!'

Kate, Oliver and Aled

Lukesmom
29th June 2012, 04:40 AM
As with humans, dogs vary according to their inherited metabolism, as well as how much they get to eat. Some dogs never put on weight, others only have to look at food to add on the pounds. A fit Cavalier should have a visible waist and you should be able to feel their ribs quite easily. Instead of guessing at a one-size fits all target weight, get your dog to that level of fitness, weigh them and make that their optimum weight and try to keep them to it. The UK breed standard specifies 12 - 18lb (roughly 5.5kg - 8kg), but very few show dogs are 12lb and quite a few are over 18lb. A lot of pet Cavaliers are bigger and taller, so will weigh a little more. My Oliver has been a (moderately successful) show dog, is 14ins at the shoulder, weighs 10kg/22lb and is very fit. Aled is a little smaller, also fit and quite slim and usually weighs around 9.8kg. He eats about half the amount Oliver gets and isn't greedy. Oliver eats twice as much and is a constant hoover and thief when he can manage it! So although you will need to have a target weight in mind when trying to slim down a very overweight Cavalier, with other Cavaliers just keep them at what for them as individuals is fit and don't worry too much about comparing weights. If your vet is like mine, they will tell you when your dog is fit and the right weight by constantly exclaiming 'It's so nice to see a fit Cavalier!' Kate, Oliver and Aled My cavalier is basically the smallest cavalier we've ever met. He's about 13 inches at the shoulder, and last he was weighed, he was 14.9 lbs. That's a new top weight for him. He's 3 (DOB 2/7/09). Up until last year, when he started Flyball training, he was right around 13.5 lbs. Once he got into it, he went over 14 lbs, and was generally around 14.5, give or take a few ounces. I've been doing a lot of muscle building work (jumping over and back over a jump, going up on his back legs to touch a target stick, and working on a handstand) to get him more conditioned for when he starts racing, so I think that's why he's a little bit heavier now. He's very muscular for the breed, and has an abdominal tuck, but you have to get your hands under his hair to notice it. I can tell if he's gained a few ounces just by picking him up. Anyway, I am happy with his condition. Most of the vets where I take him are happy with his condition, though one this winter suggested putting a pound on him for the winter. I prefer to keep him on the slightly thin side, basically just making ideal weight. Our vet has multiple doctors, and except that one, everyone is very pleased with his condition. Because he is involved in something that basically involves repetitive jumping, and hitting the box, I think it's more important for him not to carry any extra weight.

Karlin
29th June 2012, 08:49 AM
Breed height standard is actually 12 inches at the shoulder, so he'd actually be a little tall f 13". :) And even at 13.5 he is into breed standard weight so I wouldn't worry or consider this to be too small a size. I have two that are 11 and 12 lbs or so (rescues) and they are both in good weight for their build -- no reason to put extra weight on them. :D

Lots of cavaliers -- at least half of all I ever got into national rescue over 7 years -- were either under or over breed standard weights -- mostly over. So it really is just a guideline for the breed but not a requirement for the health of an individual dog whose build might not match breed standard.

On the health end of things, keeping a cavalier in good weight and even slightly on the lean side is going to mean the dog will have considerably more likelihood of living longer. A study on labradors concluded being overweight cut on average about 2 YEARS off the dog's life and that is in a breed that doesn't have endemic heart disease like the cavalier so keeping dogs fit and in proper weight is so important. Exercise is so important too and doing fun activities like agility and flyball is fantastic! Most dogs just love these activities even if done on the most casual basis. :)

One real weight concern are breeders who deliberately breed small cavaliers especially anything ridiculous like 'teacup cavaliers' which does have a considerable risk of introducing serious health problems in individual dogs.

Lukesmom
18th July 2012, 05:23 AM
Breed height standard is actually 12 inches at the shoulder, so he'd actually be a little tall f 13". :) And even at 13.5 he is into breed standard weight so I wouldn't worry or consider this to be too small a size. I have two that are 11 and 12 lbs or so (rescues) and they are both in good weight for their build -- no reason to put extra weight on them. :D

Lots of cavaliers -- at least half of all I ever got into national rescue over 7 years -- were either under or over breed standard weights -- mostly over. So it really is just a guideline for the breed but not a requirement for the health of an individual dog whose build might not match breed standard.

On the health end of things, keeping a cavalier in good weight and even slightly on the lean side is going to mean the dog will have considerably more likelihood of living longer. A study on labradors concluded being overweight cut on average about 2 YEARS off the dog's life and that is in a breed that doesn't have endemic heart disease like the cavalier so keeping dogs fit and in proper weight is so important. Exercise is so important too and doing fun activities like agility and flyball is fantastic! Most dogs just love these activities even if done on the most casual basis. :)

One real weight concern are breeders who deliberately breed small cavaliers especially anything ridiculous like 'teacup cavaliers' which does have a considerable risk of introducing serious health problems in individual dogs.

The CKCSC standard, and he is CKCSC registered, is 12-13 inches. I've never had him wicket measured, I just measured with a tape measure so we could have an idea for flyball what his jump height will be. He's somewhere between 12-13 inches, but probably closer to 13. I'm not worried about him being too small, he's just on the smaller side of normal really. Around here, compared to most of the cavaliers, he, and the other cavaliers who do agility where we do flyball just look scrawny (even though they are the ones who are actually the right size).

Karlin
18th July 2012, 09:56 AM
he, and the other cavaliers who do agility where we do flyball just look scrawny (even though they are the ones who are actually the right size).

Yes I know the feeling -- sometimes people ask why my cavaliers are so small. But it is a perception issue -- they are all just average size, all but one within current breed standard size, and all in good (low) weight). It's all about exercise and limiting their access to food. Unless a dog has a serious issue like a thyroid problem, losing weight isn't hard (especially compared to our own human struggles!) == just don't feed as much. After all we have the opposable thumbs, not the dogs. If food is safely stored, they can't get it out of cupboards, containers or refrigerators themselves. :lol:

With our dogs, as with children (as pediatricians say) -- we do seem as societies across much of the developed world to have had our visual fatometer skewed to where we view overweight sizes as normal and tend to see obesity as just being 'a bit overweight'. This presents as much a health risk and life shortener to dogs as to humans and is as much an epidemic with our animals as it is for us all.