Are Overweight Chihuahuas Unhealthy?
Just as with humans, being overweight can bring on a number of health issues that your dog may have to deal with.
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Because additional weight can put stress on joints and bones, your pup may have to deal with arthritis from a very early age. They could also be at a higher risk of developing Type II Diabetes, which could mean they are in need of an increased amount of insulin.
It is important to have your overweight chihuahua looked at by your local veterinarian. If they do in fact have diabetes and do need insulin, it is important that they get it or they could go into diabetic shock. There could be other medical conditions too that can cause a weight issue so it’s best to get your fur kid checked.
The added stress on joints and bones can also cause issues with their back and spine that will be important to address with your veterinarian as well.
All of these issues could result in the need for additional medications to be taken as well as being placed on a healthy diet to help them lose the excess weight.
In addition, being obese can put your little friend at higher risk of developing high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. This is very dangerous for your pet, as it will cause added stress to be placed on their organs and tissues, which in turn can increase their chances of having these organs fail.
However, this is not even the worst that can happen. Obesity increases your pet’s risk of heart disease. In order to handle all of the extra fat within the body, the heart must work overtime, pumping additional blood.
When combined with the added stress placed on their organs, your pet is more likely to develop heart disease.
How Can I Help My Obese Chihuahua
While it is not impossible to help your chihuahua to lose weight, with some careful preparation and extra time put in by you, your chi should be able to return to a healthy weight.
One easy suggestion to carry out first is to cut out any treats that your pet is given. Because treats typically do not have any health benefits, they really should be cut out altogether until a healthy weight is achieved.
If you cannot stop giving them treats altogether, consider a healthier alternative, such as tiny pieces of cooked chicken breast pieces. They are high in protein and very low in sugar and fat.
Please be careful with what you feed your pet. They should not get any table scraps if any at all as these can easily add to extra weight gain for such a small animal.
It is important to remember the digestive system of this type of dog cannot handle people food in the same way as ours, so giving too much of this type of food can be harmful.
The exception is if you are cooking for your dog and you cook them healthy plain, non-processed foods such as meats (chicken, tuna, beef, lamb, etc.), and plain veggies and fruit (such as green beans and watermelon).
Because they are such small dogs, chihuahuas do not require a large amount of food to be healthy and full throughout the day. In fact, just one to two small (1/8 cup to 1/2 cup) feedings a day is all they need.
Anything over that could be considered overfeeding and could allow them to become overweight very quickly.
If you need to reduce the amount of food your pet is consuming, do so in small amounts until you get down to a healthier amount, rather than cutting it out all at once.
This will help your pet to get used to eating smaller portions. If too much is cut out at once, the body will go into survival mode and actually hold onto fat, which in turn will not help them to lose weight.
Another way for your pet to easily gain weight is by being carried around. Instead, you should have them walk on their own as much as possible.
Ensuring they have enough exercise throughout the day is quite possibly the most important step to ensuring they are able to slim down to a healthy weight.
Taking them for a daily walk or if the weather is bad, playing indoor games with them will give them the exercise they need.
In fact, exercise will not only help them lose weight but will also actually increase their life span, giving you lots of extra time with your favorite little fur kid!
I do want to mention, if you know your chihuahua is getting enough exercise and you are sure you are not overfeeding them, do get your dog checked by the vet.
It could be a medical condition causing the problem. Often it’s something like a thyroid disorder that can be easily and cheaply controlled with medicine.
Is your chihuahua chubby? Or have you helped your chi to lose the weight they needed to lose? If so, we’d love to hear about it so leave a comment below.
Dr. Sara Ochoa
This article has been fact-checked and approved by Dr. Sara Ochoa DVM. You can read more about her on our About page.