Is My Poodle Overweight? Here’s How to Tell


If your poodle is overweight, it is important to make needed changes in order to regain their health. Over half of all canine pets are overweight, and your poodle may be one of them.

Is your poodle overweight? Here’s how to tell:

  • Make sure you can feel their ribs. If not, your poodle may be overweight.
  • Examine the base of their tail for fat rings preventing you from feeling the bone.
  • Take note of your dog’s shape while standing over them.
  • Decide if your poodle is having difficulty breathing when walking.
  • Check that your poodle’s abdominal tuck is smaller than their chest.

Your pet’s weight can be affected by a considerable amount of factors. If your pet is unhealthy, the risk to their life should be considered. Consider the dangers listed below as you make the changes your pet needs.

The Dangers of Your Poodle Being Over or Under a Healthy Weight

The dangers of your canine companion being over or under a healthy weight are similar to those of the dangers a human may face.

The dangers of poodle’s being overweight or underweight include:

  • Damage to bones, joints, and ligaments. Overweight animals are very likely to suffer from joint pain and even develop arthritis. Torn ligaments, especially in the knees, are also common for overweight animals. The damage caused to the bones due to carrying extra weight can be life-threatening should they break or cause a serious lack of mobility. Underweight animals may also be more prone to damage to these areas due to a lack of nutrients and strength.
  • Difficulty breathing. Extra fat in the chest can cause your animal to have difficulty breathing. It creates less room for lungs to expand and can make it hard for your pet to take a proper breath. Lack of oxygen can also further damage the lungs as well as cause great health concerns for the rest of your pet’s body.
  • Diabetes Mellitus. This is also known as “sugar diabetes.” It occurs due to your body creating extra insulin in response to excess fat. This can lead to your pet being reliant on medicine.
  • Heart Diseases. The extra weight will put extra strain on their hearts. This can cause damage and weakening of the muscles and eventually may lead to congestive heart failure. Having an underweight dog can also put a strain on the heart as their body tries to combat its symptoms.
  • Increased Blood Pressure. This is also known as “hypertension” and occurs due to the extra strain on your body to work properly.
  • Decreased liver function. The liver actually stores fat so, the more fat there is, the more fat there will be in their liver. This can lead to serious complications and even end up in the liver failing.
  • Increased surgical risk. This means that should your dog need surgery, them being overweight can cause them to be at risk. Circulation is important, especially for surgery. A damaged heart cannot effectively keep good circulation. Anesthesia can also be dangerous because extra fat will need to be burned for them to wake up from it, and if the liver is fatty, it cannot process the anesthesia normally, either. Underweight animals may need less anesthesia.
  • Decreased Stamina. It takes a lot of work to lug around those extra pounds. You will likely notice an overweight dog playing less, not wanting to go on very long walks, or even climbing stairs. If your animal is suffering joint pain from the weight, this will also lead to less activity.
  • Decreased Immune Function. When your dog doesn’t have a healthy body, it can’t keep them healthy as well, either. In order to be able to keep them at their best, their immune systems need every leg up they can get. Underweight animals are also more likely to suffer immune deficiency due to the lack of nutrients. Their body needs particular nutrients as humans do in order to fight off illness.
  • Skin and fur problems. Overweight animals tend to produce more oils on their skin. This can cause infections in rolled skin as well as hair loss. Underweight animals are more likely to have dryer skin and also may lose hair due to lack of nutrients and oils.
  • Digestive troubles. An overweight dog is more prone to gas and intestinal complications. Underweight dogs are also more likely to suffer complications with their digestive systems.
  • Increased risk of cancer. Cancer of the bladder is much more likely in animals of unhealthy weights.

Check out this article I recently wrote on cancer in poodles. In it, you’ll learn which cancers are most common in poodles and the symptoms that may suggest the onset of cancer.

  • Decreased quality of life. If your dog is unhealthy, they are likely unhappy. The strain on your dog will lead to overall stress and illness. If your dog cannot thoroughly enjoy life, its quality has already diminished.

Some individuals feel that restricting an overweight animal’s food will make them unhappy or even dissatisfied with their owner. However, a healthy dog is worth setting the boundaries. They will have a much-improved life and have a chance to live it longer, as well.

Why Do Poodles Become Over or Under a Healthy Weight?

The most common reason for a pet with an unhealthy weight is overfeeding or underfeeding your them. Pet parents may not realize the disservice they are doing their pets when they set large bowls of food out to be eaten out of boredom. However, there are other reasons outside of their diet that may cause a pet to be an unhealthy weight.

  • Certain breeds are naturally smaller or larger than most. This means that from day one, you will need to combat this occurrence the best you can with food, exercise, or whatever else your vet may recommend.
  • Older age can cause a slower metabolism. So, as your dog gains in years, they may also gain in weight. Several food brands offer special foods for older pets who are in need of particular diets.
  • Lack of activity will cause weight gain. A regular schedule of activity for your animal is as important as it is for you. Keeping active is an essential part of staying in good health.
  • Elderly dogs are often less interested in being active and eating. This means they are more likely to be underweight. However, in many cases, their weight loss isn’t of significant level and is not very dangerous. As your pet begins to reach the years of old age, they may be readying themselves for their last leg of life.
  • Hormones can cause weight gain. This means a thyroid disorder or Cushing’s disease may be a possibility. This is also another reason why seeking a vet’s guidance can help your pet the most. Untrained owners may miss a more serious issue.
  • Animals who are recently spayed or neutered may gain or lose weight. It is more common for a weight gain to happen, but, in some cases, your animal may lose weight in response to the change. Primarily it can lower your animal’s metabolism.

The reason behind your Poodle’s weight can be a mystery, but the most common reasons are listed above. Keep an eye on them and try to make the best, healthiest choices for your pets.

How to Tell if Your Poodle is Not a Healthy Weight

First off, you should talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pet. They will be able to tell you if something is wrong, what to change, and how to change it. The vet will also be able to give you unique advice for your specific pet, based on its individual needs. However, if you can’t make it to the vet just yet for whatever reason, there are things you can do to tell if your animal is not a healthy weight.

  • Check their ribs to see if you can feel them at all. If you can’t feel them or other prominent bones in your dog’s body, it is very likely that your dog is overweight. If you can feel any bones abnormally well or if they are noticeable through sight from a distance, your pet may be underweight.
  • Examine the base of their tail for any fat ring preventing you from feeling the bone. If you can’t feel the bone, then your dog is overweight. If feeling around their tail or other bones seems to cause your dog distress, they may be underweight and in pain or discomfort because of it.
  • Look at your dog while standing over them to take note of your dog’s shape. This perspective will allow you to tell if your pet has a waist. If you can tell where the ribs and hips begin, then they may not be overweight. If you can’t, then they may be. If their body is jagged and you can notice their bones very well, then they are likely underweight.
  • Check their breathing for any difficulty or strain. If they are getting tuckered out and are wheezing with basic movements, there may be a concern. If they have trouble running or climbing stairs, they may need to be checked out.
  • Check their abdominal tuck to see if it is smaller than their chest. If the areas behind the ribs are properly smaller than their chest, your animal is probably healthy.

More often than not, if your pet is an unhealthy weight, you will know. Listen to what your animals are trying to tell you and pay attention to how they are behaving.

How to Help Your Poodle Reach a Healthy Weight

The solutions to your animal’s weight trouble are pretty straight forward. The obvious first step is to get help from the vet in case of serious concerns. Some animals are underweight because of situations they were in before you gave them a home, so be sure to keep that in mind when adopting a pet and caring for them. There are other solutions, as well as seeking a vet’s help, as well.

Help Them Lose Weight Help Them Gain Weight
Exercise regularly and vigorously. Do as much as your pet can handle and do it often. Don’t push them more than they can handle and let them increase their activity as they regain their mobility. Allowing your dog access to toys will also help them stay more active. Scheduled feeding can be helpful to an animal who is underweight. Sometimes animals need a schedule to follow, or they may not eat enough throughout the day, especially rescue dogs who may not feel safe eating at all times.
Portion Control is also a key factor. Make sure they eat a proper amount throughout the day. One way you can do that is with a timed portion feeder or other specialized feeders.
Create a safe environment for your animal. If it is more emotional than a physical reason they are underweight, the environment they need to eat in should reflect their needs.
Specialized food for weight loss will also be helpful. Make sure that you have high-quality food for your pet, as lower-quality foods will have a lot of fillers in them that are not only unhealthy but can also increase unhealthy weight gain. High-protein foods are good for animals who need to gain a healthy weight. Being sure they eat high-quality food with the best ingredients will also help your pet feel well taken care of.

I feed my dog high-quality food from Pet Plate to help my dog maintain a healthy weight. Pet Plate is a premium dog food subscription service that provides freshly cooked and pre-portioned meals, and snacks, completely customized for your dog. I really love the fact that Pet Plate delivers the highest quality meals to my door without me ever having to think about it! Check out Pet Plate here to find more information and see if Pet Plate is right for you and your pet.

Specialty Feeders Can Help With your Poodle’s Weight Loss

Some animals need help in their weight loss or gain efforts. Many automatic or specialized feeders can also benefit humans in the way that many will feed your pets without you needing to be around for it. Others require your pet to be active in order to gain their food. There are options on Amazon suitable for most budgets and poodle types, as well as options for multi-pet households.

  • Outward Hound Fun Feeder makes your dog work for each bite. It is designed so your dog will need to take its time while they eat, which will, in turn, allow your dog to feel full before they overeat. You can find it here.
  • PAWISE Automatic Pet Feeder allows you to program 5 portioned meals a day to be proved for your pet. This feeder can be found here and is designed for people who can’t personally feed their animals multiple times per day.
  • Jnwayb Automatic Pet Feeder is designed to drop up to 6 portions of food into its bowl throughout the day. This is ideal for pets and owners who need to have food throughout the day. It is completely programmable and can be found here.
  • IQZoo, The Intelligent Dog Feeder, brings fun and activity to mealtime. This is a fillable toy, which you can find here, and it requires your pet to be active as they eat. This also allows your pet to take their time with each bite and hopefully not overeat.
  • PortionProRx can best be described as the ultimately controlled feeding instrument. It comes with RFID tags that you hook to your pets’ collar. This allows the machine to provide food to only the pet currently at the machine and only the amount programmed for that pet to have, specifically. You can find the PortionProRK here.

When you are picking the right feeder for your pet, make sure to consider the type of feeding help they or you may need. If your pet is underweight, don’t get a feeder that may make it less likely that your pet will get enough to eat.

The Takeaway

Animals could be at an unhealthy weight for numerous reasons, but, as their pet parent, it is up to you to help them. Keep an eye on their bodies—their shape, the way they move, how hard activity is for them if they can breathe well—and seek a vet’s help if there is ever a point that your pet’s health is at risk.

If your pet is under or over a healthy weight, consider your options for fixing this. Also, consider why it happened in the first place. If your pet needs new food or a new feeding schedule, do the research to find what is best for your specific animal or animals. Always ask your vet first, as they are trained to keep pets healthy.

Also, consider the situation your pet came from. If you are adopting a pet, be sure to talk to whoever you are getting them from about anything that may affect your pet’s life. Abuse and neglect can often lead to a pet that has a harder time adjusting, and that can include healthy eating and activity habits. If your pet is a stray, realize that they may take more time to adjust, as well.

Keep your pet healthy with regular and appropriate exercise. If you don’t let your dog run around and play, for example, they aren’t going to develop in a healthy manner. If you notice your dog losing interest or stamina, seek a vet’s help and make adjustments as needed. Often the solutions to keeping your canine friend healthy are the obvious ones, but other times they may be more concerning.

Above all, realize that you are the one who has to make changes for your pet’s health. They can’t exercise more if you don’t give them a way to do so, and they can’t eat healthier without you providing the means to do so. Make a healthy choice for your pet’s health.

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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