Maybe you’re here because you think your Weim may have packed on a few too many pounds, or maybe you’re here because your Weim looks skinny — either way, I see a lot of people who really do not know just how much their Weim should weigh. So let’s dispel any myths on this touchy subject, for the sake of your Weim’s health!
Ever hear this? “My Weim is 100 pounds of pure muscle!” It raises my eyebrows for sure.
Almost anyone that is involved in Weimaraners as a breeder or in any of the various performance venues will tell you that “100 pounds” and “pure muscle” simply cannot describe the same Weimaraner.
Here’s the deal. Most people have never seen what “solid muscle” looks like, so take a look at Sara’s Vera:
The Weimaraner standard allows for females to be 22-26” at the withers (highest point of the shoulder) and for males to be 24-28” when measured the same way.
The AKC Weimaraner standard does NOT specify a weight standard. I cannot tell you how many US-based websites I’ve seen that lists a standard weight for Weims. #petpeeve!
Now, the FCI standard (the German standard) does: Males should be about 30 – 40 kg (66 – 88 lb), and females: about 25 – 35 kg (55 – 77 lb).
So, as a guideline, we can reasonably say that the average for a male should be about 75 pounds and females should be about 65 pounds.
All of that is said with a caveat. Even though there is either no weight standard or quite a generous range, all standards recognize that Weimaraners are a hunting breed and streess moderation.
Big, over-sized Weimaraners cannot do their jobs, and 100 pounds is waaay more than the top end of 88 pounds. Your dog is fat. And at risk for various diseases:
- Increased risk of hip dysplasia
- Arthritis related to inactivity and stress on bones, joints, and ligaments
- Ligament tears and joint instability
- Disc disease and back problems
- High blood pressure, heart disease, and valve problems leading to congestive heart failure
- Difficulty breathing due to increased abdominal girth (in extreme cases), leading to a cycle of inactivity
- Decreased stamina
- Heat intolerance (polar bears have loads of fat, but it’s not too helpful for your dog!)
- Decreased liver function/elevated liver enzymes (it’s called “fatty liver” for a reason!)
- Increased surgical risk
- Increased risk with anesthesia
- Reproductive problems: difficulty carrying and delivering puppies, decreased libido, etc.
- Decreased immune function (the cause of this is unknown, but overweight dogs seem to have trouble with recovering from both viral and bacterial infections)
- Skin and coat problems
- Increased risks of certain cancers
- Decreased quality and length of life. Need I say more?!
How To Tell If Your Weim Is Too Fat
Look at her when she’s standing normally. You should see a noticeable tuck-up behind her ribs.
Stand above her and look down. Your dog should have a definite “hourglass” shape, with hips, waist, and ribcage clearly defined. Her spine should be easy to find, not covered by fat.
Run your hands along her ribcage. What do you feel? There is only a thin layer of muscle covering the ribs, so anything you feel on top of your dog’s ribs is (surprise!) fat!
The muscles of your Weim’s shoulders and thighs should be well-defined and firm.
Is there a little roll or dimple that collects at the base of her tail? There shouldn’t be! When she’s sitting, does she get a “roll” in her lower abdomen? Or does her belly look sleek and hard?
Older dogs may have a little tummy, but (just like us!) if you can grab a handful, Baby Dog needs to go on a diet. Dogs have six-pack abs under there, too!
How To Put Your Weim On A Diet
Now that I’ve convinced you that showing a little rib is a good thing, let me tell ya how to do it. Just like you, your Weim will feel her best — in the form of more energy and better focus — when she drops those extra pounds.
Learn What A Healthy Weim Looks Like
And admit that yours may be carrying some extra poundage. The first step is the hardest! Pfizer found that while 47% of vets noted that dogs in their practice were obese, only 17% of those dogs had owners who agreed. Wow!
Take A Trip To The Vet
You need to check in every now and then anyway, but if you are putting your Weim on a diet, make sure your dog is healthy enough to start a weight loss program. Don’t let your vet talk you into a “special” diet though, unless your dog has a legitimate medical condition. Your dog’s “regular” food will be just fine — when fed correctly!
Look At Your Dog’s Bowl of Food
Whatever is in there, it’s too much. Feed a little less!
Don’t go by the dog food guidelines. Not all dogs have the same kind of metabolism. Often this step alone will help your dog drop the extra pounds. Split this into two feedings a day.
No free feeding where your dog has free access to food all day! That works for some breeds, but not Weims!
Add A Filler
If your dog acts hungry (She will, she’s a Weim!) add a filler. Green beans work great. Adding some water to your dog’s food also helps her feel full and may help prevent bloat associated with excessive water intake after a meal.
Make A Plan
Talk to all members of your family about your plan. Nobody can sneak Baby Girl treats!
Cut Out the Treats
Just kidding! But do make them healthy: broccoli florets, asparagus, carrots, apples, string cheese, low fat hot dogs. Yes, your dog will like these things!
You can also use your Weim’s normal kibble as treats, adequately reducing her normal rations accordingly of course! Yes, Weims respond well to food treats, but one of the best things about Weims is that they love attention, don’t forget what a powerful motivator affection and praise is for your dog!
And take your dog. Just as if you were starting an exercise program, begin slow and work up to your goal. Your dog’s fitness level will determine how you start exercising.
Off leash walks can be great because all Weims love to smell and explore. Some of them just may do it slower than others.
There are also all sorts of inventive ways to exercise your Weim if you don’t have acreage for your Weim to run on!
- Alenza, DP; Rutterman, GR; Pena, L; et al. Relation between habitual diet and canine mammary tumors in a case-control study. Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine. 1998;12:132-139.
- Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. Nutrition and the Management of Weight Control. In Healthcare Connection: Clinical Module Level II: 117-154.
- Markwell, PJ. Canine Calorie Control. In: Applied Clinical Nutrition of the Dog and Cat. Waltham USA:1-15.
- Wolfsheimer, KJ. Obesity in dogs. The Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian. 1994:981-998.
- Wolfsheimer, KJ. Obesity. In Ettinger, SJ; Feldman, EC (eds): Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine. W.B. Saunders Co. Philadelphia, PA; 2000;70-72.
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