Keeping your Yorkie in good shape is crucial for keeping them healthy and mobile. After all, an overweight Yorkie could suffer from sore joints, diabetes, or breathing problems, among other health issues. But how do you know how much a Yorkie should weigh and whether your fur child is overweight? And if your Yorkie is carrying a few extra pounds, how do you help them slim down?
Is your Yorkie overweight?
Every dog is different, even if they are the same breed. Therefore, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ perfect weight that suits all Yorkshire Terriers. A healthy weight for a larger Yorkie might mean a smaller-sized Yorkie was obese! Of course, it’s not just Yorkies that can become podgy, you can read tips on how to help an obese chihuahua here.
The breed standard weight for the Yorkshire Terrier is 7 lbs, but of course, not every dog will (or should) weigh exactly this. A broader range of 6lbs to 8lbs is more accommodating but doesn’t account for the fact that there is quite a range of heights and builds when it comes to Yorkies. So, if your dog lies outside the ideal range, they might still be healthy. Using a measurement called Body Condition Score, their body fat can be more accurately assessed.
Body Condition Score
Body Condition Score (BCS) is a far more reliable indicator of whether an individual pooch is overweight, underweight, or just right. You can ask your veterinarian to show you if you are unsure, but if you want to have a go at home:
- Feel how prominent the spinous processes are (the bumps you can feel along your dog’s back). You should be able to feel them, but not see them, and they shouldn’t be prominent.
- Feel how prominent your dog’s ribs are. You should be able to feel them, but in most breeds, you shouldn’t be able to see them.
- Look at your dog from above. Their waist should curve inwards, if it is straight or bulges outwards they’re overweight.
- Check this chart to give your dog a score from 1 to 9.
What makes a Yorkie overweight?
If your Yorkie is overweight, what might be causing them to gain weight?
It could be that they’re eating too much food. Different dog foods have different calorie contents and nutritional values. For example, most dry dog biscuits are more calorie-dense than fresh or wet dog food. So, if your dog eats a lightly cooked human-grade dog food with whole food ingredients, they’ll be able to eat more of it to get the same number of calories as dry dog food. This could keep your dog feeling more satisfied for longer.
Perhaps it’s not the amount of dog food that you’re feeding, but what the dog food contains. For example, if a dog is fed a diet that is high in carbohydrates and fats, they’ll gain weight.
Of course, if your dog gets regular treats then that’s likely to be a factor in their weight gain! Dog treats are often full of carbohydrates or fat, and some pet parents are surprised when they realize just how fattening human tidbits are for their four-legged friends.
Dogs need exercise, of course, and Yorkshire Terriers are no exception. However, even an active lifestyle is unlikely to help shift your dog’s weight if their diet isn’t right. On the other hand, if your dog doesn’t get out for a good walk at least once or twice a day, it could be a factor in their excessive weight.
How can you help an overweight Yorkie lose weight?
So, now you know whether your Yorkie is overweight, and perhaps you’ve identified some of the reasons why they might be carrying some extra pounds. But what can you do about it?
If you want to keep your dog at a healthy weight, or even help them lose weight, it’s important to make sure you’re feeding them the right amount. Some brands have a customized feeding calculator that has an option that allows your dog to lose weight at a gradual pace.
Now that you know you’re feeding the right amount, it’s also important to make sure the dog food you’re offering suits your dog’s needs. Feeding a human-grade diet that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates should not only help keep them feeling fuller for longer, but it should also help keep your dog lean. Remember, it’s important to transition your dog’s food gradually to help prevent a stomach upset.
If you’re trying to help your Yorkie lose weight, try to cut out treats and human tidbits altogether. Dogs don’t need treats, and if their dog food is tasty enough, they should be satisfied with that.
Sadly, unless your dog is currently housebound, it’s unlikely that exercising them more will be the key to their weight loss. That being said, to keep their joints and muscles moving, and boost their well-being, it’s a good idea to take your dog out at least once a day.
Being a pet parent can be tricky. On the one hand, we want to spoil our fur babies, but we also want to remember to keep them as healthy as possible. If your Yorkie is overweight, cutting back on treats and making the switch to a diet that’s low in carbohydrates can help keep them lean.
How can I help my overweight Yorkie?
The key to helping any dog lose weight is choosing a low-carbohydrate diet and feeding the right amount of it. However, even if you do this if they’re also getting lots of treats they probably won’t lose much weight so make sure to scale back the amount of treats you’re giving your Yorkie.
What is considered overweight for a Yorkie?
Over 8 lbs could be considered overweight for the average Yorkie. However, every dog is different. Therefore, it’s more accurate to ask your veterinarian to help you to check their Body Condition Score.
Why is my Yorkie gaining weight?
If your Yorkie is gaining weight, it’s either because they’re eating too much, eating the wrong food, or they’re not active enough.