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Diet - Weight


Overweight Pomeranians


The Pomeranian is not a breed that is prone to becoming overweight since they are naturally a tiny breed. However, there are some Poms that end up carrying a few extra pounds. This is most often seen with Poms on the larger end of the standard, or those that have larger bone structure than normal. 

Toy breed dogs show weight gain very easily due to their size. Even a 1 pound (.45 kg) gain can make a dramatic difference on a toy breed dog as opposed to a Husky that could gain a pound and no one would notice.

It will be the older adult and senior Pomeranians (8 years and older) that will most often have weight issues severe enough to warrant a diet. However, it is not uncommon for a Pom with certain health issues to gain weight due to being less active or to be ordered to lose a bit of weight to help with an existing medical condition.

Reasons for Putting a Pomeranian on a Diet

Some examples of reasons to lose weight (even just a pound) as part of a treatment program for health issues include:
  • Collapsed trachea - When the rings around the windpipe are damaged, veterinarians look to see if the dog can lose even just a bit of weight since any amount lost will put less stress on the trachea and help improve breathing.
  • Canine diabetes - Most often seen in aging dogs, an older Pomeranian may need to diet off 1 or 2 pounds to help the body better control blood sugar levels.
  • Hip dysplasia - This is a slippage or weakened hip joint and socket. Excess weight - and again it does not need to be much - puts stress on an already sensitive joint. 
The Effects of a Dog Being Overweight

Just as with humans, dogs will suffer the consequences of being overweight. This can cause many canine health issues including:
  • Stress on the joints of the dog
  • Limited mobility for the dog to exercise/ interact with family
  • Canine diabetes - Which is a chronic serious health issue
  • Strain on the dog's heart... and more

How to Know if Your Pom Needs to Diet

Since this breed can have such a thick, full coat it is often difficult for owners to notice any problems in this regard.

Do keep in mind that this section is mainly discussing adult Pomeranian dogs. Puppies are supposed to be round and carry puppy fat. The extra fat as insulation to help keep them warm and as an extra fuel reserve.

With puppies, unless there are medical conditions that are at play, there is no need to be concerned about dieting until the adult years.

During your once-a-year vet visits for healthy checkups, your Pom's veterinarian will alert you if there has been a weight gain that is significant enough to be a cause for concern.

At home, you can make an assessment to see if your dog is carrying too many pounds by taking a good look at him once he is soaked down during bath time. Ribs should be just barely visible. If the are sticking out, this is a sign of malnutrition and being underweight. If they can not be seen and also can not be felt at all, this is a sign of being too heavy.

Other Reasons for a Pomeranian Being Large

There are some instances in which a purebred Pomeranian will be a 'Throwback' Pom, a term used to describe a dog who has the appearance (and sometimes the behavior) of its much larger ancestors. 

There are also partial throwbacks. If your purebred Pomeranian is over 10 pounds (4.35 kg) and not overweight, you may wish to read about Throwback Pomeranians.
Pomeranian in a basket
If your Pom will not remain on a scale, put a basket on the scale and weigh it. Then, put your Pom inside the basket. Take the weight you see, minus the weight of the basket and you will know how much your Pomeranian weighs.

Health Issues that Can Cause Weight Gain

All adult dogs that appear overweight should be checked out by a veterinarian to first rule out a health issue that may causing the problem. Some conditions that can cause weight gain include:
  • Ascites - A condition in which the body retains too much fluid. The most common sign is a very extended belly on a dog that eats healthy and has daily exercise.
  • Parasitic infection - Many types of worm infections can cause a dog to gain weight. This is diagnosed with blood and stool samples.
  • Thyroid issues - An under-active thyroid can cause a slowing of the metabolism that results in weight gain for dogs.
  • Cushing's disease - This is not that common with the Pomeranian breed however it is always a possibility. With this condition, there is an overproduction of cortisol that manifests with weakness, weight gain, increased appetite and thirst, and hair loss.

Lifestyle and Habits that Can Cause Weight Gain with a Pom

If a Pom is deemed healthy, other than the excess pounds, it will be due to taking in more calories than is burned off. 

This is often due to both eating too many calories and not exercising enough. 

Too many calories: While most owners have good intentions and honestly do not believe that their dog is eating too much, there are 4 main elements that contribute to over-ingestion of calories:

Snacking - Many dogs are given little treats through out the day, these small calories snacks can add up quickly.

Begging - It is hard to resist those puppy eyes. A dog may beg for food unless you train him to know that you will not give in. If you give in once, your dog may not leave you alone until he gets a bit of your dinner. Throwing down those little pieces of cheeseburgers or pasta can add up, especially with a tiny Pomeranian.

The Finicky Eater - A dog that seems to refuse to eat his food can be quite a challenge. An owner may then feed the dog human food on a regular basis and such a diet can be calorie dense. 

Performance Eating - Dogs are sometimes given treats every time that they behave nicely. While it is important to give praise and sometimes a reward to reinforce good behavior, this should not be done all day long. 

Not enough exercise: In addition to issues with the food that a Pom is eating, if a dog gradually becomes less active, either due to an owner's busy schedule or a health/mobility issue, this can cause a Pom to gain extra weight as fewer calories are being burned. 

For optimal health, 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day is important. 

How to Help a Pomeranian Lose Weight

If your Pomeranian has been cleared of all possible health issues, and the vet has determined that he indeed needs to lose a few pounds, it will be time to put your Pomeranian on a diet.

This will involve both lowering calorie counts for the day and increasing exercise times. However, this does not have to be an unhappy time. 

In fact, you may find that you feel much better knowing that you are giving your Pom tasty yet healthy treats and food. And getting a bit more active can often boost the mood of both dogs and their owners. 

Main meals: Dogs do best when they are allowed to eat the same amount of food, but with fewer calories. In this way, a Pomeranian never needs to feel hungry, and you do not need to feel guilty. 

There are two basics options:

1) You may keep your Pom on his regular food, but removed some of the kibble and replace it with very low calorie ingredients. This method would be recommended if you've had issues with your Pomeranian tolerating a food, and finally found the right one. 

Also, this is only recommended if you feel confident that the chosen brand is a quality 4 or 5 star food.

If you opt for this, you will want to remove 1/4 of the kibble, and mix in a blend of baby carrots, green peas, sugar snap peas, and/or diced cucumber that by volume replaces the amount of food that you have removed. Be sure to stir this up very well, so that your Pom cannot pick out just the good bits. 

2) The other option is to see if your chosen brand offers a diet formula. This may be labeled 'diet', 'healthy weight' or other terms; be sure to compare the calorie count and fat ratios to his current variety. 

One of our top recommended foods for Poms, Wellness, has a diet formula; it is Wellness Complete Small Breed Healthy Weight Turkey & Rice and is typically very well received by most Pomeranians. 
Snacks: Since most dogs ingest 10 to 30% of their calories from snacking and being rewarded with treats, looking to cut calories here for a Pomeranian on a diet is a wise choice. 

Just as with any other food that you give to your Pom, be sure that it is made in the USA, and does not contain any artificial preservatives, coloring, or flavoring. 

There are some great tasty treats which are amazingly low in calories if you look to the Fruitable line of snacks. There is Fruitables Skinny Minis Apple Bacon Treats which is a flavor dogs just love and has only 3.5 calories per piece. 
And there is also Fruitables Skinny Mini Pumpkin & Mango Treats which offers a burst of deliciousness at also just the 3.5 calories. 
Exercising: The changes that you make to your Pomeranian's diet will have the biggest effect on helping him lose weight. However, increasing his daily exercise plays a role as well. 

Since overweight dogs can be experiencing discomfort on their joints, have mobility issues, and get out of breath rather quickly, you will want to do a very gradual increase. 

With your vet's 'okay', start with adding 5 minutes to your Pom's two daily walks. Go at a pace that is brisk for your Pom, not pushing him but encouraging him to move along with you.

The goal will be to increase this to an extra 10 to 15 minutes, for each walk. And as your Pom gets back into shape, his pace should pick up as well. 
More Help

Feeding...dieting...wondering if a Pom is too little or too large ! These are just a small piece of what a loving Pom owner needs to know. We have put together the most comprehensive Pomeranian-specific book that exists. NOW IN PRINT! Take a peek.
Most Common Pomeranian Eating Issues - A round-up of the most common questions sent in to us, with detailed tips and advice. 
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