Being on the porky side is a common issue for Corgis, both Pembrokes and Cardigans. A Corgi that’s overweight is prone to more health issues and a lower quality of life, so dropping some poundage should be a top priority. This article will outline what you need to know to safely lower your Corgi’s weight.
5 Ways to help your corgi lose weight is to check portion sizes and make sure they aren’t too big, switch to low-calorie treats, stop table scraps, increase exercise or consider changing kibbles. Don’t try all at once.
The Weight Issue In Corgis
Excessive weight is a common issue seen in corgis of all ages. Unfortunately, a lot of corgis are overweight because they’re living the good life! This means, table scraps, excessive portion sizes, and too many treats.
Even a small amount of extra food (calories) every single day will eventually be realized on the scales. And that number will increase fast.
Aside from bad dietary habits, a lack of exercise, or daily activity, a Corgi can easily end up 10, 20, or 30 pounds overweight. Yep, these little monsters can get seriously large and they find it very easy to pile on the pounds compared to other breeds.
Additionally, health issues like hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease are still common among dogs and so as I will explain further, ruling out health issues is a top priority.
What’s a Healthy Weight For a Corgi
Let’s look at the healthy weight ranges for each the Pembroke Corgi and Cardigan Corgi below:
Healthy Weight For Pembroke Corgis
Pembroke Corgis can vary in their size a little, depending on their genetics, overall height, and whether or not they are male or female. Here are the averages:
Healthy weight range:
● 24-30 lbs (10 – 14 kg)
Females will typically be on the lower end of this weight range, hovering around 24-26 lbs. And the males will usually fall nearer to the upper end of this range at 27-30 lbs.
Healthy Weight For Cardigan Corgis
Cardigans usually weigh a little more than Pembrokes due to standing slightly taller. Again, like with Pembrokes, a Cardigan’s weight range can depend on genetics, their final height, and gender.
Healthy weight range:
● 24-38 lbs (11 – 17 kgs)
Females will be at the lower end of this range typically sitting at around 24-30 lbs, whereas the males will likely be at a healthy 30-38 lbs.
Related Read: Are corgis considered a healthy breed? Info for owners
Is Your Corgi Overweight?
To know whether your Corgi is overweight, it’s best to not solely rely on the scales…
How your Corgi looks and feels is another reliable way to assess his current state.
Feeling the ribs: Ideally, you should be able to feel the ribs slightly when you run your hand along his side, or at least when light pressure is applied. If you can’t feel them at all, or you need to apply excessive pressure, that’s an indicator of being overweight.
How does your corgi move? Unless your corgi is already very old, he should be able to move swiftly and with ease. If your corgi struggles with basic movements, running, or even getting up from a lying position, this again indicates he’s over his ideal weight.
If you carry out these checks, along with what the scales read, you’ll have a good idea if your Corgi is overweight, underweight, or ideal.
Interesting Read: Can corgis have blue eyes? How common is it?
How To Help Your Corgi Lose Weight: 5 Tips
First things first, before taking any kind of action with his diet or daily exercise it’s best to rule out underlying health issues with your veterinarian.
Although the majority of weight gain cases will be caused by controllable things like diet and exercise, underlying health issues like hypothyroidism and diabetes are still common and so should be ruled out first.
- Check portion sizes
- Switch to low-calorie treats
- Completely stop table scraps
- Increase exercise and activity levels
- Consider changing kibbles
1. Check Portion Sizes
It’s certainly worth checking your Corgi’s portion sizes, after all, those extra calories must be coming from somewhere… A classic mistake many make is switching over to a new kibble yet continuing to feed the same portion size as before. All kibbles are different and contain a varying number of calories for the same cup!
It’s misleading to give a blanket recommendation like “give your corgi half a cup per day” because no two foods have the same amount of calories. Kibbles with a higher fat ratio may result in your Corgi being better off with 1/2 a cup, whereas a lower fat kibble (meaning fewer calories) would mean he’s better off with 3/4 of a cup. And if you end up overfeeding, the excess calories will add lead to weight gain.
According to the National Research Council, a healthy adult Corgi that has a weight of 25lbs requires 780 calories per day. Source.
And from years of my own personal experience adjusting calories with smaller dogs, this does sound quite about right!
So what you might want to do is take 780 calories as a starting figure to work out an appropriate portion size for the kibble you have. And don’t forget to factor in the treats!
Of course, I haven’t even mentioned raw food diets, which would be much harder to fully understand the caloric intake. That would require extensive research, depending on what raw food you are giving.
2. Switch To Low-Calorie Treats
There are so many different varieties of dog treats on the market, all made from different ingredients and ranging in calories.
Unfortunately, most dog treats contain too many calories per treat than what’s ideal.
Treats like dog jerky, certain fatty biscuits or pig ears can be over 100 calories per treat. This is A LOT considering that 780 is the total daily calorie intake…
Fortunately, you can get treats like Zukes Mini Naturals that only contain around 2 calories per treat. I have personally been buying these for years and my dogs love them. They’re ideal for general rewarding and also for training. And even then, treat-control is recommended.
3. Completely Stop Table Scraps
Tidbits, table scraps, and those delicious leftovers… I know your Corgi LOVES it when you put the plate down for her, but honestly, it’s doing her health far more bad than it is good.
A recent study showed that at least 40% of dog owners in the USA give table scraps to their dogs on a daily basis. This must be why over half of all the dogs in the USA are overweight.
The issue with giving our dogs, our food, is that it was made for us… Not only does our food contain a lot more calories, but we also eat a wide range of ingredients that dogs are sensitive to.
The calories alone should be enough for you to put a stop to it… A single pork sausage could be 200 calories, a burger patty could be 300 calories… Remember, the total caloric intake for a healthy adult corgi is around 780. Even the leftover gravy juices could contain up to 100 calories!
With this amount of additional daily calories eaten alongside their normal food, weight gain is practically inevitable.
4. Increase Exercise & Activity Levels
Another sure-fire way to start burning the calories and shedding weight is to increase your corgi’s activity levels.
Weight gain (or loss) is a simple formula: Calories consumed against calories burned. If your Corgis burns more calories than he consumes, weight loss will be the result.
One way to increase the calories burned is to of course increase his exercise. The ideal amount of exercise for a healthy adult corgi is around 60-80 minutes per day (which is excluding additional playtime).
However, big caution must be taken with this one! Corgis, like other small breeds that are longer than they are tall, suffer from something called Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).
This is a serious and debilitating condition that should be avoided at all costs. Without getting too much into it, IVDD occurs when the cushioning discs in the vertebrae become ruptured or start to bulge outwards. This causes a range of issues from severe pain to paralysis.
You guessed it, this can happen through too much physical exertion, excessive sprinting, with jumping up and taking hard landings being the main culprit.
If you think you can safely increase your corgi’s activity levels, then do so, but please remain cautious.
5. Consider Changing Kibbles
The world of kibble is a complex one, but I’ll keep this as simple as possible with only important advice.
A premium kibble will be one that prioritizes keeping its ingredients “whole” and “fresh”. This essentially means there has been less processing, and the ingredients are closer to their natural state, which means more of the macro and micronutrients will be present. This is perhaps the main difference between high-quality kibbles and low-quality ones.
The second big thing to consider is the macronutrient breakdown itself (protein to fat to carbohydrates). Typically, with low-quality kibbles, they contain a high amount of carbohydrates mainly because carbs are used as fillers to bulk up the product, are cheap to source, and store for a long time.
So what’s the issue? Well, carbohydrates are not ideal for most dogs. In fact, the National Research Council once again confirmed that “zero carbohydrates are necessary to sustain a healthy canine diet”. Essentially, they add very little nutrition. Protein and fat are the main components of a wild canine that was consumed for thousands of years before the domestication process. Still to this day a dog’s body knows how to break down fat and protein far better than carbs, leading to a higher intake of nutrients, goodness, and overall use of the food that enters their body.
Carbohydrates are not completely useless, but they are known to be a culprit of excessive weight gain.
If you are currently using a kibble that has a high ratio of carbs, it might be better to opt for one that prioritizes protein first, then fat, then a low amount of carbs.
Additionally, brands like Orijen, Acana, Wellness, and Taste of The Wild all prioritize whole and fresh ingredients, while avoiding preservatives, additives, and artificial nonsense.
If you do make a switch, remember to check the calorie density of the food and adjust kibble portions where necessary!
Why It’s Important To Help Your Corgi Lose Weight
No matter how cute a chubby corgi looks, it’s really not good for their short or long-term health, and it’s likely causing them more trouble than owners realize.
Dogs, in general, are even better off slightly underweight than they are overweight (although of course maintaining the breed average is the best).
Aside from direct health implications, some of which I will cover below, an overweight dog can find it a lot harder to move around, run, and be as agile as they would like to be. No dog wants to be sluggish, even though they can’t tell you, your corgi wants to be as fast as any other dog, nimble and athletic. It makes their life so much easier and more enjoyable.
You’ll want to waste no time in helping your Corgi lose those excess pounds. Corgis that are overweight are prone to:
● Shortened Life Expectancy
● High Blood Pressure
● Heart Disease
● Certain Tumors
And those issues are just the start, the entire list of health issues caused by being overweight is much more extensive.
Visiting Your Veterinarian
As I mentioned at the start of the previous section, it’s important to first rule out health issues with your veterinarian before attempting to make changes yourself.
Issues like hypothyroidism and diabetes are still common among dogs and so it’s very important to rule these things out. Ironically enough, diabetes is common for dogs that are overweight, yet the result of being diabetic would incur weight loss.
There are a range of known health issues that could be the cause of the weight gain and so it’s important not to waste time adjusting his or her diet if that’s not what’s causing it.
Once your veterinarian has performed the necessary tests, it’s then recommended to start adjusting diet, considering calories, and exercise levels.
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