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5 Signs That Your Great Dane Is Overweight (and what to do about it!)

Do you think that your Great Dane may be overweight, or did your vet just tell you that your Great Dane is fat?  Don’t feel guilty, you’re far from the only person who has (or thinks they have) an overweight dog. In fact, 60% of all dogs are overweight, so you’re not alone!

As a giant breed, carrying extra weight can create unnecessary wear and tear on your Great Dane’s body and also lead to other health conditions. So it’s important that you identify and address their weight now before it become and even larger problem!

Five Common Signs that your Great Dane is Overweight

There are many signs that you will notice in your Great Dane if they are overweight. 

These are the five most common signs that would indicate that your Great Dane is overweight and that you may need to start doing something to help them lose weight!

#1 They Weigh More than They Normally do

While this is the most obvious way to tell if your dog is overweight is to weight them.  Each time you take them to your vet, they will weigh your Great Dane. 

Keep in mind that this won’t work for puppies as they will grow and put on weight until the age of 2 or 3. Once their weight starts starts to stabilize as an adult, this is the reference point you should use going forward as an indicator.

You can monitor this weight to see if your Great Dane is overweight or at the correct weight for their breed.  An average adult male Great Dane weighs between 140 – 170 pounds, where a female Great Dane typically weighs between 110 to 140 pounds. 

If your Great Dane weighs more than this, they may need to lose a few pounds!

However, just like people there are just some Great Danes who are larger (and heavier) than others. They may fall outside of these “normal” ranges and still be considered healthy.

Which brings us to the second way to judge their weight!

#2 You Can’t Feel Their Ribs

When you are petting your Great Dane, you should be able to feel their ribs easily.  You should not be able to see them, or your Great Dane would be underweight. 

By gently rubbing your hands down the side of their chest, you should not have to push very hard to feel their ribs. In an overweight Great Dane, you will have to push very hard to feel the ribs or may not even feel them at all. 

This is one of the best tests to help determine an appropriate healthy weight for your Great Dane.

#3 They Don’t have a waistline

Just like humans, your Great Dane should have a nice waist that you can see!

When you stand and look at your Great Dane from above, you should notice that their abdomen sinks inward just behind their ribs.  When you look at them from the side, you should also notice that there is a slope upward from their chest to their hips

If their body is straight across from chest to hip, your Great Dane is likely overweight.  

#4 Heavy breathing After Normal Exercise

 When you take your dog out for a walk, they should pant a little, but if they come back to the house totally out of breath, they may be overweight! This extra layer of fat that your dog must carry around will cause them to have more issues when they breathe. 

Fat is not just on the outside of your Great Dane’s body but also surrounding organs and inside your dog’s body.  Your Great Dane can even have fat in their blood. 

If every time your dog gets up to even walk around the house, they start to breathe heavily or pant more than normal, they are overweight. Exercise is a good way for them to lose some of these extra pounds and needs to start off slow in overweight dogs.

However, jumping right into strenuous exercise can cause more health issues in your Great Dane.  Make sure to start with low intensity exercise like walking. Keep walks very short in the beginning and then slowly increase the time, speed, and distance of these walks.  

If your dog continues to have breathing issues, it is a good idea to take your dog to the vet as sometimes there can be a different medical issue causing them to breathe like this.  

#5 Pendulous Abdomen

If your dog has a swinging abdomen or fat pads on their hips, this would be another sign that your Great Dane could be overweight. 

Just by rubbing your hand over your Great Dan, you may be able to feel extra fat deposits on their body, indicating that they may be overweight. 

Why Should My Great Dane Lose Weight?

If your Great Dane is not at their ideal weight, and they need to shed a few pounds. 

By being overweight, your Great Dane can be prone to many health issues such as diabetes, joint problems, arthritis, and heart disease. This can cause your Great Dane to live a shorter life and have more medical problems that you must deal with. 

While overfeeding is a common reason why Great Danes get overweight, there are also other medical conditions that could lead to it as well.

Medical Reasons My Great Dane May Be Overweight

There are certain medical conditions that may make it hard for your Great Dane to lose weight.  If you are going to start your Great Dane on a weight loss plan, it is best to talk to your vet. 

They can run blood work tests to make sure that there are not any medical issues that would cause your pet to have trouble losing weight and make sure that you have a health plan for your pet to lose weight.

Disease such as Hypothyroid of Cushing’s disease can make it even harder for your dog to lose weight.  Both diseases are easily treated with daily medication. 

By treating these diseases, it will help your dog feel much better, have more energy, and your Great Dane will be able to lose weight much easier. 

How to Know If A Great Dane is Overweight

Many times, if you are wondering if your Great Dane is overweight, the answer is YES.

The easiest way is to just track your Great Dane’s weight from the last time they were at the vet.  BY weighing your Great Dane, you can see if their weight fits with other Great Dane’s of the same size.  

When you look at your Great Dane from above, they should have a nice waistline that tucks in the right behind their ribs.  Underneath should also tuck upwards after their ribs end.  When you are petting your Great Dane, you should be able to easily feel their ribs and not see them. 

You should not have to push too hard to feel these ribs.  If your dog does not have a nice waist or you are having a hard time feeling their ribs, this is because they have extra fat accumulation around these areas.  

Your vet can also help you determine if your Great Dane is overweight.  They can even give you a good idea of the perfect weight for your pet.  

How to Get A Great Dane to Lose Weight

  • Decrease Amount of Food: If you decrease the amount of food that you are feeding your Great Dane by 25% will help your dog lose weight. However, make sure to run your weight loss plan by your vet first to make sure that it’s not too drastic. A drastic decrease in weight, especially if you are not trying to get your dog to lose weight, can indicate certain diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease, and even cancer. 

  • Increase Exercise: You can easily help with weight loss by taking your Great Dane for a long walk.  Each week increase your exercise time by about 5 minutes. You can even change up the walks with a hike or spend an hour at the dog park.  Ample amounts of exercise can easily help your Great Dane shed a few extra pounds.

    A great way to track their activity level is by using a GPS collar. I love the one made by Fi (full review here) because it does a great job of tracking and displaying your pets activity level so you know when they’re falling behind schedule, and also has amazing battery life so that you’re not charging it every week!

  • Feed a Weight Loss Diet: You can feed your Great Dane a weight loss diet.  These foods are lower in calories but higher in fiber.  The higher fiber content will help your dog feel full without having added calories. There is even prescription diet dog food.  Many of the popular pet food companies make a low-calorie dog food intended to help your Great Dane lose weight. Make sure to follow our next recommendation before jumping right into this option though!

  • Talk to your Vet: Before starting a strict diet and exercise plan, consult with your vet.  They may have tips and tricks to help your Great Dane lose weight, as well as can check for any issues that may prevent them from being able to lose weight.  Disease such as hypothyroid or Cushing’s disease can make it very difficult for your dog to lose weight. 

How many Calories Should my Great Dane eat each day? 

The calories that your Great Dane needs to consume each day to maintain a healthy weight is way less than what people need. A healthy adult person should consume 2,000-2,500 calories per day.

In comparison, an average 100-pound, the adult Great Dane will need around 2,000 to 3,000 calories each day.  However, these numbers will be greatly influenced by your dog’s age, activity level, and metabolism.

Your vet can help you decide on the correct amount that you should be feeding your Great Dane each day for them to stay healthy and fit. 

Final Thoughts On Great Dane Weight

If your Great Dane is overweight, the first thing you should do is talk to your vet and make sure that this is not due to a medical issue. 

After your vet has examined your Great Dane, and they have told you a target weight to shoot for, you can start a weight loss plan for your Great Dane.  By decreasing their food and treats and increasing their exercise, you can easily help your Great Dane stay fit. 

Overweight Great Dane’s can lead to lifelong issues and possibly decrease their life span.  Keeping your Great Dane fit is key to helping them stay healthy!

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