Chihuahuas are tiny dogs, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t able to put on weight. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, and an overweight or fat Chihuahua is an all too common problem for owners!
A fat Chihuahua isn’t a healthy Chihuahua. Obesity leads to severe health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and mobility issues. But as quickly as they can gain weight, Chihuahuas can lose weight too, through healthy dieting and exercise.
This article explains how you can tell if your Chihuahua is overweight and what you can do to help them get back to a happy and healthy size.
Is my Chihuahua fat?
How heavy should my dog be? It’s an all too common question from dog owners, and often, we only start asking when we’re worried that our favorite pet has piled on the pounds. Just like humans, dogs love to overeat! Combined with a lack of exercise, too many extra scraps under the table, and a few too many extra-large servings of even the best organic dog food, this can all quickly lead to weight gain.
Chihuahuas are particularly susceptible to unhealthy weight gain, given their small size and frame. A standard Chihuahua is tiny. They stand no more than 9 inches tall and should weigh around 7 pounds on average.
Some Chihuahuas are larger or smaller than the average, of course, but if your furry friend’s weight is over 7 pounds, then you may need to consider a fat Chihuahua diet!
Do Chihuahuas get fat easily?
Because of their small size, it’s incredibly easy for them to put on a few extra pounds. While humans might not worry about one or two extra pounds around the waist, even just a couple of pounds can be detrimental for a handbag-sized Chihuahua.
While some fat Chihuahua puppies are simply born a little larger than others (like my little fat black Chihuahua), the majority of Chihuahuas will put on weight due to two major factors:
- Poor diet/overeating
- Lack of exercise
If you find that you don’t have time to exercise your dog as much as you used to, they can quickly put the pounds on.
Likewise, a poor or uncontrolled diet - lots of treats, lots of table scraps, or leftovers - can quickly lead to an overweight Chihuahua.
It can be challenging for Chihuahuas to keep the pounds off, but a healthy Chihuahua is a skinny Chihuahua.
How to tell if your Chihuahua is overweight
Unless your Chihuahua is excessively overweight, you might not notice the warning signs when they first appear. If you do know what to look out for, though, you can spot the issues early on and make quick lifestyle changes.
The following are the best ways to spot Chihuahua weight gain:
Weigh your Chihuahua
Weighing your Chihuahua is the most accurate method, as you can cross-reference their weight with their height to establish if your Chihuahua is fat or not.
This sounds super simple, but it’s pretty tricky weighing a tiny Chihuahua! For starters, you need accurate scales. And, if you own one, you know they’re hyper and don’t sit still for long!
It’s often best to have them weighed at the vet as part of an annual check-up. Your local veterinary center will know how to keep your precious Tiny in good spirits through the entire process!
Can you feel their ribs?
Chihuahuas are naturally small, and a healthy Chihuahua is slender in shape and feel. While their fur might hide them, you should be able to feel your Chihuahua’s ribs.
Pick them up by the waist, and have a feel for their ribs. If they are lost beneath layers of fat, then your Chihuahua needs to lose a few pounds.
Your Chihuahua has zero definition
Equally, your Chihuahua needs to have definition - not just their ribcage, but their body. If your Chihuahua has lost its slender, sleek look, then it’s putting on too much weight.
A visual check for definition is the easiest way to tell if your Chihuahua has put on weight, but if you can visibly see the weight gain, then they are not on the way to being fat; they’re already there - and you’ll need to put them on a diet, ASAP!
If you’re at all concerned about your Chihuahua’s weight and want professional advice, then take your pet to the vet. The vet staff can officially weigh them and advise you on preparing a healthy lifestyle plan going forwards.
Why is obesity dangerous for a Chihuahua?
Obesity is an accumulation of fat, most commonly the result of overeating and lack of exercise. For Chihuahuas, obesity is just as dangerous as it is for humans, which is why it’s so important to keep your furry friend healthy and trim.
Obesity, or excess layers of fat and added weight, lead to a wide range of health conditions if left unchecked. Eventually, these conditions can prove to be fatal to Chihuahuas.
The most common dangers associated with obesity include the following:
- Mobility Issues
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
Let’s take a look at the seriousness of these health conditions in more detail.
Excess weight leads to many mobility issues in all dogs, not just Chihuahuas. Too much weight makes it more difficult to get around, and your Chihuahua will be visibly unfit. They’ll struggle to get around the home and will lose their breath quickly when out walking.
Excess weight also puts too much strain on a Chihuahua’s joints. Over time, this excess weight can cause debilitating, chronic injuries, exacerbate conditions such as arthritis, or cause painful injuries such as a luxating patella, ligament damage, or damage to the spinal cord.
We often see diabetes as a human disease, but dogs are just as susceptible to this unhealthy condition as we are. Diabetes occurs when the body can no longer regulate its blood sugar and blood sugar levels become too high.
This can lead to other debilitating health problems, such as high blood pressure and heart disease, which can be fatal. In severe cases, your Chihuahua will require insulin injections to keep their blood sugar levels regulated.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be incredibly dangerous, and being overweight dramatically increases the chance of this occurring in Chihuahuas.
Hypertension can lead to catastrophic internal problems, such as organ failure if left unchecked for too long and spirals out of control.
Overeating leads to heart disease, and it’s one of the biggest killers of dogs and humans alike in the world.
Heart disease results from a buildup of fats inside the blood vessels, which then restricts blood movement around the body. Eventually, the heart comes under so much extra strain that it simply gives up, causing fatality in the form of a heart attack.
How to help a Chihuahua to lose weight
Given the dangers posed by obesity, it’s essential to keep an eye on your Chihuahua’s weight and to help them lose weight when necessary. There are several key ways you can go about doing this:
- More exercise - Take your Chihuahua for regular walks (at least once a day) and let them enjoy more time running around outside with other dogs. Installing a bed ramp for dogs can encourage them to be more active around the home, too.
- Controlled diet - stop feeding your Chihuahua human food, and stick to dog food. Keep to regular meal plans, and cut back on portion sizes if they are gaining weight.
- Regular check-ups - remember, it’s important to have regular check-ups with the vet too. They’ll be able to advise meal plans and lifestyle changes if your dog weighs too much as my Chihuahua did!
Our final word on chubby Chihuahuas
It can be tricky for owners to tell if their Chihuahua is overweight, but it’s critical to watch out for signs of obesity. Chihuahuas can gain weight quickly just from overeating the wrong dog food or not having enough regular exercise. Obesity in dogs is dangerous, so owners need to be careful about feeding and treating their pups.
Luckily, though, Chihuahuas also lose weight quickly. These are super small pups, after all! A healthy, controlled diet and plenty of walks outside are key to a healthy, happy pet no matter what size they are!
If you’re worried that your Chihuahua is overweight, then bookmark our guide for future reference.