How I Helped My Corgi Lose 3kg

As a Corgi owner for the last three years, there’s one thing I cannot deny: these little dogs love to eat.

And this love of food (and tendency to overeat) is the reason why weight gain is a common issue for many Corgis.

In a 2016 study of obese or overweight dogs visiting private Japanese veterinary clinics, Pembroke Welsh Corgis had at least 20% more obese dogs in the study than any other breed.1https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169116301587

When my own Corgi, Winston, put on a couple of extra kilos during lockdown, I knew it was time to take action. I didn’t want him to experience any health issues associated with extra weight, like joint problems or heart disease.

So how did I go about helping him to lose weight?

To help a Corgi lose weight, you must provide a well-balanced meal plan with proper portion control. It’s also important to establish a regular exercise routine of walking, running, or swimming.

In this article, I’ll share my top tips to help your Corgi shed those extra pounds and get back to a healthy weight.

Whether it’s through diet changes, exercise routines, or behavior modifications, these strategies will set your Corgi on the path toward a happier and healthier weight.

Let’s go!

How to tell if your Corgi is overweight

There are two ways to tell if your Corgi is overweight: the scales and your eye. First, let’s look at the healthy weight range for both Pembroke and Cardigan Corgis.

Pembroke Corgi

  • A male Pembroke Welsh Corgi should weigh between 10-12kg.
  • A female Pembroke Welsh Corgi should weigh between 9-11kg.

Cardigan Corgi

  • A male Cardigan Corgi should weigh between 15-18kg.
  • A female Cardigan Corgi should weigh between 14-17kg.

If your Corgi is above the upper end of their healthy weight range, it’s time to cut back on their food or increase their exercise.

Another way to check whether your Corgi is overweight is by looking at the shape of their body.

How to help a corgi lose weight

You know your Corgi is an ideal weight when they have an obvious waist and their ribs can be felt (but not seen). A little bit of fat is ok, but it shouldn’t be visible from the side nor should it sag.

Of course, some Corgis are very fluffy, so you’ll need to use your hands to find their waist!

How to help a corgi lose weight

You can tell that your Corgi is overweight when their waist is no longer visible from above (with or without fluff!). It won’t be very easy to feel their ribs and spine, and their abdomen will be visibly saggy from the side.

8 Tips To Help Your Corgi Lose Weight

If your Corgi is overweight, here are 8 tips to help them shift the extra pounds.

1. Consult with your vet to establish a healthy weight goal

If your Corgi has put on more than a few pounds, it’s important that you consult your vet before making any sudden changes to their diet.

Together you can discuss a healthy weight goal for your Corgi and a reasonable time frame to achieve this, ensuring that any weight loss is gradual and healthy.

2. Provide a well-balanced diet with high-quality protein, fiber, and low carbohydrates

While you may have to reduce your Corgi’s food intake for a little while, wholesome and nutritious dry or wet food should still be a priority.

Many cheaper, well-known dog food brands are packed full of additives, carbohydrates, and sugar that contribute to weight gain. Speak to your vet about what they recommend and do your own research about alternative dog food brands you could try.

3. Adjust the feeding amount based on progress (+ avoid treats)

Your vet will advise on how much food to give your Corgi based on their current weight and (possibly) when to increase this as they hit certain milestones.

Make sure you stick to the recommended portions and avoid giving your Corgi any extra treats or scraps from the kitchen table. I know it can be tempting to give into your Corgi when they give you those big puppy dog eyes, but stay strong!

4. Incorporate physical activities such as daily walks or swimming

Depending on how overweight your Corgi is, you may have to start with regular “light” exercise to avoid unnecessary pressure on their spine and joints, and build up from there.

Getting regular physical activity is imperative if your Corgi is going to lose weight, so make sure this is factored into their daily schedule. That can be daily walks, playing a few extra games of fetch, or swimming (if running/walking is too intense for them right now).

5. Monitor your Corgi’s weight regularly

Keep an eye on your Corgi’s weight with regular vet check-ups and/or weigh-ins. This will ensure that they’re losing weight healthily and making progress in the right direction.

And if they’re not managing to shift the extra weight according to your vet’s timeline, you can make necessary changes to their diet/exercise plan to get them back on track.

6. Make mealtime interactive with puzzle feeders

If your Corgi tends to gobble down their food in a flash, try using a puzzle feeder.

These are great at slowing down mealtimes, aiding digestion, and mentally stimulating your Corgi. And it’s a good way of making smaller portions last longer!

7. Offer low-calorie treats and snacks in moderation

If your vet says it’s ok to give the occasional treat to your Corgiduring their weight loss journey, make sure they’re low calories and only given in moderation.

You can buy low-calorie dog treats from the grocery store or make your own homemade treats using wholesome, natural ingredients. You’ll also find plenty of healthy snacks in your kitchen that are safe for Corgis to eat.

8. Incorporate other lifestyle changes to reduce stress and anxiety

There may be other contributing factors to your Corgi’s weight gain besides too much food or too little exercise. Things like boredom or separation anxiety.

Make sure that your Corgi’s environment is calm and safe, and that you don’t leave them alone too frequently.

And don’t forget that Corgis are highly intelligent dogs with lots of energy. They need daily physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

How we helped Winston lose 3kg

How I helped my Corgi lose 3kg
Winston was just starting to put on weight here. You can see from the image that his ribs were beginning to be concealed by fatty deposits.

When Winston gained an extra 2.5-3kg during lockdown, we had to put him on a strict diet to help him shift the weight.

Our vet advised us that cutting back on his portions and increasing exercise was enough to begin with, and so that’s what we did.

We reduced the amount of kibble he ate each day and added more playtime to his daily schedule. This was during lockdown remember, so going outside for longer walks wasn’t always an option!

Over a few months, Winston’s weight gradually returned to normal so that by the time we revisited the vet 7-8 months later, she was really pleased.

We got him from 14kg to about 11kg, which is a healthy weight for Winston.

One of the biggest surprises for us was how easy it was for him to gain weight without us realizing it. It wasn’t until we looked over photographs from that period that we noticed how much chubbier he’d become!

Another lesson we learned was that it’s really easy to overfeed your Corgi.

Once your Corgi loses the excess weight, make sure you don’t fall back into the trap of giving them that little extra because you feel ‘mean’ for underfeeding them. If they’re maintaining a healthy weight and your vet is happy, then you’re doing everything right!

5 reasons why your Corgi might be overweight

Here are some of the reasons why your Corgi may have put on weight:

  • Inconsistent portion sizes. If you’ve been using your eye to gauge portions, try weighing your Corgi’s food instead.
  • Free-choice feeding. Leaving one bowl of food down all day for your Corgi to graze from increases the likelihood of them gaining weight.
  • Following the feeding recommendations on pet food bags. Speak to your vet about the right amount of food to give your Corgi based on their unique health needs, age, and weight.
  • Treats. These can add significant calories to your dog’s diet. I recommend keeping them to a minimum (i.e. 10% of their total daily calorie allowance).
  • Fed more because they’re ‘very active’. Most Corgis don’t require significantly more calories due to brief periods of intense activity. Corgis only require more calories if they’re regularly engaged in long-distance activities like hiking.

Your Corgi’s new diet plan

If your Corgi is only slightly overweight and just needs to lose a few pounds, you can use this Corgi feeding chart as a guide for how much food to give them.

According to Royal Canin, an overweight “medium” dog like a Corgi should be fed 130g of kibble each day or 79g of kibble and 0.5 can of wet food.

Corgi feeding chart

However, if your Corgi’s weight gain is more extreme, it’s important that you speak to your vet to create a bespoke diet plan for them.

That’s because the guidelines above don’t take into account other factors like how much exercise your Corgi gets each day or underlying health issues they may be experiencing.

While there isn’t one particular food type or brand that is better than all the rest when it comes to Corgi weight loss, here are some things to think about:

  • Increased protein can help your Corgi lose weight without losing muscle mass.
  • Foods with high fiber or water content can provide a larger volume of food without adding extra calories.
  • Natural supplements like fish oil can help aid weight loss, but consult with your vet before using.

Exercises for your overweight corgi

Speak to your vet about what is a healthy and safe amount of exercise for your Corgi to do while on their weight loss regime.

Walking is a great exercise for overweight Corgis because it’s low intensity and you can increase the duration as they make progress.

Swimming is another fantastic exercise, particularly for overweight older Corgis who may find walking or running too much of a strain on their spine and joints.

Corgi weight loss supplements

Supplements like fish oil or those that contain green tea extract have been found to combat some of the effects of obesity.

Always speak to your vet before giving any supplements to your Corgi.

Source: 1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2221169116301587

Bella is the founder of Doggy & Pooch. She rehomed Winston the corgi in Jan 2020 and now shares her best tips and interesting facts with corgi lovers globally.

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