7 Ways To Know If My Golden Retriever Is Underweight

7 Ways To Know If My Golden Retriever Is Underweight

Owing to the beautiful skin coats of Golden Retrievers, they can allure everyone around them. Thus, these dogs are one of the most popular dog breeds today. But parenting this expensive dog is a huge responsibility, and your slight ignorance results in several health hazards that can make your pal thin. So, it is necessary to know the signs of an underweight Golden Retriever.

But how to know if your Golden Retriever is underweight? Usually, to know whether your Golden Retriever is underweight or not, you should look for the physical and behavioral signs. So, the physical indications include distinct ribs and backbones, little or no fat in the abdomen, extreme abdominal taper between the limbs, easily felt ribs, and excessive curves in waistlines. 

Being a family dog, Golden Retriever instantly becomes a family member. So, you want to give the best and qualitative lifestyle for your pal. But disease and underweight degrades your pal’s health and reduce its lifespan.

However, due to the larger body structure and its love for food, a Golden Retriever is less likely to get underweight. But still, several health hazards are common in these breeds that can make them skinny. Thus, through this article, you will know everything related to your Golden Retriever’s underweight.

What Is The Normal Weight For A Golden Retriever?

Golden Retriever is a large dog breed. But the ideal size of these dogs may vary according to their breed type. Usually, mixed breeds like Goldendoodles are smaller, while American Golden Retriever is taller and leaner. Similarly, the English Golden Retrievers are heavier than the others.

However, the healthy weight of a fully grown Golden Retriever is:

  • Male: 65-75 pounds
  • Female: 55-65 pounds

But when you have a growing puppy, its weight changes drastically. Thus, the normal weight range for puppy Golden Retriever is:

Age Weight Range for male Golden Retriever (pounds) Weight Range for female Golden Retriever (pounds)
7-8 weeks 4-17 5-17
9-10 weeks 8-22 10-22
11-12 weeks 12-43 16-44
4-5 months 25-57 25-61
6-7 months 29-77 27-67
8 months 49-85 40-70
9 months 45-77 44-68
10-11 months 50-77 52-80
1-2 years 65-80 55-90

Besides this, genes and intensity of exercises can also affect the standard weight.

However, if your Golden Retriever is happy and healthy despite its underweight, then your pal is healthy. And you don’t need to worry about its weight.

So, when should you start worrying about your dog’s weight?

When Should You Be Concerned About Your Golden Retriever’s Underweight?

After you know about the ideal weight of your Golden Retriever, it is essential to maintain your pal weight at least at the baseline. Furthermore, the baseline is a criterion to determine whether your dog is getting too thin or not.

Usually, more than 10% weight loss of your pal is a huge problem. Besides this, sudden drastic weight loss and excessive deviation in weight is also something that you must worry about in your pal.

Therefore, when your pet loses more than 15% of weight within a week, then it might be having a fatal health issue. Thus, visit the Vet immediately.

Further, a fluctuation of two to three kilograms in your dog’s weight is normal. It might be due to water loss or gain, change in bowel movement, dehydration, or change in exercise.

Besides this, some Golden Retrievers have a higher metabolism. So, these dogs might be underweight and healthy without signs of health problems. In addition, you should understand that, like humans, the weight of your pal also fluctuates a little weekly or daily.

But how to know whether your Golden Retriever is underweight or not?

7 Ways To Know If My Golden Retriever Is Under Weight

Since Golden Retriever has a larger body frame, underweight is distinctly visible in these breeds. Just some visuals can help you know that your pal is getting skinny. Besides this, an underweight dog also shows some abnormal behavior for indicating health issues.

Thus, the ways to know if your Golden Retriever is underweight are:

Check The Ribs

A healthy Golden Retriever should have a layer of fat distinguishing the skin and the ribs. But if you can easily feel your pal’s ribs like it is just beneath the skin then, your pal might be underweight.

Besides this, the ribs of underweight Golden Retriever clear from even a distance.

View From Side

Generally, it is natural for a Golden Retriever to have some curves when observed from the side.

But when a pet has too prominent curves with an extremely visible abdominal taper between the limbs, it is a problem. Apart from this, the underweight dog also has little or no fat in its abdomen. Thus, that makes their hips and ribs more distinct.

Look Overhead

When you look for the top, a healthy Golden Retriever has an hourglass figure. But if the ribs and hips are distinctly visible from the top, it is a sign that indicates your pal is underweight.

In addition, your pal has more curves in the waistlines and extremely visible backbones if it is underweight.

See The Spines

You can look at your Golden Retrievers from the top. When a dog is healthy, its spine isn’t so prominent. But when it is underweight, the spines are visible from the top.

Further, the bones in the baseline of the tail of an underweight dog are protruding and look extreme.

Check The Skin Coat

Usually, the skin coat of a healthy Golden Retriever is dense, smooth, and soft. But when a dog becomes underweight, it lacks the necessary nutrients for the proper growth of the skin coat.

Therefore, you will notice a thinner, depigmented, or dull hair coat in an underweight Golden Retriever. In addition to this, red rashes, scales, and bald patches are also common in skinny dogs.

Observe Your Golden Retriever’s Behavior

Generally, Golden Retrievers are a playful dog breed. Thus, they like to play with the kids. But when a dog is sick and underweight, it loses interest in playing.

As a result, instead of hanging with people and playing, these dogs prefer hiding in dark places. Besides this, you might also notice that your pal is aggressive and destructive when it loses weight. In addition, abnormal behaviors like biting, barking, grunting, chewing, and immobility are common in skinny dogs.

Is Your Golden Retriever Eating Well?

Generally, one of the most prominent signs to know that your Golden Retriever is underweight or might be losing lots of calories is its loss of appetite. Furthermore, these breeds are always hungry and eat any and everything.

But when your pal suffers from health issues, it might experience immense pain. Thus, it will lose its urge to eat and stops eating. Therefore, if your dog starts avoiding meals, it might be the cause and an indication of being underweight or weight loss.

So, you should consult with the Vet as soon as you see these signs in your pal.

However, do you know what causes your Golden Retriever to be underweight?

Why Is Your Golden Retriever Underweight?

Generally, the calorie intake must be equal to the calorie used for maintaining your Golden Retriever’s ideal weight. And when there is an imbalance between the calories in and out, your pal may have fluctuation in weight. Moreover, underweight results when calorie utilized is more than calorie consumed,

So, what do you think might be the reason for this imbalance?

Further, to make you clear, here are some reasons for your dog’s underweight:

Genetic Factor

Some Golden Retrievers are higher metabolism. So, they are more likely to be underweight. Besides this, some dogs inherit various health issues from their parents that cause them to eat less.

Furthermore, like obesity, being underweight can also be hereditary. Thus, if the parents are small and underweight, their offspring have a higher chance of being skinny.

However, you cannot assume a child to be completely different from the parents. Can you? 

Hence, the puppies of American Golden Retrievers are obvious to be leaner and taller in comparison to the English Golden Retriever.

History Of Abuse

When a Golden Retriever comes from a poor breeding environment, it will be very vulnerable and emotionally unstable. Thus, these dogs try to resent and avoid everything around them.

Further, an abused Retriever is more likely to be anxious, uncomfortable, and scared of the surrounding. Thus, these dogs lose their drive to eat, lay and enjoy.

Besides this, the dog that survived attacks and accidents also acts abnormal and avoids eating. As a result, these dogs lose excessive weight and become underweight.


Golden Retrievers have a friendly, quiet, and gentle temperament. Thus, these dogs prefer a peaceful environment. So, if your house is noisy, these dogs feel threatened, scared, anxious, and uncomfortable.

Therefore, they start suspecting everything around them, even the food. As a result, Golden Retrievers stop eating.

Injuries Or Diseases

Usually, due to the genetic makeup and playful attribute of Golden Retriever, these breeds are susceptible to various health issues like cancer, hip dysplasia, joint problems, thyroid disorders, diabetes, ear infections, etc. And as a consequence of these diseases, the dogs experience immense pain and loses the drive to eat.

Besides this, some diseases like diabetes, parasitic infections, hyperthyroidism can make your Golden Retriever underweight even if it is eating normally.

Old Age

Like humans, the functions of the body gradually start degrading as a Golden Retriever becomes older. So, they become thinner and fragile. Besides this, senior dogs are susceptible to various health issues that can affect their eating habit and make them underweight.

Picky Eaters

Although most Golden Retrievers aren’t quite picky eaters, some dogs find difficulty settling to a new diet plan. Thus, those dogs stop eating food.

Besides this, as Golden Retrievers started living with people, they started becoming sophisticated and picky while eating. As a result, those dogs only prefer tasty food that has lesser nutrition. So, they become underweight due to nutrition deficiency.

Moreover, underweight is a huge problem that can decrease the lifespan of your Golden Retriever. So, don’t you want to know how to fatten your pal?

What To Do When Your Golden Retriever Is Underweight?

Like humans, maintaining an ideal weight is essential for a healthier and happier life for Golden Retriever. Moreover, a study also states that you can increase two more years in your dog’s life by managing its weight. So, you must also try to maintain your pal’s weight at least to the baseline criterion.

Thus, here are some tips for you to increase the weight of your underweight Golden Retriever:

Make A Visit To The Vet

Underweight might also result from various health issues like diabetes, thyroid disorders, parasitic infections, cancer, etc. So, it is better to consult with the Vet before starting any diet plan.

Moreover, the Vet diagnoses and prescribes the medicines with supplements necessary for managing your dog’s weight. Besides this, the suggestions from the Vet for your pal’s diet and exercise can be helpful to get the best results.

Choose Higher Calorie Meal

Since underweight results due to calorie deficiency. So, to manage the calorie consumed from calories utilized, you must include a calorie-rich meal in your pal’s diet, like sweet potatoes, boiled meat, etc.

Besides this, you can also increase the amount you serve in each meal to increase your pal’s calorie intake.

Feed Small Meals Throughout The Day

If your Golden Retriever doesn’t like eating a single heavy meal, you divide it into frequent smaller meals. As a result, your pal will eat more calories throughout the day. Besides this, smaller meals help to increase your pal’s drive for food.

However, manage the meals in a way that your pal eats more throughout to gain extra calories.

Check The Quality Of Food

The reason why your pal isn’t gaining weight despite frequent eating might be due to low-quality meals. Thus, it is essential to invest in qualitative dog food to increase your pal’s weight.

Further, your pal’s food requirements vary according to the age, intensity of exercise, and health condition. Hence, you should choose dog food considering all these things to increase your dog’s weight.

Supplements Meals With Snacks

If your pal is eating less, you can supplement its meal with healthier food options like natural snacks. Usually, natural snacks are rich in fibers and proteins. Thus, they help to improve the digestive system of your pal.

Besides this, natural healthy snacks are tasty, and every dog loves them. Hence, it increases your pal’s urge to eat more and gain weight.

Increase Exercise

When you increase the intensity of exercise, your pal will burn more calories in lesser time. Thus, your pal tends to eat more to fill up the calorie deficiency. Furthermore, exercise helps in the development of bones and joints that make your pal healthier.

In addition, the immunity of your pal increases through exercise. Hence, your dog is lesser prone to health issues and more likely to eat well.

Record Your Golden Retriever’s Weight

If your dog is on a weight gain journey, it is necessary to record the weight every week. When you monitor your pal’s weight weekly, you will know the effectiveness of the diet plan.

Besides this, you can even change your pal’s diet and record the result at the end of the week to find the appropriate diet for your pet.

So, are you looking for an effective diet for your pal?

If yes, then further to get your answer.

How Should You Feed Your Golden Retriever To Gain Weight?

Since Golden Retriever needs 900-1000 calories to maintain its weight, you need to feed a little more for weight gain. However, a rough diet to tell you how much food does your pal needs to gain some extra pounds and reach the ideal weight is as follows:

1-4 months (Below 30 pounds) 5-7 months old Golden Retriever (30-60 pounds) 8-12 months Golden Retriever (60- 90 pounds)  Golden Retriever over one year (above 90 pounds)
Body Weight (pounds Daily food portion (g) Body Weight (pounds Daily food portion (g) Body Weight (pounds Daily food portion (g) Body Weight (pounds Daily food portion (g)
5 45 31 123 62 235 94 360
34 130 65 244 98 370
10 68 37 140 67 250 104 383
40 147 70 260 100 395
16 80 43 155 72 268 114 405
46 162 74 280 118 417
21 92 50 170 78 293 120 428
52 178 80 310 124 440
26 105 54 185 83 322 126 450
56 190 86 330 130 460
30 115 58 215 88 340 135 483
60 230 90 350 140 493

Furthermore, I hope this plan works for your pal. Don’t forget to give your reviews after using this plan.

What Should You Feed Your Golden Retriever For Weight Gain?

After an effective diet plan to gain weight, it is essential to know what you should feed your pal. Thus, here are some effective foods and recipes that will for sure help your pal to gain weight.

Easily Available Kitchen Food That Can Help Your Golden Retriever

Like owners, you may also fail to know that you have very effective weight-gaining food in your kitchen. These foods are not only convenient and easily available but also help your pal to gain weight. And they are:

  • Steamed, boiled, or roasted chicken, turkey, fish, and lean cuts of beef.
  • Cooked skinless sweet potatoes.
  • Peanut butter without artificial sweetener (xylitol)
  • Canned pumpkin or steamed fresh pumpkin

Best Healthy Weight Gain Recipes For Underweight Golden Retriever

Apart from whole foods, you can even try some recipes to increase your Golden Retriever’s weight. Like:

  • Dehydrated beef mix: mix beef, sweet potatoes, and kale. Then, boil or steam them. Finally, apply some water and serve.
  • Ocean chews: Peel off the skin of fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, etc. And then steam it. These omega-rich promote a healthy and skinny skin coat in your pal.
  • Bone broth pours overs: Mix the chunks of meat and veggies with bone broth. Then, add enough water and leave it to boil for few minutes before serving.
  • Parmesan pecks: Snackable parmesan biscuits are tasty and liked by most dogs. Besides this, these pecks make it easier to control the number of calories your pal gets in each bite.

Best Food For Underweight Golden Retriever To Gain Weight

Furthermore, if you lack time, there are some effective weights gaining food available in the market for dogs. So, you can use the following foods in alternative to homemade meals:

What Are The Things To Consider While Feeding Your Golden Retriever?

Since Golden Retriever is a needy dog, you need to very cautious while parenting this breed. However, some things you must consider during your pet’s weight gain program are:

Train Your Golden Retriever:

Generally, training your pal is vital to manage its behavior and discipline it. Further, through proper training, you can control your pet as per your command. Thus, it will be easier to manage your pet’s food habits.

For this, you can opt for command training, bite inhibition training, potty training, training to calm your pal, and barking control training.

Don’t Give Human Food.

Although, your pal might enjoy eating human food. But since the digestive system of your pal differs from humans, these foods might cause constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and allergies.

Thus, instead of increasing your pal’s weight, they make your pal unhealthy.

Don’t Force To Eat

Like humans, each dog prefers different things and has a unique taste. So, you should never force your pal to eat a weight-gaining meal.

Despite forcing your pal, you can switch between different foods and recipes to find the food your pal may prefer.

Weight Gain Is A Gradual Process

Weight gain is a slow and gradual process. Although in some exceptional cases, the pet gains weight too quickly. But for a healthy weight gain, it needs time.

Therefore, you must be calm and consistent during your dog’s weight gain journey.

Make Your Golden Retriever Happy

A happy Golden Retriever is enthusiastic and has a higher drive to eat food. So, you must remove stress and try to maintain a peaceful environment to promote your pal’s happiness.

Don’t Include Too Much Fat.

Most owners have a misconception that their pets will gain weight quickly if they include too much fat in their pet’s diet. But instead of gaining weight, too much fat results in digestive problems and vomiting.

As a result, fatty food makes your pal lose weight. So, never include excessive fat in your dog’s food.

I hope you will avoid making these mistakes now.

Summing up, Golden Retrievers are special dogs with beautiful bodies and contagious smiles. Thus, you should try your best to give your pal a qualitative lifestyle to live a longer and happier with them. Therefore, you must be careful while deciding your pal’s diet, training, and grooming routine.

I hope through this article you got ideal to know if your Golden Retriever is underweight or not.

Do you think this article helped you know more about your pal? 

Please share your reviews and suggestions in the comment box.

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