6 Tips for Overweight Springer Spaniels

by Stuart | Last Updated:   August 15, 2021

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Keeping your Springer Spaniel at an ideal body weight contributes to your dog’s well-being and is also one of the easiest and best ways to extend its lifespan. Satisfying their adorable puppy dog eyes with table scraps and treats is probably shortening their life.

Springer Spaniels can easily become overweight if they are given too much food and too little exercise. This breed is genetically prone to hip dysplasia and joint problems. Being overweight and obese can worsen these and other joint issues, and can cause a variety of other health problems.

Overweight Spring Spaniel exercising in the park with a man and ball

What is Overweight For a Springer Spaniel?

Apply a little pressure to your Springer Spaniel’s chest and you should be able to feel their ribcage. If you can barely feel the ribs at all, this is a fair indication that your Springer Spaniel is overweight.

When Springer Spaniels are out of shape and overweight, they get tired and will become fatigued and overexerted easily. The below weights are just averages and you should always check with your vet to see if your dog is a healthy weight or if you need to put him/her on a diet. 

Healthy weight of an adult Welsh Springer Spaniel

  • Male: 40-55 pounds 
  • Female: 35-50 pounds 

Healthy weight of an adult English Springer Spaniel

  • Male: 50 pounds 
  • Female: 40 pounds 

What to Consider Before Starting a Weight Loss Plan?

Before implementing a weight loss plan for your Springer Spaniel, schedule an appointment with your vet. Do some preliminary research and discuss any possible challenges and health concerns.

If your Springer Spaniel has experienced a sudden weight gain without any reason, then it might have an underlying health condition, something your vet is best qualified to determine.

Tips for Overweight Springer Spaniels

Obesity can decrease your pet’s quality of life and have major health risks; including: heart disease, high blood pressure, joint issues, and diabetes. Here are a few useful tips if your Springer Spaniel is overweight.

1. Start a high protein and low carb diet

Springer Spaniels need a protein-packed diet to fuel their high energy personalities. For overweight Springers, reducing carbohydrates is vital. Although carbs add nutrients to the dog food, they also make your dog gain weight. So, you should look for a high protein, low carb formula in any type of dog food. Moreover, protein involves more calories to digest than carbohydrates. 

Also, try replacing biscuits, cheese, and other high-fat treats with fresh chopped carrots, apple slices, or green beans.

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2. Keep track of/measure how much you’re feeding

Every dog is individual with unique requirements for food. It’s quite likely that the dog food manufacturer’s feeding recommendations might be causing your Springer Spaniel to become overweight. Give your Springer two to three small meals a day, rather than one large meal. 

3. Keep your dog active

Exercise is the best answer and ultimate solution to problems with overweight dogs. Springer Spaniels should be given regular exercise to avoid becoming overweight

Take them out for a long walk in the afternoon or evening before they go to bed. You can encourage your Springer’s playful nature through activities like fetch, swimming, and agility exercises. 

Remember to slowly build your pet’s stamina. Start exercising your Springer gradually, especially if your dog isn’t used to it. 

Pet parent tip: If you opt to run with your Springer Spaniel, keep its age in mind. Youngsters can damage joints by running repetitively on hard surfaces. It’s better to avoid jogging on hard surfaces until your Springer is at least 12 months old. 

4. Limit table scraps and leftover food

After all, a few extra pounds can make a huge difference for Springers, who are much smaller than we are. So, concentrate on a healthy diet, and curb the urge to treat them with table scraps and other food you eat. Human food is not dog food!

5. Measure and monitor

Once your vet has designed a weight-management plan for your Springer, you should stick to the meal plan. Be vigilant and avoid free-feeding your pet. Use an appropriate measuring device to ensure you’re managing portion control. Make sure you are also providing ample clean cool water for your dog to drink.

6. Switch to non-food rewards for your dog

Every Springer Spaniel loves a tasty treat, but there are several other ways you can reward your dog. Dog treats can add a significant amount of calories to your dog’s daily diet. 

Instead of dog treats, include belly rubs, head massages, and verbal praise as a source of positive reinforcement. You can also consider a quick play-time with their favourite toy. This will be more enjoyable for your Springer Spaniel than a tasty treat

Pet parent tip: Remember the 10% rule: Experts suggest that dog treats should make up to no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.

If you are giving food treats, look for low-carb and low-calorie options. For long training sessions, cut dog treats into smaller pieces.

How Common is Obesity in Springer Spaniels? 

Due to the highly energetic nature of Springer Spaniels, a well-exercised Springer should not become overweight. However, it is very easy for them to become overweight if they don’t exercise regularly, especially if they are overfed. 

The factors affecting Springer Spaniel weight gain are:

  • Exercise: A fully grown Springer Spaniel needs almost two hours of exercise per day. The pounds can pack on pretty quickly if your Springer is inactive or underactive. 
  • Food: The weight of your Springer Spaniel is dependant on the amount of food you allow them to consume. Depending on the size and age, a Springer Spaniel generally needs between 1000 and 1300 calories per day.
  • Genetics: Your dog’s weight may not just come down to food and exercise. Weight issues in Springers can also be genetic. 

But no matter what the cause of the issue is, it can be easily fixed if you follow some simple tips and tricks!

Health Problems Caused by Dog Obesity

There are many diseases and conditions that come along with extra pounds, in dogs just like humans. These health problems include:

  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Orthopaedic problems and faster degeneration of affected joints
  • Skin disease
  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • Anaesthetic complications as they are less heat tolerant
  • Decreased life expectancy

How to Transition From Active Weight Loss?

Once your Springer Spaniel has achieved its weight loss and has reached an ideal weight (as determined by your vet), you will need a maintenance game plan. Check back in with your vet to see if you should make any changes to the amount of food you are providing. A monthly weigh-in is valuable for your pet to ensure you avoid any “back slides” into weight gain. Stick to your Springer Spaniel’s daily exercise regimen, as it will benefit your dog in its old age as well. 

When Should I Consult a Vet

The very first step in dealing with an overweight Springer is to recognize and acknowledge that there is a problem. If your Springer Spaniel isn’t losing any weight after almost ten to eleven weeks of controlled diet and exercise, then it’s time to consult a vet. In some Springers, there could be certain underlying health problems that are hindering weight loss. 

Your vet will give your Springer Spaniel a thorough checkup. He can also help you decide if your dog’s weight loss objectives are attainable, and whether you need any additional assistance.

Final Thoughts

Some Springer Spaniels lose weight faster than others. The trick is to be patient with your routine and give your Springer Spaniel a couple of months to work on his/her weight. 

Even if your overweight pet is gradually losing weight, there is progress. But if the weight just stops dropping, then it is time to consult a vet and re-strategize.

Did you find this article useful? Share your experience with us. We would be happy to hear from you!

Stuart loves blogging about his hobbies and passions. Sir Doggie is a place for him to share what he learns while being a pet parent. Click here to read more.
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