Abandoned Overweight NJ Chihuahua: Lessons Learned

5 tips to avoid an overweight dog.

You may have seen the story break last month. A helpless, 21 pound Chihuahua later named Stanley, was found on the side of a New Jersey highway, locked in a crate and completely helpless. Adding to his physical condition, the overweight dog had legs that were badly deformed and unable to walk on his own. According to his rescuers, “animal control picked up Stanley and brought him to their facility, where now he was stuck in a kennel alone, with barking dogs, frightened and unable to move out of his own urine and feces.”

But the story has a happy update. Thankfully, a local rescue heard about the story and immediately went to pick up Stanley and is now enjoying life with a fantastic foster family, getting the treatment he so desperately needs. 

This story isn’t the first of its kind. The abandonment of this poor pup alone is enough to make your blood boil. But the other issue that caught our attention was the fact that this Chihuahua was severely overfed, leading to the multitude of physical problems he now faces. 

It’s important to shed light on this all too common problem. Over 50% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. This is a preventable problem and in this post, we’ll explain steps to make sure your dog doesn’t end up a statistic and practical tools you can own that can help make your pup a happier and healthier dog.

Effects of dog weight gain

Stanley’s story isn’t unique. Just Google “overweight Chihuahua” and you’ll find a variety of articles and videos about Chihuahuas who indulged a bit too much on kibble. Though many may deem it as cute or funny, an overweight dog poses many problems. 

The list of health problems is lengthy. Weight gain on your dog, especially if it’s small, can cause heart disease and high blood pressure. It’s also linked to breathing problems. Overweight dogs are more prone to a collapsing trachea and laryngeal paralysis.  

Overweight dogs are also at risk of arthritis which affects their joints. Hopping on furniture or taking the stairs could be detrimental as a result. 

Your pup’s quality of life also suffers. Even though you may think that extra treats and extra portions of food is making your dog happy, the effects the extra food causes begin to catch up to them. Obesity can take a whole 2 years off of your dog’s life. 

5 tips to avoid an overweight dog

According to dogtime.com, the typical, healthy Chihuahua weighs 3 to 6 pounds. Chihuahuas can also be oversize, with some reaching 12 or more pounds. The weight can vary depending on the purity of the breed. An initial visit to the vet may help determine the ideal weight of your dog.

Steps to make sure your dog maintains a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Accurately measure your dog’s food. It might seem like a simple task, but overfeeding can become an unintentional habit. But using tools to make sure you’re feeding your dog the proper portion can help. A pet food scale can ensure that you’re weighing your dog’s food and consistently giving him the right portions.

    Prevent dog obesity with a pet food scale.

  2. Slow down their food intake. Some people may think that they’re not feeding their dog enough when the bowl is licked clean after only a few minutes of feeding. And so they proceed to give them more. Following the proper portions for your dog’s weight is crucial to avoiding weight-gain. A fast-eater can also pose other serious problems like risk for choking, gagging and bloat, which can be life-threatening. Solutions to combat fast eating are: a food puzzle and slow-feeder bowls.

    Food puzzles and slow-feeding bowls can reduce the risk of life-threatening effects.

  3. Track your dog’s weight. Take steps to make sure your dog’s weight is consistent over time. If you are already taking steps to reduce your dog’s weight, make sure their weight isn’t dropping off too fast. Think about it. A one-pound loss for a 12-pound Chihuahua is like a 150-pound person losing 12 pounds!

    Using a scale to weigh your dog will help you keep track of his progress.

  4. Keep your dog active. There’s a myth floating around that small dogs don’t need a lot of exercise and are perfect as couch potatoes at home. That couldn’t be further from the truth. According to The Kennel Club, Chihuahuas need up to 30 minutes a day of exercise. A nice walk around the park will give those little legs the workout Chihuahuas need to stay happy and healthy.

    Stay fit along with your furry companion by exercising together.

  5. Visit the vet often. It’s important to keep your dog’s shots up-to-date and to get routine checkups on them. Oftentimes, health problems creep up quickly. By maintaining a routine vet visit, you can keep an eye on your pup’s health and make sure everything is at should be.

    Routine visits to the vet can help ward off signs of any health problems.

Road to recovery

Stanley is now living with a foster mom who is taking the steps to bring his weight down. At first, she was having issues getting him to eat a low-fat diet, but have since started feeding him fresher wet food that he finds more appetizing. 

Stanley, who has bonded a lot with his foster mom, is described as very loving and affectionate. Once he is healthier, he will be put up for adoption.

The shelter is currently raising money to buy Stanley a custom wheelchair and provide him with physical therapy. 

A healthy weight makes for a happy dog

You love your Chihuahua and just want what’s best for them. With the proper education and the right actions, you can ensure they live a long, healthy and happy life. After all, they give us so much unconditional love. We need to make sure that we’re returning the favor by making sure we’re taking care of them properly. 

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2 thoughts on “Abandoned Overweight NJ Chihuahua: Lessons Learned

  1. Pingback: How Heavy Should My Chihuahua Be? | The Chi Society

  2. Pingback: What Can I Give My Chihuahua for Pain? | The Chi Society

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