Oh Sh*t!! My Dog Got Fat!

Ollie in his "dapper dog" days.

In case you thought that we registered dieticians never had ‘weight problems’, I am going to dispel that right now. I am embarrassed to admit that my very own golden retriever, Ollie, gained a whopping 12 lbs in the past year. This brought his weight from a normal 81 lbs (he is a big male, so for him this was a healthy weight) to a not-so-ideal 93 lbs. Keep in mind that while 12 lbs might not be a huge deal in human terms, it is very significant for a dog. Indeed, my dog got plump right under my own roof.
On this site we discuss issues of human food, nutrition, and fitness of course. But I wanted to disclose Ollie’s weight gain because there are many parallels between what happened to him and what can so easily happen to those of us walking on 2 legs – without fur.
So how did Ollie go from dapper dog to chubby canine? Well, just as with people, it didn’t happen overnight. Although, it didn’t take too long either. Ollie’s weight had always been a steady 81 – 82 lbs. But in the past year I had some changes to my work schedule, causing me to travel a lot more. I should also tell you that I am a “single dog mom”. So this means that when I travel, my mom watches Ollie. And just like with children, my mom often spoils her ‘granddog’ with food.
My increase in travel also meant that Ollie was getting less physical activity. Unlike most retrievers, he was never a highly active dog. In fact, I have referred to him as “inertia dog” since he was a puppy. (For those of you who forgot the inertia principal from first year physics… an object at rest stays at rest. Ollie skipped the part of this principle that says an object in motion stays in motion.) I was always able to manage his weight by limiting his food and taking him on long walks and hikes…. At least 2 miles a day, but more often 4 to 6 miles each day. In the past year he was probably getting closer to a half mile per day.

So, in short: more food + less exercise = fat dog. Sound familiar?

I didn’t realize how much his weight had increased until a vet visit about 6 weeks ago. I was truly shocked… and a bit embarrassed to say the least. But just as with people, with some effort and persistence, a healthy weight can be recaptured. I’ve already started back with our longer hikes and less food. I’ve tried to explain to my mom that when I travel he needs to “stick with the program”. We shall see. I plan to keep all of you updated on Ollie’s progress. I hope you’ll check in to watch him return to his “dapper days”.

— Katherine


  1. says

    Yep, I hear ya! My little bichon got fat too! So, embarrassing for a Registered Dietitian. It was all those extra treats everyone was giving him. Not me of course! LOL Anyway, he’s now on a special diet, low calorie low fat. He developed cushings disease but we are now getting that under control as well. With dogs it happens so fast and because they are so cute and cuddly it’s hard to notice the pounds inching up. It didn’t take long for Casper (my bichon)to return to the proper weight and I suspect yours will be back to normal weight in no time.


Leave a Reply