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Italian Greyhound Club of America Rescue

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Under or Overweight Italian Greyhounds

The Italian Greyhound breed is known for being naturally thin by nature. Dogs being surrendered to rescue often range from the smallest full-grown adult dogs weighing only 5-7 pounds, all of the way up to 16-18 lbs at the largest. However, this doesn't mean that if your IG weighs between five and eighteen pounds that they are at an ideal weight. Even a few fewer or extra pounds on any dog from their ideal weight can cause health issues over time, or could be indicative of other problems that may need further analysis by a veterinarian.

As with any dog, it should be fairly easy to locate a few ribs by rubbing your hand on either side of the animal, just underneath the coat and skin. Upon visual inspection when an Italian Greyhound is in a resting position (such as sitting or laying down) a slight outline of a few ribs (2-3) may be seen. However, seeing the majority of the ribcage may indicate that an IG that is too thin. When an Italian Greyhound is breathing heavily, you may additionally be able to see the outline of more ribs as they inhale and exhale.

However, on the opposite end of the spectrum if you cannot easily feel, or visually see any indication of any ribs, then an Italian Greyhound could potentially stand to lose some weight. Few Italian Greyhounds weigh 18-20 lbs or greater, and a pure-bred IG at or above these weights should be evaluated by a veterinarian to ensure it is not becoming obese. Rescue in the past has seen a handful of IGs that could be considered morbidly obese weighing 25-30 lbs or more even, resembling a sausage shape from above.

Any sudden changes of weight over a short period of time (a few months or less) should be discussed with a veterinarian, either if the dog has gained or lost weight.

Underweight Italian Greyhounds

Although Italian Greyhound owners are often told their dogs are too thin, or need to be fed, there is a point at which an IG is too thin. If you can see more than a couple of ribs on an IG, then they may need to gain a little weight. Often an underweight dog is just simply being given the wrong diet, and a change in diet will cause the dog to reach a healthy weight. Many dog foods are mostly fillers which provide little nutritional benefit, so changing to a better quality food could be a simple change that needs made. Additionally, hard kibble foods are difficult for a dog's digestive system to break down in to nutrients the body can use, so changing to a partial or full soft-food diet may help increase weight on an IG.

A sudden loss of weight could also indicate other underlying issues that need addressed which may include:

Although food is often one of the most common causes of an Italian Greyhound being too skinny, there are some IGs that just have a higher metabolism and are naturally more slender than others. A vet can also run blood tests (panels) to help eliminate other causes behind an IG being underweight.

Overweight Italian Greyhounds

Far above any other reason, the most common cause for a dog being overweight is their diet, or food portion size being consumed. A small Italian Greyhound may only eat 1/3 cup of food twice daily, while those on the larger side may eat 1/2 cup or slightly more per day. If a dog eats more than this, then it is likely they are getting too many calories per day which is causing them to gain weight. Some tips to help keep your dog at a healthy weight include:

Obese Italian Greyhound Top View

If the above precautions are being taken, and followed strictly, an overweight Italian Greyhound could have other issues which may need analyzed by a veterinarian. Some of the more common issues we have seen in Italian Greyhound which are not caused by dietary issue have included the following:

View a slideshow of an obese foster dog in 2014-15, showing his transformation from being extremely heavy to an ideal weight in the Diary of an Obese Italian Greyhound.

Short and Long Term Effects From Excessive Weight

Overweight Italian Greyhounds can suffer from both short and long-term health effects from being allowed to remain overweight, similar to what happens in people too. It is vital to keep an Italian Greyhound at a proper weight to contribute to a long healthy life.

The above list is not comprehensive by any means, and so many other health issues are caused by an Italian Greyhound being overweight. Additionally, other existing problems are often aggravated by any pet being too heavy. However, it is always important to remember that the primary cause of overweight or obese Italian Greyhounds usually is their owners' failure to act, maintain a healthy diet, and regular exercise for their pet(s).

 
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