Considering the tendency to gain weight, raising a fat Border collie is easy. However, managing its obesity and preventing the potential consequences can be a rather challenging task. The most intelligent dog breed in the World, the Border collie, originates from the Scottish borders.
It has a remarkable reputation because of its wit, obedience, and unmatched herding skills. Border collies also excel at canine sports, conformation shows, and search and rescue missions. Considering the Border collie’s active lifestyle, one would assume that members of the breed are always lean and healthy. Sadly, modern Border collies are prone to gaining weight, and this can quickly lead to obesity.
This article will explain what obesity means, how to recognize its early signs, and what you can do to maintain a healthy body weight in your Border collie.
Normal Body Weight In Border Collies
Before going into the numbers and answering how much should a Border collie weigh, we must say a word or two about growth rates in Border collie puppies. Although puppies of the same breed may grow at different paces, these are the general guidelines you can refer to when monitoring your puppy’s progress.
Neonatal Period (Birth To Week 3)
At birth, newborns weigh between 7 and 14 ounces. In the first 24 hours, they might lose a little bit of weight, but then they immediately start gaining weight at a rate of 1/2 to 1 1/2 ounce per day.
Socialization Period (Week 3 To Week 12)
Although highly active, at this point, puppies should gain between 2 and 4 pounds per week.
Juvenile Period (Week 12 To 6 Months)
The juvenile period is marked by a more gradual weight gain of around one pound per week. This might come as a surprise considering the amount of food the puppy will eat, but the food is necessary for maintaining its high basal metabolism and energy levels.
Sexual Maturity Period (6 Months To 16 Months)
Through the sexual maturity period, both the weight gain and height increase are prolonged and gradual.
Transition Period (16 Months To 36 Months)
During this transitional phase, Border collies reach their adult weights and body frame sizes. In general, females are considered adults when 24 months old and males when 36 months old.
A fully grown Border collie should weigh between 27 and 45 pounds (12-20 kg) and stand 22 to 27 inches (56-69 cm) tall. The overall body length needs to be between 28 and 34 inches (71-86 cm) and height at withers around 18 to 22 inches (46-56 cm).
What Is Obesity In Border Collies?
In Border collies, obesity is characterized by body fat accumulation of 20% or more above the ordinary, average body weight. Obese and overweight Border collies have significant fat deposits in the neck, thorax, spine, base of tail, and legs. Obesity is not a disease per se, but it is a crippling problem that sadly affects 1/4 of the Border collie population. Based on statistics, 25% of the Border collies are either overweight or obese.
Why Is Obesity Dangerous?
Border collies and basically all dogs tend to live longer and healthier lives if normally weighted or lean. Obesity significantly decreases the quality of life and is a predisposing factor for several potentially life-threatening conditions. An overweight Border collie is more likely to develop arthritis, diabetes, heart issues, and certain types of cancer.
What Causes Obesity In Border Collies?
As in any other dog breed, the most common reason for unnecessary weight gain is the combination of overfeeding and under-exercising. Genetics also play an important role. Namely, certain dog breeds (Border collies included) are predisposed to gaining weight and becoming obese.
However, it is worth mentioning that in some cases, sudden weight gain in dogs can occur as a result of an underlying health condition like:
- Metabolic problems (for example, de-sexing)
- Hormonal imbalances (thyroid and adrenal issues)
- Injuries (torn CCL requiring long cage rest)
Therefore, before initiating a special dietary and exercising regimen, it is vital to have your Border collie examined by a veterinarian. If the vet rules out the presence of an underlying condition, then you can focus on a proper weight loss plan.
How To Recognize Obesity In Border Collies?
The fact that you see your Border collie every day makes it challenging to spot gradual weight changes. To make an objective assessment of your Border collie’s body condition, pay attention to the following factors.
1. Checking The Ribs
Start by spreading fingers across your Border collie’s ribcage. Normally, you should be able to feel the ribs. If you need to put extra pressure to locate the ribs, they are covered with too much fat.
2. Checking Form Above
When watching from above, you should be able to spot a well-differentiated waste. If there is no waist, it means there are thick fat layer deposits.
3. Checking The Profile
In a lean Border collie, the belly should be tucked up behind the ribcage. If there is a loose stomach hanging, you have an overweight Border collie.
4. Dealing With Obesity
If there is an underlying issue causing weight gain, all efforts should be focused on managing the condition. However, if the weight gain is due to poor dietary and exercise choices, you need to practice the following weigh management tips.
Dealing with Border Collie obesity:
- Provide a high-quality dog food (no human foods, no table scraps)
- Divide the daily food amount in two or more smaller meals
- Don’t overfeed treats
- Make a strict exercising schedule and stick to it
- Engage in more frequent play sessions
Losing weight can be challenging for some Border collies. If there is no significant progress, do not hesitate to talk to a canine nutritionist and ask for an individually tailored dieting regimen for your Border collie.
The nutritionist will give you the right Border collie diet and explain how much exercise Border collies need. Once you implement this advices, your overweight Border collie can safely and successfully embark on its weight loss journey.
Keeping your Border collie’s weight within the normal range is your responsibility. Unless weight gain is a symptom of a more severe health issue, you can maintain your dog’s weight by implementing adequate feeding and exercise regimens.
Same as in people, in Border collies, the bodyweight fluctuates during different life phases. Some periods are marked with intense weight gain and others by weight maintenance. Obesity is a particularly severe condition in Border collies, and the best treatment is prevention. To prevent unnecessary weight gain, monitor your Border collie’s body condition closely and regularly.