How To Tell If Your Australian Shepherd Is Overweight

It can be so easy to feed your Aussie more treats than you should. After all, they’re so cute! However, if you’ve been feeding them a little bit more than normal, then you’ll need to figure out if they’re overweight or not.

In this article, not only will you find out how to tell if your Australian Shepherd is overweight or not, but you’ll also learn how to help them lose weight and prevent them from gaining pounds again in the future!

How Much Should An Australian Shepherd Weigh?

The easiest way to know if your Australian Shepherd is overweight or not is to know how much a healthy one should weigh. Males should be between 55-70lbs (25-32kg), and females should be between 35-55lbs (16-25kg).

How To Tell If Your Australian Shepherd Is Overweight

Even though you can weigh your Aussie to see if they’re overweight, there are also ways you can eyeball it as well. Here are the most common signs that your Australian Shepherd is carrying a little bit too much extra.

You Can’t Feel It’s Ribs Through It’s Fat

Ideally, you should be able to feel the ribs of a healthy dog through their fur with a thin layer of fat in between. You should also be able to feel the rib cage by just touching the side of your dog’s body without having to apply pressure.

If you can’t feel each of your dog’s ribs with your fingertips, there’s too much fat on his ribs, and he’s overweight.

They’re Not Active

Anyone who has an Australian Shepherd is well aware of how energetic, and sometimes even wild, these dogs can be. They enjoy running and are always occupied.

If you notice that your Aussie is not just growing a bit chubbier but also not moving around as much as before, this is a sign that they are overweight and finding it difficult to move around.

They Pant A Lot While Walking

It is common for all Aussies to pant a lot when it is hot outside or after a long walk. It is, however, unusual for them to pant when just going about the house or pacing around the yard to use the restroom.

An overweight Aussie will often pant because he or she is fighting to obtain fresh air and oxygen into their bloodstream and the rest of their body.

Their Stomach Is As Wide As Their Chest

If your Australian Shepherd doesn’t have a waistline, it’s a sign that he or she is overweight. A projecting chest with a slope or inclination towards their belly that gets thinner as you approach closer to their tail is a perfect shape for your dog.

If you can’t perceive a difference in size across your Aussies body, it suggests they’re overweight and need to lose a lot of weight. They are less healthy the fuller they seem.

Trouble Getting Up

If you observe your dog straining to get up from a sleeping or sitting posture and there are no other signs or indicators of trauma or discomfort, it’s likely that the extra weight is making it difficult for them to do so.

How To Help Your Australian Shepherd Lose Weight

If you notice that your Aussie is overweight, then you should do everything you can to help them lose it! If you don’t help them lose weight early enough, then health problems are likely to occur later down the line.

Don’t Give Them Your Food

It’s common knowledge that the fastest path to a dog’s heart is through his stomach. That’s why, when they see those huge lovely eyes peering into their souls, dog owners are so willing to share their meals and snacks.

Unfortunately, many people give these products to their pets out of affection, but they actually cause more damage than good. Many of the items we consume throughout the day have little nutritional value for your dog, so you are providing them with fat and calories for no reason.

Here is a list of foods that are healthy for your dog if you wish to avoid store-bought meals and give your dog homemade food prepared at home.

  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Lamb
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Peanut butter
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Yogurt

Don’t Feed Them As Much

It may appear to be simpler to just leave a dog food dish out all day, letting your dog graze and nibble as they want, but this can lead to overfeeding.

However, an adult Australian Shepherd should consume around 1.5- 2.5 cups of kibble, split between two meals. Depending on your dog’s level of exercise and current weight, this will need to be changed.

Don’t Give Them As Many Treats

Doggy treats are the most effective approach to train and reward our pets for good behavior. Unfortunately, dog treats do not provide all of your pet’s nutritional benefits.

Reducing the quantity of goodies you offer them and saving them for special occasions might help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

Consider giving your dog cuddles, toys, or elk antlers to keep them chewing for an extended period of time.

Exercise Them More

Keeping your dog as active as possible, as long as it’s done in a healthy and safe manner, is one of the greatest methods to help them lose weight.

Feed Them Nutritious Dog Food

Regardless of what the ads claim, not all dog meals are made equally. It’s critical that your Aussie be given only the best whole grains, proteins, and veggies. Never feed them anything that has a lot of fillers or by-products.

What Are The Risks Of Letting Your Australian Shepherd Be Overweight?

Just like people, allowing your Australian Shepherd to remain overweight is going to come with a whole bunch of health risks. So getting them back to a healthy weight is incredibly important.

Here are some of the main problems associated with being overweight.

A Shorter Lifespan

If you love your dog and want to keep them around for as long as possible, it’s critical that you keep them fit and healthy.

When compared to an average-weight dog, overweight dogs are believed to lose 2 to 3 years of life. That means you’ll spend two to three years less time with your dog simply because they eat too much and move too little.

Increased Risk Of Cancer

Although there is still more study to be done on this issue, it is evident that obesity in dogs can raise their risk of having specific types of malignancies for several reasons.

Obesity has been associated with a variety of malignancies, including some that are very aggressive and lethal, due to a rise in internal inflammation, insulin resistance, and fat growth chemicals.

Increased Risk Of Diabetes

Diabetes is more than just a human disease. This is also becoming a prevalent ailment in pets, and it has a lot to do with the growing number of overweight canines.

Obesity causes a dog’s body to become considerably more resistant to insulin, which leads to diabetes.

They May Find It Hard To Sleep

Have you ever gotten ready to go to bed, only to be awakened by the sounds of your dog snoring or squirming around in an attempt to get comfortable? These issues might be directly related to your pet’s weight.

A dog with a lot of extra fat on its tummy may struggle to get enough oxygen into its lungs, especially while resting at night. Your dog may become less active, more anxious, and eat more frequently as a result of their failure to get enough sleep.

They Won’t Be As Active

Although Australian Shepherds are well-known for their energy, it is not their only positive trait. This dog breed is also recognized for being devoted, obedient, and protective.

If your Australian Shepherd is overweight, he or she will be much less active than usual, prohibiting them from doing the tasks for which they are best known.

What Can Cause Your Australian Shepherd To Be Overweight?

Now you know the signs of obesity in Australian Shepherds, and what to do to reduce it, you should also know what causes it as well! Here are the most common causes!

A Lack Of Exercise

Because Shepherds were meant to be work dogs for extended periods of time, it is critical that they get at least 1 1/2 to 2 hours of rigorous exercise every day. This includes activities like running, jumping, fetch, and tug of war.

The quantity of exercise can be spread out throughout the course of the day. A lengthy morning stroll followed by some backyard fun at night can help your dog maintain a healthy weight.

A Poor Diet

Consuming an excessive amount of unhealthy snacks, treats or human food that is deficient in nutrients or calories is the most common and fastest method for an Australian Shepherd to gain weight.

When your Aussie consumes a lot of high fat, low protein, and high sugar food, they will not only gain weight from the excess calories but will also become less energetic and unwilling to participate in as much activity as they formerly did.

Not getting enough protein, vitamins, and other essential nutrients will negatively affect your dog’s weight.

Health Conditions

And lastly, there are a few health conditions that can affect your Australian Shepherd as well. Some health conditions to be aware of include:

Hip Dysplasia: Hip Dysplasia is a disorder in which the ball and joints in your Aussie’s hips are misaligned. This causes the bones to rub against one another, resulting in hip discomfort and weakening. This condition will significantly reduce your dog’s activity level.

Thyroid Issues (Hypothyroidism): An Australian Shepherd with hypothyroidism may gain weight as their metabolism slows and they are unable to burn calories as efficiently.

When To See A Vet?

If you believe your Australian Shepherd is obese and you’re concerned about their health and general well-being, you should immediately alter their food and exercise habits. However, before doing this, you should consult a vet to make sure you’re altering their diet accordingly, and you’re not going to be exercising them too much.

How Can A Vet Help?

Your veterinarian is available to assist you and your dog with any issues that may arise. If your Australian Shepherd is overweight and you are concerned about their well-being, no one is better suited to assist you than your veterinarian.

They Can Help Figure Out If there’s Any Health Conditions

If you have tried everything possible to assist your Australian Shepherd in losing weight and nothing appears to be working, your veterinarian can run some tests, draw blood, and perform an exam to rule out any underlying health problems that could be causing your dog’s weight gain or inability to lose the excess fat.

If your dog does have a health problem that contributes to its obesity, your veterinarian can prescribe medicine or perform specific treatments to address the underlying concerns and aid in weight loss.

They Can Give You Nutrition Advice

If your veterinarian performs a comprehensive physical examination on your Australian Shepherd and discovers no health problems or concerns other than your dog being overweight, they can advise you on the best diet for your dog.

Additionally, veterinarians can prescribe weight management tablets and food that will ensure your dog receives the proper nourishment in the proper proportions to aid in weight reduction and help your dog reach their optimal size.

Want To Train Your Australian Shepherd With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Australian Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your Shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Australian Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


As you can see, helping keep your Australian Shepherd at a healthy weight doesn’t have to be too complicated. And if you consult your vet, they’ll be able to give you the best advice possible!

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website. Otherwise, have a great day!