I know you mean well when asking if your Great Pyrenees is overweight online, but it's really worthless. Click through to see why.

Stop Asking If Your Great Pyrenees Is Overweight Online

If there’s one thing that drives me absolutely bonkers (okay, there are a lot of things that do that, but we’ll just focus on this for now) it’s people asking advice about their dog’s weight online after receiving veterinary guidance.

I see it all. the. time.

“Just had *insert dog’s name* at the vet and the vet says he needs to lose 20 pounds! Can you believe it?! Do you think he looks like he needs to lose weight?”

This is often answered with, “He looks great! He’s just thick.” or “He just has a lot of fluff!”

A Great Pyrenees is not thick. However, a Great Pyrenees does fill out. Just not in a way most people think.

Filling out does not mean that your dog puts extra fat on his body. It means that his ribs widen and chest deepens. This is usually accompanied by muscle growth. A Great Pyrenees will not have muscle substance similar to a dog such as a Rottweiler. They still need to be exceptionally agile for defending their flock.

The Great Pyrenees Breed Standard states:

The Great Pyrenees is a dog of medium substance whose coat deceives those who do not feel the bone and muscle. Commensurate with his size and impression of elegance there is sufficient bone and muscle to provide a balance with the frame.

Beautiful Great Pyrenees

Balance is key for the Great Pyrenees. A pyr should never be lumbersome. I hate to say it, but if your vet thinks your Great Pyrenees is overweight, he probably is.

I know you mean well when you ask about your dog’s weight online, but let me explain why it is worthless.

Pyrs have a LOT of fur. However, there’s a spectrum when it comes to pyr coats. Some are a bit on the “thin” side (thin for pyr fur that is), making it a tad easier to tell their weight. Others have coats that are OMG SO FLUFFY and you can’t tell where the fur ends and the body begins. Is the dog underweight? Overweight? I have no idea – there’s too much fur!

Yes, there are cases where you can absolutely see that a pyr is over or under weight (shorter fur, emaciated, etc), but the vast majority are going to be a mystery.

That is – until you touch them.

Photo Credit: Las Vegas Pet Weight Loss
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Pet Weight Loss

I really like this chart for examining your dog’s weight because if offers the usual side view, but an above view as well.

If your vet says your dog is overweight, he probably is. Regardless of how you feel about traditional veterinarians, they aren’t out to emaciate our dogs or suggest diets and more exercise because it’s fun for them. They are trying to protect the health of your dog and allow him to live a long, healthy life.

If you’re unsure about your dog’s weight or your vet has suggested that your dog needs to lose a few pounds, try using the above chart. Like stated earlier, it’s going to be a little more difficult for a fluffy dog. You can’t just look at him. Here are a two of my preferred methods:

The Fluffy Dog Feel Method

Put your hands on each side of your dog’s ribs. Press very lightly and glide your fingers toward his head and back toward his tail. Can you easily feel the ribs without pressing too hard?

If you have to press to feel the ribs and/or can’t find them, your dog is probably overweight. This is how I keep tabs on Mauja and Atka on a regular basis. Simply feel their ribs to ensure they are still at a healthy weight. However, there is a better method to tell if your Great Pyrenees is overweight (or any fluffy dog).

The Soak Your Fluffy Method

This is the best way to determine if your dog is at an appropriate weight when using the chart above. If you look down on your fluffy dog, you typically can’t tell where fur ends and body starts. That’s where the feel method is appropriate. If you want to look at your dog as a whole, you’re going to need to soak that fluffy.

I use this method when Mauja and Atka are getting baths or when they’ve just gone for a swim. Anything that got them completely wet and flattened the fur for me. Then you can look at them from above (you’ll probably need a chair) and compare to the chart.

Image Source: Natural Balance
Image Source: Natural Balance

Now that you have mellowed the fluff a bit, really compare your dog to this chart. Is there a slight tuck to the stomach? Does he have a nice shape when viewed from above?

If you find your dog on either side of the scale, speak with your vet about the best course of action. Your dog will live a longer, healthier, and happier life if he’s at his ideal weight.

So please, stop asking if your Great Pyrenees is overweight online. No one can tell the actual size of the dog under the mass amount of fluff.

Bigger is not always better – let’s keep our fluffies happy and healthy 🙂

I know you mean well when asking if your Great Pyrenees is overweight online, but it's really worthless. Click through to see why.

4 comments on “Stop Asking If Your Great Pyrenees is Overweight Online”

  1. A better question is if you don’t trust your vet, why aren’t you finding another one?

    Sadly, it isn’t just this breed that is at risk. I trust my Vet. If she told me one of the dogs needed to diet, we’d discuss how she thought we should move forward to reach that goal. We had one dog that was struggling with being underweight and she helped us to work through all the scenarios that could be causing that, too.

    Sadly, it isn’t just dogs. Look at how many parents ignore obesity in their kids and fail to listen to their child’s doctor telling them they need to work on diet and exercise.

  2. Also concerning are all the young/puppy Pyr owners who want to know “why isn’t my pup bigger?” I too refer them to the standard. People seem to think Pyrs are supposed to be huge when in fact they are not. Thanks for this great post!

  3. That would drive me nuts as well. I can’t stand when self proclaimed experts begin to argue against veterinarian advice. Although I’ve disagreed with my vet, I always take their thoughts into consideration and if they say my dog needs to lose weight, then they need to lose weight.

    I wonder if vets need to start explaining the “why” of their opinion. Or if they do, I wonder if the person just ignores them.

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