Overfeeding your dog is the #1 reason for an overweight Sheltie.

Most people don’t know the proper amount of food to feed. Everyone goes by what the Vet recommends or what’s recommended on the back of that bag of dog food.

Rule of thumb for feeding your dog: There are no rules! Every dog has a different activity level and lifestyle – just like us humans. What it all boils down to is this…..if your Sheltie is fat, your Sheltie is eating too much or has a health problem.

Your vet doesn’t live with you or your dog, so there’s no way for him to know how much food your dog should eat. The pet food manufacturers WANT YOU TO BUY MORE FOOD, so of course they’re going to recommend you feed more!

So how much food do you actually feed your Sheltie?

You might be surprised to know you’re feeding your dog a lot more than you think! Take a look at the photos below to see what happens to dog food once it’s in your Sheltie’s belly.


Shown is 1/2 cup of dry dog food.


After 20 min of soaking in water
the volume DOUBLES to 1 cup of food.




Take a closer look…..

Look how much the dry food expands just after sitting only 30 minutes in water. It expands double the amount!


1/2 cup of dry food.


30 minutes in water.



  • Feed your dog twice a day, but cut back on the amount of food.
  • If you are worried that your Sheltie will be hungry, add boiled potatoes or canned green beans to each meal. These act as “fillers” but won’t cause your dog to gain weight. Do this for 6 months.
  • Read about the “Green Bean Diet
  • Instead of feeding those fattening dog treats in between meals, try giving baby carrots! Shelties love them!

Hypothyroidism is the #2 reason…

Hypothyroidism is a condition resulting from the body’s inability to maintain sufficient levels of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, so lower than normal thyroid levels can result in a variety of symptoms. Thyroid gland insufficiency can be due to age and the resulting decreased ability of the thyroid gland to function, as the result of medications and other health problems.

Symptoms:  weight gain, thinning coat, dry skin, slow heart rate, intolerance to cold. A dog may have one symptom or may have a variety of symptoms. Thyroid disease is a progressive disease, so the changes are often gradual and subtle. Low thyroid can also make other conditions, especially those involving the hair and coat, more pronounced.

The Sheltie breed is prone to developing hypothyroidism as they get older. This could be an inherited disease or it could be the result of another health issue, which you many not be aware of yet. Fortunately, it’s easily treatable. If your Sheltie is overweight, make sure you ask your Veterinarian to at least do a simple “T4” test on the dog – but if you can afford it, the best thyroid test to have done is through Michigan State University. Ask your Vet for details.

See for yourself…

When a Sheltie gets to be as obese as Cindy was,  it might be medically necessary to put him/her on a food such as Hills Prescription Diet r/d. This food is basically ALL fiber, so your dog won’t absorb the food or calories. The result is weight loss & a LOT of poop.


Take a closer look…..

Notice the “rat tail” on the left. Sparse hair and dry fur. You can actually see the tip of her bare tail peeking out of the white fur.


Angel’s tail upon diagnosis
of hypothyroidism.


Angel’s tail months after
medication, Thyroxine.


Old Age and Arthritis is the #3 reason…

oldWe all get old. The problem with an old Sheltie is they are prone to developing arthritis, especially in the spine. This is a difficult situation because if your dog doesn’t want to do anything but lay around, they can’t lose weight. Yet, the more weight they gain, the less they want to move.

Please consider having an x-ray done on your old Sheltie’s spine to confirm the diagnosis of arthritis. Then get him/her on a pain medication such as Deramaxx, which your Vet can prescribe. Once your Sheltie starts feeling better, it will be easier to lose weight.



Laziness is the #4 reason…

ballUm, we’re not talking about the dog here. There’s virtually no such thing as a lazy Sheltie. The point is, if your Sheltie is overweight, and all medical conditions have been ruled out, then get up off the sofa and take him for a walk! Throw the ball!

Then the 2 of you can share a carrot.



Are you killing your Sheltie with kindness?

Read about obesity related health problems here.



Fat Shelties