Obesity in Dogs | 11 Risk Factors Related to Dog Obesity

Is your dog fat? If yes, then we’ve got some really bad news for you.

Dog obesity has become a major problem for dog parents these days. According to the research carried out by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, a whopping 54 percent of dogs in the US are overweight or obese.

Weight gain issues in dogs are increasing at an alarming rate. Blame it on the hectic life of the owners who don’t have time to walk their dog or simply neglecting their fur buddies. Like human beings, canines suffer from particular conditions too when they are obese. These illnesses reduce their quality of life as well as their life expectancy by two years.

In this post, we’re going to explore:

  • What causes obesity in dogs?
  • Long-term Effects on overweight dogs.
  • How to prevent obesity in dogs?

What causes obesity in dogs?

Excess body fat, like humans, triggers by extreme consuming and uncontrollable binging. Causes of dog obesity can be many –

Overfeeding: When you excessively give your dogs treat that is meant to be occasional. Showing your pooch love through emotional feeding can be dangerous.

Lack of exercise: When dogs aren’t taken out for a walk or aren’t motivated for physical movement, they tend to put on weight.

Feeding high-calorie foods: If you give endless feeding to your dog without considering the calorie count, you’re risking his life.

Genetic: Genetics play an essential role in determining the average weight of the animal.

Lack of awareness: Some pet parents think their dogs are healthy when in fact they are obese. So, watch out for the weight.

Health Risks and Effects of Dog Obesity

Obesity in dogs

For those who want to understand the long-term effects of weight problems in dogs, right here are some illnesses your fatty dog is prone to:


Excess weight in canines can trigger muscle and joint issues like back disc illness, hip dysplasia, and fractures on the joint ligaments. Weight problems in pet dogs have the tendency to put additional weight on their bones. In turn, the joints and other parts of the bones develop arthritis.

Urinary Tract Disease

Too much fat can impose problems in urinating. They might feel pain while urinating and cry out which is a danger sign.

Low Thyroid Hormone Production

Hypothyroidism in dogs is common these days. Your dog may have a low functioning thyroid which indicates by fur thinning, weight gain, excessive hair shedding, and low cold tolerance.


Like people, pets can get diabetes too. Generally, obesity is also a cause for diabetes in people, this can likewise occur in pets too.

Skin issues

Excessive weight in pet dogs can trigger skin issues. When pets do not have correct grooming, they tend to collect germs, dirt, or other unwanted elements that might trigger damage to your pooch’s skin.

Heat Stroke

With too much fat deposits built up in their skin, dogs can’t tolerate heat. That is why most overweight pets are susceptible to heat stroke, especially during the summer season.

Torn Knee Ligaments

Too much weight causes strain to joints which leads to ligament rupture. When the knee ligaments tear, it becomes even more difficult for dogs to lose weight.

Respiratory issues

Dogs face respiratory issues in the form of coughing, labored breathing, rapid breathing, and uncontrolled panting.

High Blood Pressure

Hypertension may affect organs like heart, kidneys, eyes, and the nervous system of the dog.  

Intestinal issues

When your dog is too fat, he is likely to suffer from gastrointestinal disorders such as Colitis which causes inflammation in the intestines. Excessive weight in pets triggers problems in their bowels and pancreas.

Liver issues

When the liver can no longer function properly due to the fat deposits, there is an increased risk of liver dysfunction might which could even lead to the death of your beloved pet.

Obese Dog Chart

This chart may help you to recognize whether your pooch has an ideal weight or not. The range falls between under-ideal, ideal and over-ideal. This body condition score is developed by the WSAVA Global Nutrition Committee.

Obese Dog Chart
Obese Dog Chart

How to prevent obesity in dogs?

Pet owners should keep in mind that before incorporating all of these things in your dog’s lifestyle, it’s finest to speak with a veterinarian.

Dieting to prevent obesity in dogs

Put them on a Diet

For much healthier and happier canines, offer them the finest love and care you can offer plus a fantastic nutritional program. As they say, a healthy dog is a delighted pet.

Fix a feeding schedule

Free-feeding is your dog’s worst enemy. Stop leaving food down all day and fix proper time for feeding. Provide your dog food for 15 to 20 minutes and pick up leftover for the next meal.

Develop a healthy diet plan

Diet plan is essential for hounds so that they can still have the needed nutrients they require in order to remain healthy. Their diet should consist of the best mix of fiber, meat, minerals, veggies, and vitamins.

Consider healthy treat options

Cookies and biscuits can fatten up your dog so it’s time to look for healthier options. These days, healthy treats are available in the pet store. Or better, is to feed them seasonal fruits and veggies.

Make them Workout

Among the tried-and-tested methods in addressing weight issues is a rigorous workout schedule. Dog owners must fix a healthy workout schedule for their pet dogs. This can be done by tagging them for a walk after every meal or letting him go through a field. The best thing about this is even you get to get moving so it’s a win-win for both you and your doggie.

Play with them

Obesity might be one of the signs your dog is unhappy. Engage your hound in outdoor fun activities such as fetch, running and swimming. This way, you both will bond together and become more active. Just make sure you start slow.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dog Obesity

  • What’s the ideal body weight for a dog?

Dogs should have about 20% body fat, or 80% lean weight. A healthy weight for a dog is between 70-80 lbs.

  • Can a dog die from being overweight?

Obesity affects almost all the organs of the body like kidney, liver, heart, etc. When they are overloaded, it leads to organ failure and ultimately, death.

  • How to tell if your dog is overweight?

Lightly press down on your dog’s rib cage. You should feel a thin layer of fat covering the ribs, allowing you to feel and see the ribs without much trouble. If you feel a thick layer of fat and have to press down hard to feel the ribs, then your dog is likely overweight or obese.


Health issues and illnesses due to dog obesity are definitely life-threatening. Therefore, it depends on the parent to figure out the best ways to fight these issues in order to keep their doggies healthy and active. Weight management is essential – giving your beloved pet healthy treats, putting them on diet and regular exercising are surefire ways to tackle obesity. And if you’re confused, it’s best to consult with a vet.

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