Banner image Why are so many dogs over-weight?

Why are so many dogs over-weight?

Your dog can gain weight for a number of reasons, like overeating, too many treats or an underlying health issue.  Excess fat negatively impacts a dog's health and life expectancy. An overweight dog can be at an increased risk of different types of cancer, heart disease and osteoarthritis.

The reasons why so many dogs are overweight may be as follows:

Eating more food than they need – they can be cunning and be eating without us even knowing about it. Especially if they are being given treats by the kids or other members of the family. A good way to track your dog’s food consumption is to designate one person in the house who has the responsibility to provide treats or agree that a treat can be given.  

They are not receiving enough exercise, if they are taking walks every day, shake up the routine by adding 5 or 10 minutes of higher-intensity activity such as a rousing game of fetch.

It may be caused by hypothyroidism which is a condition that occurs when your dog’s thyroid is not producing enough essential thyroid hormones to properly regulate their metabolism, causing the metabolism to slow.  Symptoms of this include weight gain, excessive shedding or hair loss.  If you suspect your dog may suffer from hypothyroidism take them to see the vet right away for treatment.

Time waits for no man or pet and as our dogs age they lose muscle mass, which is associated with a slower metabolism which in turn leads to weight gain. Higher protein diets have been shown to help slow or delay the loss of muscle.

Dog food for overweight or senior dogs may contribute to weight gain as they may have a high carbohydrate count.  If the calorie count of the dog food is lowered by removing fat or protein and adding carbohydrates, this will stimulate insulin production which causes higher body fat and an increased appetite.

Hyperadrenocorticism (HAC), also known as Cushings disease, is a common endocrine syndrome that affects middle-aged (+6yr) dogs.  This is a serious health condition in dogs that occurs when the adrenal glands overproduce cortisol. Excess cortisol can put a dog at risk of several serious conditions and illnesses such as kidney damage to diabetes

Osteoarthritis is a progressive, degenerative disease that worsens over time and is the most common form of arthritis in dogs.  The more overweight your dog the greater the strain placed on their joints.  Speak to your vet about osteoarthritis treatments which may include physical therapy and pain medication.

Hip dysplasia is a painful condition that causes one or both hip joints to develop abnormally. Your dog may also show signs of pain when the hip is touched.

Overweight dogs, that are carrying an extra few pounds, will place more stress on their joints.  Too much hard-impact activity can also stress the ball-and-socket joints and contribute to hip dysplasia

Some breeds are simply more prone to obesity than others due to their genetics. The reasons can vary from having a very high exercise requirement that pet owners do not meet or being a typically sedentary lifestyle dog that needs more encouragement to exercise or being greedy and will eat anything.

Yo-yo weight loss and gain is not healthy for dogs and it is important to try and maintain your pet’s weight to avoid any serious health conditions. Happy dog, Happy life.

Back to blog