Browse our veterinary-reviewed Dog and Cat Illness Guide to learn more about pet health. Always talk to your veterinarian if you have a concern about your pet's symptoms or health.
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Obesity is when a dog weighs at least 30% more than it should. Over 2/3s of American dogs are obese. Too much fat will strain your dog's joints and can lead to several diseases, reducing your dog's quality of life. Obesity is linked with diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis.
All dogs are prone to obesity, but some are more at risk, including:
- Dogs with diabetes
- Dogs with hypothyroidism
- Excessive calorie intake
- Not enough exercise
- Genetic disposition
There are many obvious signs that your dog suffers from obesity, some of which are:
- Minimal activity (does not want to jump into the car, does not want to climb stairs)
- Pants after minor movement
- Extra body fat
- No visible waist
- Ribs cannot be felt
To properly diagnose your dog with obesity, your veterinarian will perform a physical exam.
To lose weight, your dog must burn more calories than it eats. Recommended treatment consists of:
- Gradually eating less - cut out table scraps and treats
- Eating lower-calorie food
- Exercising more (walking, running, swimming, playing)
If your dog is not losing weight, it may need further evaluation to rule out other diseases. Your veterinarian may prescribe a specific diet or even medication.
To prevent your dog from obesity:
- Don't give it human treats and scraps
- Give dog treats sparingly
- Do lots of exercise with your dog
By reducing your pet's weight, and increasing its exercise, your pet can live a long and healthy life. Strict, long-term maintenance is required to maintain a healthy body weight.
Medically Reviewed by Sara Ochoa, DVM