Health Risks of an Overweight Dog

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Continuing with our pet obesity awareness theme, I wanted to share some of the primary health risks that dogs might develop as a result of being overweight.


Much like with humans, carrying excess weight in the form of fat is not healthy for dogs and can impact their quality of life. Simply stated, an overweight pet is more susceptible to disease and orthopedic disorders than a lean, properly fed and exercised pet. For those who think that a fat dog is cute, think again. The list of serious (and costly) diseases associated with pet obesity is scary.

health risks


Some of the diseases linked to a pet being overweight include:

  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Many Forms of Cancer
  • Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury (ACL)
  • Kidney Disease
  • Pancreatitis


Each of these diseases will reduce the dog’s quality of life and might reduce their life span as well. They might experience chronic pain, will feel sick, will be unable to move around and play as they would like, and will likely be forced to ingest copious amounts of medications. And you can bet that it will reduce the pet parent’s life quality as well.


If this list isn’t scary enough, fat dogs will live shorter lives than pets who are at their proper weight. In a landmark study on Labrador Retrievers, lean dogs lived about 2 years longer lives than did their overweight littermates. Putting this into perspective, it is the equivalent of a human living an extra 10-15 years.


Pet owners can reduce the risk of their pet developing these and other ailments by feeding the proper amount of species appropriate foods—full of meat and fish based protein sources and devoid of cheap fillers– and providing ample amounts of exercise and activity. Eliminating the pet obesity problem is as simple as that.


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  1. it’s something what we can avoid between so much things what just happen… and we all should try to keep our dogs healthy with watching their weight… it’s not much effort and the result can be essential…
    easy rider recently posted…easyblog MISCHIEF MOANDAYMy Profile

  2. It really isn’t that hard to keep your pet eating right and at a healthy weight. So sad so many pups are overweight. People need to go back to eating to live rather than living to eat!
    Emma recently posted…Triple Action Healthy Dog TreatsMy Profile

  3. It good to be aware of this as a few extra pounds on a dog is a lot. Cocoa and I run and it helps with making sure she stays in shape but also I want to make sure she isn’t too heavy because of the stress on her joints. Not that I have to be concerned with Cocoa as she is very slim.
    Julie recently posted…What is Cocoa thinkingMy Profile

  4. I’d guess your list, despite being quite scary, is easy to dissociate from because it’s possible to simply ignore those things until they happen. I think your last point is the most important one to share because of its simple message. A healthy weight generally means more time with your pup.

  5. I am so happy to report that Pierre weighed in at 22 1/2 lbs this morning at the vet. That is a loss of five pounds! Woo Hoo! Now both of my boys are at their proper size. Thanks for the motivation and knowledge to make it happen!!!
    M. K. Clinton recently posted…One Love is One Dog Organic BakeryMy Profile

  6. Wow, I can’t believe that there’s people who actually consider their overweight, fat dogs cute. What is wrong with people?!
    Barbara Rivers recently posted…Comment on 3 Reasons For Trick Training Your K9 – Opening The Fridge! by K9sOverCoffeeMy Profile

  7. One vet compared obesity to a cytokines storm. It like having a frat party in your home. You never know what’s gonna give; might come home to a house burned down. Just don’t do it. Keep your dogs slim.
    Jana Rade recently posted…JD’s Mast Cell Tumor: Surgery and Pathology ReportMy Profile

  8. With my new work schedule, it’s hard to find the time to walk Sydney. Or at least I thought it was. I picked up a head lamp from Lowes and I grab a heavy flashlight and we go for our walk in the woods that surround our home right when I get home. Sydney doesn’t wander away from me so she can stay off leash, and the local wildlife always keeps their distance now that we have four dogs. She loves it.
    Kimberly Gauthier recently posted…3 Reasons I Fed My Raw Fed Dog “Kibble”My Profile

  9. Thanks for this great list, it’s costly to have a overweight dog and not good for it’s health.
    Sand Spring Chesapeakes recently posted…Preacher And The Pigeon For Some FitnessMy Profile

  10. I like what this article mentions about an overweight dog being more at risk for disease. I am worried about how much my dog has been eating as he has started to look a lot larger within the last few weeks. I will definitely try ti feed him the suggest amount of food each day. Thanks for sharing, this has been very informational.

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