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Obesity in Dogs: How you can help your pup lose weight

Obesity in dogs like this one laying in grass

Just like humans, dogs can become obese. Whether as a result of overfeeding or inactivity due to illness or injury, dogs suffer greatly from the symptoms of obesity. It’s not just a matter of being overweight. Obesity in dogs can lead to serious health conditions, such as liver disease, diabetes, and even cancer.

You may think you’re showing your dog you love them by supplementing their meals with human food or adding extra treats into their regime. However, you may be literally killing your dog with kindness. Obesity in dogs is easy to avoid by following recommended guidelines when it comes to feeding and exercise. If your dog is already obese, you can help your canine companion lose weight by encouraging healthy exercise and making some small changes to their diet.

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about helping your obese dog lose weight.

What classifies as obesity?

Obese Beagle in a sandy desert

Obesity isn’t the same as being simply overweight. In fact, obesity is a nutritional disease defined by the excess of body fat. The condition affects all areas of the body. Obesity adds pressure to your dog’s joint and bones, as well as causing distress to the digestive organs and can even result in breathing difficulties. All in all, obesity in dogs significantly reduces lifespan. Therefore, the sooner you can tackle your pup’s weight issues the better – the last thing we want is for our furry companions to suffer.

Since our dogs can’t tell us when they’re suffering, you should watch their behavior closely. Dogs present pain symptoms in a variety of ways. If your dog is overweight and struggling to walk, sleeping a lot and has generally lower energy than they used to, then they might be obese.

If you’re concerned that your dog may be obese, visit your vet as soon as possible. They will be able to correctly diagnose your dog’s condition and support you in helping them lose weight.

What causes obesity in dogs?

Big dog sitting on a gravel road

Obesity in dogs is caused by overfeeding and under-exercising. If your dog is consuming more calories than they can burn off, then they will store it as fat. Certain foods are more likely to cause obesity in dogs, such as those with high-fat content.

Your dog may also be obese as a result of an existing health condition. Obesity is a symptom of a variety of conditions, including hypothyroidism, insulinoma, and hyperadrenocorticism.

What are the symptoms of obesity in dogs?

Obese dogs experience a variety of symptoms. Excess fat, little-to-no waistline, and no visible ribcage are all symptoms of obesity in dogs. Your dog may also show little interest in exercising and may have difficulty breathing.

Conditions associated with obesity

Obese dog with a double chin

Obese dogs suffer greatly. Common issues for obese dogs include osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and lung conditions, as well as kidney and liver disease. Dogs with obesity are also at a higher risk of developing cancer.

How can you prevent obesity?

Preventing obesity in dogs is as simple as ensuring your dog is expending the energy they are consuming. Ask your vet about the recommended daily calorie intake for your dog – this can vary between breeds. They’ll also inform you of how long your dog needs walking for each day and whether they need any additional exercise.

Certain dog breeds are more likely to develop obesity. Smaller breeds including pugs, beagles, and dachshund are all at a higher risk of getting obese. These breeds are often treated as lapdogs and, as a result, don’t always get as much exercise as they require. Owners also fall into the trap of giving their dogs too many treats or even leftovers from their own food. These are all contributing factors when it comes to obesity in dogs.

If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, visit the vet and they will advise on whether your pup is at risk of getting obese. They may suggest reducing their food portions, lengthening their walks or giving them more exercise time in the garden.

How to help your obese dog lose weight

Chubby dog sitting in front of a fence

If your canine companion is already obese, it’s time to start making some lifestyle changes. Explore longer walks in your local area or take them to a gated area and let them play with a ball. Discover what activities your dog loves and do them as frequently as you can.

When it comes to food, it’s important to follow your vet’s advise with regards to feed type and portion sizes. Your vet may advise changing your dog’s brand of food to a lower calorie alternative. They may also advise reducing portion sizes gradually so your dog can burn off the fat they are already carrying through thorough exercise.

It can be hard to reduce your dog’s portion sizes or say no to treats they are used to. If they are constantly bothering you for food or start counter surfing, why not try CBD oil? CBD oil is derived from the leaves of the hemp plant. Hemp CBD oil is considered safe for dog consumption as it contains none of the psycho-active ingredients associated with the drug.




CBD oil can work wonders for your dog, especially if they are suffering from the side effects of obesity. It’s a great pain reliever and muscle relaxant. Although CBD does not burn fat, it has been shown to control appetite when administered correctly.

If your dog’s weight gain is linked to thyroid issues, you could try adding coconut oil to their meals. Research shows that coconut oil helps to balance the thyroid, thus promoting weight loss in overweight dogs. It may also help sedentary dogs feel more energetic. That’s not all, coconut oil is great for your dog’s digestion and will give Fido a glossy coat in no time.



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Obesity in dogs

Whether your dog is on the heavy side or they’ve already been diagnosed with obesity, there are many ways you can help your pup lose weight. Every dog is different, so find the types of exercise your dog loves and keep them active every single day. Don’t feel guilty for holding back on the treats. Just like humans, dogs need to burn their energy to maintain a healthy weight. When weight loss is on the agenda, it’s necessary to say no to the extra calories and stay positive while your dog gets healthier, one day at a time.  

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Obesity In Dogs By Ellen Forster

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