Canine obesity and its link to disease

Canine obesity and its link to disease

I want to discuss a critical health issue that's often overlooked yet increasingly prevalent in our canine friends: obesity
Sadly, I see so many dogs who are too chubby. And it’s not their fault. 
Understanding the gravity of this condition and how to manage it effectively is key to ensuring a long, healthy life for your furry companion.
The Prevalence and Risks of Canine Obesity
Recent statistics highlight a concerning trend: over 50% of dogs in the UK and North America are either overweight or obese. This condition isn't just about appearance; it significantly shortens a dog's life and increases their risk of developing various diseases. For instance, a lifetime study on Labrador retrievers found that even moderate overweight can reduce a dog's life expectancy by nearly two years compared to more athletic counterparts.
Obesity in dogs is linked to several health issues, including:
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Urinary bladder stones
  • Anesthetic complications.
Furthermore, fat tissue in dogs is biologically active and secretes inflammatory hormones, contributing to many diseases. It's essential to view obesity as a chronic, low-level inflammatory condition.
Identifying Obesity in Dogs
Determining whether your dog is obese involves more than just a visual inspection. Dogs are considered overweight when they weigh 10-20% above their ideal body weight and obese when they are more than 20% over. 
Managing and Preventing Canine Obesity
Addressing canine obesity begins with a comprehensive approach, involving diet and exercise modifications. Here are some steps to consider:
Dietary Changes
Reducing carbohydrate consumption, which is a massive part of commercial diets, and also reducing feeding frequency are the top two tips for weight loss. 

Simple fresh food diets, with a feeding regime, that’s the answer!
Exercise: Increasing daily exercise, like walking or playing fetch, helps burn calories. However, be mindful of your dog's joint health, especially if they are carrying extra weight.
Final Thoughts
Remember, even slight weight loss can make a significant difference in your dog's health and quality of life.

- Cam, The Dog Nutritionist

Pet Food Manufacturers' Association. (2019). Pet Obesity: Ten Years On (2009 – 2019).

University of Cambridge. (2016, May 3). Genetic variant may help explain why Labradors are prone to obesity. Retrieved from


Back to blog