How to Prevent Dog Obesity

As a loving dog owner, it’s easy to get carried away with what you give him, especially when it comes to food and treats . And if your dog doesn’t exercise enough, he can easily become obese and suffer from other serious conditions that might cut his life expectancy short

Pet Obesity Statistics

Unfortunately, obesity is becoming a more common health problem, affecting many dogs all around the world. In the United States alone, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over half of the dogs in this country are either obese or overweight

Compared to their more fit counterparts, these clinically obese dogs aren’t around for a long time. In fact we lose obese dogs, on average, two years sooner due to obesity and the results of other conditions and diseases. Dogs that are overweight can be at great risk of getting arthritis, heart disease, diabetes and other conditions as well

obie the obese dachsund
Obie the obese dachsund weighed 77 pounds, but has been carefully helped back to almost normal, with the help of surgery. See

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Overweight?

This diagnosis can easily be made by your veterinarian. It’s determined by just feeling your dog’s body for areas of excess fat . . . where natural curvatures and bones are noticeable. A slight amount of fat should be covering certain areas of your dog. You should be able to feel your dog’s bones in areas such as the hips, shoulders, spine and the base of the tail.

According to Dr. Jim Dobies, a body conditioning score is the best way to determine if your dog is obese. But you can also tell by just sight and feel. You should be able to feel your dogs ribs, but not see them. If you put your hands on the sides of his chest and still can’t feel their ribs then they’re likely overweight.


Exercise is one of the best ways to prevent your dog from becoming obese. There’s no excuse not to take your dog out, especially right now when the weather is nice and warm. Exercise does not only aid in burning calories, but it also helps in strengthening the circulatory and respiratory systems, aids in digestion, releases energy, keeps joints flexible and muscles toned, and helps get oxygen to tissue cells.

Some dog breeds are more prone to obesity than others. If your dog is a labrador retriever, beagle, English bulldog, pug, Basset hound, St. Bernard or dachshund, they have a higher chance of becoming obese

Can Dog Treats Make a Dog Fat?

There are some treats that can make a dog fat. In fact, some contain the same level of calories as the order number one (Big Mac burger) at McDonald’s. According to a study conducted by Direct Line Pet Insurance, Bonio dog treats have about fifty-three percent more calories than a Big Mac burger from McDonald’s.

Of course, there are healthy dog treats too. It all depends on the product you choose, therefore it’s important to always read the label.

Make Healthy Dog Treats at Home

Treats should only make up a small fraction of all calories; therefore, it’s crucial that they’re nutritionally complete. Portion control should be your primary concern and always stay focus on ingredient safety. There are pre-made dog treats which are healthy, but the best way to control what your dog eats is to make it yourself

You can find a list of healthy, all natural pet treats you can make here on the DIY Network.

Note: The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals maintains a list of problematic foods that you may want to avoid using in your recipes, especially if you know your pet has food sensitivities.

Other Resources

Veronica Davis is a former Marine, now a mom of two boys who has found a passion for freelance writing. She loves cooking and rarely misses something in the food industry, but she also enjoys writing about business, home and anything interesting.