Health Risks for Overweight Dogs

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Fat Dog
Overweight dogs can experience a myriad of medical problems, which could be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight. These health problems can drastically shorten your dogs life. Here is a list of some health problems related to canine obesity:

Breathing Problems

Respiratory difficulties due to excess fat around the muscles of the heart rob the body of adequate oxygen. The extra fat in the stomach also pushes against the diaphragm, which reduces the amount of space in the chest area for the lungs to expand on inspiration.

Heart Disease

Heart failure can be the result of fat cells clogging arteries and impairing blood and oxygen flow. The heart has to work harder in order to pump additional blood to the increased quantity of body tissues which over time can lead to congestive heart failure.

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes can be the result of elevated blood glucose levels due to obesity, and can lead to kidney failure and blindness. Dogs suffering from obesity have an elevated blood sugar level. Therefore, they require an increased level in insulin secretion. However, when requirements for insulin exceed the ability of the body to produce insulin, diabetes Mellitus develops. Prolonged over-demand of insulin secretion can cause “overwork” in the cells in the pancreas (which produces insulin), resulting in the organ’s inability to produce an adequate amount of insulin. This again leads to diabetes.

Decreased Liver Function

The liver is the organ, which filters the blood and removes toxins from the body. A build-up of fat in obese dogs can result in a condition called hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver. Liver disease occurs when fat cells clog the liver so that it cannot efficiently remove toxins from the blood.


Pancreatitis which can be life threatening is associated with obesity and a high fat diet.

Heat intolerance

Heat stroke is more prevalent in obese dogs, because fat is an excellent insulator which makes the body much less capable of regulating its body temperature. This can make your dog lethargic and fatigued, especially during the summer time.

Internal Organ Failure

Dogs carrying excessive amounts of weight are placing a greater burden on every internal organ and body system. Disease and even death can result if your dog is overweight. A fat dog will suffer from many health consequences including: breathing complications, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, skin problems and urinary tract diseases.

Arthritis and Joint Problems

About 25% of overweight dogs develop arthritis and joint-related complications due to the extra weight they have to carry around. Cruciate ligament injuries, spinal disc problems, and hip dysplasia can all be caused or aggravated by extra stress on the skeletal structure as well.

Anesthesia Risk

More anesthesia is required and at a higher dose than for a dog with normal weight.

As you can see there are many health related problems associated with your dog being overweight An overweight dog will not be as happy as a dog which is at his/her ideal weight. Next time I am going to go over what you will need to do in order to help your dog lose weight.


  1. Obesity in dogs is like an epidemic isn’t it? Just wrote an article about that also recently. If people start to understand how bad obesity really is for their dogs, maybe that would be a place to start.


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