The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) classifies 55.8% of dogs in the United States as overweight or obese. In the United Kingdom, 1.7 million dog owners have been told their pets are overweight in the past year alone (according to research by Direct Line).
These are alarming figures, especially when you consider that obesity can result in serious health effects that can shorten a dog’s life span.
Below, we take a look at seven breeds that are the most common obese dog breeds.
While Boxers love to run around, they often suffer from hypothyroidism, which lowers their metabolism and makes them prone to weight gain. They also are naturally muscular, so if they don’t get enough exercise, their muscle will turn to flab. To maintain their weight, owners must take boxers on long walks or allow them plenty of opportunities to run off the lead. Note: even a healthy Boxer can develop hyperthyroidism, so regular checkups at the vet are essential.
Dachshunds are famous for their long, sausage-like bodies and short legs. Their long backs also make them prone to spinal disorders and disc disease, which can make exercising difficult. As such, many Dachshunds suffer from obesity, which places even more stress on their legs and spine.
Golden retrievers are said to be very skilled at begging for food and treats, with many owners giving in too easily. While the odd dog treat is perfectly fine, sharing human food with them could have dire consequences. Obesity can cause several serious health issues in golden retrievers, including diabetes, heart, and respiratory diseases, high blood pressure, kidney and liver disease, digestive disorders, and cancer. However, retrievers are also prone to hip and joint issues, which can be made worse by excessive fat. This makes exercise more difficult, leading to further weight gain.
Like boxers, Rottweilers are prone to hypothyroidism, so they can easily put on weight. If they become too fat, they are at more risk of developing cancer, internal organ conditions, and hip and elbow dysplasia, so they must be exercised regularly and have a calorie-controlled diet. Rottweilers were originally bred to be working dogs, so making sure they get enough physical activity is essential.
Scottish terriers are small dogs with little legs, so they tend to put on weight as they age. However, they are also prone to several medical conditions, including (again) hypothyroidism, which is considered one of the root causes of their weight gain. Therefore, owners will need to make a conscientious effort to exercise them regularly and provide a healthy diet.
There is a common misconception that the Bulldog is a naturally chubby pet, but this is far from the truth. Although Bulldogs have a large appetite and are prone to becoming overweight, their owners will need to be proactive to ensure they don’t develop any severe health conditions. Like humans, they struggle to lose weight, so regular exercise and a good diet will be essential. However, breathing problems are common in Bulldogs, so walking rather than running is advised.
Cocker Spaniels are prone to obesity, especially if they have been neutered. They can also suffer from lethargy as they age, so their activity levels decrease. Owners will need to adjust their food intake to account for their lower energy levels and ensure they are not eating any unhealthy treats. Like many of the other dogs on this list, Cocker Spaniels are prone to hypothyroidism, so if you notice your dog has put on weight or is drinking a lot of water, they may have an underactive thyroid.
What can you do to prevent your dog from becoming overweight?
The treatment for obesity in dogs focuses on gradual weight loss that’s sustainable in the long term. Therefore, carefully monitoring a dog’s exercise regime and diet is incredibly important. While a vet can help to create a good schedule, it’s also possible for owners to manage this themselves.
Feed your dog a diet of food that is rich in fiber and protein but low in fat. Dietary protein can help to stimulate metabolism, while fiber ensures dogs feel satiated after eating. In terms of exercise, increasing a dog’s physical activity level will be vital for successful weight loss. Daily walks, as well as plenty of games such as fetch, will ensure a dog is getting all the exercise they need to lead a healthy lifestyle.
It’s important to note that our list of dog breeds above covers only a handful of dogs that are at risk of becoming overweight – owners of other breeds will still need to monitor their pets carefully and ensure they are getting all the exercise they need to stay fit and healthy.