Obesity in dogs

by dog trainer Conny Sporrer

I'm certainly not fussy about people's weight; everyone is responsible for themselves and should know how they feel. When it comes to dogs, however, I see things completely differently.When it comes to nutrition, our four-legged friends are dependent on humans. Unfortunately, they sometimes lack a satiety gene as a result of breeding, and often have access to much more food than in nature. Not to mention the lack of exercise. In addition to two main meals a day, there are also treats and chewy items to sprinkle in here and there, not to mention leftovers, which sometimes find their way into the food bowl.  

From the bottom of my heart, I truly wish every dog to be content and have the occasional treat. However, I think it's unfair and cruel when dog owners don't keep an eye on their dog's weight, or even trivialise it. By taking in a dog, we also assume responsibility for a third party who cannot control its own food resources. When there is an abundance of food, many dogs will dig in and not think about their health – we are responsible for that, and we owe it to them. 

The fatal consequences

Obesity is often the result of too little exercise for one thing, while another cause is excessively calorific food or too many additional treats that are not deducted from the food serving. Nutritional information on food packaging is only a guideline, but should always be adapted to their age, activity level and state of health. If you notice that your dog is getting too fat (or thin), it is essential to counteract this. This is because obesity in dogs has a strong impact on the musculoskeletal system and the cardiovascular system. Being 10% overweight means an average of around 10% shorter life expectancy. 

Just a little too much on the scales...

‘A little’ can have fatal consequences for dogs. In proportion to its body weight, 2.5 kg can be 10% too much for a Labrador Retriever. For a Chihuahua with an average weight of 2 kg, one kilogram overweight would already be 50% overweight, i.e. for a human weighing 70 kg this would be equivalent to 35 kg overweight. 

A study by the German Veterinary Association found that 60% of pet owners are unaware that their pets are overweight. Here are some very simple tricks to help with this: Viewed from above, regardless of their coat type,

  • a waistline must always be recognisable
  • the ribs should be detectable with (very) gentle pressure against the costal arch

So if your dog is affected, it is essential to immediately: Adjust the amount of food so that nothing extra is added – the daily serving of dry food can be portioned out in the morning and then also used as a treat during the day. Wet food, e.g. from the feeding tube, is also a special treat for every dog! In addition, you should regularly incorporate sufficient exercise (it doesn't hurt mum and dad either) and consistently resist their begging – for your dog's sake! 

Speaking of which: DOG'S LOVE offers some great innovations for proper weight management, e.g: Intestinal Light Chicken or the Organic Greens line because we can all do with some less meat from time to time, for the sake of the environment!

Our expert:


Conny Sporrer, certified ‘DOGS’ trainer

Dog trainer Conny Sporrer supports us at DOG'S LOVE with her years of experience and extensive expertise. After her training at Martin Rütter DOGS, Conny opened her own dog school in Vienna. She is also a successful author, podcaster and founder of the online dog training school hundetraining.me.

You can find out more about Conny here

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