Causes and Harms of Obesity in Dogs

Dog Health

Obesity in dogs is a serious health problem that is becoming increasingly common globally. Although awareness about the harms of obesity in dogs has increased, it is not easy to overcome this problem, which is seen for different reasons such as inactivity, malnutrition and some medical diseases. In this article we have prepared about obesity in dogs, you can find important information; You can increase life expectancy and comfort while contributing to your friend’s health.

What is Obesity?

Obesity, which can be defined as excessive fat accumulation in the body, is classified as a chronic and progressive disease. It is of great importance to assess whether dogs are overweight or underweight. Body weight can be accepted as a guide for expressing obesity in dogs. Dogs weighing 10% – 20% of their ideal body weight are overweight; It is possible for those who have more than 20% to be qualified as obese dogs.

fat dog sitting on the grass

Causes of Obesity in Dogs

The causes of obesity in dogs are quite diverse. However, it is known that basically excessive calorie intake causes this chronic disease. Just like in humans, it is known that dogs that consume more calories than they spend and experience this condition continuously can face obesity.

Since excessive calorie intake and inactivity are among the preventable causes of obesity, it is of great importance for our friends to be fed according to their developmental period, age, general health status and to exercise as much as they need in order to protect the health of our friends. More attention should be paid to the care of dogs that live in homes, do not move much, have reached middle age and are neutered.

Apart from calorie consumption and inactivity, it can be stated that hormonal problems are also among the causes of weight gain.

Hypothyroidism: The thyroid gland is responsible for the production of a number of hormones, including T3 (liothyronine) and T4 (levothyroxine), which are essential for metabolism. Hypothyroidism, which occurs as a result of decreased secretion of T3 and T4 hormones secreted by the thyroid gland, can be seen frequently in medium and large breed dogs. Some breeds are more prone to this ailment. Doberman Pinchers, Irish Setters, Golden Retrievers, Great Dane, Boxer breeds have a higher risk of hypothyroidism. Neutered dogs and those aged 4-10 years are also at risk.

Insulinoma: These are malignant tumors that form in the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells are involved in the release of different hormones as well as insulin. Insulin keeps the glucose level in the body in balance. If dogs have insulinomas, insulin secretion increases too much and glucose in the bloodstream can drop too low, causing fatigue and neurological problems.

Cushing’s Disease: It occurs as a result of too much secretion of the hormone cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, by the adrenal glands. Commonly seen in older dogs, this disease can cause high blood pressure, kidney infections, bladder stones, chronic skin and urinary tract infections, increased risk of clots, and diabetes. The risk of disease is higher in the Poodle, Boxer, Boston Terrier, Yorkshire Terrier and Staffordshire Terrier breeds. This disease may occur with symptoms of sudden loss of vision, deterioration of skin health and respiratory problems along with increased appetite.

Neutering: With the sterilization of dogs, the release of sex hormones is interrupted. Since testosterone and estrogen hormones have many functions in the body, symptoms such as low energy and increased appetite may increase the risk of obesity in dogs in case of their deficiencies.

fat dog on the scale

Harms of Obesity in Dogs

Joint, Bone and Ligament Damages

As a result of scientific studies, it is shown that 25% of obese dogs have serious joint complications. The fact that the joints and bones begin to carry too much load means that they are damaged. In this case, arthritis may develop, and a significant pain may be felt due to hip dysplasia. The increased weight can cause extra strain on the joints, causing damage to the ligaments as well. Anterior cruciate ligaments are highly prone to tearing. In such a situation, dogs may lose their balance and have difficulty in moving. Inactivity is effective in the progression of obesity and the emergence of much more serious problems. Obesity is not the only factor that impairs joint health in dogs. With aging, joint problems can occur in dogs. You can access the products in our dog vitamins and supplements category by clicking here, and you can choose from products that will support your friend’s joint health.


The most common problem caused by obesity in dogs is the development of diabetes. Excess weight causes an increase in the level of sugar in the blood and therefore an increase in insulin secretion. Diabetes occurs when blood sugar becomes so high that it exceeds its capacity to produce insulin. Diabetes is a very serious disease both by itself and because of the secondary problems it causes. For detailed information about diabetes in dogs, do Dogs Have Congenital Diabetes? You can read our blog post.

High Blood Pressure and Heart Diseases

As in humans, excess weight can cause high blood pressure in dogs. As you gain weight, body tissues increase and the heart has to pump more blood than usual in order to deliver blood to the whole body. This may cause the heart to tire earlier than it should be, and may pave the way for congestive heart failure.

Breathing Problems

Excessive fat accumulation in the chest area impairs the expansion capacity of the lungs. Excess fat in the abdomen puts pressure on the diaphragm. All these effects cause a decrease in respiratory capacity. Considering the need for more oxygen to reach the lungs as a result of the increase in body tissues, it can be stated that obesity-related respiratory problems can mean a great danger.


As a result of the researches, it is shown that the risk of certain types of cancer in dogs, as in humans, may increase due to obesity. In addition, it has been determined that the risk of mammary tumors is increased in dogs with obesity problems at the age of 1 year.

The harms of obesity to dogs are not limited to these. Excess weight can cause digestive problems, weaken the immune system, impair skin and hair health, increase the risk of surgery and anesthesia, reduce liver functions by causing fatty liver, reduce body endurance, and reduce the quality of life and life span of our friends. It is known that the psychology of dogs that cannot move as much as before, cannot participate in games, suffer from pain and have health problems due to excess weight is also known to deteriorate. For all these reasons, it is important to diagnose obesity in a timely manner and to comply with the obese dog diet guidelines recommended by veterinarians. Thus, over time, our friends can fall to their ideal weight and continue to lead a healthier and happier life. It should not be forgotten that this disease is preventable. By providing a healthy and balanced diet, creating a suitable environment for them to exercise; If they continue to gain weight despite all this, the health of the dogs can be protected by having detailed examinations.

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