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What makes dogs fat

What makes dogs fat?

What makes dogs fat? The obvious answer is, too many calories, not enough exercise—but that’s not all. Dog, as well as human, psychology and lifestyle issues often carry most of the blame, although hormone imbalances, age, illness and genetics also play minor roles. Here’s a bit of information on what makes dogs fat.

For most obese dogs, the number one fat-maker is a combination of free-feeding, boredom and not enough playtime and exercise. Of course, there’s also the psychological component. Often, this doesn’t mean the psyche of the dog but the psyche of the person who’s responsible for the dog, and who’s responsible for leaving a big bowl of dog food available all day and cutting the half-hour walk down to a five-minute backyard break.

Dogs of any breed can be overweight, but research shows that dogs of certain breeds are more prone to being overweight than others. These breeds include Cocker Spaniels, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Shetland Sheepdogs, and Dachshunds. As in people, dogs carrying extra pounds of weight place extra demands on virtually all the organs of their bodies. When these organs are overloaded, disease (high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and heart diseases) and sometimes death are the consequences. The health risks to overweight dogs are serious and every dog owner should be aware of them, and be aware of the dog fat-makers.

What foods make dogs fat?

Food for puppies is for puppies only!

When your dog reaches the adult size, he or she should be eating adult dog food. A growing puppy has a lot of demands and puppy food is high in calories and nutritional supplements to promote growth. When your dog has reached his adult weight, he should be eating adult dog food appropriate for his size. Feeding an adult dog high calorie puppy food can lead to obesity and orthopedic problems.

One more treat? Watch out!

Your dog love treats and since he’s probably such a good boy, he also deserves an extra treat. However, the problem is that dog treats are often not calculated into the dog’s daily food intake. A few small snacks a day can be quite a lot of extra calories for a dog.  Try to control all those between-meals snacks and always factor treats into your dog’s daily caloric intake.

Human Food

Food meant for people can have a similar effect as dog treats, gradually adding on extra pounds. Fatty human food such as bacon and sausage is not only potentially fattening for your dog but too much can contribute to an inflammation of the pancreas. A tiny piece of bacon usually won’t hurt a dog, but fatty human food should in general be off the menu. Lean meat, fruits and vegetables are acceptable snacks for dogs, however be sure to include them in the overall daily caloric intake to avoid weight gain.

Lack of exercise

Big or small, young or old, dogs need to exercise daily. While some breeds have special needs that have to be taken into account, all dogs need to take part in some form of daily physical activity. Without activity, your dog will become bored, unhealthy and obese. It’s the same problem we humans have. We get fat if we don’t burn off the calories we take in during the day. And since our dogs are our responsibility, we have to make sure they get the right amount of exercise – especially if we also give them a lot of extra treats during the day. Fence-running and playing isn’t enough – daily walks are necessary!

Hormonal disorders & diseases

Hormonal disorders such as an underactive thyroid gland, which results in lowered production of hormones, can cause a weight problem. Or a dog’s adrenal glands may produce too much of a hormone called Cortisol and create a condition known as Cushing’s disease. Dogs with Cushing’s disease don’t actually gain weight, but their fat is re-distributed to the abdomen, giving them a pot-bellied look.

Age matters

As your dog ages, and after altering, you need to be especially aware of weight gain. The first sign of aging is a general decrease in activity level, including a tendency to sleep longer, and less interest in long walks and games of catch. To prevent weight gain, the amount you feed your adult dog should, therefore, be based on his or her size and energy output. As your dog ages, it is important to act immediately to reduce caloric intake and increase activity levels if necessary.

From fat to fit – With Tractive MOTION

Vincent the Dachsund did it! With help from Tractive MOTION, the owner of “Fat Vincent” was able to keep track of exactly how many calories the dachshund was burning as he lost half his body weight. Vincent is now back in shape and goes under the name “Skinny Vinnie” 🙂

Read the inspiring success story here:




Sarah is a Certified Fitness Trainer, pet lover and the happy owner of a 2-year-old Japanese Spitz named Bailey. Sarah spends a lot of time outdoors, running, hiking and biking. She loves inspiring Tractives all over the world with weekly pet tricks and tips.

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