Obesity In Dogs


Like us, fat runs in families. A dog’s body condition is influenced by what you feed but also by genetic factors. According to surveys carried out at veterinary schools, some breeds are more prone to obesity than others. If you have one of these be extra vigilant about the amount you feed your dog and the treats and snacks offered by members of your family.

  • American Cocker Spaniel
  • Basset Hound
  • Beagle
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Dachshund
  • Labrador
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Rough Collie
  • Shetland Sheepdog

Body Shape

A modern urban lifestyle is not what dogs were made for. It can be tedious and dull. Just about the most exciting event is feeding time. Deep down, most dog owners understand this. We know we aren’t providing our dogs with the type of physical exercise they really want.

While many owners of obese dogs know they are living with unhealthy companions, some people don’t recognise when a dog is simply overweight. Use this guideline to assess your dog’s body condition.


  • Ribs showing, no fat cover
  • Severe abdominal tuck
  • Bones at base of tail obvious with nothing between skin and bone.
  • No fat palpable in the abdomen


  • Ribs easily felt with minimal fat cover
  • Waist very obvious behind ribs
  • Bones at base of tail raised with only minimal tissue between skin and bone.
  • Minimal abdominal fat


  • Ribs palpable through slight fat cover
  • Waist visible behind ribs
  • Bones at base of tail covered in a thin layer of fat
  • Minimal abdominal fat


  • Ribs not found easily because of moderate fat cover
  • Waist hardly discernible
  • Bones at base of tail covered by moderate fat
  • Moderate abdominal fat


  • Ribs disappeared under thick fat cover
  • No waist, distended abdomen
  • Bones at base of tail difficult to feel through fat
  • Extensive abdominal fat

Tackling Canine Obesity

Keep a record of exactly what your dog eats, including all the titbits. This makes you more conscious of all the extras it receives. Cut out titbits but if this is not possible replace them with bits of fruit and vegetable. Feed low fat, good quality carbohydrate foods. Carbohydrates such as barley and sorghum in the diet lead to a more gradual energy release into the blood stream than other carbohydrates such as rice. And it’s sugar in the blood that affects the “satiety” centre in the brain, calming down the desire to eat. Fibre or water added to food also ‘dilutes’ the calories in it. Added nutrients such as L-carnitine may help burn body fat. Feed and exercise your dog frequently. This might accelerate its basic metabolic rate. Avoid crash diets. They upset your dog and only drive its metabolism to be more efficient and fat-storing in the future. You may need help sticking to a healthy dog’s diet as much as your dog does and Ashley is here to help. If you’re being laser-beamed by mournfully melting brown eyes, discuss the problem with her or with us. In these circumstances we make fine, understanding and tough counsellors.

Weight Reducing Diets

We can provide you with a diet formulated to help your dog lose weight. These are available as dry or wet foods and include Eukanuba Restricted Calorie Formula, Hill’s R/D, Hill’s W/D, Waltham Calorie Control and Purina Overweight Management. All are available from the clinic or delivered to your home from the London Veterinary Clinic’s on-line shop.

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