With the New Year come diets and exercise plans. Here’s an idea…let’s resolve to help our dogs shed a few with us this year!

A recent review in Clinician’s Brief outlined the top five consequences of obesity in our pets. My dog? Fat? If these sound familiar, it may be time for a reality check:
1. He’s not that fat.
2. My wife/husband spoils him.
3. But she doesn’t eat that much.
4. I think your scale is wrong.

Here are the top five possible consequences of dog obesity according to the review:

Poor Quality of Life — and a Shorter Life

A lifetime study of Labs found that dogs with an ideal body condition lived about two years longer than their overweight counterparts. The slimmer dogs also had delayed onset of chronic disease. An ideal weight means a better and longer life.


Not surprisingly, in studies, leaner dogs had delayed onset of arthritis and less pain and lameness than heavier dogs. Even a 6 percent to 8 percent loss of body fat improved mobility and lessened lameness problems.

Intervertebral Disk Disease

Intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) is a sad condition that, in the worst case, can paralyze a dog. Overweight dogs of all breeds have an increased risk of IVDD. And, if your dog suffers from a severe disc extrusion and undergoes surgery to correct it, dogs with a healthier weight generally make a faster recovery.

Subclinical Conditions

Overweight dogs, like people, are more prone to inflammation in the body, high cholesterol and high lipids, all of which can lead to pancreatitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, etc. These problems can be brewing under that layer of fluffiness for years. A healthy weight can ward off chronic conditions.

Breathing and Heart Problems

Obesity makes the heart work harder and can cause trouble breathing or worsen a pre-existing condition like collapsing trachea or laryngeal paralysis.

With our New Year’s resolutions, let’s resolve to cut the treats and gently ramp up the exercise for happier, healthier pups. Your dog will still love you and he’ll be around to love you longer at a healthier weight.