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Obesity in dogs: Medical Causes Behind Sudden Weight Gain in Dogs


10 min Read

June 23, 2022 | Nutrition

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signs and symptoms of obesity fat dog

Obesity in dogs can be a result of a number of different medical causes, so it's important to identify and treat the underlying cause if you want to help your dog get back to a healthy weight. In this article, we'll take a look at some of the most common causes of obesity in dogs and discuss what you can do to help your furry friend get back on track.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is a condition where a dog's body mass index (BMI) exceeds 27.5, which indicates that the dog is significantly overweight. The National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) defines obesity as an excess body weight of more than 25% above the ideal weight for the dog's size and age. Obesity in dogs can be caused by many factors, including genetics, nutrition, exercise, and health conditions.

Dogs can become obese due to a variety of reasons. Some common causes of sudden weight gain in dogs include changes in diet, over-eating, lack of exercise, and problems with hormones (such as polycystic ovary syndrome or Cushing's syndrome). Dogs that are obesity may also have increased risk for certain medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, liver disease, and joint conditions.

If you see your dog gaining weight rapidly or becoming visibly unhealthy, it is important to take them to see a veterinarian or pay attention to their diet. Your veterinarian can perform a physical exam and carry out a series of diagnostic tests to determine the cause of the obesity and make recommendations for treatment.

What is a body condition score (BCS)?

A body condition score (BCS) is a tool used to assess a dog's health. It is a numerical rating that reflects the overall health of the animal based on weight, muscle mass, and bone density. 4-5 out of 9 is the optimum BCS. Your pet is an additional 10% overweight for every number beyond 5. It is a method for quantifying body fat that is also arbitrary. Dogs with a high BCS are in good health; dogs with a low BCS are in poor health.

How to Tell If Your Dog Is Obese?

If you're like most pet parents, you care about your dog's weight. But when your dog suddenly starts putting on weight, it can be difficult to know what's causing the change. If you think your dog is overweight, the first thing to do is to consult with a veterinarian. Many common causes of sudden weight gain in dogs can be treated with diet and exercise modifications, but other conditions may require specialised care (such as surgery). If your dog is obese due to a medical condition, you and your veterinarian will need to take action to address the issue.

Some of the most common causes of sudden weight gain in dogs include:

  • Liver disease

  • Hyperthyroidism

  • Diabetes Mellitus

  • Cushing's syndrome

  • Gastrointestinal disease (eg, pancreatitis, gastritis)

  • Kidney disease

Symptoms of Obesity in Dogs

obesity in dogs

Dogs can become obese for a variety of reasons, but the most common cause is a change in their diet or lifestyle. If your dog is suddenly gaining weight and doesn't have any other symptoms indicative of illness, it's important to get them checked out by a veterinarian. Some facts to keep in mind when it comes to obesity in dogs are:

  • One-third of all dogs are overweight or obese

  • Obesity increases the risk for various types of cancer

  • Obese dogs are more likely to have joint problems, such as arthritis, and they're also more likely to suffer from heart disease

Your veterinarian can examine and test your dog for illnesses like diabetes, thyroid disorders, and liver disease. Your veterinarian will propose a diet and exercise plan to help your dog lose weight if he is obese as a result of eating too much or exercising too little.

Health Problems Caused By Dog Obesity

Obesity is a major health problem in dogs. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and diet. Not every dog is built the same therefore reasons for your doggo to gain weight are plenty.

Diagnosis of Obesity in Dogs

Fat Dog

When your dog suddenly starts putting on weight, a trip to the veterinarian is often in order. While there are many possible causes for obesity in dogs, some medical conditions may be responsible. Some of the most common causes of obesity in dogs as discussed earlier would be pre existing medical conditions (hormonal or linked to diseases). In some cases it may be caused due to unhealthy diets and improper nutrition.

Dogs that are overweight are more likely to experience medical problems than dogs that are not overweight, including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. There are a number of causes of sudden weight gain in dogs, some of which are outlined below.

One of the most common causes of sudden weight gain in dogs is a change in diet. Dogs who suddenly start eating a lot of junk food or table food that is high in sugar and fat are at risk for developing obesity. This type of diet can also lead to other health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. If you notice that your dog is eating a lot of bad food, make sure to switch him to a healthy diet or try to help him lose weight by providing him with proper exercise.

Another cause of sudden weight gain in dogs is an increase in activity. Dogs who suddenly start running around a lot or playing more vigorously than usual are at risk for developing obesity. If your dog starts gaining weight rapidly, make sure to keep track of his activity levels and adjust his exercise accordingly. Providing him with plenty of fresh water and good quality dog food is also important if he's starting to get overweight.

Obesity is a growing problem in dogs, and it's not just a fad. Obesity can result from many different medical causes, and you need to be sure that your dog is getting the best possible care if he or she is struggling with weight gain. Here are some of the most common medical complications caused by obesity in dogs:

1. Joint Diseases

Obesity can cause chronic inflammation in the joints, which can lead to arthritis. Many joint diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis) are associated with excessive weight gain. If you notice your dog gaining weight rapidly and developing signs of joint disease, be sure to get them checked out by a veterinarian.

2.Gastrointestinal Issues

Obesity can cause problems with your dog's digestive system, including diarrhoea, constipation, and stomach ulcers. If your dog starts gaining weight rapidly and developing gastrointestinal problems, be sure to get him or her evaluated by a veterinarian.

3.Obstruction of the Intestine

Obstruction of the intestine (gastrointestinal obstruction) is one of the most common causes of obesity in dogs. This occurs when food doesn't pass through your dog's intestines properly due to an issue with their  intestines.

Overweight Dog Diet Plan

The first step to choosing appropriate food for your doggo is to find out what nutrients they need. By finding out specific nutrients you can plan an effective weight loss diet. By either searching online or with the vet’s suggestions you can find foods and treats that help your dog stay fit while losing weight. A lot of pet parents in their attempt to get their dog to achieve a weight target forget to build up strength and immunity for their doggo. Which often leads to development of diseases, exhaustion or even dog- depression. 

Best Dog Food for Weight-Loss

A great way to get your doggos to meet their nutritional needs is by giving them some yummy weight control dog treats! The nutritional value of healthy and natural treats help your pup meet any necessary nutrients being left out from their diet. Here are some yummy and healthy low calorie dog training treats we think would be great for a pup going on a weightloss journey! 

Dogsee Crunch Apple: Freeze-Dried Apple Dog Treats

Freeze-Dried Apple Dog Treats

These apple treats are healthy and will keep the veterinarian away! Dogsee These crunchy, freeze-dried apple pleasures include only one ingredient: apples. Freeze-dried apple slices assist to retain nutrients like vitamin A and C, which are important for your dog's lustrous coat and healthy skin. These crunchy delights are made up of protein (2.1%), dietary fibre (12.7%), fat (3.7%), moisture (3.6%), and ash (0.01%). Dogs of all ages and sizes will enjoy these goodies.

Mini Pops: Dog Training Treats in Bite-Sized Sizes 

Dog Training Treats in Bite-Sized Sizes

A effective training session requires treats that your dog appreciates. Dogsee Chews' Mini Bite-Sized Dog Training Treats are made with natural materials. These healthy dog snacks are the perfect size to aid digestion. These treats are from the Himalayas, have been smoked and sun-dried to perfection, and have the best crunch and flavour, leaving your dog wanting more! They're high in protein and low in fat, so they'll provide your dog a surge of energy while also assisting him in maintaining his fitness. Crude protein is used to make these puppy training treats (min 59.2 percent). Crude fatty acid (min. 5.2%) moisture (minimum 5.9%) fibre (maximum of 10%). These mini-bites are suitable for all breeds of dogs.

Check out one of our favourite doggo enjoying his play time on our Instagram!

Large Bars: Long-Lasting Dental Chews For Large Dogs

Long-Lasting Dental Chews For Large Dogs

Do you have a dog with a larger-than-life personality? We found a treat that tastes exactly like him! These treats are great for allowing your large dog to improve his oral health by chewing. These long lasting dental chews for dogs are prepared with fine Himalayan cheese that has been smoked and sundried to achieve the desired firmness. They'll keep your dog entertained and pleased for hours. They help to prevent plaque and tartar buildup. They contain crude protein (minimum 59.2%), crude fat (minimum 5.2%), moisture (maximum 10%), and fibre (maximum 5.9%). These sticks will make your dog's breath smell better. These are the ideal dog treats for large dogs due to their size.

Also read: "Dog Nutrition: 7 Best Protein Sources for Dogs".

How to design a dog exercise plan?

A dietary change isn’t the only way towards a healthier dog. A lot of exercise will also help your doggo reach the desired weight goal. It can be through walking in the woods, setting up a simple obstacle course, or even having a long game of fetch.

Treatment and Recovery of Obesity in Dog

It is critical to maintain an ideal body weight and condition once it has been achieved. Your veterinarian health care team can once again assist you in determining a proper food and quantity size for weight maintenance. To avoid regaining weight, portion control is essential at this stage. A recurrence in obesity would be frustrating after all of your hard work. Yo-yo dieting (stopping and restarting whenever a weight gain is noticed) is no better for dogs than it is for humans. The advantages of maintaining a healthy body weight and condition make the effort worthwhile.


Some dogs gain weight suddenly and inexplicably, often leading their parents to believe that they have overeaten. In fact, obesity in dogs can be caused by a variety of underlying medical conditions, many of which are treatable. If you think your dog may be overweight and is exhibiting any of the following symptoms, please seek veterinary attention: extreme lethargy or weakness; excessive panting; restlessness or anxiety; rapid breathing or heart rate; faecal occult blood test results indicative of liver disease or pancreatitis; vomiting more than once a day. By understanding the causes behind sudden weight gain in dogs and seeking treatment for any underlying health issues, you can help ensure a long and healthy life for your furry friend.

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