Why Do Dog Owners Allow Their Dogs to Get Fat?

It might seem strange that people who seem to love their dogs allow them to become fat and unhealthy.

If they love their dogs, why do they let this happen? Let’s find out.

Why Do Dog Owners Allow Their Dogs to Become Obese?

Dog owners let their dogs get fat because they don’t want to be strict with their diet and exercise regime.

However, by allowing their dog to eat more food than their body needs, excess food is stored as fat on the dog’s body.

That’s the short and sweet answer but now let’s look at this in more detail and add some detail.

  • Some dog owners are lazy and don’t exercise their dogs enough.
  • Some dog owners find it hard to say no to their dogs when they beg for food.
  • Some owners struggle for various reasons – time, health, and ability – to give their dogs enough exercise.
  • Some dog owners may have adopted or rescued an overweight dog and are doing their best to help the dog lose some weight.

But at the root of all of this, there is a hard fact of life as a dog owner that needs to be fully highlighted.

The Hard Fact of Canine Obesity

While medical conditions and medication can make it easier for a dog to become fat or obese, the hard facts about canine obesity are clear.

The only reason a dog gets fat is that it has eaten more food than it needs to fuel its activity levels.

So the dog needs to be exercised more or eat less food, or ideally, a combination of both.

Dogs can’t go to the shop and buy their food, so the owner’s responsibility is to fix it if their dog is fat.

If a dog is fat, it is always the owner’s responsibility to fix it.

NOTE – You might like to read this post we wrote about why dogs roll in snow.

Some Dogs Love to Eat and Are Lazy

Some dogs are picky with their food, and some dogs love to eat and don’t seem ever not to be hungry!

Some dogs love walking, running around, playing, and wrestling.

Other dogs are much happier curled up in front of the fire, being lazy.

So obviously, dogs that love to eat and are also lazy are most likely to get fat because they consume more calories and burn less from being active.

NOTE – This post might be useful if your dog is always hungry and wants to eat more food.

Some Dog Owners Struggle to Be Strict

Some dog owners who love their dogs and want the best for them struggle to be strict with their dogs.

They can’t say no when their beloved pooch is whining and crying for treats and snacks.

Over time this creates a surplus of calories in the dog’s diet, making them fat.

This is a shame. The owner loves the dog but still makes them unhealthy by trying too hard to be nice to them.

NOTE – You may also like to read this post looking at the question why do dogs like bones so much?

Some Medical Conditions and Medication Make it Worse.

Some medications make it easier for a dog to get fat, and some medical conditions make it much harder for the dog to exercise and burn calories.

While this does make it harder for a dog to lose weight and easier for a dog to get fat, this does not mean that calories consumed vs. calories burned through exercise aren’t relevant.

The same equation applies. It just means that owners with dogs on certain medications must be extra careful to ensure their dog isn’t overeating.

NOTE – You might also be interested in this post asking the question: Why is my dog eating slowly?

Some People Don’t Realize How Unhealthy It Can Be

Sadly, some dog owners are unaware of how unhealthy it is for their pets to be overweight.

A fat dog is at much more risk of many different medical conditions.

An obese dog is even more at risk.

If your dog is overweight, one of the kindest and most important things you can do for it is to get some weight off and get them to a healthier body fat percentage.

NOTE – You may also want to read this post looking at the question: do pet dogs enjoy eating their dog food?

Before Jumping to Conclusions – It Might Be a Rescue Dog

If you see a dog owner with an obese dog, try not to be judgmental, it might not be their fault that the dog is fat.

For example, they might have just adopted a fat and unhealthy dog from a rescue center and are doing their best to get it back to a healthy body weight and body fat percentage.

Here is a short and charming story of a foster dog, who was seriously overweight, but with loving care, she shed the pounds and got her life back.

Just click on the video, and it will start playing:


NOTE – You might also like to read this post. It answers the question – why do dog owners cut off their tails?

What Should You Do if Your Dog is Fat or Obese?

The most important thing you can do is cut down on their calories.

There are two easy ways to do this:

  1. Give them less overall food and treats.
  2. Give them fewer calories dense food.

The other important thing to do is increase their exercise and activity levels to get them burning more calories.

More walks, more playtime, more movement in and around the house. The more the dog moves, the more calories it will burn.

If you can feed them fewer calories each and get them to move more, the weight will come off.

Then, you have to stick at it.

If your dog is overweight, you should also probably consult your vet and get some advice on weight loss and a health check to ensure they are okay.

If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this website has some helpful resources for charities to help you pay your bills.

(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country, there is a lot of support for dog owners who are in difficulty).

Final Notes On Why Owners Let Their Dogs Become Fat and Obese

In a nutshell, dog owners allow their dogs to get fat because they feed them too much food, often because they don’t like feeling like they are neglecting the dog by saying no to them.

The answer is straightforward the dog needs to eat fewer calories and move more.

Note – You may also find this article helpful to read. It looks at the question – why do people who own dogs think everyone else likes dogs?

2 thoughts on “Why Do Dog Owners Allow Their Dogs to Get Fat?”

  1. Could there also be a psychological component, whereby the overweight owner overfeeds their dog so that their dog is more like them?

    • Thanks for the comment Anon and yes that’s a great point. I hadn’t thought of it, but its really obvious now you mention it.

      There is always more to learn!


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