Why Maintaining an Average Weight is Important for Your Dog’s Health


Excess weight has been linked to a variety of conditions that can affect a dog’s health. Some of these condition will impact the quality and length of life for your pet. Other conditions include joint issues, back issues, inflammation and problems with the lungs and heart.

A study based on Labrador Retrievers discovered that dogs who were average weight versus overweight went on to live an average of 2 years longer than those who were overweight by 15 percent or more. The dogs that were of average weight also had a higher instance of avoiding chronic illnesses fro longer periods of time or altogether. Other studies have connected weight loss in previously overweight dogs improved issues that had been causing pain to dogs and increased their energy.

Other reports also indicate that leaner dogs have had a delay in any onset of arthritis when compared to their overweight counterparts observed simultaneously.

A study based on 700 dogs indicated that seriously overweight dogs of all breeds were at increased risk of intervertebral disc disease (slipped disc), but in some breeds where there was higher risk, like the Miniature Dachshund, the risk of back issues increased if the dogs were even moderately over the average weight for that breed.  For dogs who had to undergo any kind of surgery related to back or limbs, being overweight helped to speed up recovery time.

Amongst those who study the health and nutrition of dogs, it is known that fat tissue can cause ongoing inflammation throughout the body and this can, in turn, cause other diseases. Even if it is not immediately noticeable, this fat releases hormones that can increase inflammation in the body. It is best to be in tune with what your dog weighs and improve the situation for your pet’s health before it gets worse and leads to other diseases.

Excessive weight in dogs has also been connected with changes in the condition of their heart, reduced respiratory function and tracheal collapse. Although there is no clear indication that obesity causes these diseases, it is known that the excess weight complicates the condition and makes the disease more difficult to treat. In dogs that have suffered heatstroke, obesity has been found to be a risk factor for the worse outcomes.

There are issues connected to obesity that involve almost every system in a dog’s body. Even without signs that are clear, excessively overweight dogs have higher anesthesia risks and medical costs. Excess weight is easier to prevent than to treat, so maintaining your pet at a healthy weight for the length of their life will help keep your dog healthier and happier, as well as extend their life.