Causes Obesity In Dogs

Basically, obesity results from the consumption of excess calories/energy than what is needed as mentioned in previous article on what is dog obesity. The surplus energy is then stored primarily as fat. Although the problem of obesity in dogs appears simple—overeating and inadequate exercise—there are some predisposing factors and not all of them are completely understood.

There are many reasons why a dog should become obese with the main one being that he eats way more than his fill or because he cannot hit the gym and do weight training or cardio exercises and we have seen many times where house owners put up a board like black golden doodles for sale as they are not able to handle lazy mutts but the point is that it depends from breed to breed as to how they appear physically.

Breed/Genetic Susceptibility:

Among the smaller breed dogs, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Chihuahuas, Dachshunds, Pugs, Miniature Schnauzers, and Shetland Sheepdogs are most likely to be obese. The larger breeds are Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, and Collies. Some dogs, regardless of breed, only live to eat which can be difficult to deal with without close supervision.


Let me be clear on this, sterilization does not cause obesity. Weight gain usually occurs after sexual maturity, when spaying is done. Having said, sterilization does increase the chances of obesity because of certain hormonal changes that occur after sterilization as well as a decrease in the metabolic rate by 20 to 25%. Furthermore, the dog’s activity level decreases after sterilization while his food/calorie intake remains the same. Spaying or neutering our dogs, however, is strongly encouraged as the health benefits outweigh the disadvantage. It’s our responsibility to maintain the weight of our sterilized dog through proper diet and exercise.

Hormonal Abnormalities:

Endocrine diseases like Hypothyroidism (thyroid gland doesn’t produce sufficient hormones) and Hyperadrenocortism a.k.a Cushing’s Disease (too much adrenal hormone is produced) may result in obesity.


Obesity tends to be a problem of middle-aged and senior dogs as their metabolic system slows down where they can’t convert food into energy as quickly as they were younger. Generally, senior dogs only require about 25 to 30% less calories than young adult dogs. To calculate the calories intake for your dog use the chart here. In addition to slower metabolism, dogs also become less active as they age hence his total daily energy needs to decrease.


Another possible factor, but not an excuse, is the increase in demands on pet owners’ time from work or family responsibilities which makes it more challenging for them to exercise their dog adequately. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but these factors should be weighed in before you consider getting a dog—part and parcel of being a responsible dog owner.


Nutrition and palatability are important factors that are heavily marketed in commercial dog food and treats. I suppose it’s natural we feel better as pet parents that the food our dog eat is both delicious and provides some inherent health benefits. However, too much of a good thing kills. Feeding a highly palatable and nutritional diet may contribute to the development and maintenance of obesity if your dog overeats. Another possibility is feeding impromptu and irregular or constant (free-feeding) meals and too much of the wrong kind of food, such as table scraps or treats and coupled with having too little exercise, idleness, nervousness, and stress can also lead to obesity.