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Why is My Dog So Fat?!

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Dogs, just like humans, gain excess body weight for a number of different reasons. If your dog is active, eats a healthy and balanced diet, and still seems to put on the extra pounds, you may be asking yourself, why is my dog so fat?

Whether your vet has informed you or you suspect that your dog is a little too fluffy under their fur, it’s important to identify what it is that’s making your dog gain (and keep) extra weight so that you can effectively manage it. PetMD explained four different types of overweight dogs in their article below.

Type I: THE NIBBLER:But doctor, she hardly eats a thing.”

This dog probably has food out for him/her all day and nibbles a little at a time. When dinner time comes and the pet picks at the leftovers, it will take the choicest morsels, leave the rest, and still appear not to have eaten very much. However over a 24-hour period “THE NIBBLER’S” total calorie intake is excessive and it gains weight. Hardly eats a thing, eh?

Type II: THE BEGGAR: “But doctor, this rascal won’t keep quiet unless she gets her treats. And she won’t go to sleep at night until she gets her little dish of ice cream.”

What has happened here is that the pet has discovered that the more noise and fussing it produces the more likely it is to be rewarded for this behavior. The owner finally “gives in” to keep the pet quiet and the pet sees the food as a reward. In effect the owner is training “The Beggar” by rewarding his/her behavior. It turns into a fun game but the dog’s health may suffer if obesity is the result.

Type III: THE GOOD DOG: “But doctor, she’s such a good dog we don’t want her to go hungry.”

This dog became overweight because the owner’s signal of affection for their pet has focused on feeding. (Usually each family member secretly offers treats to the pet … and doesn’t know the other family members are doing exactly the same thing!) It is an understandable trait but unfortunately for the dog it can be a case of too much of a good thing. The owners’ method of showing affection should be directed more toward physical activity than feeding. Think “FETCH” not “FOOD”!

Type IV: THE GOURMET DOG: “But doctor, s/he just refuses to eat dog food.” In this case the dog has trained the owners to feed him/her such things as chicken, liver, ice cream, cookies, etc.

Although most table scraps are just fine to feed (remember, stay away from bones of any kind!), this dog has been given a choice of what to eat and has chosen certain people food. If a child is given a choice s/he would probably choose cake and candy over vegetables, and their health would suffer. The Gourmet Dog usually overeats because s/he isn’t getting a proper balance of nutrition, plus everything tastes so good there is a reward factor in eating. The solution is … you choose, not your pet.

Continue reading here. Have you ever looked at your pup and wondered, Why is my dog so fat? Does he fit into one of these 4 types of eaters? Tell us about your doggy diet stories below! Also, please remember to have an overweight dog examined by a veterinarian. In many cases, your dog’s food may not be the only problem.

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  1. Avatar Of Lisa



    You missed one. The thief. My over weight dog has been on a diet for some time now. She thinks she is starving. I keep finding places she is stealing food from. Breaking in to the chicken coop eating all their corn, chewing open the unopened bag of dog food, digging in the garbage, etc. She will even eat non-food… like paper and cardboard. She was never crate trained, but I think I am down to having to put her in a crate when I can’t be here to watch her.

  2. Avatar Of Dina Mancinono

    Dina Mancinono


    My dog is sooo fat. Although he’s an English bulldog it’s unnatural! Now we give him exercise once around the block and feed him beans and carrots with his food and he’s lost almost 10lbs.!

  3. Avatar Of Amy



    Love the four dog-types in your article. However overweight dogs are no joke and I’m happy to see this explained to owners. My dog used to beg even after we fed him so those big brown eyes earned him table scraps and then later a few extra pounds. So we had to find him a reduced-calorie dog food he would eat and that took a lot of trial and error. The winner was natural balance Ultra and I’m so glad he likes it because it’s healthy and we can afford it. People, don’t let your dogs get fat please!

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