What Is Causing The Pet Obesity Crisis?

Man in glasses with dog


By Dr Philip Schledorn, AniForte Vet

Whilst there has been a boom in interest in healthy living, evidently this obsession has not been extended to the wellbeing of the nation’s pets.  But good nutrition and staying active is just as essential to dogs in order for them to live a healthy, long life and it is something placed entirely into the hands of their owners. A poor diet can manifest in a number of ways that are detrimental to a dogs’ health, some of which aren’t necessarily obvious.


We are a nation of pet lovers to the extreme. Our dogs are like our family and we want to spoil them! But we could be killing them with kindness. You don’t have to look far to find evidence of obesity amongst the nation’s pets. According to a recent survey by the Pet Food Manufacturing Association 81% of veterinary professionals believe the issue of pet obesity is getting worse. There are a few easy ways to tell if your dog is carrying too much weight.

Make sure you can feel your dog’s ribs and the curve to their lower body is visible. A dog should experience no difficulty when getting up, if they look like they’re struggling to do so – excess weight could be a cause. Beware if you find that when you take your dog for a walk they’re having issues with their breathing or tire out far more quickly than they used to.

Man standing with dog


Certain feeding techniques like “free feeding” are certainly not advisable, it means you have no perspective on how much your dog is consuming. Food portions should be measured in line with your dog’s weight to ensure they’re having a healthy amount of food each meal time.

Some dog owners feed their dogs the scraps and leftovers of the food they have prepared for themselves. Not all human foods are appropriate for dogs and some are even toxic! Onions, for example, can be unsafe for dogs.


If your dog is overweight feed them less carbohydrates and fats as well as abstaining from handing out any snacks in between meals. It is also better to spread the feeding out and give them 2-3 small meals a day, rather than one large meal. Of course, exercise is vital! Controlled activities at least 3 times a day will produce good results.

So many dogs love food and don’t have a sense of when they are full. You could even be led to think they are hungry with begging eyes! The AniForte SlimVital – Weight Loss Supplement contains fibre-rich psyllium husks that swell up in the stomach, helping the dog to feel full and suppressing their desire to beg and overeat.

No exercise

It sounds obvious but I meet lots of dog owners who have overweight pets and yet they do keep them active! It is very important that they go out for regular brisk walks to keep in shape and prevent weight gain in the first place.

For more on pets and what they eat . . .

Moira Chisholm

I'm the Health Editor on My Weekly and am always interested to hear what's new in this fascinating field. I also deal with the gardening, shopping pages, general features, our website content and the Ask Helen problem page. I have a special interest in Christmas content because I'm on the team for Your Best Ever Christmas Magazine, too!