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Fat Dog: Got a Pudgy Pooch?

Fat Dog 

Dog Obesity, Calorie Counting can help your fat dog.

Over 40% of all dogs in the U.S. are overweight. Flat out fat dogs.  Here is a dog weight chart to see if your breed is too fat. If your pooch has packed on the pounds, there is good reason to be concerned and take action by adjusting his calorie intake.  A 1934 Cornell University study researching the effects of calorie restrictions on rats found the animals lived substantially longer when they were fed all the necessary nutrients, but the calories in their diet were drastically cut.  Similar results have been observed in all species tested, and now a landmark study by Purina has shown lean fed dogs lived longer, healthier lives.  In the first completed study of its kind, lasting the entire life span of the dogs, Purina research proved how important it is to keep your dog lean.  

The groundbreaking 14-year study showed that dogs fed to an ideal body condition throughout their lives had a median life span of 1.8 years longer, and were considerably healthier than their litter mates.  All dogs in the study were fed the same 100 percent nutritionally complete and balanced diets throughout the study.  The lean-fed group of dogs received 25 percent less food than the control group.

In general, the dogs in the study groups developed the same chronic conditions as they aged, however, treatment for those conditions such as osteoarthritis, were delayed by a median of 3.0 years for the lean-fed group of dogs. This group also had healthier blood sugar levels, blood pressure and heart rates.  Researchers observed a more youthful appearance in the lean-fed group, with fewer visible signs normally associated with aging, such as graying muzzles, impaired gaits, and reduced activity at a later age.

Obesity in dogs can lead to serious medical problems.  Overweight dogs are in a higher risk group for surgery, more prone to injury, and have more stress on their heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and joints.  Extra pounds can worsen osteoarthritis, cause respiratory problems in hot weather or during exercise, lead to diabetes mellitis, and in general lessen the quality of life for a dog.

Most veterinarians use a 9-point scoring system to evaluate the body condition of dogs. A point value of 1 indicates the dog is extremely thin, with obvious loss of muscle mass and is to the point of emaciation. A score of 9 is an indication the dog is grossly overweight.  A score of 5 rates the dog’s body condition as ideal. 

According to these guidelines, you should be able to easily feel your dogs ribs, there should be a slight amount of fat over them, but each rib should be distinct. If your dog’s ribs are visible, he is too thin.  If you cannot feel them at all, he is overweight.  The other characteristics of a score of 5 are: bony prominences on a pet’s body such as the spine, shoulders and hips, should have a small amount of fat coverage, a defined waist observed behind the ribs when viewed from above, and the dogs abdomen tucked up when viewed from the side.

An obese dog is described as having massive fat deposits over thorax, spine and base of tail, absence of waist and abdominal tuck, fat deposits on the neck and limbs, as well as an obvious abdominal distention.

Too many treats can be a source of extra calories in a dog’s diet.  Without realizing it dog owners may be spoiling their dog to death with tasty rewards. The following list shows the calories found in common dog treats: One alternative is to use raw carrots as treats. All my dogs love them, and they have trimmed down. Also if you have room and no time you can get an Exercise Pen for Dogs


            medium                      40
            large                          115
            extra large                225
Gravy Bone
            small/medium          35
            large                          80
Flavor Snacks (Lg)               80        



Beggin’ Strips                         30

Busy Bone Chew Treat Dental
            small/medium           309
            large                            600

            small/medium           309
            large                            618

Chew-eez Chew Strip             60

Chew-eez Beefhide Rolls
            small                            171
            large                            211

Chew-riffic Twist’ems
            Beef/Bacon & Cheese   45

            Sizzlin’ Steak                 42
            Sizzlin’ Steak & Bacon 42


Purina One

Adult Biscuits
            Beef & Rice                  33
            Lamb & Rice                30
            Large Breed                 84
            Healthy Weight           26

Purina Pro Plan
            Adult Biscuit                35
            Large Breed                 87


Breath Buster
            small                             28
            regular                          49

            Dental Bone
            small                             28
            medium                       188
            large                            300

            Dental Stix
            small                             49
            regular                          70

            small                             297
            large                             624

            MarroBone                    39
            Pup-Peroni                    24
            Snausages                    25

People Food

        Peanut Butter 1tbs          80
          American Cheese 1oz     110
          ½ Beef Hot Dog                90
          Baby Carrot                        4


If your dog is overweight, consult your veterinarian to determine if there are any other medical problems to consider before starting a weight reduction program. Your veterinarian can assist you in taking control of your dog’s weight and help determine his proper caloric intake. If you have an older dog, check the dog food. You may be able to find a dog food that has less calories or more fiber for your fat dog.