How to tell if your dog is overweight and how to fix it

Overweight pug sticking his tongue out

The Royal Veterinary College has released a new study on dog obesity which has revealed the scale of the overweight epidemic in UK dogs, with 1 in 14 dogs recorded by their vets as being overweight each year. 

Concerningly, these findings may just be the start when it comes to canine obesity, because not every overweight dog will receive veterinary care. Other studies have estimated that nearly 50% of dogs in the UK are classed as overweight or obese! The RVC study of 22,333 dogs also found that certain breeds were especially prone to weight gain.  

These included: 



-Golden Retrievers  

-English Springer Spaniels 

-Border Terriers 

How can you tell if your dog is overweight? 


Here are a few simple checks you can do to see if your dog is losing the battle of the bulge. However, if you’re in doubt please consult with your vet. 

  • You should be able to see and feel the outline of your dog's ribs without excess fat covering. 
  • You should be able to see and feel your dog's waist and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above. 
  • Your dog's belly should be tucked up when viewed from the side. 


What is causing weight gain in my dog? 



Changes in sex hormones following neutering are thought to result in behaviour changes, these can include increased appetite and decreased physical activity which can lead to weight gain. Owners should discuss changes to their diet and exercise plans when considering neutering and keep an eye on their dog’s weight thereafter. 




Dogs between 6 to 9+ years have the highest risk of overweight status. This is often due to the natural slowing down that comes with ageing. With less exercise and reduced mobility, owners often don’t consider that they need to reduce the calories in their dog’s food to counteract this.  




Medical conditions can cause weight gain in dogs, these include hypothyroidism and Cushing's disease. These conditions often also cause symptoms such as coat changes, low energy and increased thirst. However, most obesity issues stem from calories in vs calories out. Always consult your vet if you feel your pets weight gain may stem from an illness. 



Those puppy dog eyes are often the culprit. By feeding treats on top of your dog’s daily calorie allowance, it’s very easy to tip your dog into that over-weight category without even realising. So, remember, if your dog has gained weight, it’s likely they are eating too much or moving too little. 


Health Risks associated with dogs that are overweight: 


Shortened life spans - Liverpool University released a study that looked at 50,000 dogs from across 12 breeds. They found that for many, being overweight meant they lived up to two years less than those at a healthy weight! 

- Reduced quality of life 

- Higher frequencies of some health conditions including arthritis, breathing problems, heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer 

- Injury 


Prevention is better than cure 

Obese puppies can become obese in adulthood, so it is important to monitor their weight from a young age. Regularly weighing your dog can help you notice any weight gain. 

Calorific requirements of dogs of the same weight can vary hugely, depending on if they are neutered, how old or how active they are. These should all be taken into consideration when working out how much to feed your four-legged friend. 



Great ways to keep your dog in a healthy shape

Here at Different Dog, we have formulated tasty low-fat recipes to help dogs that are fighting the pounds or need a low-fat diet for their health. Diet food doesn’t need to be bland and tasteless! We use 60% Human graded UK meat with a range of vegetables and fresh fruit in every core recipe. With specially selected superfoods that support their joints, digestion and skin & coat, these recipes will nourish them from the inside out. 

Here are some of our hand cooked low-fat recipes: 

Keep Me Trim Turkey 

Keep Me Trim Turkey by Different Dog

Turkey (Lean Mince 60%), Red Cabbage (13%), Carrot, Squash, Apple, Mushroom, Salmon Oil, Parsley, Brewers Yeast, Monocalcium Phosphate, Chia Seeds, Kelp, Minerals, Turmeric. 

Moisture 73.0%, Protein 18.2%. Fat 3.2%, Fibre 0.4%, Ash 2.8% 

Stay Supple Fish Supper 

Stay Supple Fish Supper by Different Dog

White Fish (60%), Broccoli (13%), Sweet Potato, Squash, Apple, Mushroom, Flaxseed Oil, Glucosamine (0.6%), Chondroitin (0.6%), Parsley, Monocalcium Phosphate, Brewers Yeast, Chia Seeds, Kelp, Minerals, Turmeric. 

Moisture 77.9%, Protein 13.5%, Fat 1.9%, Fibre 0.7%, Ash 1.8% 


What our customers have been saying: 

"The food is exceptional so far. My dog has pancreatitis and the low-fat options suit him very well. We have progressed from home cooking and in a heartbeat, I would cook for him every day if I had to but it is so time-consuming and this is the next best thing because it's fresh human-grade food. My boy loves it and actually cries for his food now. Thank you for providing genuinely low fat quality food for my boy, because it's made it possible for him to avoid having to be put on a prescription diet." 

Kirsty Hayes - 5-star review on Trustpilot

We are always on hand to help with your dogs’ weight loss journey and factor this in when designing your meal plan. When you sign up for one of our plans, we always ask: 

  • How much does your dog weigh? 
  • How old is he or she? 
  • Are they neutered or spayed? 
  • How is their physique (are they carrying a few extra pounds?) 
  • How active are they? 

Our algorithm will then calculate the perfect portion for your dog! 

Are you interested in trying some of our low-fat recipes? Check out our Low-Fat Trial Box which includes all these recipes and some of our delicious low-fat chicken chews too! 

What Bianca, our in-house nutritionist, says: 

Bianca, Different Dog's nutritionist holding her dog in her arms

A study by Mars found obesity in dogs up 150% in the last decade! We are in the middle of a pet obesity pandemic and the main cause comes from the type of diets we are feeding. 

Obesity is a chronic inflammation within our pets when this happens the body does not function at optimal levels, disease begins to flourish from IBD gut type issues, skin, joint issues you name it, inflammatory pathways are activated when obesity occurs. 

Naturally, dogs are not designed to survive and thrive on highly processed, high carb non-species-appropriate diets like that of kibbles. A bio-available diet is more species-appropriate for our pets. If your dog does have a weight issue, calorie control, the type of diet and an exercise programme should all be evaluated and altered to ensure slow steady weight loss. 

Most weight-loss diets only offer one low-fat option for pets, however, only feeding one type of diet although it may be labelled 'complete and balanced’ doesn’t always give optimal health which is what we strive for with our furry companions. Different Dog’s weight loss trial box has a variety of proteins that, when fed at the correct level, can support steady weight loss for your dog. 

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Different Dog exists to improve the lives of dogs through freshly, hand-cooked food. Different Dog's recipes are nutritionally balanced by their vet and pet nutritionist for optimum canine health. They have expanded their production facilities and market presence since 2018 to reach more dog families across the UK.

It is part funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development

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