Five Fat Dog Breeds

Five Fat Dog Breeds

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Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

I can understand it if you are not interested in adopting one of the five skinny dog breeds. Although they look great and run fast, they are certainly not for everyone. If you are thinking about purchasing one of the dogs in this list, however, be careful—you are in for some headaches.

You need to take great care of your dog and not let her develop into one of the pets seen in the pictures here. Fat dogs live shorter lives. It is unfortunate but true. In order to keep them thin you need to take these dogs on extra walks every day, control calories, and even watch the dog treats and other special treats you may feel like giving.

Which Five Dog Breeds Are Most Likely to Become Fat?

  • Beagle
  • Basset Hound
  • Pug
  • Dachshund
  • Labrador Retriever


This cat-loving dog breed mellows out early and enjoys hanging around the house, playing with the kids, and being an all-around great companion. They also enjoy eating, of course. Beagles are food motivated their entire lives and are famous for taking control of their household and becoming overweight.

Beagles can stay thin and in really great shape as long as they have a job. Give your dog something to do; if you are not able to give her a real job sniffing drugs at the airport, at least you can strap on a dog backpack and have her carry a load of water bottles during her walk. Keep your Beagle thin and healthy!

Basset Hound

The Basset may not be high on Dr. Coren´s intelligence rating, but he is a champion at eating. The Basset Hound is also mild, much calmer than most dogs, and is much more likely to lie around on the couch than bark and bite.

This breed is prone to obesity, unfortunately, because of his conformation and a healthy appetite. Unless you are willing to give this dog extensive exercise, he is not the best dogs to choose. If you are willing to take him for long walks, however, you can keep him thin and this is one of the best dog breeds you can choose.


Is a round, little body part of this dog´s cuteness? Most people think so. An overweight Pug, though, is really not cute. The poor dog has enough problems breathing even without weight problems, and excessive fat makes things that more difficult.

Weight control in the Pug is a big problem because you cannot exercise your pet as much as you would a Beagle or a Labrador. You must be especially cautious during the summer when humidity levels are high and your dog will have problems cooling herself. You can walk your dog inside, however, and if you control food consumption your dog should never become obese.

If you already have a Pug or one of the designer breeds like a Puggle, you know that weight control is a common problem. Stay on top of it before it becomes a threat to your dog's health!


This long-lived breed may keep you company for many years but they do have several problems. One of them is weight gain. Although this cute little dog has short legs, what the Doxie also has is a full-size dog stomach.

Besides the normal health problems that any overweight dog can develop, Doxies also have an added danger—their long backs make them more likely to develop intravertebral disc disease, and being overweight makes the condition that much more likely to happen. When your Dachshund slips a disc it can press on her spinal column and cause paralysis in her rear legs. She can lose the ability to urinate and defecate normally and become paraplegic. Keeping her thin is not a guarantee that this will not happen, but it reduces the chances, and isn't it worth the effort?

Labrador Retriever

Labs love to eat. Veterinarians in several countries have determined that this dog breed is more likely to be presented in a state of morbid obesity. According to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), Labradors are the breed most likely to be presented already overweight.

The most popular dog breed, for several years, the Labrador is intelligent and has a great personality. So intelligent, in fact, that a Lab is likely to learn how to open your cabinets and look for something to eat. As far as garbage cans go, the Lab was probably responsible for the invention of the term, “dumpster diving.”

If you decide to get a Lab you need to be aware of this health issue from the very first day. Limit his caloric intake and be sure to provide him with plenty of exercise. Exercise does not mean a potty break around the block! Take your dog for long walks, at least thirty minutes, twice a day. Do not expect to just turn him out in the backyard and burn up those excess calories. (Since Labs are intelligent, they probably think like we do. Whenever the urge to exercise comes over your Lab he just lies down until the urge goes away.)

The more time you spend walking or training your dog, the less likely she is to develop problems with excessive weight gain. Buy a book or look up some articles and teach your dog tricks to keep her in great shape!

Several other breeds are known for obesity but of course, any dog will become overweight when not given enough exercise. Keeping your dog in shape only requires two things on your part: put less food down in the bowl and exercise more—you do not need to use a drug like Slentrol or hire your dog a personal trainer. Your dog has not learned how to open the refrigerator, and even a smart dog like a Lab is not able to pizza take out with extra sausage!

Start taking care of this problem now. No dog on this list has to suffer the life of a fat dog.

Selecting a Dog . .

  • Five Great Low Maintenance Dog Breeds
    Are you looking for a low maintenance breed of dog? Here are five dog breeds that all need basic care, but are also good at taking care of themselves.
  • Five Great Dog Breeds That Don't Shed, Much
    This article lists five of the breeds that do not shed much. Not all are cheap to take care of, not all are going to lay around and wait to be groomed, but all are great pets.
  • Five Great Dog Breeds for an Apartment
    Are you thinking about getting a dog but need a breed that will fit into your apartment? These five breeds are all great and can do well in a small area.
  • Five Great Dog Breeds That Like Kids
    Are you looking for a dog that really loves kids? These five breeds are all great choices. Pick a great dog for your kids, today.

© 2012 Dr Mark

yuo muther on October 31, 2019:

hi i thought this was a amazing essay

Chris Hound on January 27, 2014:

CASTING NOTICE: IS YOUR PET OVERWEIGHT? You could be on a new reality show!

Do you have a dog, cat or any other type of pet that's overweight, or even obese? Does your beloved family pet's weight make it hard for it to breathe, run or play? Are you concerned that your pet's weight might even cut its life short? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, you and your pet could be on a new reality show on a major cable network. We're looking for people with overweight pets who want to work with our trained professionals to get their pet in shape, and are willing to have the process filmed for TV. If you're interested, click on the link below ASAP to apply!

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 05, 2012:

It is about like travelling from Pennsylvania to Texas, but most of the way (at least here in Bahia) is still two lane roads! Thanks for sending the link.

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on December 05, 2012:

Sao Paulo - that's exactly it! I understand Brazil is a rather large place, I probably should have figured it wasn't near you. And that's true about the ACD, she barely stops moving long enough to eat.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 05, 2012:

I wonder if that is in São Paulo? Certainly nowhere around here. We provide medical care around cost, but it does not seem affordable to the people making a few thousand a year.

Thanks for reading. At least you wont have to worry about an ACD becoming overweight, unless she is really, really, old!

Rachel Koski Nielsen from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota on December 05, 2012:

Great hub, very informative. Pinned! Fat dogs make me feel kind of bad, though :(

I saw an interesting thing on the internet recently - a man hugging his dog, who was on a strecher receiving medical care. The caption on the photo said that the man and his dog were in a facility in Brazil where low-income dog owners can receive affordable care for their dogs. I thought it was so wonderful and heartwarming, and thought of good old Dr Mark down in Brazil! I'll find the link and send it to you.

Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on December 04, 2012:

Thanks for the shares, eHealer. I appreciate your visit.

Bob, it is never their fault, but isn't it amazing how often we blame the dogs? Sad, isn´t it?

DS, I heard someone joking about Labs--they are hyper until they are about five, and then they just sit around and eat. I don't think there are many fat young ones, or skinny older Labs, for that matter.

Nettlemere, a 12 year old Lab? That is great! You must be doing something really well. I hope he keeps up on short walks with you for many years to come.

Thanks for your visit, Maria Cecilia.

wetnosedogs, I am glad to hear Jenny´s weight control is going well. With those occasional bags of stolen treats, of course! She is part Lab, after all.

Deborah from Las Vegas on December 04, 2012:

DrMark, this hub is just fantastic! They may look cute, but obese animals are so miserable and are prone to illness and short lives. Great hub DrMark, I pinned it, shared it, FB'd it, my friend FB'd it, and I voted it up!! Great job!

Bob Bamberg on December 04, 2012:

It's so sad to see dogs in that condition! I was once a morbidly obese biped and remember vividly the discomfort I felt. Imagine how it must feel to a quadruped!

What got me angry enough to say something to my customers who had morbidly obese dogs is the fact that they don't get that way by themselves; they're proactively allowed to get that way.

I am struck by how many owners of obese dogs refer to them in bemused tones i.e. "he sure is a porker, isn't he?" "He sure hasn't missed many meals!" "All he does is eat."

They seem to be oblivious to their role in the situation, and to the danger the dog is in...or they joke about it as their way of handling the guilt they feel.

And my anecdotal evidence is that very few fit adults have obese pets. If the dog or cat is obese, look at the owners, and usually their children as well. Most often the common ground is head shakingly obvious.

Important hub, DrMark. Voted up, useful and interesting.

DS Duby from United States, Illinois on December 04, 2012:

Great advice DrMark I knew most of these dogs tend to gain weight easily but I had no idea about the lab. I always assumed they were to high strung to get fat and lazy lol. Shows what I know. Voted up, interesting and useful. Thanks for the helpful info.

Nettlemere from Burnley, Lancashire, UK on December 04, 2012:

I couldn't disagree with any of your choices - I have seen hefty individuals of all these breeds. Luckily I own one of the few labradors who doesn't seem to put on weight and despite being 12 is up for as much walking as there is on offer.

Maria Cecilia from Philippines on December 03, 2012:

Cute hubs the more I am encourage to walk my dogs as often as possible

wetnosedogs from Alabama on December 03, 2012:

I am happy to say jenny, part lab, my greedy dog, is losing weight. And sure is intelligent. She is on a pretty strict diet and has learned to be satisfied with what I give her. Jenny does have her moments -this weekend she was ready to run off with the treat package. Since she has taught me to think like she does, I caught her in time. She will try, but is willing to give it up. She just has to try. Jenny wouldn't be Jenny if she didn't have me scampering around. LOL.

5 Popular Dog Breeds This Vet is Concerned About

Last year I wrote about the five breeds I miss seeing, those that used to be more popular but no longer caught the fancy of the general public. It wasn't an argument for those breeds to start filling the veterinary offices again - raging popularity has never been good for any breed - but rather a nostalgic yearning for the wonderful pets I saw more of at the very beginning of my veterinary career.
Yes, I miss seeing all those Collies, Cockers, Brittanies, Irish Setters and Scotties , but that just means I enjoy them even more when I do see one in practice these days. And that got me thinking about the breeds I see too much of, now that I am in my third decade of practice. I like these dogs in fact, I own two of the five on this list. But I am still concerned about these breeds.

No Such Thing As a 'Bad' Breed

I love all pets. I wouldn't be a veterinarian if I didn't, and I celebrate the human-animal bond every day. I do look forward, though, to the day when these five breeds aren't as popular. The reasons vary, but in many cases the problems are health-related, and overbreeding by puppy mills and other less-than-ideal operations has a lot to do with that.

What would help these breeds is for there to be a lot less of them. A couple of them need many more adopters and far less breeding, and all would benefit from people who are well-prepared for the challenges of owning a dog, and who make sure to look to rescue, shelters and reputable breeders for their pets.

As always, whatever pet you choose, we veterinarians are here to help you make healthy choices for life.

5 Worrisome Dog Breeds

1. Bulldog: The Bulldog is the beloved breed of the advertising world, today more than ever. There's no denying the adorability factor here, and I'm as much in love with the look of the Bulldog, French Bulldog and Pug as anyone else. But the exaggerated features of the Bulldog and other related breeds have produced a perfect storm of health problems that diminish the quality of life for many of these dogs, and often make them extremely expensive to own. Many need surgery to shorten their soft palate and enlarge their nostrils just so they can breathe somewhat normally. Must as I love them as individuals, as a veterinarian these problems make me hurt for these dogs and their families.

* Learn More about the Bulldog

2. Chihuahua: Health usually isn't the problem with the Chihuahua . These active, in-your-face little dogs behave much bigger than they are (but not bigger than they think they are, which is huge!), and many of them live well into their teens with regular wellness care. But as one of the two most common breeds in many shelters these days, finding homes for them all is a challenge. For that, you can thank Taco Bell and Paris Hilton, I guess, but I'd like to thank everyone who adopts them, and spays and neuters them. A little Chihuahua goes a long way, and I'll be happier when I see a lot less of them in practice, because that means the shelters aren't struggling to cope with the overpopulation.

* Learn More about the Chihuahua

3. German Shepherd: A good German Shepherd is an awe-inspiring dog, and the best have served in so many ways. German Shepherds were the original service dogs for people who can't see, and they've long been used for police and military work, and for search and rescue. Their popularity has been pretty steady since the days of Rin Tin Tin, but the problems with the health of the breed seem to have increased with every decade. German Shepherds are prone to epilepsy, vision problems, bleeding disorders and digestive problems, as well as bad hips and degenerative myelopathy, an incurable condition that causes progressive paralysis. The German Shepherd is the world's first media-darling dog, and remains the classic example of the problems of popularity.

* Learn More about the German Shepherd

4. Golden Retriever: We love Shakira, our 12-year-old Golden whose sunny personality, supermodel looks and ball-crazy behavior are everything people love about Goldens. But Goldens have had more than their share of breed-related health issues, the most common and most tragic is cancer. Our family has been lucky enough to escape this diagnosis, but countless other owners will be getting bad news about their dogs today, and many of those dogs will be young. Many of us veterinarians not-so-secretly call this breed "The Cancer Retriever," which is why I'm so excited about the Golden Retriever Lifetime Project, a huge and important step in helping to save many of these dogs down the line. And many people too!

* Learn More about the Golden Retriever

5. Pit Bull: I fell in love with Gracie, a Pit-Lab mix, while visiting shelters at Christmastime to give gifts to the pets there. Gracie was found as a stray puppy, and even though everyone at the shelter loved her, no one adopted her until I came along. I guess I could see beyond her "Plain Jane" exterior and her troubled legs to the beautiful heart inside. The biggest problem with Pit Bulls? Too many of them. Just as with Chihuahuas, the popularity of Pit Bulls has driven a population explosion that's out of sync with the number of homes available and suitable for these large, powerful dogs. The majority of Pitties are sweet and stable, but the unfair negative press the breed has received makes many people afraid to adopt them. As with the Chihuahua, more adoptions and a lot fewer litters are the answer.

* Learn More about the Pit Bull

Again, I want to stress that no dog of any of these breeds is a "bad dog," and that I don't want any breed to disappear. But I hate knowing that some dogs are struggling for homes and others are struggling for health. That just goes against everything I stand for as a veterinarian.

Do what you can to help. That might mean adopting a breed with a "bad" reputation if the dog fits your family, or not actively seeking out the dog from the television ad unless it's at a shelter needing adoption. And as always, it means working with your veterinarian to ensure the best possible life for whatever pet you choose.

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Turmeric is one of the most healing spices you can get your hands on and it's what gives curry its vibrant yellow, borderline orange pigment. Research has routinely demonstrated the centuries-old spice exhibits both anti-inflammatory and medicinal properties, which in turn, may help to reduce the risk of various chronic diseases and conditions.However, according to Dr. Vikki Petersen, certified nutritionist, chiropractor, and functional medicine doctor, there are a few groups of people who should avoid turmeric—especially in the form of a capsule. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now)."Unfortunately, turmeric can be adulterated with toxic ingredients and even heavy metals such as lead," she says. "Silicon dioxide can be added to prevent caking in lower quality supplements, and additions of flour as fillers can contain gluten, therefore wreaking havoc on those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance."Petersen clarifies that it's generally safe to take between 500 milligrams and 1,000 milligrams of turmeric per day for its health benefits. However, adverse symptoms may arise when people exceed 2,000 milligrams a day or consume low-quality supplements. In fact, taking supplements of just turmeric alone may be a waste of money.Curcumin, which is the main active ingredient in turmeric, is largely responsible for turmeric's anti-inflammatory powers. However, the concentration of curcumin in turmeric isn't very high, which means that you may not receive all of the inflammation-fighting effects through turmeric supplements. In fact, you may benefit from taking a curcumin supplement.Keep in mind, though, that curcumin doesn't have a high bioavailability, meaning that the body doesn't easily absorb the compound on its own. A helpful tip? If you're going to take a supplement, make sure to take it with a meal that you're seasoning with black pepper. Piperine, a substance found in black pepper, can increase your body's absorption of curcumin by as much as 2,000%, per one 2010 study.Of course, taking too much curcumin can also lead to gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea, so make sure you're not overdoing it on the supplements."There is some concern about those predisposed to kidney stones could suffer from some aggravation due to oxalates present in turmeric, but the percentage of oxalates is only 2% and a normal dose of turmeric should be safe for most," Petersen adds.In short, many people will likely benefit from eating turmeric, however, taking it in capsule form (especially if it's a low-grade supplement) may pose a threat to those who have celiac disease or are gluten-intolerant.A good rule of thumb? Be sure to consult a registered dietitian or nutritionist before taking any supplements to be sure you're taking one that will help you reap the most health benefits. And for more, be sure to read 7 Powerful Supplements That Will Boost Your Immune System.

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Best Low-Fat Dog Food

Low-fat food that's designed to be easier to digest than some other brands.

While it helps with weight loss, its primary function is to aid in digestion. Helps dogs that have trouble digesting fats found in most dog foods. Also has a blend of antioxidants that help the dog's immune system remain healthy. One of the highest-quality low-fat choices available.

Expensive. Cannot be ordered without authorization from a veterinarian.

Delivers effective low-fat dog food at a reasonable price point per pound versus others.

Has a reduced-fat and reduced-calorie formula that's perfect for overweight dogs. Uses antioxidants and vitamins to improve immune health. Includes only natural ingredients in the formula. Dog food is made in America, so you can trust the quality of the ingredients.

Undergoing a slight change in formula, so your dog may not tolerate the new blend.

For dogs that need moist food, this low-fat food is easy on the digestive tract.

It's pricey, but this recipe has low fat levels and a healthy mix of fibers to aid in digestion. Specifically blended to improve the health of the dog's coat and skin as well as the immune system. Includes ginger to produce a calming effect. Some dogs prefer the taste of canned food.

Requires veterinarian authorization to order. Pricey, even for canned food.

It is one of the most expensive foods, but it helps dogs that have digestion issues.

Uses highly digestible proteins and prebiotics to help the dog overcome digestive issues. Recipe is blended specifically for dogs who have difficulty digesting fats. Canned food is easier for some dogs to eat than dry food. Uses antioxidants to boost the dog's immune system.

Need a veterinarian's authorization to order it. Very expensive food.

A quality low-fat food by a trusted brand that's often recommended by veterinarians for dogs that have difficulties digesting fat.

Low-fat recipe formulated for dogs with sensitive digestive systems. Great for dogs with health issues like pancreatitis that can make digesting food with high-fat content difficult. Contains prebiotic fiber that aids digestion and may calm diarrhea. Available in kibble and canned.

Pricey. Reports of damaged cans upon arrival. Most dogs like it, but some weren't tempted by the flavor.

Low-fat dog food can give pets a healthier alternative to standard dog food. Available in either canned or dry varieties, it's the perfect food for when your dog needs to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Full of vitamins and antioxidants to aid in your dog’s digestion, low-fat dog food also helps dogs who struggle to digest fatty foods. Keep in mind that while some types of low-fat dog food can be purchased off the shelf, others require authorization from a veterinarian.

When is a Low Fat Diet Necessary for Dogs?

As important as fat is as part of a balanced diet for dogs, some dogs need to be fed a moderate- or low-fat diet because they have certain health conditions. For example, dogs with sensitive stomachs can sometimes have trouble with high fat diets. Fat is more difficult for dogs to digest than protein, so if you feed your dog a product with high levels of fat, it could result in digestive upset. Another reason a dog might need a low fat dog food is if he is overweight or obese. Many dog owners do not realize that table scraps and other kinds of people food are very high in calories for dogs and feeding your dog too many treats can lead to unhealthy weight gain or obesity. Once your dog is overweight or obese, his risk for other serious health problems increases as well.

Though digestive problems and obesity are good reasons to switch your dog to a low fat diet, the most common reason is a medical condition called pancreatitis. This is a condition in which the dog’s pancreas, an organ that works closely with the stomach to help digest food, becomes inflamed. The more inflamed the dog’s pancreas becomes, the more it impedes his ability to digest food and to absorb nutrients from the food he eats. Some of the most common symptoms of pancreatitis include vomiting and loss of appetite, but other symptoms may include lethargy, diarrhea, fever, difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, and dehydration. In many cases, pancreatitis remains a mild disease but it can become severe and, in rare cases, be fatal.

Unfortunately, the exact cause for pancreatitis in dogs remains unknown, though there are several theories. Pancreatitis is often linked with a sudden intake of very high fat foods (like the skin from your Thanksgiving turkey) but there also seems to be a genetic component. Another potential cause is hyperlipidemia, or high fat levels in the blood or hypercalcemia, high calcium levels in the blood. Some experts suggest that pancreatitis is caused by certain bacterial infections or that it might be a side effect of certain diseases like Cushing’s disease. Additionally, it seems as though some breeds have a higher risk for developing pancreatitis (like Schnauzers, Yorkshire Terriers, Poodles, and Cocker Spaniels), and it is more common in old and overweight dogs.

How to shop for dry dog food

As with anything else regarding your pet, a good place to start is talking to your veterinarian — in this instance, about your dog’s dietary requirements. Then look at the ingredient list on a bag of dry dog food. “You can easily tailor a dry food diet to your pup's unique needs because it is convenient and available in a variety of flavors, formulas — from life-stage and breed-specific to weight management,” says Ferris.

While your dog can’t speak, their body can tell you a lot about whether or not you’ve picked the right brand of dry food, too. “Dogs should have stools that are of normal consistency, formed and relatively easy to pick up,” says Neuhauser, who also points out that a healthy coat and skin, and maintaining weight — not gaining or losing too much — are signs of good health.

When shopping for dog food, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a nonprofit that helps set standards for animal feed and pet foods, recommends that you read the label, select a food based on your pet’s breed, age and health, and follow the manufacturer’s feeding guidelines. When it comes to ingredients like preservatives, Ferris suggests dog owners look for natural options over synthetic ones. “Natural preservatives such as vitamin C, vitamin E and oils of rosemary, clove or other spices are better alternatives to chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin, which are often added in dog foods,” says Ferris.


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