Weight gain is one of the most common issues that pets face. It can be worrying for pet owners to see our furbabies’ weight change, and the causes can often be complex.
If you have been wondering why your dog has suddenly gained weight, it’s best to visit your vet to understand potential causes and treatments that will suit their unique needs.
What causes weight gain in dogs?
Weight gain in dogs often occurs for the same reasons it does in people—primarily dietary and behavioral. Although disorders and diseases may trigger weight gain in some animals, most pets are overweight due to poor diet or lack of exercise. The following are some possible causes of weight gain in dog:
- Cushing’s disease: Dogs with Cushing’s disease have hormonal imbalances that cause weight gain, even though their appetite does not increase.
- Diabetes: Diabetes, which causes the body to develop insulin resistance and either not produce enough of it or be unable to use what is produced properly, is a common cause of weight gain.
- Genetic predisposition: Although any dog can become obese, certain breeds are at higher risk. These include Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds, and Beagles—as well as Cocker Spaniels.
Pet owners of breeds prone to obesity should monitor their dog’s weight and diet, and give the animal enough exercise so it doesn’t gain too much weight.
- Lack of exercise: Just like humans, dogs that don’t get enough exercise are more likely to gain weight. Make sure you give your dog regular walks to keep them healthy and active.
- Overeating: Eating too much kibble, getting scraps from the dinner table, or getting too many treats causes weight gain, especially when the dog is not getting enough regular exercise.
- Medication: Some medications can make pets gain weight. If your pet suddenly starts to feel chubby after starting a new drug, talk to the vet about it—the medication may need changing or the dosage lowered.
- Stress: When dogs are stressed or anxious, they sometimes eat more than they need to soothe themselves. This can cause them to gain weight and throw off their body’s normal metabolism.
- Thyroid disease: Hypothyroidism can contribute to weight gain in dogs. If your dog is gaining weight and his coat looks dull, or if he has a greasy appearance, you should schedule an appointment with the vet.
- Pregnancy: If your female dog is not spayed, she could be pregnant. If she has recently gone through a heat cycle or had contact with intact males, you should schedule an examination for her immediately.
If you think your dog needs to lose weight, start with the vet.
If you think your dog needs to lose weight, start with the vet. They will be able to help you figure out why he’s gained weight and how to proceed. They may recommend a special diet and specific exercise routines or even prescribe medications that can help curb the problem.
If you’re worried about your dog’s weight, the team at VIP Animal Hospital is here to help. Don’t try to tackle this problem on your own! Our veterinarians will be able to tell if there are any underlying health issues that might be causing the weight gain and help you figure out the best way forward.