Though there isn’t much that’s cuter than a happy, round dog waddling your way, excessive weight gain in dogs can lead to serious health problems. Part of keeping your pet healthy is making sure he maintains a healthy weight.
Unfortunately, certain breeds are more prone to weight gain than others. Not sure if your dog is officially overweight? Here are the signs: You can no longer feel his ribs, he’s lethargic and doesn’t move like he used to, and his body’s lost its definition.
If your dog is on the list, be sure to talk to your vet about maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Bullmastiffs are loyal guard dogs. They look intimidating to intruders with their large stature, but they’re complete softies when it comes to their families and loved ones. They have a tendency for weight gain because they’re generally pretty low energy dogs — a couple short walks a day is all they need in terms of exercise, says Dog Time. (They can even make great apartment dogs for this reason.) These dogs are still quite playful, though. So to help them maintain a healthy weight, be sure to get in their exercise when they’re in the mood to play.
Bulldogs are next on the list because of their tendency to be greedy eaters. A very loving and affectionate breed, bulldogs are very popular with families who have children. However, they’re not exactly up for playing catch for hours on end. Bulldogs are very sleepy and like to spend most of the day resting, which can lead to weight gain. You need to especially watch out for weight gain in bulldogs because excess weight can aggravate their existing health problems like respiratory issues and joint difficulties. Keep them healthy by giving them the correct amount of food (talk with your vet to find the right amount) and keeping them active when they’re up for it.
3. Chow chow
With their teddy bear faces and lion manes, chow chows are beautiful dogs. Though loyal to their immediate family members, chow chows can be relatively standoffish and wary of strangers. Due to their low energy and lack of playfulness, they don’t make the best pets for overly active children. They also don’t require too much exercise because of their low energy. All of this, mixed with their naturally big size, can lead to weight gain if owners aren’t careful.
4. Golden retriever
Golden retrievers are incredibly loyal, loving, and playful dogs. They’re great for families, as they have that fiercely devoted “pack mentality.” It’s important to keep your golden active, both physically and mentally. Passionate eaters, golden retrievers can quickly become overweight if you’re not careful. Limit their treat intake, make sure they’re getting a healthy and precise measurement of food, and keep them active.
5. Norfolk terrier
Norfolk terriers are cute, tenacious little dogs. They’re very playful, require lots of activity, and need a good amount of exercise. Despite that, they can have a tendency to gain excessive weight if not monitored carefully. They’re very hard-working, persistent little guys who will try to convince you to feed them as much as possible. Don’t indulge them. Follow along with their playful nature, keep them active, and don’t feed them more than necessary (talk to your vet about what is necessary).
Next on the list of dogs most likely to gain a few extra pounds is the pug. Pugs are loyal, loving little guys who will follow you around the house to keep you company. If given the chance, they will overeat, which can lead to obesity. So be sure to keep an eye on their food intake.
7. Pocket beagle
Pocket beagles are much smaller than your average beagle, though just as fun-loving and intense. They have lots of energy, are very playful, and love their exercise — which is good, because they also have a knack for overeating. “Beagles are ‘chow hounds’ and will overeat if given a chance. Monitor the amount of food you give them and be sure to keep your cupboards closed and your trash cans secured. Otherwise, your beagle will sniff out the foods he likes the best,” suggests Dog Time. “Teach children to respect your beagle while he’s eating, and not to approach or tease him with food. A beagle takes his food bowl pretty seriously.”
8. St. Bernard
Huge, friendly dogs, St. Bernards make great family additions (that is, unless you have a very young child who can easily be knocked over). Their clumsiness and large size aside, they are loyal, sweet, and mellow dogs. For the same reason, they also don’t make great apartment dogs, as they have a tendency to knock over home accessories, as well. Simply because of their size, their food intake can be quite a lot. However, it’s a fine line between giving your St. Bernard what he needs for his size and giving him too much. Be sure to talk to your vet about the exact right amount.
9. Sussex spaniel
Sussex spaniels are sporting dogs through and through. They love to go on long walks or hikes, and are perfect for an adventurous owner. They are protective of their families (they make excellent watch dogs) and get along well with other dogs due to their sporting background. However, it’s imperative to get them 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day to keep them healthy. And, Dog Time says Sussex spaniels can easily become overweight if their eating habits aren’t managed.
Newfoundlands, or Newfies, are big, slober-y, sweet dogs. Because of their size (generally 100 to 150 pounds), they need a big place to romp around and get their exercise. They do better in cooler climates and can easily overheat under those thick coats — one of the reasons to keep your Newfie at a healthy weight. These dogs need a lot of exercise both to stay fit and indulge their need to show off their strong work ethic.
11. Norwegian elkhound
Next on the list is the Norwegian elkhound. These dogs are great for beginner owners without much experience raising dogs. They’re smart, affectionate, and playfully stubborn. But the thing you need to watch about these dogs is that they’re particular about how they get exercise. They don’t care much for toys and aren’t very interested in playing catch. That means you have to go on lots of walks in order to keep them fit.
12. Australian cattle dog
Australian cattle dogs were originally used to herd cattle, they did this by nipping at their heels. As a result, these dogs do have a tendency to nip and bite, so it’s important to train them firmly from a young age. They’re also very prey-oriented and love to chase cats, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals (which can be a great source of exercise). On their potential for weight gain, Dog Time rates them a four out of five stars, so make sure to monitor their food intake.
13. Basset hound
This popular family hound dog is next on the list. Unfortunately, obesity is a real problem for basset hounds. They’re natural overeaters and will eat too much if given the chance. If they do suffer from extreme weight gain, it can affect their already problematic back and joint issues. Because basset hounds are prone to bloating, Dog Time suggests feeding them two or three smaller meals a day rather than one large one. And don’t let your dog exercise right after eating; let him rest for about an hour.
14. American foxhound
American Foxhounds are very active dogs that need one or two hours a day of exercise. Perfect for an active owner, they love long, time-consuming (due to all the sniffing) walks, hikes, and runs. They don’t do well in small homes and apartments as they need a lot of room to move around in. In addition to exercise, Foxhounds also love to eat. They easily gain weight if their food intake isn’t watched strictly. Talk to your vet about the right amount for your dog.
15. Black and tan coonhound
Another hound dog, black and tan coonhounds are stubborn, friendly dogs. They’re the largest of the coonhound breed, weighing 75 to 100 pounds. Though their great running pals, 30 minutes to an hour of walks and play time a day will do. Despite their moderate activity level, these dogs love to eat and will easily put on weight if their food intake and exercise isn’t monitored properly.