The Irreverent Vet Speaks on Owners That Think Their Dogs are Big-Boned

As the irreverent veterinarian, I’ll work to give you information and alternative opinions about controversial topics.

I recently saw a client with a dog that was grossly obese. This dog was about 40 pounds in a 20-pound frame. Literally. The dog waddled. Could barely walk. Didn’t want to play or exercise. I told the owner that his dog was very obese – almost unhealthily so. He got mad and actually left. Because I told the truth. What was I supposed to do?

This can be touchy to discuss with some owners. Especially when they have the same physical shape and abilities. This particular owner was about …maybe 325 pounds in a 150-160 pound frame. The owner is short of breath just walking from the lobby to the exam room.

It seems many obese owners have obese dogs.

Why is that?

Is it because obese owners want to bond with their dog – both over-eating?

Or is it because… they really think their body image is “big boned” and their dog is too?

Or do they give their dog treats every time they eat and their dog can’t help but be obese?

Or is it because many very large people don’t exercise so….their dogs don’t get much exercise either.

Regardless of the cause…those that believe their dogs are only big boned but are really obese should face it.

Obesity is as unhealthy in dogs as it is in people.

Some people have self-control issues in regards to their intake. But we control our dog’s intake. This is no excuse for having an unhealthily obese dog.

So for those of you in denial… this is what I recommend.

Talk to your vet about your dog’s weight. Don’t be upset if they call your dog obese (providing that he is obese). Understand that their recommendations are in the best interest of your dog. Discuss the best diet and exercise plan with your vet for your dog. Establish and ideal weight.

Put your dog on a diet and exercise plan. Either buy a low-calorie premium food or feed him 20% less. Weigh him every week to determine your progress. Do not give any treats during this program, none at all!. In addition, ensure he gets some exercise. You can do a ball toss or walk. There are some ball “launchers” that allow you to toss the bar quite far with minimal effort. If you can’t physically walk, consider hiring a neighborhood child to walk your dog or a professional dog walker to let your dog get some exercise.

My Final Thoughts

Don’t shoot the messager. If I tell you your dog is obese, I don’t have any personal jollies or things to gain from saying it. I’m telling you because it is true and I want your dog to be in its best health possible.

That’s my opinion and that’s all I’ll say.

Feel free to disagree or give me your thoughts. Email us.

To read comments submitted by PetPlace dog lovers to this article – go to Dog owners Speak-out – Do Fat Dogs have Fat Owners?


The Irreverent Vet is a columnist that regularly contributes to The goal is to add a balanced and alternative view of some controversial pet issues. As happens with all of us, veterinarians can’t say what they really think without offending some clients. This commentary allows vets to say what they think and give you, the pet owner, and the opportunity to consider another view. All opinions are those of the Politically Incorrect Vet and not the views of and are not endorsed by