Pet Obesity: The dangers behind a 'chonky' boy

Showing the pet obesity chart

Saturday, January 7, 2023

Our love for our pets knows no bounds, and needless to say, as pet parents, all of us want only the best for them. Unfortunately, this sometimes includes mistaking their health as cuteness and going overboard when it comes to giving them unrestricted food, love (in the form of multiple treats a day), and time to relax. 

The boredom of the internet and an ever-rising meme culture has given birth to the concept of ‘chonky’ pets, and their extreme demand in the meme world has led many pet parents to not only ignore the fact when their pets put on a little weight but actively trying to work towards this goal. 

And even though, there are some people who recognise and call out the dangers of harbouring this unhealthy idea, to most people, ‘chonky’ pets are simply entertaining to watch while scrolling on their tiktoks and reels page. 

It is the inherent responsibility of the owners to acknowledge that their pets are not eye candy for the world, but living, breathing creatures who come with organs and body parts that can very well malfunction if not treated with proper care and nutrition.

So, let’s understand a little more about what causes obesity in pets, and how can you differentiate between a ‘healthy’ and an ‘obese’ pet. 

Some breeds are more likely to get obese than others

Labrador retrievers are one of the top dog breeds that suffer from obesity in their lifetimes. It comes with their excellent ability to maintain healthy body weight, even when kept on a diet. This is why you probably have never seen a skinny labrador!

Labs love to eat and are also notoriously lazy animals, therefore if you’re someone who is not equipped with the time and energy to invest in regularly exercising with your dogs, it’s better to avoid adopting these dog breeds. 

Here is a list of top dog breeds that are prone to obesity (in no specific risk order):

  • Pug
  • Beagle
  • Golden retriever
  • Border terrier
  • Labrador retriever
  • Corgis
  • Cocker spaniel

Cats have a higher risk of being obese, as compared to dogs, the reason being they are much less active, and most domestic cats have little to no exercise integrated into their daily routines (unless recommended by a vet or a health specialist). 

Even though most cats are prone, the breeds with a higher risk are British Shorthairs, Turkish Vans, and Savannahs.

Double-check the ingredients on the back of the kibbles pack (or ask a vet)

What you feed your pets is more important than how much you feed them. In case you’re feeding your pet a good balance of kibbles and wet food, it is best to get them brands that are recommended by your pet’s veterinarian. They are at utmost liberty to prescribe a healthy diet to your pets, keeping in mind the exact things that they need. 

Also, most kibble brands pay very little attention to the components of their food, and therefore it is best to avoid them.

Too many treats, too often

If there is one thing all pet parents can attest to, is that these little creatures can be pretty manipulative with their big eyes and cute faces. But, at times, we need to stand up to them, and learn how to say “no!”. One or two treats once in a while are good enough; too many treats every day in a row can lead to not only obesity but several other health problems. Imagine giving your child chocolate or pizza every single day!

Lack of physical exercise

This is an important component that pet parents need to slowly incorporate into their pets’ lives. It is better to sneak in a little bit of exercise every day and find the one that your pet enjoys the most. Walking, hiking and fetching can be great (and easy) exercise to engage your dogs in. 

When it comes to cats, all you need is a red laser dot or a string, and they’ll do all the work for you.

How do I know my Pet is Obese (without visiting a vet)?

Check for the following symptoms:

  • Lethargy
  • Respiratory problems such as excessive panting
  • Intolerance for exercise
  • Abdominal sagging
  • Loss of mobility

My Pet Looks Cute When Fat, Why Should I Care?

Pet Obesity Prevention talks about the various health issues that your pet can face in the long run if their obesity or ‘chonkiness’ is not kept in check and treated at the right time.


Treating obesity in your cats and dogs is fairly simple: all you have to do is start, and maintain a healthy routine. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Talk to your veterinarian, and ask them to prepare a balanced diet charge
  • Incorporate regular exercise 
  • Be involved and attentive to your pets’ needs

Having a healthy pet for many, many years is much better than having a fat pet for just a few!