Skip to Content

How Do You Tell Your Friend Her Dog Is Fat?

I have a friend who loves her dog very much, but her dog is at least 20 pounds overweight.

He’s a middle-aged, large-breed dog, and we all know larger dogs generally don’t live as long as smaller dogs.

When I see this dog, I think, oh, if you could just lose the weight I know you’d be around a log longer.

But how do I say this to my friend?

I don’t. But should I?

What would you do? Do you comment on your friends’ or family members’ fat dogs?

I don’t, because it’s not really my business.

How do you tell your friend her dog is fat

People and dogs are overweight for a variety of reasons. It’s not always a matter of eating less and exercising more, although that almost always helps.

[quote_right]There are other factors like side effects of medications, thyroid issues, diabetes …[/quote_right]There are other factors like side effects of medications, thyroid issues, diabetes, etc. It’s not always black and white.

I remember when another friend adopted a dog who was already overweight, and random strangers would criticize my friend while she was out walking her dog.

People would say things like “How can you let him get so fat?” They would imply she was a bad dog owner without knowing any details.

Only, my friend wasn’t the reason her dog had gained so much weight. She was the one helping him lose the weight through diet and exercise.

Sometimes people need to just mind their own business.

I have never broken the news to any person I love by saying something like “I care about you. I want you to be around a long time. How can I help you lose weight?”

And I have never said anything similar about someone else’s pet. But I have thought about it plenty of times.

All I really do is lead by example.

My own dog (below) is lean. My cats could stand to lose a small amount (couldn’t we all?), but they are thinner than most indoor cats.

My dog Ace is not overweight

I walk and run other people’s dogs through my dog walking business.

A couple of these dogs are seriously overweight and I cringe when their owners shower them with extra treats just because I took the dogs walking. They end up gaining more calories than if we hadn’t walked at all. Sigh …

You could almost argue that the most common form of dog neglect in the United States is overfeeding!

So anyway, I’m curious …

Do you call people out on their fat pets?

Related posts:

Does your dog have a waistline?

How to help my dog lose weight

Sign up to receive training tips & more in my weekly newsletter:

Sandy Weinstein

Tuesday 28th of June 2016

i try not to be judgmental. however, i might make a suggestion. i also might talk to them abt the health of their dog, if they want their dog to live a long healthy life, etc. i feel that you have to say it in a way so they wont get defensive. my first dog that my parents took when i was in college and had to go to an internship got so fat. my parents would not let me have her back when i came home. so she became their first grandchild. however, my mother spoiled her rotten, boiled chicken for her, cooked tenderloins. she got very fat. then i think my parent realized it and they started walking her and watching her weight. however, she did pass away at 7 yrs old due to leukemia. when we go to events, and my girls get lots of treats, i cut down on their meals for that day. i watch their weight, check their sides and figures. they also get weighed on a regular basis.

Bruce Stone

Friday 20th of May 2016

Sure things aren't black and white, but usually they are a lot blacker/whiter than people would like to admit, when it comes to weight.

If a dog is fat, it means that the owner is not exercising the dog. Which means that dog is probably not mentally stimulated either.

My friend has a fat dog who is super high anxiety and is obsessed with food, and always following her around the house, waiting for food to happen. When I baby sit him he's almost impossible to deal with until I take him for a run. After that, he's like a different dog. He lays around and actually listens when I talk to him.

When she picked him up to go home, I told her he needs to lose some lbs. And she acted like I was crazy and said the vet said he was a perfect weight. But when he lays down you can touch one side of his stomach and watch the jiggle spread from one side to the other, like jello.

Sometimes people are too wrapped up in their own delusions to know what's up and what's down. I'll tell her once, just for the sake of the dog's physical and mental well-being, but past that I'm not going to bring it up again.

Jen Gabbard

Thursday 25th of June 2015

It really depends on the person; I don't think I'd tell most of my friends that their pet is overweight - but my dad on the other hand... I let him know when he let his kitty get fat.


Wednesday 17th of June 2015

I can't see myself telling anyone that their dog is fat. Even friends. It's none of my business. I truly believe if someone wants advice they will ask for it.


Tuesday 16th of June 2015

I read a statistic* a while ago that something like 55% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese, and over 90% of owners think their dogs are at a healthy weight. Yikes! That is quite the fat gap. It can be tough to help or offer (unsolicited) advice when the problem isn't recognized for what it is. I hold my tongue most of the time because I don't think it is my place to point out when somebody has a fat dog (or cat), but when it does come up I try to be tactful about it and explain the reasons why we keep our dog fit. We want Rue to live a full, happy and healthy life free of weight-related diseases and illnesses because these are things we have a fair amount of control over (we do hold the dog bowl and the leash, after all). Our dog is an opportunistic scavenger and would weigh 60 pounds (she weighs in around 40) if we left her to her own devices. She will lick the bowl clean after every meal and then look up as if we've never fed her. Piggy. :) So, it's not a direct approach to telling someone that their dog is fat, but I hope it plants the seed to at least evaluate the health of their canine.