How to tell a loved one you're concerned for their 'chonky' pet's health

We all love our pets – the problem is, sometimes we love them a little too much.

It’s can be difficult to say no to a dog begging at the dinner table, and woe betide anyone that comes between a cat and their Dreamies.

When an animal is overweight, however, those treats and extra helpings may be harming their health.

So-called ‘chonkers’ are all over the internet – there are even dedicated forums where fans share pictures of portly pets. But while we may think their furry belly rolls and loaf-like silhouettes are adorable, we’re feeding into a dangerous trend.

Shauna Walsh, PDSA Veterinary Nurse, tells ‘Excessive weight can put our beloved pets at a higher risk of developing arthritis and shortened life expectancy.

‘Obesity also contributes to numerous health issues, such as breathing problems, diabetes, back problems, and even cancer.’

If you have a cat or dog that’s starting to look a little chubby, you can work with your vet to come up with a feeding plan or make changes to their diet at home. But what about if they’re not your pet?

Picture the scene: your pal brings their dog, who you haven’t seen since they were a puppy, along when you hang out. You notice they’re carrying more weight than you’d expect for their breed and they’re panting after a short walk. You know your friend loves their pet, but are concerned about the animal’s wellbeing – should you speak up?

According to Edward Davies, Clinical Director of Cheshire Pet, part of the My Family Vets network, it’s worth bringing it up in a sensitive way – the owner may not even realise things have slipped.

‘We understand that it can be very tempting to overindulge when it comes to feeding treats to a dog, especially when they’re giving you the famous puppy-dog eyes,’ he tells

‘At the same time, an owner might be shortening their walks, especially during the colder months, because being outside isn’t as pleasant. 

‘This could add up to more calories going in and less being used up – which often results in weight gain. These behaviours can make a dog overweight or obese, so it’s important to keep an eye.’

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