Fat pets are cute, but it’s not healthy

Image by Emilie Chang on Facebook

There’s a fine line between chubby and obese
By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief


The internet, as we all know, loves chubby pets. You’ve probably seen photos or videos of these round animals circulating on the web with captions like “chonker,” and “absolute unit,” or likening them to a loaf of bread. As much as I am guilty of enjoying the adorable fat animal trend on social media, I can’t help but think some of these animals are too chunky, bordering on morbidly obese, and that isn’t cute.

Pet obesity is a major problem in Canada, and the way the internet romanticizes these fat little creatures is only going to make it worse. According to a 2011 Pet Wellness Report, overfeeding is the most common mistake pet owners make. It may be a dated source being from eight years ago, but I’m willing to bet that given the current internet trends that the commonality of overfeeding has increased. If you’re looking for a more recent source, look no further than this 2019 article by the Global News. In the article, veterinarian Stacy Dudman says more than 50 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats are overweight and the main cause of this is overfeeding.

Having an overweight pet also makes them more susceptible to a multitude of health concerns. Risks such as heart and liver disease, arthritis and joint pains, diabetes, respiratory issues like asthma, gastrointestinal issues and some forms of cancer are all more common if your pet is too fat. Because of all this, being overweight can also shorten their life expectancy. There are many types of dogs that also are prone to certain health issues, such as hip dysplasia, trouble breathing, and hip, joints, and back complications and having extra poundage can exacerbate these issues.

Chubby pets are now so idealized that even when animals are at an ideal weight they are not considered as cute. This is exactly what happened to one dog blogger littlecooperbear.com. In a blogpost entitled, “The Corgi Truth: Weight Matters” she talks about how people react to her dogs. “I’ve had people telling me that Cooper is ‘the skinniest dog I’ve ever seen’ and ‘he’s not as cute since doesn’t look like a round loaf of bread’ because they’re so used to seeing large, overweight (borderline obese) corgis. A corgi should have a waistline with a visible abdominal tuck just below the ribcage.”

Chubby animals may be more aesthetically pleasing to some, but very often it’s just plain unhealthy. Don’t equate an animal’s cuteness with being fat or overweight. Yes, they may be “chonky,” a “thick boi,” or a “unit” as the recent internet adages go, but there is a very fine line between being adorably chubby, and unhealthily overweight.