I just read this article on Yahoo about a 70 pound dachshund. Wow. According to this article the average dachshund tops out at 32 pounds - Obie, the pup in question, weighed 77 pounds at his heaviest. To put things into perspective: Andy weighs approximately 32 pounds. Obie is now on a calorie restricted diet and his new vet tech owner hopes to ensure he will lose weight through proper diet and exercise. Just as for humans there are many heath risks associated with obesity in canines: diabetes, stress and strain on bones and joints, heart disease, and a decrease in the quality and length of a dog's life to name a few.
I've read that calorie intake is key in preventing obesity in dogs. This means ignoring the "serving" instructions for most brands of dog food and figuring out the actual number of calories that is optimal for your dogs breed and size and feeding accordingly. Calories from treats and snacks should also be taken into consideration. One thing that I committed to when we adopted Andy was to not feed him table scraps or processed human food (raw fruit and vegetables are ok) right from the get go. I had a bad habit of doing this with Maxwell and because he got used to it I found it really difficult to resist sharing my meals with him. He ended up overweight at some point and had to go on a calorie restricted diet. So far Andy is pretty good about not begging for food...human food that is. He still sits impatiently by his bowl and begs for kibble when he knows it's chow time.