News and Media

INFO: Overweight pets

August 27, 2015

Overweight pets are becoming an increasingly common problem. Like us, if our pets aren’t fed a healthy diet and get regular exercise it is likely they will begin to gain weight.

If left unchecked, overweight pets can become more prone to more serious health problems including diabetes, liver problems and joint pain. Overweight pets can also have shorter life spans and a poorer quality of life.

Assess your pet’s body condition

Like us every pet’s body uses food differently and their diet requirements can vary depending on factors such as age and breed. Checking your pet’s body condition is one way you can assess if your pet is overweight.

Three ways you can assess your pet’s body condition are:

1. Rib check

Put both of your thumbs on your pet’s backbone and spread your hands out across their rib cage. You want to be able to feel their ribs.

2. Profile check

Look at your pet’s profile and see if their abdomen is tucked up behind their rib cage. To accurately measure the level of your pet’s abdomen, it helps if you are level with your pet.

3. Overhead check

Looking at your dog or cat from overhead, see if you can see their waist; this is located behind your pet’s ribs. Most pets at an ideal weight should have an hourglass figure.

If you think your is overweight, make an appointment with your vet to determine if your pet is overweight and discuss a plan to help with their weight loss.

Help your pet lose weight

Weight loss for anyone, including your pet can be challenging, but losing weight and getting fit can add years to your pet’s life and can make those years more enjoyable for them.

Here are a couple of ways you can help your dog or cat lose weight.

  • Diet – overweight animals consume more calories than they require. Work with your vet to determine the food and amounts you should be feeding your pet to ensure they are getting the correct number of calories.
  • Exercise – increasing physical activity for your pet is a good way to lose and maintain the correct weight for your pet. Regular exercise burns calories, reduces appetite and changes your pet’s body composition.
  • Modifying your behaviour – helping your pet lose and maintain a healthy weight also requires you to make some changes yourself. Perhaps you had been giving your pet too many treats, or hadn’t been giving your pet enough opportunities to exercise, these are things which might need to be addressed to help your pet lose weight.