Do You Know If Your Pet Is Overweight

Do You Know If Your Pet Is OverweightRusty Profile

With the pet food industry pushing carbohydrate rich foods there is an increasing number of dogs and cats that are overweight. Do you know how to tell if your pet is overweight?

It may be a simple example but your pet should have an “hourglass” shape. Meaning they should have a dipped in waste just like people.

There are a lot of pets these days that are overweight and some of their owners don’t know that they actually are.

Most pet owners have been misled by the pet food industries to believe that our pets need multiple meals per day. When the truth is that most pets will benefit from less frequent controlled meals.

Being overweight puts your dog or cat at risk for many diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.

Your vet may diagnose an overweight or obese pet, but it’s also easy to determine for yourself.

How To Determine If Your Pet Is Overweight

One of the best ways to determine your pets body condition is to stand above your pet and look down on them. “

Both dogs and cats should also have a nice taper at their waist (just in front of their hips) If there is very little indent or none at all, then they are too heavy and they will be more of an oval shape and won’t have the “hourglass” appearance.

On a physical test you should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. You should be able to see where the ribs end and the abdomen indents before the hip. If you can see the indents of the ribs themselves then your pet is too thin.

And a pet that is very overweight will have a balloon like abdomen (round and possibly hanging down), fat that looks like bumps at the base of the tail, and neck fat that can look like a crest or a fat neck that inhibits their ability to move the head around normally, all of which can be very noticeable. These more noticeable signs of obesity are more common in older pets.

How To Help Your Pet Lose A Few Pounds

The first thing to do to help your pet lose a few pounds is to stop the “free choice” eating at once and switch your pet to two meals per day. Do not leave it to your pet to decide how much they are going to eat throughout the day.

Put them on a food regimen under the advice of your veterinarian and the recommendations of whichever food you are feeding. It usually means cutting their food intake by about 20% each day.

You need to be more careful when trying to help your cat lose weight. Rapid weight loss in cats can lead to fatty liver syndrome (hepatic lipidosis) which can lead to liver failure.

Your vet may want to see your cat every six months to make sure they are losing weight at a safe rate.

Exercise Helps Weight Loss

Cutting your pets food intake is a good start for weight reduction but you also need to get your pet to move a little more.

You will want to start out slow with just a few minutes of play or walking each day. You will gradually want to increase the activity time to about a 30-minute walk twice a day for your dog but it can be a little harder to get cats to exercise.

Keep in mind that cats are usually more active in the early morning or later evening. Try to use these times to encourage your cat to play more.

My cats love the laser pointer and the feathers that are on the wand for them to chase. It’s also a very good idea to have a cat scratcher. And I don’t mean one of those small cardboard scratchers, (don’t get me wrong I think they are great but not for getting your cat to move more) I’m talking about one of those fairly large cat trees / cat condo that they can really climb and hang around on. (It will also help save your couch)

The Bottom Line

The health of your pet is in your hands and it is up to you to provide them the best possible life you can. As your pets activity level goes up and his endurance increases you may not have to reduce their food as much and you will be helping your pet live a longer healthier and happier life.


4 thoughts on “Do You Know If Your Pet Is Overweight

  1. Excellent Article,

    We constantly worry if we are over feeding out little puss cat but find it very hard to tell and don’t like restricting her food. It is a constant battle between being a good parent and being mean!

    Your tips on self-assessing her weight are fantastic and it looks like we are doing a great job as she definitely still has an hourglass shape but still has more than enough to hide the rib indents. Combined with plenty of exercise she seems to be doing great.


    1. Thank you for visiting my article and thank you for your comment, as pet owners it’s hard sometimes to know if we are feeding and exercising our pets enough or too much. Use my article as a guide and when in doubt check with your vet. Wishing you lots of play time with your kitty, Pam

  2. Hi Pam, what a thoughtful well written article concerning pet weight. I frequently monitor the activity and diet of my beagle Koko. She has a rather large appetite at times but rarely overeats and she has a very active lifestyle. She turns 3 in a few days and will be hiking the Appalachian Trail with me in March. Thank you for the tips I really enjoyed this article.

    1. Thank you for reading my article, I am so glad you enjoyed it. I Love beagles my sister had one for many years, he was quite the character.
      I hope you have a wonderful time hiking the Appalachian Trail it sounds like a great adventure. Best wishes to you and your pets, Pam

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