Is your pet looking a little sluggish or heavy? As we said in our New Year’s Resolution blog post, it’s important to take your pet’s weight seriously this year! More than half of dogs and 60 percent of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Just like humans, animals that carry around excess weight are at increased risk of developing many different health problems, like arthritis, diabetes, and more. Walk your dog regularly. Play with your cat using laser pointers and other toys. The more your pet moves, the more you’ll move, and the healthier you both will be. Additional exercise and play will also help build the bond you’ve created with your pet.
But, how do you know if your pet needs to lose weight? For smaller dogs and cats, a matter of only a few pounds could mean the difference between healthy and unhealthy, and sometimes those extra few pounds might be harder to spot for well-meaning pet owners who love their pets through “thick and thin.”
Think your pet might be overweight? Here are three signs:
- Your pet has an oval shape, rather than an hourglass shape. Get a “bird’s-eye view” by standing above your pet and looking down at her. Your dog or cat should have somewhat of an hourglass shape, with a taper at the waist, which is between the abdomen and the hips. If there is little or no taper, your pet is probably overweight.
- You can’t feel your pet’s ribs. Put your hands on the side of your pet’s chest. If you can’t feel his ribs, he probably needs to lose weight. Ideally, you should be able to feel his ribs, but not see them. If you can see them, your dog or cat could be underweight.
- Extra fat around the abdomen, hips, and neck. Have you noticed a bit of a fat roll on the back side of your pup’s neck? That’s a sign that she’s carrying too much weight. Once an animal has extra fat around the abdomen, hips, and neck, it probably falls into the “obese” category and will be at higher risk of developing many health issues, including diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and more.
If you are still unsure about your pet’s ideal weight, visit our office to get her Body Condition Score (BCS), which is a visual, hands-on assessment of the levels of lean muscle and fat. If your pet is overweight or obese, we can work with you to develop and implement an exercise and nutrition program that is right for your furry pal.
If you have questions or would like to discuss your pet’s diet, please let us know!