We love our pets! And sometimes we (naturally) turn a blind eye to their weight. Unfortunately, obesity among pets is on the rise and many pet parents are unaware of the problem. Obesity is considered, by many veterinarians, to be the number one health threat to pets. To help shine some light on this topic, we consulted with Dr. Thomas Mackowiak of Heartfelt Veterinary Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Here is how to tell if your pet is overweight, the risks they face and what you can do to help keep them healthy.

How to tell if your pet is at a healthy weight

  • Ribs are easily felt under a slight layer of fat
  • From the side, dogs & cats should have a visible abdominal tuck – the area behind the ribs should be smaller in diameter than the chest
  • Waist is easily noted when viewed from above
  • Exercises well – can go for a walk/exercise without slowing down or excessive panting half way through

How to tell if your pet is overweight

  • Ribs are difficult to feel under the fat
  • Stomach sags – you can grab a handful of fat!
  • Back is broad and flat
  • Waist is barely visible or absent
  • Does not exercise well – tires easily and pants excessively

Is your pet overweight? Use this as a guide to help you tell, but don’t wait until they are obese to take action!

Pets come in a variety of sizes and shapes so if you are still unsure if your dog or cat is overweight, it is advisable to visit your vet for a professional opinion. Don’t hesitate because in addition to not feeling their best, pets that carry extra weight are at risk for a variety of health issues.

Risks associated with extra weight in pets

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament (knee) injury
  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Many forms of cancer
  • Decreased life expectancy

How to help your pet
If your pet is overweight, follow these 7 tips to help your pet lose weight!
In addition to exercise, diet is the best way to ensure your pet is healthy and at an ideal weight. Whether you’d like to help your pet lose weight or keep them healthy and prevent weight gain, we can help you find the perfect food for your pet. Plan a visit to a store nearest you. We look forward to seeing you!