In the new year, let’s work together to bring a renewed focus on your pet’s overall health. Today, we want to talk about their weight! We know, it’s not something anyone wants to talk about right after the holiday season, but we find it important! According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s 2016 clinical survey, 53.9% of dogs and 58.9% of cats were classified as clinically overweight (body condition score (BCS) 4) or obese (BCS 5) by their veterinary healthcare professional. Your pet’s weight can lead to many other health issues, so it’s important to take seriously.
Is your pet overweight? Here’s what to look for:
- 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 your pet is looking a little heavier than usual or is a little sluggish, please be sure to make an appointment. Here’s what we’ll discuss:
Healthy diet: After dogs and cats reach one year of age, they are ready to be on a quality adult pet food. Consult with our veterinarians on the pet food that will be most beneficial for your pet.
Exercise: Just like humans, pets benefit from regular exercise. From walks to playing fetch and chasing cat toys, making sure your pet has a regular time to exercise and play will keep his or her heart, lungs, and muscles in great shape and will allow your pet to work off excess energy. For dogs, exercise can also help them be more relaxed and obedient.