Is My Pet Overweight?

Is My Pet Overweight?

Hourglass figures aren’t only for Marilyn Monroe and a goal for women everywhere: Your pet should have an hourglass figure too.

Many pet owners don't know where to start when it comes to determining if their dog or cat is overweight. Knowing when to cut back on food or when to go on that extra walk will help your pet live a healthy and playful life.

The best way to assess if your pet is overweight is to stand above and look down on them. You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. If you can see them, they are too skinny. If you can’t see their ribs, and place your hands on the side of their chest and still can’t, they’re overweight.

Both dogs and cats should also have a nice taper at their waist (between the abdomen and where the hips go into the socket). If there is very little or none at all, they are too heavy and they’ll be oval shaped. They’ll be egg shaped rather than hourglass.

A very obese pet will have a pendulous abdomen, hip fat, and neck fat, all of which are very noticeable. But pets don’t usually reach this point of obesity until they’re aged at least seven.

If a dog or cat is overweight, cut their food intake by 25 percent and increase their exercise level gradually day by day.

Don’t leave it up to the dog, but make sure he gets out on the leash. Gradually you want to build up to a 30-minute walk, twice a day.

It’s harder to force cats to exercise, so play with them more if you can, with kitty toys or a laser pointer, for example. But also recognize that cats are at their most active when the sun is rising and setting, so if you can play with them during these hours, you’ll be most effective.

 We caution against letting your kitty lose weight too fast. Rapid weight loss can lead to fatty liver syndrome (hepatic lipidosis), which can cause her to go into liver failure.

If cutting back on the food doesn't work, talk to one of our vets at LVC to discuss a special diet. Call us at 602-559-9600 or book online.