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Home >  Blog >  How to tell if your pet is overweight

How to tell if your pet is overweight

Posted by Wendy Milledge on 16 March 2023
How to tell if your pet is overweight

As a loving pet owner, it's essential to pay close attention to your pet's health and well-being. One aspect of their health that can be overlooked is their weight. Obesity is a growing problem among pets, and it can lead to a wide range of health issues, including joint problems, diabetes, and even heart disease. In this article, we will discuss some common signs that your pet may be overweight and what you can do about it.

One of the easiest ways to tell if your pet is overweight is to check their body condition score (BCS). This score is a measure of their body fat and muscle mass and is based on a scale from 1 to 9, with 1 being extremely underweight and 9 being extremely obese. To check your pet's BCS, place your hands on their rib cage and feel for their ribs. A dog body condition score between four and five is considered ideal – not too big and not too small, which is where you should aim to get your dog.  You should be able to feel their ribs without having to press too hard, but they should not be visible. You should also be able to see a waistline when looking at your pet from above and from the side.

Look for Signs of Fat

Another way to tell if your pet is overweight is to look for signs of fat on their body. This can include a thick layer of fat around their neck, a protruding belly, and thick fat pads on their hips and shoulders. You may also notice that their face and legs appear thicker than usual.

Pay Attention to Their Energy Levels

Pets who are overweight may also have low energy levels and may not be as active as they once were. They may also become tired quickly during exercise or may have difficulty getting up and down stairs.

Check Their Eating Habits

If you suspect that your pet is overweight, it's essential to take a close look at their eating habits. Are they eating more than they should be? Are they getting enough exercise? Are they eating the right type of food? All of these factors can contribute to weight gain in pets.

What You Can Do About It

  • Talk with us at North Road Vet before making changes to your pet's diet or exercise, it is essential to rule out any underlying health issues that may contribute to weight gain.  We can give you guidance and plan a weight loss plan tailored to your pets needs.
  • Adjust your pets diet: Your pet's diet plays a significant role in their weight, so it is essential to provide them with high quality food that is appropriate for them, breed, age and activity level.  We may recommend a specific type of food, portion size and feeding schedule.
  • Be careful with treats, treats add calories too, in particular avoid the temptation of feeding human leftover food scraps. 
  • Monitor your pets portions, many owners overfeed their pets, so this is important.  Avoid free feeding your pets, which means leaving food out all day.  Instead feed them at specific times.
  • Increase your pets exercise, it is vital for your pet's health and weight loss.  Start slowly and increase the intensity and duration of the exercise.
  • Provide mental stimulation, boredom and stress can lead to overeating so try puzzle feeders and interactive toys.
  • Monitor your pets progress and track their progress.

Remember, weight loss takes time and patience, so be consistent with your pets diet and exercise routine.  With your love and support and some help from North Road Vet, your pet can achieve a health weight and live a happy, active life.

Author:Wendy Milledge
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