Overweight or Just Curvy? A Guide to Determining Your Pet’s Healthy Weight

fat cat© Lulamej / Getty Images / Canva

Is your dog or cat a healthy weight? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, only 39% of dog owners and 45% of cat owners consider their pets overweight or having obesity. This contrasts with numerous reports indicating over 50% of dogs and cats are overweight or have obesity. So how can you tell if your pet is a healthy weight? In this article, we will discuss how to determine your dog or cat’s healthy weight and provide tips on how to help them stay slim!

First, use the Body Condition Score (BCS) chart. This helpful tool was designed by veterinarians to give pet parents a visual guide to help determine if their dog or cat is at a healthy weight. To use the BCS chart, simply find your pet’s breed and weight range on the chart and then compare their body shape to the images provided. If your pet falls within the “ideal” weight range and their body shape closely resembles one of the images in that range, then they are likely a healthy weight.

If you’re still not sure if your pet is at a healthy weight, there are other ways to tell. For dogs, you should be able to feel their ribs without having to press too hard. You should also be able to see their waist when looking down at them from above. For cats, you should be able to feel their ribs and see their waist when looking at them from the side.

If you’re concerned that your pet may be overweight or obese, there are a few things you can do to help them slim down. First, cut back on their food portion sizes and/or feed them a weight-loss formula food. You should also make sure they are getting plenty of exercise by taking them on walks or runs, playing with them in the yard, or signing them up for a pet fitness class. Finally, avoid giving them high-calorie treats and snacks like table scraps.

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5 Questions to Ask Your Vet About Your Pet’s Weight

“Dogs and cats with excess fat are at greater risk for developing diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and many forms of cancer. You need to have a frank conversation with your veterinarian to find out if your pet is potentially facing one of these weight-related disorders,” says Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

You love your pet and want what’s best for them, which includes maintaining a healthy weight. Here are five questions to ask your vet at your next appointment about your pet’s weight.

1. What Are Some Specific Signs That My Animal Is Gaining Weight?

You might notice that your animal is eating more, sleeping more, or has less energy. Or, you might notice that their collar is tighter than usual or they’re having trouble getting up from a lying position. If you’ve noticed any of these changes in your pet, bring it up with your vet.

2. What Is a Good Normal Weight for My Pet?

Each animal is different and its ideal weight depends on many factors, including its age, activity level, and breed. Ask your vet what a healthy weight range is for your pet so you can ensure they stay within that range.

3. What Type of Food Do You Recommend?

Just like people, animals need certain nutrients to stay healthy. The type of food you feed your pet will affect their health in various ways, so it’s important to choose a food that meets their needs. When you talk to your vet about food options, also ask about how much you should feed them and how often. Serving sizes and frequency may differ based on your pet’s age and activity level.

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4. Does My Pet Have a Health Condition That Makes It Advisable to Keep Weight on the Low Side?

For some animals with conditions such as arthritis, it’s beneficial to keep their weight on the low side because it reduces the amount of pressure on their joints. If this is the case for your pet, ask your vet what an appropriate weight range is for them and how you can help them maintain a healthy weight.

Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is important for their overall health and well-being. Talk to your vet about ways you can help maintain your pet’s healthy weight through diet and exercise, as well as any health conditions that might impact their ideal weight range. By asking these questions, you’re taking an important step in ensuring a long, happy life for your beloved furry friend.

How to Tell If Your Pet Is Overweight

It can be tough to tell if your pet is carrying a few extra pounds. After all, they can’t exactly tell you how they’re feeling. However, there are a few signs you can look for that might indicate your furry friend is overweight. Keep reading to learn more.

How to Check If Your Pet Is Overweight

There are a few ways you can tell if your pet is carrying around some extra weight. Here’s what to look for:

1. Waistline: Take a look at your animal from above. Does she have a definite waist? If not, and her back is broad and flat like a footstool, she is likely overweight.

2. Ribs: Gently run your hands along your animal’s side. Can you easily feel the ribs, or do you have to push hard to feel them? Are they too prominent?

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3. Spine: Another way to tell if your pet is carrying too much weight is by feeling her spine. Again, gentle pressure with your hands is all that’s needed. Can you feel each individual bone, or does it feel like there’s a thick layer of fat covering them?

4. Collar Bones: Take a look at your pet from the side. Are her collar bones visible and protruding? If so, she may be underweight. However, it’s important to remember that some breeds—such as Greyhounds—naturally have visible collarbones due to their slim build.

5. Pet Health Exam: Of course, the best way to determine if your pet is at a healthy weight is by taking her in for regular wellness checkups with her veterinarian. They will be able to give you an evaluation and let you know if your pet needs to lose or gain any weight.

Is Your Pet Overweight? Here’s How to Tell

Carrying around extra weight can be harmful to your pet’s health in the long run—increasing their risk for developing joint problems, heart disease, respiratory issues, and more. So, how can you tell if your beloved animal companion is carrying a few too many pounds? Look out for these five signs next time you give them a cuddle. And be sure to sign up for our free newsletter so you don’t miss any of the latest news and updates.

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This article is intended for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only and should not be construed as advice, guidance or counsel. It is provided without warranty of any kind.