Overweight pets will often have joint and mobility issues, and over time their weight issues can slowly get worse as they are increasingly reluctant to exercise. Overweight cats can’t groom themselves properly, and are more at risk of developing skin complaints, diabetes and arthritis. Overweight dogs are similarly at risk of developing skin complaints and diabetes, and are also more at risk of heart disease, breathing difficulties, joint damage and heat intolerance. Overall, overweight pets generally have a decreased quality and length of life.
The best method is to run your hands over your pet’s flanks. You should be able to feel the last 4-5 ribs on either side, with a good cover of skin overtop. Remember that the ribs shouldn’t be too easy to feel, but also that you shouldn’t have to dig too hard to feel them either! If your dog has a short coat, you should be able to see a discernible waist when looking at your dog both from the side and from the top. Cats should also have a bit of a waist when viewed from above, and minimal tummy fat when viewed from the side.
Free weight checks are available at Petstock Vet clinics. The nurse can assess your pet’s weight, and help you to develop a diet and exercise plan to bring your pet’s weight down slowly and safely. The diet plan may involve a change of diet to a low-calorie brand, and will definitely involve portion control.
It may make you feel a bit mean, denying your pet his favourite treat, especially when they’re looking at you with those big brown hopeful eyes, but maintaining your pet at their ideal weight is one of the best ways to keep your pet happy and healthy and with you for as long as possible!