What to do if your pet is overweight?

Who doesn’t love their pet being cuddly, furry, and squishy? The squishier the better, right? Nope! Did you know that you should be able to feel and even count your pet’s ribs when you move your hand across their body? If not, then this could be a sign of your pet being overweight or even obese.

How serious is pet obesity?

Pretty serious! Overweight pets are at a high risk of developing diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer and more. Obesity causes a lower quality of life  and a lower life expectancy. Along with that, there will also be endless vet visits coupled with trouble trying to find the right food and medication to help your furry family member.

Via Cat Healthy

How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

Generally speaking, for both cats and dogs, you should easily be able to feel their ribs when lightly running your fingers across their side. If you do, then there is a big chance your pet is not overweight.

When looking at your animal from above, you should be able to see an hourglass-figure with the midsection slimmer than the rest of the body. While from the side, there should be an upward slope around the tummy area. Cats should not have their midsections hanging low and dragging near the ground.

Via Healthy Pets Insurance

It should be noted that detecting obesity in pets is not the easiest as many animals have long fur that conceal a part of their real shape. That is why we recommend having your vet evaluate your pet and tell you whether they are overweight or not.

Your vet should use a Body Condition Score (BCS) to determine your pet’s weight level.  It ranges from 1 to 9 where a score of 1 means your pet is very thin while 9 means they are obese. 5 is the ideal score that will help you determine where you pet lies in relation to the healthy ideal weight.

What do I do if my pet is overweight?

Your vet should be able to help prepare a weight loss plan for your pet that should reduce their weight over a period of time that is suitable to them. It will include a specific diet plan and exercise regiment.

Weight loss is not only about cutting down the food quantity but also the quality of the food being given to your pet. It is advisable to discuss with your vet the new daily amount of calories your pet should be taking.

Via Country Living Magazine

(Weighing tip: if you can’t get your pet to stay still on the weighing scale at home, weigh yourself first and then weigh yourself again carrying your pet. The difference will be your pet’s weight.)

Calories are written on pet food packs and regular fresh food calories can easily be found  by browsing the internet. Remember to include all treats and snacks in your pet’s daily calorie count.

Exercise also plays an essential role in weight loss. Dogs can be taken out for more frequent or longer walks, and have more play sessions. Be sure to double check what kind and amount of exercise is suitable for your dog. Not all breeds of dogs can do the same kind and amount of exercise.

Via Dr. Marty Pets

Cats can have several play sessions across the day. You can encourage your cat to chase its toys or a rope for a few “play sessions” a day. A typical example can be 5 minute play sessions 3 times a day.

How fast can I expect to see results?

It is important to not rush the weight loss process for your pets, both health wise and behavioral wise. Cats can take longer than dogs to lose weight in general, and a lifestyle change to reach a healthier weight can take many months.

Don’t get discouraged if you can’t see results straight away. Have regular check ups with your vet. You can also keep them updated via messages till your next visit.

The important thing is that you are doing the right thing for your pet. At the end of the day, we are their caretakers. We control what and how much they eat. We control when and how much exercise they get. And so, it falls on us to make sure they have the best quality of life.








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