Pet Health: How To Tell If Your Dog or Cat is Too Fat.
In the U.S., it’s estimated that 57 percent of cats and 52 percent of dogs are
overweight or clinically obese.
It’s a great time for people who think their pet may be too fat to learn about
the common causes of obesity in pets. Good information means you can act
before excess weight negatively impacts your pet’s health, along with your
heart and your wallet. (Nobody needs extra vet bills.) So what’s the reason
behind your dog or cat gaining a few pounds? It’s usually due to three key
How Both Dogs and Cats Get Fat
● Overfeeding: This is one of the main culprits in pet obesity – but it’s not
just treat-based. Many people simply fill their pet’s bowl with food
without thinking about calories. Always use a measuring cup and follow
the recommendations you’re your veterinarian along with the
manufacturer’s guidelines for weight, age, and activity levels. Keep
treats to a minimum. Ever slip treats to a pet wanting your attention
while you’re busy with something else? Don’t fall into the trap of using
treats as a substitute for personal attention. Stop what you’re doing (if
possible) and give them a few minutes of your time and attention.
● Guilting You With Puppy and Kitty Eyes: They look so cute, so sweet,
so sad. If your pet learns you’ll reward them for a particular behavior,
they’ll work it for everything they can get. Don’t give into temptation.
Or at a minimum, make them work to get their treats to try to balance
● Lack of Exercise: Make sure your dog gets walks regularly (it’s good for
you both) and that both cats and dogs get plenty of play time and
activities to keep them moving. And why limit the walks to dogs? Many
cats can be trained to walk on a leash – so why not give it a try?
If you feel your dog or cat is still gaining weight even if you’re watching their
food and exercising them regularly, reach out to your local vet for guidance.
But how can you tell if your pet is too fat? Let’s break it down!
Is My Cat Too Fat?
Here are some things to look for to tell if your cat is too fat.
● When feeling for your cat’s ribcage, the buoyancy of your cat’s skin and
fat should feel the same as the back of your hand. You can easily feel it
with just a tinge or resistance.
● Weigh your cat. Domestic cats are ideally between 7 – 12 pounds, but of
course, the size – and breed – of your cat will also affect their weight.
● Does your cat have a noticeable waist? This is important to check for. If
not, then your cat needs to drop a pound or two.
● Does your cat have a tummy pouch? A little balloon of fat? If so, maybe
it’s time to get your cat in shape.
Consult your veterinarian.
Is My Dog Too Fat?
If you’re worried if your dog is too fat, here are some things to check for:
● When feeling for your dog’s ribcage, the buoyancy of your dog’s skin
and fat should feel the same as the back of your hand. You can easily feel the ribcage with just a bit of resistance. This varies a bit by breed, so be sure to check with your vet.
● Can you easily feel your dog’s spine and hip bones? If not, your dog may
need to drop a few pounds.
● Does your dog have a noticeable waist? This is important – if not, then
your dog may need more exercise.
Consult your veterinarian.
Remember, obesity in pets is not always due to too many treats and too little
exercise. Just as in humans, underlying health issues like diabetes, thyroid or
adrenal disorders can also cause weight gain in animals. If your pet is gaining
weight, or already overweight or obese, it’s time to schedule a visit to the vet.