A vet shares expert advice on recognising the signs of pet obesity and how to help your pet’s health if you do notice that they’re overweight.

Vet advice courtesy of Dr Adam Sternberg BVSc Greencross Vets

Is Your Pet's Weight A Growing Concern?

Pet obesity is a growing problem and it’s important to be able to recognise the signs before your pet’s health is seriously affected. Here, Dr Adam Sternberg from Greencross Vets shares expert advice on recognising the signs that your pet is overweight and how to help them get back in shape.

Pet obesity: the facts

As much as we love treating our pets – we know how hard it is to resist them! If your pet carries too much weight it can lead to health problems. Pet obesity occurs when excess body fat has accumulated to such an extent that health is negatively affected. For instance, we know that obese pets live a less active life and experience a lower quality of life. They become disinterested in exercise and play and they are also more prone to a wide range of health problems. Pets who are overweight are more likely to suffer from arthritis, skin problems, urinary-tract infections, heat stroke, heart and breathing problems, diabetes, cancer, reproductive disorders and are at greater risk of having a bad reaction to anaesthetics during surgery.

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Is my pet overweight?

Of course, each pet will have a different ideal weight, based on their size, age, breed and species. Do your research and consult with your vet to work out the weight range that suits your pet. Before your pet steps on the scales and you want to assess where they’re at, use these three steps:

  1. Consider their silhouette. Looking down over your pet’s back, they should have a waist with a typical hourglass look – out at the chest, curving in at the waist and back out again at the hips.
  2. How wide are they? If your pet is too broad across the back and they resemble a coffee table, they’re overweight.
  3. Assess their body fat. Feel your pet’s ribs with light pressure. If you can’t feel them without digging in your pet is overweight.

You can also use this information as a loose guide only.

What should I do if my pet is overweight?

It can be relatively easy to entice our ‘over-cuddly’ pets to lose weight. Talk to your vet about the best plan of attack and make these easy changes to help your pet get healthy.

  1. Get active. Increase your dog’s exercise with on-leash walking or swimming at the beach. Encourage your cat to play with toys and scrunched up paper, or get them excited about chasing lights on the floor.
  2. Control calories by measuring their daily food intake and keeping in mind that the best diet for any pet is high-quality food and fresh water. Use our Food Finder Tool to find the right food for your unique pet.
  3. Eliminate extra feeds and go easy on those treats!
  4. Keep monitoring your pet’s weight – regular weigh-ins at your local Greencross Vets cost nothing and Petbarn stores also have scales for you to use.

We all want our pets to live their best life, so watch how much you feed them and look out for the signs of obesity. Visit your local Petbarn to check out our range of Super Premium pet food and get lots of great advice on the best foods to help manage your pet’s weight. And remember: a healthier pet makes for a happier human, too!