As fur parents, all of us want to do what is best for our pets. We buy them toys, treats, great food, and luxury beds. Our dogs and cats are a part of our family, and we want to make sure they have as much love as possible. Unfortunately, a lot of love sometimes leads to some love handles on our beloved furry friends. One problem that many vets have been seeing lately is an increase in overweight and obese pets. Want to know something scary? National Pet Obesity Awareness Survey found that 52% of dogs and 58.3% of cats are considered overweight or obese by their veterinarian. I don’t know about you, but these are pretty scary numbers!
While we may not want to think our pets are overweight or obese, it is no joking matter. For dogs and cats alike, it can lead to some pretty scary health concerns, such as:
- cardiovascular disease
- risk of heat stroke
- weaker immune system
- skin conditions
- high blood pressure
- and more!
Want to know something scarier? Some breeds are also prone to being overweight or obese. If you look at the list, there are some very popular breeds, including dachshunds, labs, and golden retrievers on the list. As pet parents, it is our job to make sure we do what is best for our furry friends, just like ourselves, and make sure they are always in tip top shape!
To determine if your pet may be overweight, use the pet body condition score. Many vets still use this system and its very easy to use. We included two info graphics below for dogs and cats both, courtesy of the the Association for PEt Obesity Prevention. To properly check your pet, look down from above them. They should be around 3 on the chart. You should be able to feel the ribs but not see them. If you can’t see the ribs and you have a hard time feeling them, your dog or cat is probably overweight.
So, what do you do if your pet is overweight? First things first, bring them to the vet and get a full checkup. Your vet will be able to tell you how much weight your pet needs to lose. Since older dogs are also more prone to weight problems, they may very well put them on a special dietary regimen. In most cases, food will cut by 25% and you will be encouraged to exercise your pet a bit more. While this is easier for dogs, cats can be a bit more tricky. Most vets recommend the use of cat toys, or a favorite toy of many dogs and cats alike – the laser pointer.
If your pet doesn’t seem terribly overweight, you may want to simply take them out for a bit more exercise and cut back on the treats. As well, make sure your food isn’t the culprit. Many dogs and cats will overeat on cheap food – often they aren’t getting the proper mix of nutrients they need to keep their body going since these cheap foods are filled with byproducts and cheap filler ingredients.
Disclosure: Budget Earth did not receive monetary compensation for this educational article but may receive products for this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from our readers’ opinions.
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ellen beck says
Oddly I have 5 cats (all rescues) of the 5 2 are what would be considered fat whie 3 or not and one would score a 3. All of them eat about the same amount.
The dog on the other hand is just plain fat. He eats and eats anything and everything plus begs. If he doesnt think he gets enough he will trash dig. He is also a rescue and was starved when he was seized many years ago.
Susan Bewley says
I’m horrible when we have rescues! I want to give them ALL the food they didn’t have and have to stop myself!
Linda Moffitt says
How Cute is that pic LOL My dog does not have this problem she is too Hyper active but I do have a friend whos dog is overweight and she needs to read these tips for sure because it would really be sad to lose a pet to something like this
C Culp says
I love this site, especially tips on pets. Who doesn’t want to save money, enter contests or learn something new about a health related issue for people and their pets?
maryem el farsaoui says
owners must take care of their pets more than they actually think !! thank you for this article my cat has the third look
This article has been really valuable to me. I have a cat who is extremely obese and I have talked to my vet about it, but the vet hasn’t provided any good advice.
Susan Bewley says
Cats are really difficult. The best thing you can do is get them moving when an activity they LOVE and cut down food. I found cats are the hardest when it comes to weight manage since they do graze throughout the day. Like humans, portion control is key!
Linda Manns Linneman says
Thank you for sharing this great information. We have two dogs that we struggle to keep their weight down. It is so hard because they are always wanting something to eat. This information is very helpful
It’s bad enough that people over eat and let themselves go. But, there’s no reason to let an animal get fat. It isn’t healthy at all.
angela smith says
thanks for the info.my dogs and cat are all at good weights.one dog did gain a little extra weight because when we got him from a shelter you could tell he was under weight and when we got him home he always acted like he had been starved and he was always begging.so my mom was giving him people food whenever she ate.the vet told us if we wanted to give him something to give him cheerios because its better for him.that why we dont leave a bowl of food out because he would pig out.
Sandra Watts says
It is important to have a good food for your pets. There are a lot better ones offered now than there used to be that is for sure.
John House says
Pet health is something that in the past has been neglected a little. Glad to see that times are changing…..
Michelle S says
My sister and brother-in-law have a really overweight cat. He is a large cat anyway but definitely overweight. He’s such a sweetie – I hope they do something so he lives a long life.
I should print this and give to the owner of the bodega I pass by every morning. That guy has a cat the size of a goat. And it just sits there at all hours watching the passer-bys.
vickie couturier says
I have a very obese male cat,,how do you put a cat on a diet,,he is a hunter too and will kill mice,,he hasnt eat one yet that I know of,,if we shorten his food supply he will howl constantly,,he moves great up and down the stairs at a dead run,,he doesnt go outside and has been neutered
Susan Bewley says
Putting cats on a diet is a real pain, I won’t lie. We are currently dealing with that issue with my mother’s cat. Our vet has her on a specialty weight management food. The big one the vet said was getting cats moving. They recommended things like cat toys and laser pointers – thing they WANT to chase. 🙂
Alison Gibb says
I have three cats. One is very fat. Thank you for the information!
Dianna Davis says
Two out of three of our dog are a 2 but our Chaweiner is a 5–he is on a doggie diet and is given only 1/3 c food 2x daily but he just doesn’t lose the weight he needs to. This is great information.
My cat use to be on the big side. Now that he is a senior he is on the thin side. One struggle to another.
Pam V H says
My cat is probably obese, and we are doling out the food in an effort to help him lose weight.
wen budro says
Thank you for this great and clear information. I have to constantly keep check on my tendency to overindulge my dog. She just had her check-up and the vet said that she’s fine but must not gain weight or she will be overweight.
This is a very informative article. I really like the body condition scoring chart. We try to keep a close eye on our pets weight to keep them healthy and this chart will certainly help with that. Thanks!