It is believed that around 1 in 3 dogs and 1 in 4 cats in the UK are overweight and numbers are growing. If left, what starts off as a little excess weight can easily lead to obesity. This brings with it some very serious health issues for your pet that could include diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
It is therefore really important to keep a close eye on your pet’s weight and if you think they may be overweight, address it straight away. This will help ensure that your pet enjoys a long, happy and healthy life.
How Do I Know If My Pet is Overweight?
There are a number of ways of establishing whether your pet is overweight.
- You should be able to see and feel the outline of your pet’s ribs and be able to feel your cat and rabbit’s spine and hipbones too. They should feel rounded though, not sharp which would indicate an underweight animal.
- Your dog or cat’s waist should be clearly visible from above. (Although if it’s a longhaired breed, this may be more difficult).
- A dog’s tummy should be tucked up when viewed from the side and a cat’s shouldn’t be sagging.
My Pet is Overweight, What Should I Do?
Measure their portions – Double check that you are feeding your pet the correct portion size. Many owners often overfeed their pets so make sure that you follow the advice on the food packaging regarding size, age and lifestyle. If your pet is on the chubby side, give them slightly less than the packet advises until they are back to a healthier size.
Move more – Increase the length of your dogs walk or add another walk to your usual routine. Even a few more minutes playing in the park can help burn calories. If your dog has reached the point where they are struggling with a long walk due to their weight, take them for more frequent, shorter walks to burn calories.
It’s not just kittens that are playful, older cats can be also encouraged to play with an interesting new feather toy or laser pen. Even just a couple of 10-15 minute play sessions per day with your cat can really help with weight issues.
Manage the treats – Keep an eye on the type of treats your pet is given. Human food given as treats can cause your pet to pile on the pounds really quickly, so make sure the whole family know not to. It’s much better to stick to those specifically designed for animals, remembering to limit the number given.
Don’t assume they are hungry – Even though they look like they are begging for your food, it doesn’t necessarily mean they want it. They may actually be after your attention so try a pat on the belly, a brush or scratch behind the ear instead of immediately giving tidbits.
Just like humans, too much food and not enough exercise is not a good combination if we want our pets healthy, happy and around for a long time. If you have questions or concerns over whether your pet is a healthy weight, please do get in touch. We will carry out a full health check and can recommend a weight reduction programme if necessary.
St Kitts Veterinary Centre: 01252 844044
Basingstoke Veterinary Centre: 01256 844944
Crookham Park Veterinary Centre: 01252 913990
Firgrove Veterinary Centre: 01252 877799