Is Your Pet A Healthy Weight?

How do I know if my pet is overweight?

Do a quick body score check at home to see if your pet’s diet and exercise need an adjustment.

Step 1: “Run your fingers along the ribs, both sides, and see how easily you can palpate those ribs, feel them. In an ideal body-condition score, it should feel like running your fingers over pencils in a breast pocket,” says Purina veterinarian Dr. Zara Boland. Actually feeling your cat is important, as the coat of many cats will make a visual check difficult.

Step 2: “The next thing you want to feel is a nice waistline, an hourglass shape when you look down from above and you can feel that by running your hands along the ribs and they should tuck in as soon as you reach the end of the ribs and come to the waist. It’s ideal body-condition score for us, we want the same for our pets,” says Boland.

Step 3:  “And the last thing you’re looking for is what we call a tummy-tuck. So when you view your pet from the side, you want the tummy to tuck up backwards towards the hind legs. We don’t want a hanging belly-we’re looking a nice, neat, tummy-tuck,” says Boland.

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My pet is overweight – what can I do?

If your pet has become overweight and you can no longer feel his/her ribs, it's time to change his/her habits. Weight loss for your pet starts with diet and daily exercise.

Re-Assess Your Pet’s Diet

Take a look at the food your pet is currently eating and consider a healthy weight management formula or a veterinary weight-loss diet. Make sure the formula is backed by science and balanced nutrition—check out Dr. Kurt’s tips in the video above to help you select the best food for your pet.

Healthy weight-loss habits include:      

  • Completely cutting out table scraps from your pet’s diet.
  • Make sure treats comprise no more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake.
  • Work with your veterinarian to make a comprehensive, customized plan for your pet.

Mix-up the Physical Activity

Exercise with your pet doesn’t have to be boring. In addition to regular walks, dogs also love parks, running, and agility courses.  “Cats, interestingly are equally agile in the house. You can create obstacle courses on vertical and horizontal surfaces for climbing,” says Boland. “Adding toys to place and catch inside also keeps cats active,” added Boland. Exercising with our pets keep our pets fit and healthy and “also helps strengthen that special bond that we share with our pets,” says Boland. 

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