Spot signs of overweight pets
(NC)-Obesity is caused by the same factors in people and in pets – increased calorie consumption with decreased or lack of physical activity. We can decide to do something about our weight but our animals cannot; they need our help. Obese pets experience a number of medical conditions that we don’t realize are often a result of pet obesity. Obese pets can have:
- A low resistance to infection and a lower ability to fight off infection
- An increased incidence of arthritis, spinal disk problems and torn knee ligaments
- Impaired endurance during exercise
- Skin problems due to insulating properties of fat
- Higher risk of developing diabetes, cancer, and reduced liver function
To help prevent pet obesity, learn to recognize the signs of an overweight pet. Pet owners can do a three-step weight check:
- Rib check – Place both thumbs on your pet’s backbone and run your fingers along their rib cage. If you can’t easily feel their ribs wi slight pressure, they may be overweight.
- Profile check – Take a look at your pet from the side. If you don’t see a clearly defined abdominal tuck then they may be overweight.
- Overhead check – Stand directly over your dog or cat while they are standing up. If they don’t have a clear and defined “hour glass” figure then they are likely overweight.
The three-step weight check is the best way for a pet owner to determine whether or not their pet’s weight should be a concern. It is important for pet owners to visit the veterinarian to confirm if their pet is overweight or obese and to develop a weight loss program that suits the pet’s specific needs.