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How Can I Tell If My Pet Is Overweight?

A chubby pet may look cute. However, that extra padding can lead to long-term health issues. It can even cause certain life-threatening health conditions. Overweight pets, for example, have a higher risk of inflammation, back or joint problems, lung problems, and heart conditions. 

Unfortunately, you may not realize that your animal companion is heavier than they ought to be. That said, several subtle signs can help you determine whether your pet is overweight. 


Statistics on Overweight and Obese Pets in the United States

According to a survey conducted by the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 50 percent of all dogs and cats in the U.S. are either overweight or obese. About 56 percent of dogs and 59 percent of cats fall into these categories. Therefore, you should determine whether your pet is too fat.


Is Your Pet Overweight?

If you are worried that your furry friend is overweight, your veterinarian should give you a definitive answer. Your vet can also give you some warning signs of weight issues. Some of the ways to determine whether your pet is overweight or obese include:


Check the Body Shape of Your Pet

Checking your animal friend’s body shape is one of the simplest ways to determine whether your pet is overweight. For example, if you own a dog, look at them from above. If your pooch looks rather oval-shaped and rotund, they are likely overweight. In contrast, if they have a straight build down the side and a distinct waistline, your dog probably has a healthy weight. 


You Find It Difficult to Feel Your Pet’s Ribs

You can determine whether your furry friend has a weight problem by cuddling and trying to feel their ribs. You should be able to feel but not see a healthy pet’s ribs. If you have to dig deep to feel their ribs, your pet might have too much fat covering the ribs. 


Your Pet Lacks a Six-pack

Being overweight is not just a human problem. It is a problem that affects the pet population as well. Do you regularly work out to get a six-pack? Do you own a pet? If so, you need to understand one fact. Of course, your pet will never get an athlete’s chiseled six-pack. However, a healthy pet’s stomach area should have some delineation. 

To determine whether your pet’s stomach does, look at your pet from the side. A pet with a healthy weight should have a nicely tucked abdomen. But if your pet’s shape appears straight without any tuck or curve, this may be a sign of too much weight.


The Number on the Weight Scale Keeps Climbing

Weight alone is not enough to determine whether your pet is overweight. But if the weight keeps increasing, it is a cause for concern. Therefore, you should consider weighing your pet periodically to track weight gain or loss. According to veterinarians, weighing your pet every few months should suffice. Consider purchasing a weight scale for your pet to use at home. 


A Suddenly Tight Pet Collar

A mature pet should not grow much more. So if your pet's collar is suddenly too tight, it is a red flag for weight gain. The same applies if you need to adjust the collar to a larger size. 

To learn more about weight issues in pets, visit South Willamette Veterinary Clinic at our office in Creswell, Oregon. You can call (541) 313-3352 today to schedule an appointment.

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