Vetstreet. All rights reserved. Powered by Brightspot.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Does your pet waddle when he walks? Is he often out of breath? Are his ribs covered by fat? If you answered “yes” to these questions, your pet may be one of the more than 50 percent ofAmerican pets that are overweight or obese.Just like people, pets most often become overweight by eating too much and not exercising enough. And carrying those extra pounds can put themat risk for many problems, including heart disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and arthritis. You may be able to add years to your pet’s life by keeping him at an ideal weight.
Ideally, you want to begin watching your pet’s weight when he is little. That way, you can help ensure that he stays at an ideal weight and avoids weight-related health problems. Another advantage of a lifelong maintenance plan is that it is easier to help your pet maintain a healthy weight than it is to help him lose excess pounds.
A pet’s dietary needs will vary throughout his life, from kittenhood or puppyhood to active adulthood to the golden years. His lifestyle may also change as he ages.That'swhy you should always get a weight check at every veterinary visit — and work withyour veterinarian to devise a weight-management plan based on your pet’s body condition score, lifestyle, age and physical health. The plan should specify food (what kind of food to feed, how much to give and how often), acceptable snacks and exercise.
It's especially important to monitor the weight of older pets, since they often become less active with advancing age andtheir daily caloric requirements may decrease. Theirability to digest certain foods may also change. If you notice any changes in your pet’s eating, be sure to discuss them with yourveterinarian.
If you are not sure how your pet’s weight stacks up, you can get a general sense of how healthy he is by checking the following:
If your pet is already overweight, do not despair. You can start getting him into better shape right now. Set up an appointment with your veterinarian, who will assess your pet’s condition. He or she will first perform a thorough physical examination to rule out any underlying medical concerns. The next step will be to evaluate your pet’s current diet, daily caloric intake and physical activity. Finally, he or she will establish how much weight your pet needs to lose and will work out a weight-reduction plan.
Regardless of whether your pet is currently in shape or overweight, a healthy lifestyle for you and your pet includes a well-balanced diet and appropriate exercise. Make a resolution to have your entire family—four-legged members included—focus on eating right and enjoying the fresh air. It will do everyone good.
More on Vetstreet:
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Bartonella is a type bacteria that can be transmitted to cats, dogs and humans from exposure to infected fleas and…
Want to give your pup yummy, low-calorie treats? We’ve got the skinny on which foods are OK to feed him.
Not sure about food puzzles? Our veterinarian reveals why the payoff for your pet is well worth any extra work.
With these simple dental care tips, you can help keep your canine’s adorable smile shiny and healthy for life.
The friendly and inquisitive LaPerm has an easy-care coat that comes in a variety of colors and patterns.
Check out our collection of more than 250 videos about pet training, animal behavior, dog and cat breeds and more.
Wonder which dog or cat best fits your lifestyle? Our new tool will narrow down more than 300 breeds for you.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.