2001-Mon Jan 16 14:49:16 MST 2017
Vetstreet. All rights reserved.
Vetstreet does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. See Additional Information ›
Our furry family members depend on us to help them stay happy and healthy.
And with so much talk of
obesity and its effect on both quality and quantity of life, it’s only natural to aim for an ideal weight.
But is there such a thing when it comes to pets?
Obesity in cats and
dogs has been linked to numerous health problems — like heart, musculoskeletal and skin diseases — but
not tipping the scales can have an equally detrimental effect on pets.
Dr. Tony Buffington, DVM, MS, PhD Diplomate ACVN, a professor in the
Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State University and a Vetstreet.com board member, recalls seeing one pet who was so thin that everyone assumed it was a medical problem.
“A thousand dollars later, we realized that no one had done a dietary history, [which is when] we found out that the owner had been feeding the animal half of what it needed for fear of making the pet obese,” he says.
So finding that middle ground is key, but plopping your pet on a bathroom scale isn't the answer.
If you want to ensure optimal wellness for your dog or
cat, keep in mind that weight by itself is not an accurate gauge of health — it's only one factor.
According to Dr. Buffington, dogs and cats do best at moderate weights, but he stresses that an ideal weight can also depend on such additional factors as age, adding that “different animals in different situations are in better health at some weights than others.”
At any age, muscle condition, as well as fat, must be taken into account when determining whether a pet’s poundage falls within the right range.
Dr. Joe Bartges, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DACVN, a professor at the
College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, agrees with Dr. Buffington that
cats and dogs do better at moderate weights “as long as muscle condition (lean body mass) is also ideal.”
"Body condition scoring is a better gauge than body weight because of the huge variability in body composition and size in dogs,” Dr. Bartges says. “An 80-pound male
Labrador may be ideally conditioned in the same way that a 120-pound male Labrador may be ideally conditioned because of their differing body frames.”
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Take our breed quiz to find your next pet.
Get all the best pet news and information sent right to your inbox!
Thank you for subscribing!
Electronic cigarettes may be growing in
popularity, but their higher concentrations
of nicotine can poison cats and…
Are you handling your pet the right way?
Our vet shares five things your pup wishes
you knew about picking him up.
We combed through 505,270 kitten
names to determine the hottest male
and female monikers of the year.
We scoured our database of 1.1 million
dogs to find out which male and female
monikers reigned supreme this past…
The laid-back American Wirehair’s crimped, coarse coat requires almost no brushing or combing.
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.