Unfortunately, obesity isn’t just an issue among humans in this country, but also among our furry and fluffy friends. In fact, recent reports have estimated that more than 50 percent of pets are now overweight.
Obesity can be caused by hormonal problems or genetics, but most often contributing factors include increasingly sedentary lifestyles, too many snacks and calorie-rich food. This can lead to serious problems, as animals who are overweight are more likely to suffer from heart and joint problems, loss of energy, diabetes and some types of cancer, among other things.
In addition to scheduling a regular check-up with your pet’s veterinarian, there are signs you can look for in order to tell if your pet is overweight.
Stand over your pet viewing the back. Look for a nice curved indentation in the area of the waist (just behind the rib cage). A pet with a “straight line” from head to tail, or even a bowed-out line along the back, could likely mean that your pet is overweight.
View your pet from the side. There should be a nice “tuck up” area behind the rib cage and before the hind legs. A pet with a “straight line” or a saggy area in the belly area could likely mean that your pet is overweight. Cats are especially prone to fat collecting in the belly area; areas that are easily viewable from the side.
Gently run your fingers along your pet’s rib cage. The ribs should be felt easily and the skin should glide over the ribs smoothly, as opposed to large “sheets” of fat moving along the ribs.
View your pet’s face. A rounded face or visible folds of skin around the face and under the chin could likely mean that your pet is overweight — this depends somewhat on breed.
Check the area above the base of the tail; overweight pets have extra padding and folds in this location.
If you think your pet is overweight, try to increase their amount of daily exercise, talk to a vet and provide them with healthy snacks such as carrots, apples and lean turkey or chicken.