8 signs of pet obesity

Overweight labrador sleeping
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Signs of obesity in our pets might not be obvious to all owners. In one study, nine out of ten owners mistakenly identified their pet’s weight as normal, when the pet actually weighed more than was healthy.

Some pets are plain overweight and this should be obvious, although long-haired dogs and cats may ‘hide’ fat better. According to Dr Guy Fyvie, a veterinary advisor to Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa, “People don’t know what a pet at a healthy weight looks like anymore”. Here are 8 signs of pet obesity.

Reluctance to stand up and stiffness

Overweight dogs and cats are more prone to joint problems. That is why managing conditions such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia includes a strict weight-loss programme.

Fat around the tail base and neck

Pets at ideal weight have clear muscle definition and a smooth contour with tail base bones that can be easily felt.

Frequent panting and shortness of breath

This is evident when going for short walks and even when your pet is lying down.

Fat dog panting
Obese pets often display frequent panting, shortness of breath and  they are less inclined to be active.

Not being able to feel your pet’s ribs

When you stroke your pet’s side, you should be able to easily feel the ribs underneath the skin.

Having no waist

When you look at your pet from above, it should have a distinctive waist in front of his/her hips.

Hanging tummy

When looking from the side, you should see a scooped abdomen tucked up towards the hind legs. Overweight pets have a flat to bulging tummy profile.

Fat cat in shade
Overweight pets often spend a lot of time in cooler areas, have hanging tummies and struggle to groom themselves properly.

Preferring cooler places and being more prone to overheating

Obese pets are very often found in shade and in the cooler places of the house – like on the tiles, under fans or around air conditioners.

Excessive skin irritations or a scruffy coat

This often happens in obese pets due to the difficulty they have with grooming.

For a proper weight assessment or help with weight management, make sure to consult with your family veterinarian regularly.

About the author
About the author
Renier is a qualified, experienced companion animal veterinarian whose main interests are animal health and strengthening pet-owner relationships.
View all posts by Dr Renier Delport

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