Signs of obesity in our pets might not be obvious to all. In one study, nine out of ten pet parents mistakenly identified their pet’s weight as normal, when it actually weighed more than was healthy.
Some pets are plain overweight and should be obvious, although long-haired dogs and cats may ‘hide’ fat better. Dr Guy Fyvie, a veterinary advisor to Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa say “People don’t know what a pet at a healthy weight looks like anymore”, so 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.
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.
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.
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 happen in obese pets due to the difficulty in grooming.