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The Highcroft Blog

How to tell if your pet is overweight

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

According to recent veterinary research, 1 in 3 dogs, 1 in 4 cats and 1 in 4 rabbits in the UK are overweight.

Although weighing your pet is a good place to start, guideline weights for certain breeds cannot always be relied upon - all individuals are different. The best thing to do is to look at your pet’s body shape and amount of body fat.

Body Condition Score for cats and dogs

When reviewing a pet’s weight we generally perform a Body Condition Score, which works on a points system of 1 to 9. A score of 1 - 3 is too thin; 4 – 5 is deemed an ideal weight; 6-7 is overweight; 8- 9 is obese.

The ideal body shape of a cat or a dog should be well proportioned, where the ribs are not visible but can be easily felt. They have an obvious waist when looked down on from above, and an evident abdominal tuck when viewed from the side.

Watch Amie explain how to check what score your pet may be:


Obesity can lead to further health problems

The Blue Cross states that ‘the average “chubby” pet is usually at least 15 per cent overweight’. Much like in humans, obesity in pets can lead to many debilitating health issues such as diabetes, heart and kidney disease, arthritis, high blood pressure and even forms of cancer.

Tips for helping your pet lose weight

It doesn’t have to be difficult to help your pet lose weight. Our top weight loss tips include:

  • Weigh out your pet’s food rather than guessing how many kibbles to put in the bowl
  • Avoid giving any human food ‘tit-bits’ - this will also help to avoid upset tummies or accidental poisonings
  • Use a special diet pet food and/or treats that contain less calories
  • Keep up their exercise – even a short walk around the block is better than nothing at all

If you’re struggling to help your pet lose weight, sign them up to one of our FREE weight clinics with a veterinary nurse. The nurse will be able to tailor a diet and exercise plan to your pet and can schedule regular weigh-ins to monitor their progress.

Contact your usual surgery to find out how we can help your pet lose weight.


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