Watching your Pet's Weight

Taking a proactive approach to your pet’s health is one of the best ways to ensure they live a long and happy life. Did you know that an estimated 59% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese? As a result, almost 80 million pets are at risk for developing arthritis, diabetes, catastrophic kidney and heart disease, high blood pressure and many forms of cancer.

Read on to learn more about keeping your pet happy and healthy, at just the right weight.

Check out this useful chart and use it to measure your pets against it.

One way to tell if your pet could benefit from shedding a few pounds is to feel around their ribs and spine. You should be able to locate both with only a thin layer of fat separating the skin from the bones. Second, ask your veterinarian about your pet’s weight at every check-up.

If you’re concerned that your pet may be overweight, talking with your veterinarian about diet options can help you determine the best course of action. If your pet has other health issues, there may be a solution that addresses both their dietary and health needs. Your veterinarian will know your pet’s history and health issues and will be able to recommend the best options for your pet.

There are, of course, things you can do to get started on the right path!

Use a measurement cup: According to Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM, “A pet parent’s single greatest tool in the fight against excess weight is a measuring cup.” Your pet’s food should have a feeding chart, broken down by age and weight, located on the packaging. By understanding your pet’s needs, you can measure each meal and reduce the risk of overfeeding. If you’re hesitant about reducing your pet’s food intake, consult with your veterinarian before making any adjustments. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that even “10 extra kibbles of food per day can add up to a pound of weight gain per year in indoor cats and small dogs.”

Be mindful with treats: Try to shop for treats with limited ingredients. If you purchase treats with your pet’s health in mind, the digestive and/or dental benefits will not only make your pet happy, but healthy as well. Adding a supplement to your pet’s food can also help boost their energy levels and aid in weight control. Ask your veterinarian if there are specific supplements or prescription diets they recommend for your pet.

Exercise: Having an exercise routine helps keep your pet in shape and aids in their ability to maintain a healthy weight. It’s especially important for larger dogs to remain in their optimal weight range in order to avoid damage to their hips, joints, and heart. Keeping up on their routines, going on runs, and even letting them loose in the dog park can make all the difference.

It’s sometimes difficult to know what our pets need, which is why we trust our veterinarians to lead us in the right direction. Before you begin any nutrition or exercise plan for your pet, make an appointment with your veterinarian to discuss the best methods for keeping your pet’s weight and health on track.

Check out this video with some details of the 2016 Association for Pet Obesity Study.

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March 22nd 2017
Winter months can be harsh on you and your pet’s systems. Limited sunlight hours, rain, snow, and wind can lead to sleepy days and shorter walks. Even the mildest of winter can still be biting for pets. Keep Reading

Choosing Your Method of Protection

March 6th, 2017
One, two, fleas! With warm weather right around the corner, it’s that time of the year again. Protecting your pet and your home from fleas, ticks, and other parasites can feel daunting. Are you doing it the right way? Keep Reading

Pet breath isn’t always the best smelling. Yet, really bad pet breath could be a sign of something serious.
February 22nd, 2017
What Causes Bad Breath? As in humans, not brushing our teeth and poor dental hygiene can lead to bad breath and health issues. Improper care can cause build up of odor-producing bacteria in your dog’s mouth, lungs, or gut. Keep Reading

Smile! Just like their human companions, our pets need regular checks to make sure their teeth and gums are healthy.

February 6th, 2017
Following these simple tips can help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Regular Check Ups: Prevention can catch early signs of serious issues or disease. Keep Reading


Home Delivery from your veterinarian allows you to get your pet’s medication shipped right to your home, in the right dosage, right on time. It’s the most convenient way to have your pet medications, prescription food, and many other pet items delivered safely and securely from us to your door.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 2016 Pet Obesity Statistics. (02/20/2017)
Help for Overweight Dogs. Jennifer Dixon. WebMD (2009)
7 Surprising Ways to Help Your Pet Lose Weight (And Why It’s Important), Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM. Pet Health Network (08/24/15)

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© Vetsource. All Rights Reserved 2017
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian.