Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is essential to keep them in good health. If your pet is overweight or underweight, this can reduce their life expectancy – something no pet owner wants to hear.
Keeping your pet at a healthy weight reduces the risk of the following:
High blood pressure
Some forms of cancer
How to tell if your pet is the correct weight
There are some signs you can look out for to see if your pet is at their ideal weight, as advised by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association.
If your dog is a healthy weight, you should be able to feel their ribs under a slight fat covering. You should be able to see their waist when looking at them from above and an abdominal tuck should be visible when you look at them from the side.
If your cat is a healthy weight, they should appear well-proportioned and you should be able to feel their ribs under a slight fat covering. You should be able to see their waist behind their ribs, but this shouldn’t look overly pronounced. There should be minimal fat around their belly area.
Managing your pet’s weight
Here are just some of the ways you can manage your pet’s weight:
Ensure the amount of food you’re giving your pet is in accordance with the feeding guidelines on their food packaging. Don’t ‘guestimate’ their portions – make sure this is measured to prevent overfeeding. Feed your pet a high quality food which is tailored to their current life stage.
Just like with us humans, exercise helps our pets to burn energy and stay in good shape. Make sure they’re getting the right amount of exercise for their age, breed and life stage. For example, a young Border Collie will need a lot more exercise than a senior King Charles Spaniel. If you’re a cat owner, you can help your cat get more exercise in their day by encouraging play with toys.
Be mindful of how many treats your pet is getting in a day. They all add up, particularly if different members of the family are feeding your pet treats. As with their normal food, check the feeding guidance on the back of your treat packaging to make sure you’re not overindulging your pet.
Weighing your pet
Recording your pet’s weight is an ideal way to make sure they’re staying within a healthy range. To weigh your pet at home, step on your scales and weigh yourself. Then, if possible, pick your pet up and weigh yourself again. Subtract the first number from the second and bingo – you have your pet’s weight.
If you’re struggling with weighing your pet at home (maybe they’re too large to lift up), you’re welcome to visit any of our surgeries near you and use our scales in reception.