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Is My Pet Overweight?

Senior Pet Wellness - Is my pet overweight?

Ask us about our Fit Club Weight Loss Program

Over the years the 'pudgy puppy' and the 'fat cat' have become a sign of a well loved pet. However, we know that a pet does not have to be over fed to be considered well cared for and loved. As a matter of fact excess weight can increase the risk of health problems. It is estimated that 55% of dogs and 54% of cats in the United States are overweight.

An animal is considered overweight if they weigh 20% more that their ideal body weight.

A way to check if your pet is overweight is to check the ribs. With your thumbs on your pet's backbone, GENTLY put pressure on your pet's rib cage. If you cannot readily feel the ribs, your pet is over weight.

  1. Emaciated
    Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance. No discernable body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.
  2. Very Thin
    Ribs, lumbar vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences easily visible. No palpable fat. Minimal loss of muscle mass.
  3. Thin
    Ribs easily palpable and may be visible with no palpable fat. Tops of lumbar vertebrae visible. Pelvic bone becoming prominent. Obvious waist and abdominal tuck.
  4. Underweight
    Ribs easily palpable with minimal fat covering. Waist easily noted, viewed from above. Abdomen tucked up when viewed from the side.
  5. Ideal
    Ribs easily palpable without excess fat covering. Waist observed behind ribs when viewed from above. Abdomen tucked evident.
  6. Overweight
    Ribs palpable with slight excess fat covering. Waist is discernible viewed from above but is not prominent. Abdomen tuck apparent.
  7. Heavy
    Ribs palpable with difficulty, heavy fat cover. Noticeable fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent or barely visible. Abdominal tuck may be absent.
  8. Obese
    Ribs not palpable under very heavy fat cover, or palpable only with significant pressure. Heavy fat deposits over lumbar area and base of tail. Waist absent. No abdominal tuck. Obvious abdominal distention may be present.
  9. Grossly Obese
    Massive fat deposits over thorax, spine and base of tail.
©Purina (by permission)

Any pet can become overweight due to too much food! However, some breeds are more genetically prone to obesity.

Cat Breeds such as the Birman, Rigamuffin, Exotic Shorthair, American Shorthair, British Shorthair, Colorpoint Shorthair, Manx, Peke-faced and Persians are genetically prone to being overweight.

Dog Breeds such as the Labrador Retriever, Pug, Dachshund, English Bulldog, Cairn Terrier, Beagle, Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, Chihuahua, Scottish terrier, Pit-bull, St. Bernard, Cavalier King Charles and Basset Hound are also common overweight breeds. (Mixed breeds may vary from the breed standards.)