What Shape Is My Pet In?

What Shape is My Pet In Overview

You hear on the news all the time about the obesity epidemic happening in America. Now, the problem is hitting our pets, with 25% of cats and dogs seen by a veterinarian are overweight. This statistic should prompt every pet owner to be vigilant and monitor his or her pet’s weight. Any excess weight is harmful to the maintenance of a pet’s optimum health and can make them prone to various diseases. There are a few ways owners can be proactive about their dog or cat’s weight.

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Download our What Shape is My Pet In Handout for an in-depth look at this pet health condition and how you can partner with your veterinarian to prevent against it.


Is My Pet Overweight?

Since ideal weights differ so much between breeds, veterinarians can determine if your dog or cat is overweight by looking at him or her from two angles. They will look from the side and from above at your pet and give them a one through five rating, which stand for:

  1. Thin
  2. Lean
  3. Ideal
  4. Overweight
  5. Obese
Pet owners can see the visual scale doctors use for dogs and cats by taking a look at the State of Pet Health Report


Help Your Pet Keep Off The Pounds

If your pet needs to lose a few pounds, there are key factors for dog or cat’s weight loss, and it will take just as much work from you as an owner as it will for your pet.

  • Diet – Pet food brands manufacture diet recipes just for animal weight loss. These products are usually a low energy dense diet. You also need to exclude all extra calories, like human food.
  • Exercise – Get outside and sweat with your pet! Take him or her on regular walks, play games throughout the day, just make sure your dog or cat is staying active. You can even hide his or her food and make the pet search for it.
  • No Snacks – This can’t be overstated – cut out all extra calories. You shouldn’t even give him or her snacks and treats. Try new physical rewards, like walks or belly-rubs.
  • Rechecks – Bring your pet to the veterinarian every two weeks during a weight loss plan. The staff will weigh him or her and help track any progress. They can also help make changes to a pet’s diet or exercise.


Effects of Excess Weight

If your pet stays overweight, it could have very poor effects on their life. Obese pets typically have a shorter life expectancy.

  • Other possible pet health issues from being overweight include: Cardiac and Respiratory Disease
  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Poor coat and skin quality
  • Increased surgical and anesthetic risk


Overweight dogs and cats also see more joint diseases, like osteoarthritis. The extra weight on the pet’s joints contributes to this type of painful disease. It can be prevented by keeping your pet’s weight down and keeping him or her active for better joint health.

Learn More

Visit the State of Pet Health website to learn more about pet obesity. You can also check out the models to determine of your dog or cat is thin, lean, or possibly overweight.

Contact your local Banfield Pet Hospital to schedule and appointment with your veterinarian. Our pet health experts will help you build a diet and exercise routine to keep your pet in good shape. Also, continue reading more about pet food and their physical health in the Nutrition section of Banfield.com.