Identifying Weight Problems in Your Pet
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Identifying Weight Problems in Your Pet

by Catherine Lenox, DVM, DACVIM (Nutrition)
Dec 20, 2022

How to determine if your pet is overweight?

Overweight pets are at higher risk for medical problems like arthritis and may not live as long as their trim counterparts. Here are some ways that you can tell if your dog or cat is the perfect weight.

Follow along with these steps:

Step 1: Do the Feel Test:

You should always be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs by gently running the flat of your palms across the sides of the chest (just behind the shoulders in the middle of the chest).

Step 2: Look for the Tuck:

For short-haired animals, you should be able to see an ‘abdominal tuck,’ where there is no belly hanging down beyond your pet’s rib cage when viewed from the side. They also have a “waist” or hour-glass shape behind their ribs when you look at them from above. This may be harder in long-haired animals, but it’s easier to note when the coat is clipped or wet.

Additional Trick: Compare to Your Hand

If you’re still not sure, put your hand out with your palm down and fingers straight. Gently run your other hand over the back of your hand – this is exactly how padded your pet’s ribcage should feel! Now, turn your hand over so your palm is up (with fingers still straight). Run your other hand over your palm.  If your pet’s ribs feel more like this, he or she could be overweight! The best resource for discussing your pet’s weight is your veterinarian

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