The team at Perryville Pet Hospital is here to answer any questions you have about caring for your furry friends. This includes diet, exercise, and weight questions you may have. We want to help you keep your companions healthy and happy. Our From Fat to Fit Challenge ends tomorrow, and we’re so excited to see the final results!

How do you know if your pet needs to lose weight? For smaller dogs and cats, a matter of only a few pounds could mean the difference between healthy and unhealthy, and sometimes those extra few pounds might be harder to spot for well-meaning pet owners who love their pets through “thick and thin.”

Think your pet might be overweight? Here are three signs:

1. Your pet has an oval shape, rather than an hourglass shape. Get a “bird’s-eye view” by standing above your pet and looking down at her. Your dog or cat should have somewhat of an hourglass shape, with a taper at the waist, which is between the abdomen and the hips. If there is little or no taper, your pet is probably overweight.

2. You can’t feel your pet’s ribs. Put your hands on the side of your pet’s chest. If you can’t feel his ribs, he probably needs to lose weight. Ideally, you should be able to feel his ribs, but not see them. If you can see them, your dog or cat could be underweight.

3. Extra fat around the abdomen, hips, and neck. Have you noticed a bit of a fat roll on the back side of your pup’s neck? That’s a sign that she’s carrying too much weight. Once an animal has extra fat around the abdomen, hips, and neck, it probably falls into the “obese” category and will be at higher risk of developing many health issues, including diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and more.

If you are still unsure about your pet’s ideal weight, visit our office to get her Body Condition Score (BCS), which is a visual, hands-on assessment of the levels of lean muscle and fat. If your pet is overweight or obese, we can work with you to develop and implement an exercise and nutrition program that is right for your furry pal.

Our team can provide a thorough assessment and recommendations for you based on your pet’s individual lifestyle. We carry a full line of both the Hill’s and the Royal Canin Prescription Diets for our patients, which may be recommended to treat certain illnesses or aid in weight control. If you have any questions, please contact us today to schedule your next appointment.