Is Your Dog Or Cat Obese?

Overweight cat on a scale

(photo credit)

Now that we know how expensive and risky obesity can be for our pets, the first question is how to figure out if your dog or cat is overweight or obese.

What an obese pet looks like

The simplest indicator of whether or not your pet is overweight is if you can see a waist – if you can, your dog is probably a healthy weight. If you can’t, it’s time to ask your vet about how Fido can drop a few pounds. provides a simple visual chart for what a dog or cat’s waistline should look like:

How to tell if your dog or cat is overweight

More specifically, your pet is a healthy weight if:

  • his or her stomach doesn’t sag
  • you can see his or her waist from above

Your pet may be overweight or obese if:

  • they have a flat, not rounded, back
  • there’s no discernable waist

What an obese pet feels like

Since many dogs and cats have thick coats of long fur, it can be difficult to assess your pet’s weight by sight alone.

  • You should be able to feel your dog or cat’s ribs through their fur.
  • Your dog or cat shouldn’t have a belly you can grasp with your hand.

Now that we have a better idea of whether or not our pets qualify as overweight or obese, we’re ready to do something about it. Future posts will discuss dietary changes you can make to slim down your pup, and exercise for even the laziest house cat.

How Much Is Your Pet’s Obesity Costing You?

Fat dog drawing

(photo credit)

A recent New York Times article turned up some shocking statistics about pet obesity:

The average cost of veterinary care for a diabetic dog or cat in 2011 was more than $900, according to Petplan USA, a pet insurance company. Treatment for arthritis and cruciate ligament tears, which can be caused by the strain of an overweight frame that weakens joints, especially in dogs, cost pet owners an average of $2,000.

Half of American dogs and cats are overweight or obese – and the costs are more than financial. Health problems relating to obesity cause great physical pain to our pets and emotional pain to us.

How do you know if your pet is overweight? And what can you do about it? In the next week we’ll cover both of these topics, and offer some tips and tricks from real pet parents. Stay tuned!