Our pets can suffer from being overweight or obese, just as us humans do.

In the UK we continue to see pet obesity rise. It is estimated that 40% and 53% of cats are obese. Pets that are overweight or obese are at risk of many heath issues, such as diabetes, liver issues, high blood pressure and many, many more. This can also lead to a shorter life expectancy.

We may no notice our pets gaining weight as it is usual a gradual process so how do we know if our pet is overweight? A simple way of checking is feeling and observing your pets body shape. If your pet is overweight, they will have a layer of fat covering their ribs which make the ribs hard to see or even feel! You may find fat pads in areas such as the back, face, legs and neck and your pet’s tummy will no longer have a nice tuck.

So, how can we prevent pet obesity? Food portion control and exercise play an important part of weight loss or the maintenance of a healthy weight. Whilst exercise in dogs is a simple as taking them for longer or more frequent walks with cats it can prove much harder. So, to encourage exercise in cats, it is suggested interactive games may help to increase exercise levels. Not only that but it provides stimulation; win, win!

When it comes to feeding your pet, it is important they are being fed the correct food for their breed, lifestyle and age and that they are receiving the correct portion size. It is always best to feed your pet at regular times as opposed to leaving a full bowl out all day as it helps to regulate their daily intake.

As tempting as it is giving our pets treats or leftovers, it can often be one of the biggest offenders of weight gain and sometimes just by cutting these out, it can make all the difference to your pets’ weight.

Regular weigh-ins and body checks are a great way of checking your vet’s weight. Most veterinary practices offer these in the form of weight clinics to help and support you in achieving a healthier lifestyle for your pet.