Four Ways to Tell if Your Pet is Obese

It’s estimated that about half of all domestic cats and dogs are overweight. Almost all cases are caused by too little exercise and too much high-calorie foods. Since obesity is so dangerous, use these four methods from a Shawnee vet to tell if your pet is a likely candidate for the obesity category.

Top View

Stand over your pet looking straight down at her. Along your pet’s back, just behind the rib cage, there should be a slight curve inward as the body blends into the back hips. This is your pet’s “waist.” If the waist area isn’t visible—if there’s simply a straight line from shoulders to back hips—your pet could be overweight. If this waist area bulges out, it’s even more likely. Call your vet, set up an appointment, and have your pet examined.

Side View

View your pet from the side, getting down on the floor to do so if necessary. Look at your pet’s belly—it should curve upward a bit once the ribcage ends, and meld in between the back legs. If there’s no upward curve, or a saggy area, it’s probably excess fat. Cats are especially likely to have fat collected in this area.

Feel the Ribs

Put your hands on both sides of your pet’s body and feel the rib cage. The ribs should be easily felt with a gentle push, and the skin should glide smoothly over the rib bones. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs, or there seems to be a lot of cushioning in between your pet’s fur and the rib bones, obesity could be to blame.

Base of Tail

Many overweight pets have extra fat rolls around the base of the tail. Check the area right above where your pet’s tail starts. If you see folds of skin or it seems to have a lot of extra padding, check with your Shawnee veterinarian to see if your pet might be obese.


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