Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published September 11, 2010, 11:56 AM

Recognizing an overweight pet

Most people know that obesity is a problem for the human race, but what about our pets?

Most people know that obesity is a problem for the human race, but

what about our pets? The fact is, recent research indicates at least

40 percent of the American pet population is overweight. Experts

look at particular areas of the body to determine if a pet is packing

on extra pounds. They'll use a scoring system to rate the obesity of

the animal. Remember, weight varies among breeds, so these are

just a guideline. A dalmatian that scores one way will always be

skinnier than a bull mastiff who scores similarly. This system is

used in dogs:

1. Feel the ribs. There should be a slight amount of fat over the

ribs, but each should be distinct.

2. Check the area near the base of the tail. This area should feel

smooth, but you should also be able to feel the bones.

3. Feel other bony prominences, such as the hips or shoulders.

Too much fat is not a good thing.

4. Look at the pet from above. He should have a distinct waist.

5. Look at the pet from the side. Dogs and cats should have an

abdominal tuck, the area behind the ribs should be smaller in

diameter than the chest. An animal who is too thin will have a very

severe abdominal tuck. Overweight animals will have no abdominal tuck.

If you've determined your pet is overweight, bring him or her to the vet

for a second opinion and testing. Talk about your concerns and develop a

program that will help get your pet back on a healthy path.

There are many strategies that can assist a pet in losing extra pounds.

Tags: