Overweight Pets - Furry Friend Friday

It's time for Furry Friend Friday, presented by West Coast Animal Hospital.

I'm Alex Steiniger. We all know that we have to watch our weight so that we can live happy and healthy lives. And the same goes for our pets. Dr. Megan Gibbings of West Coast Animal Hospital is here to talk about what we can do for an overweight pet. It's great to see you again, doctor.

We've all heard information about obesity in humans, but what can you tell us about the same problem in our pets?

Our pets are experiencing a higher rate of being overweight and obese than ever. It's currently estimated that approximately 50% of cats and dogs are classified as being overweight or obese. Unfortunately, only about half of pet owners can recognize those signs in their pets.

What tips do you have for us to spot that and to observe that our pet is actually overweight?

As a veterinarian, when I'm examining an animal, I want to see a nice hourglass shape to their figure. We want to see that we can feel their ribs easily, but not see them, and we're also going to classify your pet as being overweight if they're weighing in more than 10 to 20% over their ideal body weight. In general, there are also a couple of breeds that are prone to obesity, breeds such as dachshunds, pugs, and golden retrievers. If your pet is looking more round or rectangular, that's a sign they may be overweight. Indoor cats are also prone to being overweight as well.

What can an owner do to address the issue and help them lose a little bit of weight?

Just like in people, a lack of activity and overeating are the common contributors to weight gains in pets. So, in general, we recommend that your pet get adequate activity and exercise for its age and life stage and avoid overfeeding. It may be cute when Fluffy begs at the dinner table, but feeding people food is actually one of the top contributors to weight gain in pets. If you're concerned about your pet's weight or body condition, we recommend checking in with your veterinarian at its next annual visit and find out if there's a specific nutrition or weight loss plan that they recommend for your pet.

Don't let your pets manipulate you into giving them some extra food because it's just going to make them be a little chunkier in the long run.

Let West Coast Animal Hospital take the stress out of going to the vet. Call (619) 431-1423 or visit westcoast.vet to receive top-quality care for your pets today. Again, that phone number (619) 431-1423.