According to a recent survey, more than half of pets—around 56 million cats and 50 million dogs—in the United States may be overweight or obese!*

If your pet is carrying extra weight, you’re not on your own. We’ll work with you to create an individualized plan to help get your pet trimmed down and on a weight maintenance plan.

So how do I know if my pet is overweight or just right?

Take a moment to do this quick check:

  • You should be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs if you run your fingers across your pet’s abdomen.
  • From the side, you should also be able to see a “tuck-in” or upward slope from the belly toward your pet’s hind end.
  • From the top view, your pet should have a visible waist behind the ribs.
  • If you can see your pet’s ribs, though, then your pet may be too thin.

Body condition score (or BCS) is another way we determine your pet’s ideal size and shape. We assign a score of 1 to 5, with 1 being too thin and 5 being obese. The ideal weight we’re aiming for is in the middle, at a 3.

Check out these charts from the World Small Animal Veterinary Association that show ideal body condition for healthy dogs and cats. Ideal weight varies, even among similarly sized dogs or cats. When you bring your pet in for a visit, we’ll show you how to gauge your pet’s weight and BCS.

What are the health risks for overweight pets?

Unfortunately, carrying extra weight can cause all kinds of health issues for our pets. Both dogs and cats are at increased risk of developing:

  • Arthritis and other joint issues
  • Cancer
  • Constipation
  • Decreased immune function
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Respiratory issues

Even scarier, dogs and cats carrying extra weight may not live as long as those at a healthy weight.