It’s almost the start of a New Year—a time when many of us take a closer look at our health and determine areas of potential improvement, with weight often landing at the top of that list. But we aren’t the only ones who could stand to lose a few pounds. It turns out, our pets are steadily becoming heavier, and they’re struggling with other health problems as a result.

But how do you know if your pet needs to lose weight? For smaller dogs and cats, a matter of only a few pounds could mean the difference between healthy and unhealthy, and sometimes those extra few pounds might be harder to spot for well-meaning pet owners who love their pets through “thick and thin.”

Think your pet might be overweight? Here are three signs:

  1. Your pet has an oval shape, rather than an hourglass shape. Get a “bird’s-eye view” by standing above your pet and looking down at her. Your dog or cat should have somewhat of an hourglass shape, with a taper at the waist, which is between the abdomen and the hips. If there is little or no taper, your pet is probably overweight.
  2. You can’t feel your pet’s ribs. Put your hands on the side of your pet’s chest. If you can’t feel his ribs, he probably needs to lose weight. Ideally, you should be able to feel his ribs, but not see them. If you can see them, your dog or cat could be underweight.
  3. Extra fat around the abdomen, hips, and neck. Have you noticed a bit of a fat roll on the backside of your pup’s neck? That’s a sign that she’s carrying too much weight. Once an animal has extra fat around the abdomen, hips, and neck, it probably falls into the “obese” category and will be at higher risk of developing many health issues, including diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and more.

If your pet is overweight or obese, we can work with you to develop and implement an exercise and nutrition program that is right for your furry pal. Contact us, to find out more about our nutritional counseling and start the New Year off right for your pet!