Healthy Weight for Cats and Dogs

Tips for Maintaining Your Pet’s Healthiest Weight



September 13, 2020

Does your pet look a bit more rotund or thinner than normal? There are many easy ways you can help keep your pet at a healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight can prevent longer term (not to mention expensive pet care!) health issues such as diabetes, heart problems, and joint issues.

How do I know my pet is at a healthy weight?

There are many ways to tell if your pet is at a healthy weight. Unsure what your pet’s ideal weight should be? Ask your vet or check out an online resource based on your pet’s age and breed. While you don’t need to fixate on your pet’s weight week over week, it’s helpful to have a check-in routine to ensure there aren’t large swings month over month.

  1. Your Pet Weighs More Than They Normally Do

While this may be the most obvious way to tell if your pet is overweight, it’s an easy way to keep track of your pet’s weight fluctuations. If you’re not feeding your pet more, this may show there’s an underlining issue in your pet’s health or routine. If their pet food and exercise rates haven’t changed, this may also point out that your human snack drawer needs to be moved to a higher cabinet!   

  1. You Cannot Feel Their Ribs

When you are petting your furry friend, you should be able to easily feel their ribs.  You should not be able to see their ribs, or your pet would be underweight. Gently rub your hands down the side of their chest to find their ribs; you should not have to push very hard to feel their ribs. If your pet is overweight, you will have to push harder to feel the ribs or may not even feel them at all.

  1. No Waistlines

Your pet should have a very visible waistline. When you stand and look at your pet from above, you should notice that their abdomen sinks inward a little bit just behind their ribs. When you look at your pet from the side, you should also notice that there is a slope upward from their chest toward their hips. If your pet’s body goes straight across from their hips to their chest, your pet could be overweight.

  1. Pendulous Abdomen

If your pet has a swinging stomach or fat pads over their hips, this would be another sign that your pet could be overweight. Just by rubbing your hand over your pet, you will be able to feel fatty deposits on their body. This would indicate that they are overweight.

  1. Breathing Heavy After Normal Exercise

When you take your pet out for a walk or after they have been playing inside, it’s normal to pant a bit. However, if your furry friend is totally out of breath, there may be a weight issue at play. 

If your fully-grown pet is rapidly increasing in weight, it’s smart to address this concern at home or with your vet to prevent any issues relating to a weight increase. Fat is not only on the outside of your pet’s body but also in surrounding organs and their blood stream. This extra layer of fat that your pet is carrying could cause them to have more issues breathing in addition to less obvious problems.


What can I do to help my pet lose weight in a healthy way?

There are a few at-home methods to support your pet losing excess weight in a healthy and managed way. Please note, we don’t recommend taking extreme action to cause your pet to lose weight! Just like humans, slow and steady moves towards a healthier lifestyle work best.


What do I do to help my pet gain weight in a healthy way?

If your dog is underweight, there are easy ways to help them gain weight. If you increase the amount of food that you are feeding, your dog ought to quickly and easily gain weight. It is best to add about 25% of your dog’s diet. You can also add in canned food as this will help entice your dog to want to eat. If your furry friend refuses to eat or can’t gain weight despite a healthy eating schedule, check with your vet. There may be an underlying health concern at play.

The medical issues relating to furry friends who are significantly over or under their ideal weight can be expensive and often quite scary. Take the steps now to keep your pet is at their healthiest weight to help prevent longer term medical issues! However, should a new accident or illness occur with your furry friend, with Bivvy you can rest assured that you’ll have support. Our Bivvy insurance is a great option for affordable coverage to help keep your pet happy and healthy!

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