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Your Pet’s Ideal Weight

As pet care professionals, we are lucky enough to meet and care for pets of all different shapes and sizes. We see giant breed dogs, right through teacup-sized pooches, fluff ball cats and teeny tiny rabbits, but unfortunately we also see a lot of overweight animals.

Studies have shown that about 41% of Australian dogs and 32% of Australia cats are classed as over-weight or obese by veterinarians. These are rather alarming figures considering obesity is associated with many medical problems such as, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, liver and pancreatic disease, increased surgical risk, increased risk of some cancers, reduced quality of life and most alarmingly, a reduced life span.

In addition, obesity is now recognized as the leading form of malnutrition in pets. Yes, that is right ‘malnutrition’. We know that all pet owners absolutely love their furry friends but often it is this unconditional love that results in overweight pets. Most dogs and cats do not go out and get their own food, so it is owners that are failing their pets in this area. The fact of the matter is that overfeeding your pet is just as cruel as underfeeding them, hence why the term malnutrition is used.

The Ideal Body Condition

ideal-pet-weight-example

Pictured above is a dog of an ideal body weight. As you can see this dogs bones, spine and ribs could be easily felt should you be able to touch the dog’s body. In a short-coated dog like this one, their ribs may be easily seen when turning, twisting or panting during exercise. From above you could see a clearly visible waist and from side on you can see the tummy tucks up after the dogs rib cage.

Underweight and Overweight Body Condition

underweight-pet

An underweight pet will have easily seen spine, rib and hipbones. There will be an obvious loss of muscle tone and no fat is felt under the dogs skin. As you can see from the above diagram, the pet’s waist is too obviously visible and the tuck under their belly behind the animal’s rib cage is extreme.

overweight-pet

An overweight pet will have a thick layer off fat under their skin resulting in their ribs, spine and bones being hard to feel. As you can see in the above diagram, you cannot see the animal’s waist, or their waist might even be rounding out from the body. They will have no tuck up under their belly behind their rib cage (in extreme obesity cases, the belly may even droop a little) and the pet may even have fat rolls around their shoulders and base if tail.

Maintaining Ideal Dog Condition

The key to maintaining your pet’s ideal body condition is to ensure you feed an appropriate portion of Premium Pet Food that is in line with your dogs exercise levels. This means, that if you exercise your pet often, they would need to a higher quantity of food. If you rarely exercise you dog, then you would need to feed a smaller quantity of food.

In addition, the type of food you feed must be a premium quality pet food. Premium pet foods can be purchased in any reputable pet store. Try to avoid supermarket foods. Good quality food ensures your dog is eating the right balance of ingredients where as, supermarket brands are like feeding junk food to your pet every meal so it is easy to see how pets can put on weight easily when on these types of food.

Overweight Pets

If you believe your pet to be over weight, we recommend you seek veterinary advise as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to examine your dog for any underlying health issues that might contribute to weight gain. If your pet is healthy, your vet will be able to set you up on a good diet plan to ensure your pet looses weight in a safe way.

In the mean time, cutting your dogs food down and slowly increasing daily exercise levels will certainly get your dog on the right track to gaining the perfect physique.

Zoie Phillips

Resort Manager
Pet Resorts of Australia – Terrigal

(02) 4367 1200
zoie@petresortsaustralia.com