The Geeky Gecko presents: signs your pet is overweight and what to do about it!
I know it’s not healthy, but I find it adorable when a pet is overweight. An additional pound or two makes them look cuter, fluffier, and more charismatic, but as much as I like to play with a curvy pet, they should be healthy, not chubby.
If you suspect that your pet is overweight, that can be the start of a problem, especially if it’s a tiny cat or dog, because their little legs need to support more weight than before, and it can lead to serious health issues if it’s not treated as it should.
I remember that when I was a kid, my uncle had a gorgeous cat that was energetic and playful, but he castrated him, and after a while, the dear Leo gained a lot of weight and walked slowly. He looked like a watermelon, and while it was cute, it took several months of dieting and exercise to be the supple cat he used to be.
Whether you have a dog, a cat, or any other pet, being too chubby won’t do good for their health. Here are all the signs that your pet is overweight and what to do about it. Let’s solve this problem ASAP, so keep reading.
1. Oval shape
The hourglass shape isn’t just an ideal body shape for many women out there; it is also a desirable shape for your fluffy companion. If your furry friend has an oval shape, it might be a sign that your pet is overweight.
Stand above your 4-legged friend to get a “bird’s-eye view” and look down at them. They should have a sort of hourglass shape with a taper at the waist, which is located between the abdomen and the hips. A taper that is too little or not there at all could be one of the first indicators that your pet is overweight.
2. Increase weight on the scale
This one seems pretty straightforward, but if you notice that your furry companion has a few extra pounds when weighed by the veterinarian, it’s time to ask the professional some questions.
Of course, this is a sign that your pet has some excess fat in their bodies, but it could also mean that they suffer from other medical problems, such as a tumor or retained body water.
A check-up with your trusted veterinarian is mandatory in a situation like this, so don’t neglect it because your dear pet needs to be healthy.
3. You can’t feel their ribs
Just like with humans, when you hug your darling fluffy member of the family and you can’t feel their ribs, it’s a sign that your pet is overweight. You shouldn’t see their ribs, because that means they’re too thin, but in the opposite case, if you don’t see their ribs, it’s a sign that your cat or dog should lose a few pounds ASAP.
4. Fat rolls
If you notice any extra fat on your furry friend’s hips, abdomen, and neck, it’s a clear sign that your pet is overweight. Your pup or cat might also have a bit of fat on the side of their neck, so that equals extra pounds.
Don’t let them gain any more weight (regardless of how cute they might seem), because those additional fat layers could trigger several health issues that are hard to deal with, such as arthritis, diabetes, and cancer.
5. Undefined tail base
Another sign your pet is overweight is fat accumulation around the tail base. A cat or a pup with a healthy weight should have sharp and defined hip and tail bones around the base of the tail.
You should easily feel them, even in pets that have skin rolls around their tail bases, like particular dogs such as pugs and Frenchies. If you don’t feel those bones, it might be time to make some changes in your furry friend’s routine.
6. Difficulties when climbing stairs and jumping
Both puppies and kittens who are overweight have difficulties jumping and climbing stairs. The heavier they are, the harder it is to carry their weight and be active.
If your pet is overweight, you might also notice that they have a hard time playing and running after toys. However, if you see your dear pet struggling to climb stairs, take it to the vet ASAP, because it might be a sign of arthritis pain as well, and the symptoms can be increased by weight gain.
7. Slowing down on walks
If you have a dog and they used to be very cheerful and energetic when they were walking with you, but now they’re slow, upset, and lethargic, it might be due to excess weight.
When your pet is overweight, they have a hard time moving their bodies due to respiratory compromise and degenerative joint disease, both of which can be aggravated by too much body fat.
If you notice that your pooch is lagging on walks, it could be an issue triggered by unnecessary pounds, but the best thing you could do in a case like this is to take them to the vet because it can also be a sign of joint or heart disease. A professional will help you diagnose the issue if that’s the case, and they can help you with the right treatment for your beloved fluffy family member.
8. Increased panting
Another sign that your pet is overweight is panting. Dogs and cats that carry extra weight tend to pant more and don’t have a high tolerance to heat, compared to fit pets.
If you notice that your pet has a hard time in the hot months and is constantly panting, in combination with the other signs we’ve talked about in today’s article, it could be because of excess weight.
However, keep in mind that increased panting can also be due to hormonal and cardiovascular issues, pain, and anxiety, so don’t forget to talk to your vet about all of these.
What to do if your pet is overweight
Now that you have a better idea of all those signs that your pet is overweight, it’s time to talk a little bit about what you can do to make them fit, energetic, and joyful again.
Of course, the first and most important thing in a case like this is to take your dear companion to the vet for a regular check-up, so you have a better idea of what is going on with your pet and can give him the right treatment if needed. However, if, besides a few extra pounds, your pet is generally healthy, here’s what you need to do:
Movement doesn’t hurt anybody, whether it’s humans, cats, or dogs. If your pet is overweight, one of the funniest and best ways to help them shed some pounds is by playing with them.
Playing games with them, like frisbee, fetch, or with a laser pointer toy, is going to entertain them and burn off some extra calories. Another fantastic thing about this activity is that you get to spend time with your pet, which will strengthen your bond with them.
If you’re looking for a great laser pointer to have fun with your beloved pet, check this one out, because it works great and is also affordable!
When you take your furry friend to the vet, they can examine them, decide whether your pet is overweight or not, and then come up with a meal plan based on their needs. Make sure you respect those indications, meaning feeding them the right food and measuring the portions based on size or breed.
Don’t forget about yearly (or twice-yearly) checkups
Even if your pet seems fine, taking them to the vet is important, especially if your pet is overweight. You don’t want your fluffy one to develop any health issues, so prevention is better than treatment.
Whether your pet is overweight or not, don’t panic, because everything can be solved with the proper tools, care, and help from professionals! What do you think about this article? Did you find it helpful? Leave a comment below and let us know!
If you’d like to read something else from The Geeky Gecko, here’s another great post for you to check out next: 13 Outstanding Things You Never Knew Dogs Could Do