Like humans, pets can eat too much too.  And with the overindulgence that we sometimes give them this can become an area that may need to be addressed.

Did you know that most dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese?  Do you know how many pounds your pet needs to pack on before being at risk for several medical conditions such as decreased life expectancy, diabetes, chronic pain, heart, respiratory and kidney disease to name a few?

Some of these conditions can have high costs, not only monetary but health wise.  Medications, fluids, trips to the vet among other things.  It doesn’t take much for your pet to be overweight, and here are some ways that you can prevent and check to make sure they’re at their ideal weight.

Be mindful and don’t always feed what the bag or can tells you to feed. These are general guidelines and not hard rules to feed them by.  Some more energetic dogs may need more, while some lazy dogs may need less.  Also take into consideration the protein, fat and calorie content of the food.  Protein isn’t good for older pets as they don’t need as much of it as they slow down.  We tend to keep Winnie, our elderly dachshund, on a low protein, low fat, but decent calorie food.

A good way to tell if your pet is overweight or just right is to feel their ribs.  If you can see them or feel them without much pressure, they’re too skinny.  Unless you have a breed like a grey hound where this is atypical of the breed, then you need to feed them more.

If you can’t feel their ribs even with some pushing, they’re overweight.  Consider replacing some of their food with green beans (no sodium, no canned) to fill their stomachs so they still feel full but are getting less calories.

If you feel their ribs with light  pressing, and there’s a nice tuck at their belly and legs, you’re doing a great job at keeping them on point!

If you’re worried your pet might be overweight, ask your vet for feeding and exercise advice.  They can always show you how to check your pets weight and give you suggestions on how to help them lose weight, or gain it depending on what’s needed.