Is Your Pet Actually At a Healthy Weight?

Misconception #1

Believing your pet is at a healthy weight


Have you thought your pet was at a healthy weight but then shocked when the Veterinarian informed you that he or she was indeed overweight? If so, you are not alone. More than half of companions that are brought into a vet’s office are overweight. Forty-five percent of pet owners who consult with a doctor believe that their pet is at an ideal weight and are proven wrong (dvm360.comstaff). This highlights the fact that a majority of pet owners do not know the status of their dog or cat’s weight.

Judging by looks can be difficult to assess the quality of an animal’s weight. For instance a greyhound is easier to identify than a furry golden retriever. Although looks can be used in addition, a more consistent method is by feeling the animal. Knowing how to feel and assess an animal can be beneficial in determining the health of your pet.

Lay your hand flat on a surface with your palm facing down. Run the fingers of your other hand over your knuckles. This is generally what your pet’s ribs should feel like; the ribs shouldn’t be seen but will be palpable without having to exert a lot of pressure. Now flip your hand over and feel your knuckles again (M, Emilie). Difficult to feel them right? This is an indication your pet is overweight. You should not have to exert pressure to feel the ribs. Another evaluation that can be made is by standing over the pet, there should be a slight hour glass shape from the end of the ribs to around the hips. When looking at the pet from the side there should be a slight tuck in the waist. With these tips hopefully you won’t be part of that 50% of owners at your next visit.


dvm360.comstaff. “Study: Cat obesity ballooning.” dvm360, UBM, 16 July 2014,

M, Emilie. “How Should My Pet Feel?” Watertown Animal Hospital,

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