By: | | Dogs, Cats

Chubby animals are arguably cuter – but facts show that they don’t live as long. According to, at least 58% of cats and 52% of dogs are overweight or obese.

Overweight animals are prone to heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis, and kidney failure. Their heft makes it harder for them to bounce back after injury or surgery, and puts unnecessary strain on their joints, bones and muscles. Healthy pets can live up to 2.5 years longer than those that are overweight.

It’s time for us to toss out the idea that bigger is better. For more happy, healthy years and fewer vet bills, use these tips from Ready Pet Go to get your pets in shape.

Are Your Pets Overweight?

For cats and dogs, a visual weight check is about the same. Stand over your pet and look for a dip just behind the ribcage. Your pet should have a visible waist. It should be clear where their head ends and their neck begins.

overweight cat
You should be able to feel your cat’s ribs without pressing into layers of fat.

It’s harder to see a waistline when your pets have long fur. You may have to wait until bath-time to see what’s under all that fluff.

Gently run your hands along your pet’s sides. You should be able to feel their ribs without having to press into layers of fat.

Most cats have a noticeable primordial pouch, or stretchy skin on their belly that would allow their stomach to stretch after they would gorge themselves on a big kill, back when they were wild. Don’t worry about that saggy belly flap – it’s normal, and does not indicate that your cat is overweight.

If you’re unsure of your pet’s ideal weight, research the ideal weight for their breed, or talk to your vet for a professional opinion.

Why Your Pets May Be Obese

The obvious reason: your pet is eating too much.

Many low-quality pet foods are full of carbohydrates. Generally, a higher protein, high quality food is healthier for your pet. Your pet will not need to eat as much to satisfy their nutrition and energy needs. However, they won’t know that – you need to measure appropriate portions instead of keeping the bowl filled.

dog eating a cucumber
Many dogs will accept a fresh vegetable as a low calorie treat.

Fruits and vegetables can fill your pet’s belly to help them adjust to smaller food portions without going hungry. Try green beans, carrots, apples, and broccoli.

Your dog will likely snap up fruits and vegetables as treats. Cats need to have their veggies cooked for easier digestion, and possibly mashed and concealed in other foods.

Get Your Pets Moving

The epidemic of overweight pets may be due more people working long hours. It’s not unusual to feel guilty about not being able to spend time with your pets, and showering them with treats to make up for it.

Walking your dog and playing with your cat more often is always a good thing. They’ll burn calories, and you’ll the mental and physical health benefits of spending time with them.

When you’re not home to walk or play with your pets, depend on Ready Pet Go pet care services in Silver Spring, Takoma Park, and DC.

Talk to us about your pets’ weight loss goals. We’d love to help with our professional, bonded and insured dog walking and pet sitting services. Contact us online or by phone: 240-221-5335.