Weight and Diet

Like people all pets are individuals, and just like with humans, a good diet and regular exercise is vital in keeping healthy and living a longer life.

In the UK it is estimated that almost half the nation's pets are overweight, however more than half of pet owners do not believe their pet is overweight or obese.

Good nutrition is vital throughout their whole life from enabling them to grow and develop when young to preventing and fighting disease when older.

What does excess weight mean for our pets?

Many serious health conditions can develop as a result of unmanaged weight, some being:

  • Excess load and strain on their joints causing pain and arthritis
  • Risk of Cruciate disease
  • Higher risk of heart disease, higher blood pressure and heart failure
  • Risk of developing diabetes
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Skin problems
  • Risk of Cancers
  • Poor quality of life due to reduced activity

We strongly advise a veterinary exam and discussing an appropriate weight management program tailored to your pet's needs. Weight management in cats and dogs must be done carefully. If weight reduction is too rapid, conditions such as hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease) or diabetes may occur, in which aggressive medical treatment is necessary.

How can I keep my pet the correct weight?

  • Check the feeding guidelines on your pet's food to see how much they should have per day.
  • Weigh out your pets total daily allowance and then divide into their number of meals.
  • Don't guess using 'handfuls' or 'cups' as a guide.
  • Weigh them regularly and ask our vet or veterinary nurse if they are the correct weight.
  • Cut out treats and scraps from the table.
  • If treats are required, reduce total allowance for that day.
  • Look at Body Condition Score charts and compare the shape and feel of your pet's body. We have these charts at our surgeries and will help you identify your pet's score.
  • Attend weight clinics with a veterinary nurse who can help your pet loose or gain weight safely.

 

We know it can sometimes be difficult to manage your pet's diet especially when they appear to be begging for more food or when you have multiple pets with different dietary needs.

 

Don't forget our Veterinary Nurses are more than happy to give you advice on your pet's diet and can devise an individual weight loss plan and support you through it!


The Body Score Chart Guide

Score 1

20% below ideal body weight
Very thin – Ribs visible, no evidence of any body fat, no muscle tone, bones are raised and easily seen. Accentuated hourglass shape.

Score 2

10% below ideal body weight
Thin – Ribs can be easily felt beneath the skin with only a little fat covering, bones are raised with a little fat cover, waist easily seen when viewed from above.

Score 3

Ideal – Ribs can be felt beneath a slight covering of fat, abdominal tuck evident, well- proportioned when viewed from above.

Score 4

10 % above ideal body weight
Heavy – Moderate fat covering, waist not clearly defined, abdominal tuck may be absent, back is slightly broadened at the waist when viewed from above.

Score 5

20% above ideal body weight
Obese – Ribs not palpable, heavy fat cover, fat deposits on neck and limbs, no waist present, back is markedly broadened when viewed from above.