With pet obesity on the rise, here's how to tell if your pet is obese

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(Source: Banfield Pet Hospital) (Source: Banfield Pet Hospital)

According to Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2017 State of Pet Health Report, pet obesity is on the rise year-over-year – one in three U.S. pets is overweight.

In fact, Arizona ranks 25th for dogs and 35th for cats in terms of overweight prevalence across the U.S.

Although there’s no definitive answer why, we know of a few things that are linked with pets becoming overweight:

  • Pets are increasingly being overfed and not exercised enough. 
  • Pets are increasingly considered members of the family, with pet owners using treats as a form of communication and love.
  • It’s also possible thyroid or other problems could be at play, which is why it’s crucial that pet owners partner with their veterinarian on diagnoses and solutions.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Critter Corner]

There are a few different ways to tell if your pet is overweight. One simple trick is “the birds-eye-view” test. Look at your dog or cat from above – you should see a distinct tuck at the waistline. From the side, you should be able to easily feel – but not see – your pet’s ribs. If your pet doesn’t have a waistline, or you can’t easily feel their ribs, chances are, it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian to determine the best steps to take to get your pet to an ideal weight.

The good news is, small changes can have big long-term health benefits. 

  • Instead of resolving to run with your dog three miles a day, start with walking a few extra blocks each day.
  • Cut down on “people food,” which can quickly add up to extra pounds on your pet, and limit treats to no more than 10 percent of the pet’s daily calories.
  • Perhaps most important is partnering with your veterinarian to determine a healthy weight for your pet and the appropriate steps to take together to get there. Just as with people, pet weight management is unique to the individual.

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