How To Avoid Pet Obesity

pug lying down

It may surprise you to learn that it isn’t only human obesity figures that are growing year on year. Although you may not regularly think about your pet’s weight, studies show that there are now more domestic animals considered to be overweight or obese than ever before. Much like us, carrying excess weight can cause your precious pet to suffer from a range of different health problems, and while some of these may be mild, others could put her life in danger.

How do I know if my pet is obese?

Obesity is characterized as being a condition whereby a human, or in this case animal, has excessive fatty tissue across their body. Veterinarians base obesity on the percentage over the ideal bodyweight than an animal is. For example, pets who weight between 10 and 19% more than is considered ‘normal’ are classified as overweight, while those animals who weigh 20% or more above the healthy weight range are recorded as being obese.

The effects of obesity in pets

As we hinted at earlier, the health implications associated with obesity are just as prevalent and potentially serious in pets as they are humans. Studies show that obesity is a leading cause of premature death thanks to the problems that can develop as a result of excess fatty tissue.

Some of these chronic, debilitating and potentially life-threatening conditions include:

- Osteoarthritis

- Joint pain

- High blood pressure

- Cardiovascular disease

- Respiratory problems

- Liver disease

- Diabetes

- Compromised immune system

- Some cancers

Needless to say, by preventing your pet from becoming obese, you can drastically reduce the likelihood of her suffering from any of the above illnesses.

How to avoid pet obesity

The good news is that there really is no need for your pet to become overweight, let alone obese, and even if she does, there are ways to get her weight under control again. As with all things medical, preventing your pet from becoming overweight is much better for her health, and much easier to do than trying to help her shed the excess pounds, so try and be on-point with monitoring your furbaby’s weight from the beginning.

Nutrition and portion control

Food is one of the biggest contributors to excess weight gain in pets. Different animals have different nutritional requirements and therefore you should feed a diet that is suitable for the age, weight and breed of your pet. Don’t free feed. Instead, stick to specific portion sizes fed at set times and remove the bowls once your pet is done. This will enable you to have better control over the amount that your furbaby is eating. Remember – not all pets have an ‘off’ switch when it comes to food!

You should also watch the number of treats and amount of human food you are offering. These should be supplementary to her diet, particularly as treats and any nibbles from our own table that we share are rarely of the healthy variety.


Needless to say, exercise is the other fundamental element of weight maintenance. Not only does exercise help burn off excess calories, it will also strengthen your pet’s muscles and joints, aid her digestion and benefit her respiratory and cardiovascular systems. It is pretty enjoyable for her too! Incorporate physical games into your routine as well as daily walks, and longer hikes at weekends too if you can. Obviously, most cats aren’t up for going out for walkies, so most of your kitty’s exercise will almost certainly be game-based.

If you would like to know more about how to void pet obesity, or if you already have concerns about your pet’s weight and would like advice on diet and exercise, please do not hesitate to give us a call and speak to one of our friendly, knowledgeable veterinary team.


Providing the very best in veterinary care, and the ability to establish innovated programs.


Parkland Animal Clinic & Big Bear Pet Lodge​​​​​​​
8017 N. University Dr
Parkland, FL 33067

Fax: 954-757-3990