Posts Tagged ‘Body Condition Score’

     On Wednesday, I blogged about the dangers of visceral fat buildup in pets. But how do you know if your pet is truly overweight? Purina makes it easy with a Body Condition System, ranging from Emaciated to Grossly Obese.

     Click on the charts below to compare your dog or cat to those illustrated. Does your pet need to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain, based on what you see here?

     The Body Condition System chart is also available online for dogs and cats.

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I’d like to ask you a question and I’m going to be blunt:  is your pet fat?  If so, it’s not alone.  The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) estimates that more than half the dogs and cats owned by Americans are overweight.  Unfortunately, that’s not the sort of company you want your pet to keep.  Here’s why:
Extra weight carries health risks for our pets, just like it does for us.  Obesity can contribute to

  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • kidney disease
  • respiratory disease

Want a quick way to find out whether your pet is carrying extra weight?  Check these four areas:

  • Ribs – can you feel them?  If not, they may be covered by a layer of fat.
  • Stomach – is it sagging or bulging?  Not good!
  • Back – is it wide and flat?  Also not good!
  • Waist – can you see it?  Your pet’s waist should be defined.

Start by asking your vet for a diet recommendation for your dog or cat.  Next, add exercise to your pet’s weight loss program.  Use a conservative approach to exercise with obese dogs and cats.  As the pet loses weight, the amount of activity can be gradually increased.

     APOP has compiled a list of toys it recommends to get your pet moving.  Here are just a few:

You can find the full list of toys and technology here.

Note:  some pets may have a liver, thyroid or adrenal gland condition which causes weight retention and bloated stomach.  Certain diseases may need to be ruled out before an effective weight loss program can begin.

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