How to tell if your pet is overweight

As pet owners, we all want our furry friends to be happy and healthy. And one of the most important factors in keeping our pets healthy is ensuring that they are at a healthy weight. Just like with humans, being overweight can lead to a variety of health problems for pets, from joint pain to diabetes. But how can you tell if your pet is overweight? In this article, we'll explore some signs to look out for and some tips to help your pet get back on track to a healthy weight.

Signs that your pet may be overweight

The first step in determining whether your pet is overweight is to understand what a healthy weight is for their breed and size. Your veterinarian can help you determine this, but in general, you should be able to feel your pet's ribs without having to press down too hard. If you can't see or feel your pet's ribs easily, it may be a sign that they are carrying too much weight.

Another sign to look out for is a lack of energy or stamina. If your pet is panting or unable to keep up with you on a walk, it may be a sign that they are carrying too much weight. Additionally, if your pet is lethargic or seems to be sleeping more than usual, it may be a sign that they are overweight.

Physical changes such as a rounder face, a thickening waistline, or fat pockets around joints and hips can also be indicators that your pet is overweight.

Tips for helping your pet reach a healthy weight

Once you've determined that your pet is overweight, the next step is to take action to help them reach a healthy weight. Here are some tips to get started:

1. Work with your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian can help you create a plan for your pet's weight loss that takes their specific breed and weight into account. They may recommend a specific diet or exercise plan, or they may refer you to a veterinary nutritionist who can help create a customized nutrition plan for your pet.

2. Choose a high-quality diet.

If your pet is overweight, it's important to choose a high-quality diet that is low in calories and fat. Look for foods that are high in protein and fiber to keep your pet feeling full and satisfied. Avoid foods that are high in carbohydrates or fillers, which can lead to weight gain.

3. Measure your pet's food.

It's easy to accidentally overfeed your pet, especially if they're begging for more food. But measuring your pet's food can help ensure that they're getting the right amount of calories each day. Talk to your veterinarian about how much food your pet should be eating based on their breed, weight, and activity level.

4. Increase your pet's exercise.

Just like with humans, exercise is an important part of weight loss for pets. Start by increasing your pet's exercise gradually, with daily walks or play sessions. Encourage your pet to be active by offering toys and games that they enjoy.

5. Consider reducing treats.

Treats are a great way to reinforce good behavior, but they can also contribute to weight gain. Consider reducing the number of treats your pet gets each day, or opt for lower-calorie treats like fruits and vegetables.


Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is an important part of their overall health and wellbeing. If you suspect that your pet may be overweight, talk to your veterinarian about your concerns. Together, you can create a plan to help your pet reach a healthy weight and stay healthy for years to come.