Photo from the Biomedical Communications Unit
of the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Each pet is unique but, in general, ideal body condition is when a pet’s ribs can be felt easily but not seen. When viewed from the side, the belly should appear tucked up. When viewed from above, a pet should have a noticeable waist in front of the hips.
Certain factors increase a pet’s chance of becoming hefty, such as gender, age, physical activity, caloric intake and breed. It appears that Labrador retrievers, cocker spaniels, beagles, basset hounds, Shetland sheepdogs, pugs, golden retrievers and dachshunds are among the more popular dog breeds with a higher propensity for obesity. For cats, mixed breeds seem more prone to obesity than pure breeds.
Important features of a weight loss plan include setting a weight goal, setting an amount for daily caloric intake, selecting a specific amount of exercise, monitoring progress, adjusting calories, food and exercise as needed, and stabilizing the pet’s caloric intake at its reduced weight to ensure that weight is not regained.