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Fat Pets

I can put my hand up, for over-indulging at Christmas, as it’s a major feasting time. However, can your pet put their paw up to say that they’re over-eating? The British Veterinary Association is so concerned that it held a special session at its Congress to focus on strategies to help owners reduce pet obesity. Does your special family member have a weight issue?


Hit the scales

This a growing problem as vets must use heavy lifting equipment to avoid injury from overweight pets. A survey last year revealed that more than 1.7m dog owners and 1m cat owners have been told that their pets were overweight by vets, suggesting that 12% of pets are too fat.

Expert view

To check if your dog is overweight:

  • Be able to see and feel the outline of the dog's ribs without excess fat covering.
  • Be able to see and feel the dog's waist (visible when viewed from above).
  • The dog's belly should be tucked up when viewed from the side.

To check if your cat is overweight:

  • Be able to see and feel the cat’s ribs, spine and hip bones.
  • The cat’s waist should be clearly visible when viewed from above.
  • The cat’s belly shouldn't be sagging underneath (only be a small amount of belly fat).

If your dog or cat does not pass these checks, it’s time to visit the vet, for a weight reduction programme.

Tough love

An overweight pet is a welfare issue because it can cause suffering and be disabling. Pet obesity can lead to other health problems, and make existing problems worse, which may affect the pet's life. Factors make obesity more likely:

  1. Certain dog breeds have a higher risk.
  2. The obesity risk increases with age.
  3. Neutering can increase the fat risk.
  4. Female animals suffer more from obesity.

It’s down to you

Unfortunately, obese owners are more likely to have obese dogs, because they are less likely to exercise their dog, or less able to recognise obesity. The main cause of a fat pet is over-eating and not exercising enough. It’s true that some diseases can cause obesity. When making a list of New Year resolutions, please add be kind to your pet by not over-feeding it.

ChildMax continues to insure your salary and pays your take home salary while you’re on 12 months’ unpaid leave, caring for a sick child. It starts from £49.50 or for easy budgeting an initial payment of £8.25 followed by 11 monthly payments of £3.75.

Visit at or call the UK call centre 0333 323 0098 for more information.

Important: If you have concerns about your pet’s weight, then please talk to a professional qualified animal expert, like a vet.


Date: 13 January 2020 by Max Robinson