Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

You can also do a quick physical check on your pet`s rib cage. If you feel a small layer of fat but you can still find their ribs easily, they`re at a healthy weight. If you have to press hard to feel their ribs, they`re overweight.
Ideally you will be able to see its waist tucked behind the ribs. If you can see the outline of your dog`s individual ribs and the waist is noticeably more narrow than its ribcage, then your pet is underweight; however, if the waist is in line with the ribs or bulges out past them then it is overweight.
It varies depending on the breed but for most domestic cats, you can take 10 pounds (4-4.5 kg) as an ideal weight. Certain larger breeds can weigh as much as 25 pounds (11 kg) and smaller breeds can weigh as little as 5 pounds (2.2 kg).
Obesity is when your pet has too much body fat and it has a negative impact on their health, welfare and quality of life. We believe obesity is a serious welfare issue in pets, because it can cause suffering and can be extremely disabling.
Schaeffer`s formula: The equation used for calculating live weight was W = (L × G2)/300, where W is body weight in lbs, L is length of the animal from point of shoulder to pin bone in inches, and G is the chest girth of the animal in inches. The final weight was converted into kg.
Here is the most common definition: Small breed dog: less than 22lb (10kg) Medium breed dog: 22lb – 55lb (10-25kg) Large breed dog: over 55lb (25kg)
The best way to tell if your dog is overweight or obese is with a weigh-in at your veterinarian. Your vet can then tell you whether your dog is overweight according to your dog`s size and breed. Remember that a healthy weight will look different for every breed. For example, most sighthounds should have visible ribs.
Usually, yes. If your dog`s spine is easily felt with a thin layer of fat, it`s most likely normal and indicates your dog is at a healthy weight. That being said, if your dog`s backbone protrudes, it may be an indication that your dog is on the thin side (depending on breed and conformation).
Normal weight was defined as a queen under 4kg or a tom under 5kg, and overweight as over 5kg or 6kg respectively. Owners of overweight cats had a closer relationship with their cat, and were more likely to say the cat consoled and encouraged them.
Using body weight as a guide, cats are considered overweight when they weigh 10-20% above their ideal body weight. Cats are considered obese when they weigh more than 20% above their ideal body weight.
Your dog can safely lose 3–5% of their body weight per month. Generally, you can expect your pet to reach their ideal body weight in 6 to 8 months. If they are not progressing as they should, changes are needed. Your veterinarian can help you determine the number of pounds per month they can and should lose.
L-carnitine is an amino acid that has shown promise in treating obesity in both cats and dogs. Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids, which may have an effect on “fat-burning” metabolism. Both are generally considered safe to use with minimal side effects.
Results of a recent study confirm that overweight dogs suffer as a result of this disease, and successful management relieves suffering. Overweight animals are suffering in silence. They are known to be FAT & SAD. Studies show that weight loss improves pets overall quality of life.
Compared to pet owners who maintain a healthy weight, overweight or obese individuals are more than twice as likely to have a heavy or obese dog.
Blue Whale

Not only is the blue whale the most massive animal on earth, but it`s also one of the fattest. Though this marine mammal typically has about 35% body fat, it can get up to a whopping 50% in times of plenty.

Bison are powerful large animals. A mature bull stands about 2 metres (6.5 feet) at the shoulder and weighs more than 900 kg (1,980 pounds). The female is about 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall and weighs about 320 kg (700 pounds).
Growing up to 3 metres long and weighing over 400kg, Dugongs are fluke-tailed relatives of the manatee.
While there is no official definition, breeds with an average weight exceeding 45kg tend to be considered giant breeds, and height is also an important factor.
The overall heaviest dogs are English Mastiffs, which can weigh over 100kg.
A small dog weight would generally be classed as anything less than 22lb (10 kg), whereas a medium dog weight ranges from 22lb to 55lb (10-25 kg). A large dog weight would be regarded as anything over 55lb (25kg).
Small dogs are classified as dogs within a weight range of 5 kg to 10 kg and include breeds as the Standard Dachshund, Jack Russell Terriers, Shih Tzu, Miniature Schnauzer, the Pug, Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and the Shetland Sheepdog.
If a dog is obese, fat in their abdomen pushes their diaphragm forward and prevents their lungs from expanding normally. It becomes harder for them to get enough oxygen and therefore causes them to breathe faster.
How Long Can They Live? A study conducted over two decades revealed that obese dogs may have a lifespan reduced by up to 2 and a half years. Previously, it was believed that obesity only reduced a dog`s lifespan by 6 to 12 months.
If we group together the slim and normal weight owners we find that the prevalence of heavy or obese dogs is 14 percent. If we have an overweight pet owner, that percentage doubles, so that now 28 percent of these dogs are overweight.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. How do I determine how much my overweight pet should weigh?
ANSWER : A. There are many tools to determine overweight and obesity levels in pets. A new tool, morphometric measurements and body fat index, are available to accurately determine a pet’s ideal weight; this will allow an accurate determination of the amount of food a pet should receive to achieve weight loss. Feeding the correct amount will lead to greater weight loss success.

There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:

1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.

You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.

There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.

2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.

For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.

3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
http://bit.ly/1w1qqoy

4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.

5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.

Q. How do I know if my pet is overweight?
ANSWER : A. There are many ways to determine if your pet is overweight: breed standards, body condition score (BCS), body fat index (BFI), and morphometric measurements. These tools are used to determine how overweight a pet is, as well as to determine how much to feed to reach the pet’s ideal weight. Most weight loss programs fail because food dose calculations are based on inaccurate estimations of ideal body weight.

Current methods of estimating ideal body weight (body condition score/ guessing) are most likely to underestimate % body fat and therefore overestimate ideal weight, which leads to overfeeding. Pets are being overdosed on food because of inaccurate estimations of ideal body weight.

To determine body condition score it’s often helpful to have a scale from 1-5 to compare to: http://www.hillspet.com/weight-management/pet-weight-score.html. This scale is based on your ability to feel or see the ribs, the size of your dog or cat’s waist, and the appearance of the abdomen.

An overweight animal can be predisposed to several health conditions including high blood pressure, arthritis, endocrine disorders such as diabetes, and hypothyroidism. This is why it is important to determine an ideal weight for your pet and work hard to maintain a healthy weight.

Q. My cat is excessively scrstching herself., to the point she has sores. She is strictly an indoor cat. Did have flees been treated for 2 months
ANSWER : A. For every flea you see on your pet, there are 100 more in the environment. Get your pet on a good topical or oral flea control through your vet. In flea control, you get what you pay for. Consider asking your vet for a dose of Capstar. It helps get the problem under control by killing the fleas on the pet starting in five minutes but only lasts for 24 hours.

You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas you’ve vacuumed up.

Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.

If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.

You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.

Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.

Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your pet’s skin issues and treat accordingly.

In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.

Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.

If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.

Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.

If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.

Q. Frontline is not working on my dog, what should I use?
ANSWER : A. Frontline works best if it is given either three days before or three days after bathing your pet as it is absorbed through the skin. Frontline works on pets, but you will need to continually give treatment for up to three months before the environment and your pet are fully flea-free. Your pet can continue to get fleas from the environment as the eggs hatch and attempt to jump on your pet. Making sure to clean the area your pet is in, such as washing bedding and vacuuming carpeting (especially areas with cracks such as along the wall) can also accelerate flea removal. If your pet still has fleas and you want immediate relief, your vet can provide you with an oral medication such as capstar to kill fleas depending on when the last Frontline dose was given.

Pets can continue to itch for a while even after the fleas themselves are treated. Flea bites can cause an allergy, called flea allergy dermatitis, which can cause itching, scratching and redness on the skin. While many owners think this means fleas are still there, it could just be the skin healing from bites. An allergy medication and preventing your pet from scratching can provide relief during the healing process.

Read Full Q/A … : FAQ

Q. My pet eats too much. I need to know when and how much to feed him. Any advice?
ANSWER : A. If you feed your pet a commercial food, most food bags have a feeding guideline on the side to help you know how much to give. This is a good baseline and is usually based on your pet’s weight or age. Once you start with this amount, you can adjust the amount of food given as needed – if your pet seems to gobble his food and is losing weight or is more active, then increasing the amount is good. If your pet picks at his food or appears to be putting on the pounds, reducing the amount can help. The amount to give is usually best fed broken up into several smaller meals throughout the day rather than one big meal. For most adult animals, feeding once in the morning and once at night is enough. Smaller dogs or young animals may need a third meal mid-day as well. Switching out treats for healthier options may also help prevent overeating or weight gain. If you feel your pet cannot safely lose or gain weight on his own, then making an appointment with your vet can help!

Q. How do I know if I am losing my cat. She is 8 and weighs about 20lbs. She is having issues breathing and I don’t have any money to take her to the vet
ANSWER : A. Your cat really should be seen by a vet. Her weight may be the only thing causing her breathing problems, but without an exam, there’s no way to know for sure.

If you are in financial difficulty, there are ways of still getting your pet treated by a veterinarian. Ask if they take Care Credit and apply online. This is a credit card specifically for medical, dental, and veterinary expenses.

Call a local animal shelter or college of veterinary medicine in your area and ask if they have a low- or no-cost veterinary care program.

GiveForward and Youcaring.com are crowd funding websites that help you raise money to help take care of your pets

Harley’s Hope Foundation is an organization that ensures low income pet parents and their companion or service animals remain together when issues arise.

Many breed rescues and groups have specials funds available for owners who need financial assistance, such as the Special Needs Dobermans, Labrador Lifeline, and Pitbull Rescue Central.

Banfield Pet Hospital has its own programs for owners that can’t afford their pet’s care.

Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance (FVEAP) works with seniors, people with disabilities, people who

have lost their job, good Samaritans who rescue a cat or kitten who may need financial assistance to save a beloved companion.

The Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization that provides financial assistance to cat and kitten guardians who are unable to afford veterinary services to save their companions when life-threatening illness or injury strikes.

God’s Creatures Ministry helps pay for veterinarian bills for those who need help.

IMOM is dedicated to insure that no companion animal has to be euthanized simply because their caretaker

is financially challenged.

The Onyx & Breezy Foundation has many programs including helping people with medical bills. They are a good resource for information.

Brown Dog Foundation provides funding to families with a sick pet that would likely respond to treatment, but due to circumstances, there is not enough money immediately available to pay.

Some groups help with specific disease, such as Canine Cancer Awareness, The Magic Bullet Fund, Helping Harley Fund, and Muffin Diabetes Fund.

The Pet Fund and Redrover.org are great sources for help to care for your pet.

The Humane Society website has many links to other organizations that help with veterinary expenses.

Read Full Q/A … : Vetinfo

Q. How much should I feed my cat?
ANSWER : A. How much a cat should eat depends on many variables including his activity level, metabolic rate and the food you are offering. Use the feeding guide on the cat food label as a starting point. These instructions usually read something like, “for cats weighing 5 lbs, feed between 1/2 and 3/4 cup per day; for cat’s weighing 10 lbs, feed between 3/4 and 1 cup per day; and for cats weighing 15 lbs, feed between 1 cup and 1 1/2 cups per day”.

Use your cat’s body condition to fine tune the amount you offer. For example, if he is overweight offer an amount on the low end of the recommended range and reevaluate in a few weeks to a month. Your veterinarian can also help you determine how much of a particular food you should be offering.

Q. Eye discharge, occasional sneezing. Need over the counter solution. Cannot afford vet. Roughly 3 months old, 3lb
ANSWER : A. If you are in financial difficulty, there are ways of still getting your pet treated by a veterinarian. Ask if they take Care Credit and apply online. This is a credit card specifically for medical, dental, and veterinary expenses.

Call a local animal shelter and ask if they have a low-cost pet clinic that works with people with limited incomes or call a college of veterinary medicine in your area and ask about a low- or no-cost veterinary care program.

GiveForward and Youcaring.com are crowd funding websites that help you raise money to help take care of your pets

Harley’s Hope Foundation is an organization that ensures low income pet parents and their companion or service animals remain together when issues arise.

Many breed rescues and groups have specials funds available for owners who need financial assistance, such as the Special Needs Dobermans, Labrador Lifeline, and Pitbull Rescue Central.

Banfield Pet Hospital has its own programs for owners that can’t afford their pet’s care.

The Onyx & Breezy Foundation has many programs including helping people with medical bills. They are a good resource for information.

Brown Dog Foundation provides funding to families with a sick pet that would likely respond to treatment, but due to circumstances, there is not enough money immediately available to pay.

Some groups help with specific disease, such as Canine Cancer Awareness, The Magic Bullet Fund, Helping Harley Fund, and Muffin Diabetes Fund.

The Pet Fund and Redrover.org are great sources for help to care for your pet.

The Humane Society website has many links to other organizations that help with veterinary expenses.

Read Full Q/A … : Vetinfo