Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
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.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

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

How Fat is Too Fat? According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, pets that are 10-20% over their ideal body weight are considered overweight, while pets 20% and over are considered obese.
Dogs that are overweight will generally have no visible waistline and no distinction between the chest and stomach when viewed side-on.
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.
It`s mainly caused by eating too much or not exercising enough, although some diseases can also cause obesity. To help prevent obesity in your pet, make sure they maintain a healthy diet and give them plenty of exercise. If you`re concerned about your pet`s weight, contact your local vet.
Updated October 14, 2022 – There`s a weight problem in America and it isn`t just affecting humans. Recent statistics classify the majority of pets in the United States – about 56% of dogs and 60% of cats— as overweight or obese.
Orangutans are not as powerfully built as the gorilla but are larger than the chimpanzee. The adult male is typically twice the size of the female and may attain a height of 1.3 metres (4.3 feet) and a weight of 130 kg (285 pounds) in the wild; females weigh 37 kg (82 pounds) or less.
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).
One super simple guideline to determine your dog`s body condition: If you can clearly see all their ribs, they`re too lean. If you can easily feel, but not see their ribs, they`re at ideal body condition. If you can`t feel their ribs due to a layer of fat, they are too heavy.
One pound equals 0.4535924 kilograms, so a 50-pound dog weighs 22.68 kilograms. (Plurals are not used in metric abbreviations, so that dog would be 50 lbs and 22.68 kg.) Many clinics use metric everywhere, except in client discussions.
A healthy weight loss is between one to five pounds per month based on your dog`s size and current condition. Some dogs may need to go slower while others may shed the pounds more quickly. For most dogs, the secret to weight loss is a dedicated, committed, and concerned family.
Dogs should eat at least two meals each day, about 12 hours apart. But a breakfast, lunch, and dinner schedule is an equally great option. If more than 12 hours elapses between meals, the stomach can become hyperacidic causing nausea.
For many breeds, an hour of exercise a day is a good target. If your dog needs to lose weight, try to increase the amount of exercise they currently do. So, if that`s none, or barely any, start with short intervals of walking. If you`re already exercising, try lengthening your walk or other activity by at 10-20%.
Just like people, diet and exercise help an obese dog lose weight. If your pup is not exercising every day, try going for extra walks and playing games like fetch together. Begin slowly if she`s uncomfortable or gets tired easily, and work up to several sessions of activity every day.
The reason older dogs tend to become obese is not only because their energy level and activity decrease, but also because their general caloric needs shift. When humans age, our metabolism slows down and we need less food to maintain a consistent weight. It`s the same with dogs.
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.
Sadly, many cruelty and neglect cases result in emaciated animals. However, abuse also occurs when an owner over-feeds an animal to the point of obesity. This is a real occurrence that veterinarians, animal shelters, and rescue groups sadly see when working in the animal welfare field.
A few extra pounds on your pup can have serious health implications, putting your dog at risk of experiencing a wide range of diseases and conditions, including a reduced life expectancy. Added weight can also impact your dog`s quality of life by affecting his mobility, energy for play, and overall mood.
Some dogs naturally come with this particular head-to-body ratio, but for others, it`s often man-made. Yes. Some dogs are overweight. Peter Sandøe, professor of bioethics at the University of Copenhagen, estimates that about one third of companion dogs in developed countries are overweight.
Growing up to 3 metres long and weighing over 400kg, Dugongs are fluke-tailed relatives of the manatee.
Free Feeding, Preferred by Dogs 100% Of the Time

Too much food can mean extra weight, which adds stress to joints and the heart. If you opt for free feeding, make sure you are only putting a healthy amount of food in the bowl (ask us about the best nutrition options for your pets).

Normally, your dog`s belly should feel soft to the touch. While it`s not healthy for dogs to have too much fat on their abdomen, their bellies shouldn`t feel hard either. If your dog`s stomach is hard, that could mean they have a serious stomach problem, such as GDV, peritonitis, or Cushing`s disease.
Key Takeaway: Common reasons for which a dog may twitch when touched on the back include muscle spasms, abuse response, skin irritation, injury, and nervousness. If the twitching is in combination with foaming at the mouth, passing a bowel movement, vomiting, or urinating, then get to the vet as soon as possible.
Dogs lean on people because they want to be close to them. Whilst small dogs can be picked up and cuddled, bigger dogs do what they can to get close like leaning on you with all their weight.” Leaning is a completely harmless behavior in dogs as it is usually a sign of comfort and love.

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

Q. Need help, we have done flea bath ,sprayed the house and used charts ultra guard pro and still have fleas .how can we get rid of them
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.