How to Tell If Your Pet Is Overweight — and How to Put Him/Her on a Diet

95 percent of owners don’t realize that Fido or Fluffy is carrying too many pounds

A lot of the strategies to help pets lose weight also apply to humans. 

There’s an obesity crisis in America: a pet obesity crisis, that is. Based on a 2014 national survey, 58 percent of cats and 52 percent of dogs were found to be overweight or obese. A plump pet might be cute and snuggly, but the extra pounds can be a detriment to its health, leading to diet-related illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, and kidney failure. A poor diet can take as much as two and a half years off a pet’s life.  

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Many factors that contribute to a pet’s weight gain, such as hormones, genetic makeup, and metabolic rate, are outside the owner’s control. Also, some breeds of pets, like Labradors and golden retrievers, are naturally more prone to weight gain. That said, owners are still responsible for many choices that directly impact the health and weigh of their pets, such as enabling them to live a sedentary lifestyle, giving them too many snacks, or feeding them a diet of calorie-rich foods.


Unfortunately, many owners fail to recognize that their pet has a weight problem due to either denial or lack of awareness. This article provides owners with physical signs to look for to determine if your cat or dog is overweight and offers diet suggestions to correct it.