If you can’t feel your dog’s rib cage, it is overweight.
On National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, October 9, it is a good idea to check your pet’s weight and make sure it’s healthy.
You can tell if your pet is overweight by feeling around its ribs and spine. It should be easy to feel both, with only a thin layer of fat covering them.
You can ask your veterinarian to evaluate the optimal weight for your pet, and if its weight is 15 percent above, it is obese, according to Webmd.com. If it’s difficult to get your dog or cat onto a scale at home, you can hold your pet and step on the scale; then step on the scale without your pet. The difference in weight will give you your pet’s weight.
An average domestic cat should weigh 8 to 10 pounds.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) translates pet weight into human equivalents:
A 12 pound Yorkie is the same as an average female weighing 218 pounds.
A 14 pound cat is equivalent to a 237 pound man.
A 90 pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186-pound 5-foot-4 female or a 217-pound 5-foot-9 male.
APOP provides a conversion for some other breeds on its website: Pet weight translator.
The organization’s founder and president Dr. Ernie Ward said in a press release: “As a veterinarian I’m always looking for ways to demonstrate how serious even a few extra pounds on a pet can be. These tables and calculations put pet weights in human terms, making it easier to understand.
“For example, if I tell a client their female Lab is 20 pounds overweight, that doesn’t sound too bad. Owners think ‘It’s a big dog.’ If I tell them it’s the same as them weighing almost 190 pounds, suddenly the light bulb goes on. ‘My dog is fat.’”
Webmd lists some dog breeds prone to obesity:
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Bernese Mountain Dogs
*Image via Shutterstock