10 ways to help your pet lose weight

1st February 2018

A worrying 1 in 3 pets in the UK are now obese, and according to a study by the British Veterinary Association (BVA), around 45% of pets are overweight. As in humans, obesity causes serious health issues for all animals. Did you know it could lead to numerous life-long and life-threatening illnesses such as;

  • arthritis
  • diabetes
  • kidney failure
  • heart disease
  • respiratory disease
  • hepatic lipidosis
  • high blood pressure
  • cystitis
  • cancer

Why are animals becoming overweight?

Some of the common reasons pet owners give for their pet putting on too much weight are;

  • Not following feeding guideline – many feel that the information put onto pet food packaging can be confusing. We’d also agree that the guidelines can often be so broad that they don’t take into account other factors such as age, levels of activity and breed.
  • Too many treats and snacks – most of us are guilty of this. We love our pets, and we love to give them treats, but all those calorie rich treats are not ideal
  • Lack of exercise – life is busy and it’s hard to find time to take exercise. Many dogs are only walked at weekends as their owners find it difficult to spare the time during the working week.
  • Large food portions – do you know how much you’re feeding? Are you aware of how many calories you’re providing?
  • Human foods - many owners also give their pets human food as a treat, but did you know that one human biscuit could equate to a whole packet when fed to a small dog due to their smaller body size.


How do you know if your pet is overweight?

Use the Body Condition Score chart

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has produced two excellent posters to explain and measure body condition. You can visit their website and view their guides from these links;

Cat Body Condition Score>

Dog Body Condition Score>


10 tips you can use to help your pet lose weight

  1. Ask us for help – before you start your pet on a weight loss programme please speak to us for some help and advice. At Bollington Veterinary Centre our nurses and vets are very experienced at helping with this problem.
  2. Weigh your pet – slimming groups work best for humans because people are regularly weighed. It’s the same for our pets and will help you keep track of their progress. You can always drop into our surgery and use our accurate animal scales.
  3. Measure portions – it’s too easy to put food into bowls without measuring. It’s better to weigh the food or use a cup with a measured mark. At Bollington Veterinary Centre we’re willing to help you work out the correct quantity to feed. All you need to do is ask.
  4. Keep a food diary – keep track of everything you (and the family) are feeding. Don’t forget to record treats and scraps.
  5. Feed a low calorie diet – there are numerous good quality dog and cat foods that have been formulated for overweight pets. Our nursing team will be able to recommend something to suit your pet.
  6. No sneaky extras – if you’ve got a cat, are you sure your neighbours aren’t feeding your pet as well? It might be worth asking around or adding a “don’t feed me” tag to their collar.
  7. Avoid human food – just say no to scraps. The extra calories will be hidden and unnecessary.
  8. Slow down – some animals eat their food so fast that they don’t realise they’ve been fed. You can help your dog or cat to eat more slowly by using a slow feeder bowl. Ask us for more information.
  9. Do more exercise – increasing exercise is an essential part of keeping your pets weight under control. Most cats love to chase a string or laser pointer around, whilst dogs just need walking or chasing balls.
  10. Weight loss takes time – you have to be patient when trying to get you pet to lose weight. The safe rate of weight loss for dogs and cats is approximately 1-2% of their bodyweight per week. Make an appointment to speak to a vet or one of our nutritional advisors to make a plan. We can discuss diets and weight loss requirements in detail.


Make a weight management appointment >

Call us on 01625 573375