The number of overweight and obese pets is steadily increasing worldwide. In most cases, obesity affects a pet’s quality of life and can lead to a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions. To keep your pet healthy and happy, you should pay special attention to his/her physical condition and body weight with the Body Condition Score.
Whereas for people there seems to be a clear definition … for pet that’s sometimes arbitrary. The Body Condition Score (BCS), here presented, it is what vets regard as the best way to evaluate a pet’s weight.
Body Condition Score for your dog
Realizing that your pet is overnourished or corpulent, it is necessary to take the first step to make his life better. This is the same thing that happened to Dachshund Fat Vincent, who lost half his body weight with an activity tracker.
Vincent had high cholesterol and had an increased risk of developing diabetes, cancer, paralysis and kidney disease. After losing more than half his body weight, this adorable Dachshund was no longer known Fat Vincent, but Skinny Vinny. Read more about Skinny Vinny.
Body Condition Score for your cat
Why is my pet overweight?
There could be many reasons why your pet is overweight. Here are some of the most common reasons:
#1 Breed predisposition
Certain breeds have shown predisposition to obesity, particularly:
- Cocker spaniel
- Cairn terrier
- Labrador retriever
- Golden retriever
On the contrary, some breeds, like Greyhounds and Whippets, appear to be resistant to the development of overweight and obesity.
Some cat breeds are also over-represented with overweight and obesity, including:
- Shorthairs (British, American)
#2 Pet parents
People with high prevalence of overweight and obesity may have an inaccurate perception of what constitutes a normal body shape. A recent study showed that obese pets were about twice as likely to have obese owners as non-obese pets. This misperception of an obese pet’s BCS is a major obstacle in weight management and can be quite dangerous for them.
As pets are getting older the daily energy level decreases. The energy needs of an average-sized 7-year-old dog may decrease by as much as 20% compared against its needs as a young adult. If the amount of food, however, stays the same, the pet will gain weight quickly.
Obesity can also be caused by neutering because the sex hormones control the appetite and the metabolic of the pets. If the influence of the sex hormones disappear after the neutering, an excessive appetite with a reduced energy demand is the result. Neutering might also change the feeding pattern of a pet.
Nutrition can also contribute to excessive weight gain in pets.
The number of
- meals and snacks, and
- the consumption of table scraps
could cause your pet to gain weight.
A study showed that obsese pets are more likely to be fed with low quality food. So don’t just look at the price – look at the quality!