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  • Writer's pictureIN STRIDE

Is my pet overweight?

Obesity is an epidemic. This month, I want to talk about how you can identify obesity in your pet. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is one of the easiest ways to prevent future or current joint pain.⁠

The hand method⁠

For pet owners, I like the hand method. Run your hands over your pets ribcage and ask yourself:⁠

1. Does this feel like my knuckles if I had a tightly curled fist, with the bones prominent and easily felt? Your pet might be underweight.⁠

2. Does this feel like the back of my knuckles with my fingers extended, easy to feel each individual knuckle? Your pet is likely at an ideal weight.⁠

3. Does this feel like the base of my knuckles at the palm with my fingers extended, somewhat fleshy, but can find bones with added pressure? Your pet may be slightly overweight.⁠

4. Does this feel like the base of my thumb, close to the wrist where I cannot feel any bones? Your pet is overweight.⁠

The abdominal tuck

I think it's easier for humans to know if they are overweight because we develop a squishy "beer belly"⁠

Dogs don't have that.⁠

Dogs are supposed to have a broad chest that tapers down into a narrow slim waist. They should NOT have a straight line from their sternum to their back legs. ⁠

If your pet does not have a tummy tuck in some shape or fashion, this could be a sign of excess weight

Top down waist

Does your dog have a waist when looking top down?⁠

A pet should have a natural contour as the ribs taper off and then tie into the hips⁠

Not enough contour or a straight line from edge of ribs to hip is a sign your pet might be carrying around some extra weight.⁠

Cresty neck

Did you know horses carry extra weight in their neck?⁠

A more curvaceous crest can be indicative that your horse is carrying excess weight.⁠

Do note: this indicator should be taken with a grain of salt.⁠

Certain breeds of horses are known to have more prominent crests (welsh cobs, Shetland ponies)⁠

Squishy tail head

Lumps and bumps oh my!⁠

A horse's hindquarters should be firm, not squishy. If your horse has extra give around the tail head, this could be a sign that they are carrying extra weight.⁠

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