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Obesity of domestic animals is very common and occurs gradually.

We all remember the filiform look of our little ball of hair when it arrived at home, but unfortunately, it has expanded with the years. What happened? Never mind! It is possible to change certain lifestyle habits and improve the health of all!!


Basic Notions

WHO (World Health Organization) defines obesity as “an excess of fat leading to adverse health consequences”. This definition is applicable to dogs and cats.


Assess the Rate of Overweight or Obesity 

For pets, body index (BI) is determined by observation and palpation of the animal. The most commonly used BI scale is the 5-point scale:: 

  1. Lean (20% below optimal weight)
  2. Thin (10 to 20% below the optimal weight)
  3. Optimal weight
  4. Fat (10 to 20% above the optimal weight)
  5. Obese (over 20% above the optimal weight)

Other interesting IC scales are
Purina Dog and Cat Fitness Systems:














Consequences of obesity

Some genetic and medical predispositions affect obesity. The important thing to remember is that an obese animal will have at least one long-term disease caused by obesity whether cardiovascular, osteoarticular or hormonal (diabetes, especially in cats).

Take the Right Ways

Constant weight loss is ideal. The goal to achieve is a weight loss of 2% per week. You will then have to weigh your pet every week and archive its progress.

Start by making sure your pet’s diet is high quality protein and fibre. Indeed, proteins have an important role on satiety and on muscles. Avoid high-fat table foods and rewards.

Feed your pet with daily servings measured at its ideal weight to avoid overeating and distribute it in three or four meals a day to avoid hunger. Also, if you work all day, use food distributors who physically and mentally work your pet during your absence.

Also, your pet must exercise. For the dog, a walk adapted to his age and his physical condition. One or two hours a day is a great way for you and your dog to maintain optimal weight and a great opportunity to bond with them while enjoying the great outdoors.

For cats, exercise is a little more complicated because our houses are not necessarily adapted to their needs. The kibble dispenser is an ideal tool, but it must be accompanied by toys that promote physical activity. For indoor cats, it is recommended to adapt their space with game bridges and/or an outdoor enclosure. Free cats outside have a head start. However, be aware that they are more exposed to inclement weather, predator attacks and road accidents.

Finally, let’s not forget the emotional psychological balance through mental stimulation or enrichment, in the process of weight loss of our animal. Allowing his dog to sniff the scent of his fellows during his walk, giving him safe chewing toys and other enrichment tools (Snuffle Mat, Akiou Bol, etc.) are just some of the ways to stimulate his mind. For the cat, toys and obstacle games can increase his happiness.

Remember that many veterinary clinics offer a free weight loss program for pets.

Good luck to you and your animals!

@ Martine Lavallée B.A.A. et technicienne en santé animale

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