Weight Management in Cats & Dogs

Weight of a dog or a cat depends on several factors including his sex, age, breed, lineage, exercise regime, food habits, pure or mixed breed, and medical conditions.  Feeding a high-quality diet, restricting caloric intake (including treats and human food) and increasing activity are the most successful methods for weight management in dogs and cats.

One can refer to the weight scale calculator to understand their cat’s or dog’s ideal weight. Generally, a variation of 15% is considered from the ideal weight is considered to be healthy. But a healthy weight isn’t simply a number on a scale; it’s about a healthy body composition. 

A simple rule of thumb as advised by most veterinarians is to feel around your pet’s ribs and spine. If you can feel only a thin layer of fat separating the skin and the bone, the cat/dog is healthy else if the feeling of ribs give a sharp touch and are distinctly visible, then cat/dog is underweight or else if you feel a thick layer of fat, then he is overweight. One can also refer to the chart below to calculate his Body Condition Score (BCS) and understand whether or not his dog/cat is underweight or overweight.

BCS depends on 4 factors-how easily one can feel the pet’s ribs, how obvious the waist and abdominal tuck is, how much excess fat is beneath the skin, and how much muscle mass is present. Higher the BCS, the fatter and less healthy the pet is. A too-thin dog/cat can also be unhealthy. 

To understand the overall health status of your cat/dog and their unique weight management needs, it is important to consult a veterinarian.  Your veterinarian can also teach you to assess your pet’s body condition by observing his body shape and feeling certain parts of his body.  Based on that, they can guide you for his ideal food, portion size, and exercise routine. Healthy pets are happier, more agile, and tend to live longer. While 60% of the indoor cats/dogs are considered to be overweight or obese, several cats/dogs do also suffer from being underweight. 

Read more about weight management of your dog or cat if he is Underweight or Overweight here.