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Hi, my name is Dr. Ashley Gallagher and I work at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C. Today I’m going to be talking to you about overweight pets.


Have you ever wondered if your pet is overweight? Well, according to a recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention, more than half of our dogs and cats can be classified as overweight or obese.


Even worse, these overweight dogs and cats are prone to a variety of health issues, including arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.


So how can you tell if Fido or Fluffy can stand to lose some weight?


First, bring your pet to a veterinarian. He or she is best qualified to determine your pet’s body condition as well as how to get an overweight or obese animal back on the right track. Often this includes adding regular exercise into the routine and changing the diet to something that better suits your pet’s life stage and lifestyle.


There are also ways to gauge your pet’s body condition in between vet visits right at home. Try standing above your dog or cat while looking down. If you can’t see your pet’s ribs or feel them while placing your hands on the side of their chest, they are probably overweight.


petMD’s Healthy Weight Calculator is another tool that can help determine your dog or cat’s body condition. Just enter your pet’s breed, age and weight, and learn if something may be wrong.


If you do suspect something is amiss, better to get your dog or cat to the vet straight away rather than wait until the problem gets worse.


You’d be surprised to hear how many people don’t believe me or think I’m exaggerating when I tell them their dog or cat is overweight. But in the end we all want what’s best for our pets – a happy and healthy life.


For more information on pet nutrition, visit petMD.com.