How To Tell If Your Dog Or Cat Is Overweight

According to a new study from Banfield Pet Hospital, 1 in 3 of our pets are now obese. Thanks to a combination of things like overfeeding, too many treats, and not enough exercise, our precious pets are looking a little pudgy.

And obesity in our dogs and cats is no joke because too much weight can lead to diseases and other health problems. That's why we want to keep our pets as svelte and healthy as possible.

One of the major factors in pet obesity is that we're getting used to chubby pets. We see them more often, and we think they're cute, so we don't consider them overweight. Luckily, there is a simple, visual breakdown for how to tell if your pet is overweight, healthy, or underweight.

Very Underweight

How can you tell if your dog or cat is too thin? Look to their ribcage. If your pet is very underweight, i.e. 20 percent under their ideal weight, they will look pretty frail. If you can visibly see their ribs and/or spine, then they probably need to eat a bit more.


At about 10-20 percent under their ideal weight, you'll be able to see your pet's ribs easily. This is still a little too thin, and your pet might need to chow down a little more.


A healthy body type is exactly what you want to see in your furry BFF. If your pet is healthy, you won't be able to see their ribs. BUT you should be able to easily feel their ribs when you pet them. Also, both in dogs and cats, you want to see a clearly defined waist from either a side or overhead view. If your pet looks like this, that means they're probably getting the right amount of nutrition.


What's the clearest sign that your dog or cat is overweight? Their waist will be the first thing to give them away. As with humans, a growing waistline is a sign your pet might be packing on too many pounds. Overweight is defined as 10 percent above a pet's ideal bodyweight. Their waist will be much less clear, and their ribs can't be easily felt.


Anything more than 20 percent over their ideal bodyweight means your pet might officially be obese. An obese pet's waist is pretty much entirely absent. As you can see from these examples, their shape will become very round. This is a sign that your pet needs to lose a few, for their health.

Fat Helga and the Coffee
credit: quinntheislander/iStock/GettyImages

There are plenty of reasons why your pet might've become overweight, and there are lots of simple changes you can make to help them get back to a healthy weight. Because at the end of the day, we want our pets to be as happy and healthy as they can be.

Are you interested in learning more about what you're reading? Then scroll through this article about 10 dog breeds with the most expensive veterinary bills. Also, like us on Facebook and join our newsletter to learn more about your pet's behavior.