Like humans, pets can pile on the pounds. According to pet charity PDSA, up to three-quarters of animals seen by vet staff are overweight, which can cause serious weight-related health problems. Too many treats and not enough exercise are usually to blame.

‘Many owners have an unrealistic perception of their pet’ size and shape,’ says PDSA Senior Veterinary Surgeon, Sean Wensley, who suggests these tips:

·  Get into the habit of checking your dog’s shape. Look from the side and above and check you can see a waist.

·  Feel your dog – this is especially important for long-haired breeds. Run your hands over your dog’s side, back and hipbones. You should be able to feel the bones quite easily under the skin.

·  Check the base of your dog’s tail for a build-up of fat.

·  Feel under your dog’s tummy. It should go in, not bulge out.

·  Check your cat has a tucked in waist and no fat pad at the base of the tail or between the back legs.

·  You should be able to feel but not see cats’ and rabbits’ spine and ribs.

·  Check your rabbit doesn’t have a bulging dewlap under the chin.

For a free copy of the PDSA’s Healthy Shape leaflet call 0800 731 2502 or visit to watch healthy shape petcasts.


Extract from House Beautiful June 2009 

Related article:  Portly Puss

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