COLUMN: Helping your pets stay a healthy weight

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Last year, a poll was carried out to determine what the most common new year resolutions were — and one which popped up a lot was losing weight.

After all the turkey sandwiches have been eaten, thoughts linger towards how much weight we’ve gained over the festive season — and how to keep it off.

In this survey (conducted by ComRes, January 2017) 33 per cent of people said they intended to shed the pounds in the new year.

But it’s not just humans who are overweight, many pets are too.

And this can have serious implications on your pet’s health, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Recent studies have suggest that around 40 per cent of cats and 40 per cent of dogs are overweight or have obesity.

Obesity can affect all types of pet, with the main cause being eating too much or not exercising enough, although some diseases can cause obesity too.

It is always best to ask your vet to weigh your pet if you are worried, but as a rough guide for dogs and cats you should be able to see and feel the outline of their ribs without excess fat covering them.

Other tips are that you should be able to see and feel their waist and it should be clearly visible when viewed from above.

But the good news is that there are simple steps you can take to check that your pets are the right weight and to keep them happy and healthy.

Firstly, always make sure your pet is getting plenty of exercise. How much this is depends on the age, health and type of your pet.

Dogs should be going out for a walks at least once per day, unless your vet has recommended otherwise.

Following feeding instructions on packets of food are also important and weigh out the correct amount of food.

If you are concerned about your pet’s weight your vet may be able to advise you on special diets to help them lose weight.

The main things to remember when trying to help your pet lose a bit of weight are that establishing a regular daily exercise plan with walks and different activities such as play can help prevent obesity as well as food portion and treat control.

We have more information on our website about obesity in pets, so do check it out if you are concerned, at

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit our website.