What it is: Excess body weight, as with humans, can have serious and long-term effects on a pet’s health, including orthopedic problems, like joint pain.
Whom it affects: Cats and dogs. Certain breeds of dogs, such as Labradors, are especially prone to obesity.
Things to look for: You should be able to feel, but not see, the backbone and the ribs of a healthy animal. (If you see the backbone and the ribs, the animal might be underweight.) Your pet should also appear wider through the chest than the abdomen when looked at from above. When observed from the side, the chest should be deeper than the abdomen.
Treatment: Talk to your vet about caloric requirements and food that is appropriate for the animal’s lifestyle, age, and body condition. Adopt a new feeding plan and increase exercise.
Prevention: Consider your pet’s diet as important as your own. Be sure he gets plenty of exercise and eats healthy, balanced meals. Don’t dole out snacks or table food.