Tampa Animal and Bird Hospital

Tampa Vet | Veterinarian & Animal Clinic

Site Menu & Locations

Pet Weight Conditions

How can I help my pet lose weight?

Weight problems are common in cats and dogs, and can be successfully managed through changes in food or a nutrition program.  Combining a change in nutrition with increased exercise is the most effective way of achieving a healthy weight.

Exercise tips for cats

  • Encourage your cat to follow you when you move from room to room, particularly up and down stairs.
  • Use toys to encourage your cat to play, or hide food to make him or her “hunt for it”.
  • Shine a flashlight on walls or floors for your cats to chase.

Exercise tips for dogs

  • Enjoy regular walks with your dog – walking at a constant pace will help burn calories.
  • Encourage play in the yard and in the home.
  • Toss a frisbee or a ball, or play a retrieval game.

What causes weight gain?

Weight gain is a result of an increase in body fat.  This is usually caused by eating too much, especially when combined with lack of exercise.  But there can be other contributing factors too.

Age Older pets are less active, have less energy, and require fewer calories.
Breed Some breeds are more likely to gain weight.  These include Labrador Retrievers, Cocker and King Charles Spaniels and mixed breed cats.
Neutering/spaying Clinical studies have shown that the basic metabolism of neutered pets is lower.  Neutered pets actually require fewer calories.
Medical problems Very occasionally weight gain is associated with a medical disorder that may require specific treatment.

Is my pet overweight?

All pets have an ideal weight for their size and breed.  Your veterinarian will be able to tell you what this is, and show you how to check that your pet is maintaining a healthy weight.

If you pet is overweight, you may notice some of the following signs:

  • Ribs cannot be easily be felt when running your hand alongside your pet’s side.
  • Loss of an obvious waist
  • Collar needs loosening
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Slow movement
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bad temper
  • Sleeping more than usual.

Click here to view our Hill’s Prescription Diet® video library.