Pet obesity

Is your pet at risk?

Did you know

Over 40% of dogs and over 30% of cats in New Zealand are at least 10% over their ideal weight, classing them as overweight or obese*? Being a healthy weight is important to the overall health of your fur friend. 

We have listed some points below so you can determine if your pet may be obese. If you answer yes to any of the below questions your pet may be at risk of obesity we would highly recommend you talk to your vet about a weight management program.

  • Is it difficult to feel their individual ribs?
  • Do they have little or no defined waist?
  • Are they feed table scraps such as the crusts off your toast or left overs?
  • Do they refuse to or are they disinterested in exercise and play?
  • Will they keep eating until all food is gone or regularly steal other pet’s food?

If you’d like to learn more about pet obesity and ways to keep your pet healthy, check out below.  


Just as it can do in humans, weight gain can creep up on your pet; particularly in cats who can be ultra sneaky in pretending that they haven’t already had their morning feed.

The main reasons for an excessive weight gain in pets are; excessive amounts of food given daily, excessive treats or low exercise levels. Due to pets small size only a small increase in food can tip their calorie intake over the balance and can result in weight gain.

Your pet can also be at additional risk as they age, as their metabolic rate and exercise levels usually decrease, and certain breeds are also more predisposed to weight gain (such as Labradors), as are pets which have been neutered.  

Health risks

  • Shortened life span
  • Increased risk of joint and mobility difficulties
  • Skin conditions and lower resistance to infections
  • Greater risk to complications during surgery
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Higher risk or neurological, respiratory or reproductive disorders  


If you have concerns for your pet, we highly recommend visiting your local vet clinic, however we also have some tips below.

Helping your pet lose weight is a slow process that requires a long term commitment and lifestyle changes. It can take two months to see a difference in a pet’s weight so it is important to set long term goals and have a weigh-in every two weeks to keep on track.

Changing behaviours will play a big role in ensuring your pet lives a healthier lifestyle long-term. Try supplementing food treat rewards as with showing affection with something they enjoy e.g. a 5 minute session of playing, brushing or patting.

To help manage their weight you should have your pet on a low calorie and high fibre diet; your vet will be able to recommend the right food for your pet’s specific needs. A regular feed twice a day is recommended, with the specific amounts of food per feed for your pet’s weight (note; a lot of food packs provide a daily requirement). We also recommend that your engage your pet in active play for at least 10 minutes twice a day and make sure your pooch doesn’t miss their daily walk.

Ensuring you have the right weight-management plan for your pet is critical to maintaining a healthy weight for your pet and the health benefits are invaluable to their over all health and well being. If you have any concerns or questions be sure to contact your local vet clinic for advice.