6-9 March 2025, The NEC Birmingham

Managing your pet's weight

Dog running on the beach

If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, you’ll know all too well how easy it is to put on a few extra pounds now and again. The same goes for your pet. We all want our pets to be healthy, and sometimes eating too much, eating the wrong things or being inactive can lead to weight gain.  

Weight gain isn’t just about appearances and energy levels, it can lead to serious health issues such as joint problems, diabetes, arthritis, as well as liver and heart disease. So, what can you do to keep your pet at a healthy weight? Here are some useful tips: 

Portion control

When you dish up meals for your pet each day, it’s important to be consistent in terms of portion sizes. Make sure you measure their food (or better still, weight it out), so you know they’re getting the right amount of calories for their size and activity level. Regular vet visits will allow you to monitor their weight, and if you’ve been measuring their portion sizes, you can keep tabs on whether they need to increase or decrease.   

Your best friend deserves high-quality food 

When it comes to selecting pet food, make sure that you choose one that is low in calories and high in nutrients, to help your pet stay at their ideal weight.  

Keep your pet active

Regular exercise is another key ingredient to helping your pet maintain a healthy weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of daily exercise with your dog. And if you have a cat, keep them on their ‘paws’ with regular playtime and interactive toys.

Go easy on the treats 

Yes, your pet looks adorable, and it can be very tempting to shower them in treats. But be mindful of how many calories are in the treats you’re handing out. Treat your pet in moderation and if you’ve been generous that day, reduce the calories you give them for their next meal.

See your vet regularly

Regular visits to the vet are a good way to monitor your pet's weight and they can also identify any potential health issues early.

How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

Sometimes despite our best intentions, our pets can gain weight, and if we don’t know what is causing this, or what signs to watch out for, it can snowball. Seeing your pet every day can make it surprisingly difficult for owners to sometimes notice when their pet is gaining weight. Some signs of obesity in cats include a sagging belly, difficulty grooming, and a lack of interest in playing or jumping. Signs of obesity in dogs include a lack of energy, laboured breathing, and difficulty moving around.

If you think your pet may be overweight, speak to your vet to come up with a weight loss plan tailored to your pet's needs. Crash dieting or sudden changes to your pet's diet can be dangerous and can lead to other health problems. Slow, gradual weight loss is the safest approach.