Pet Obesity

Is Your Pet Packing on the Pounds?
In 2018, it was estimated by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention that 60% of cats and 58% of dogs are overweight or obese in the United States. We likely see similar numbers here in Canada as well. Unfortunately, excess body fat can lead to a variety of health issues for pets. Pets that are overweight have a higher risk of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Studies have even shown that overweight pets are seen as less happy (lower quality of life) and don’t live as long as pets kept at a healthy weight.

How Can I Tell If My Pet Is Overweight?
In the clinic, we commonly use a Body Condition Score chart. We use this chart to get an idea on if your pet is underweight, at a healthy weight, or overweight. It would be similar to the Body Mass Index system used in your physician’s office. Feel free to use this chart to try to assess your own dog or cat’s body condition at home! You can use the images to see where your pet’s shape falls compared to the goal of a body condition score of 5 out of 9.

Step 1: The Ribs. You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs with minimal pressure easily, but you don’t want to see them sticking out. Below is a great graphic to show how to determine if your pet’s ribs are easy to feel or hard to feel.

Pet body condition score diagram
(Photo Source: https://www.vettimes.co.uk/article/diabetes-mellitus-educating-owners-on-spotting-signs-and-managing-treatment/)
(Click the photo to make it larger)

Step 2: The Waist. You want to be able to see an ‘hourglass figure’ when you look at your pet’s waist from above. You should be able to see where their ribcage ends and where their hips begin.

Step 3: The Tuck. When looking at your pet from the side, you should see their belly slope up from where their ribcage ends to where their pelvis begins. It is called an abdominal tuck.

How can I get my pet into tip-top shape?
Come and talk to the veterinarians and staff in the clinic, and we can help develop a weight loss plan tailored to your pet. First, we will check to see how many calories your pet should be eating based on their weight, age, and body condition score. Then we may recommend some changes to help your pet shed any extra pounds.

Diet – If your pet is overweight or obese, a weight loss diet may be the best option to help them to shed those extra pounds. Weight-loss diets are specifically made to have lower calories but still provide your pet with all of the nutrients they need. These diets are sold just in veterinary clinics, to ensure that your pets weight loss is safe and monitored by a veterinarian.

Exercise – Both dogs and cats can benefit from more exercise! Start slowly trying to take your dog for longer walks or use toys to play with your cat. You can also use a treat ball, puzzle feeders, or an empty egg carton to feed their meals in so that they have to work harder to get their food.

Limit Treats – While treats are great ways to reward your pet and show affection, they can be an added source of calories! Try to buy low-calorie treats from the pet store, use your pet’s kibble as a treat, or use vegetables like baby carrots as a healthy snack. Remember – everything in moderation!

If you have any questions about your pet’s weight, give us a call at (519) 893 – 1360. We’re happy to help you make sure your pet has a longer, healthier, and happier life with you!

Additional Resources:
Association for Pet Obesity Prevention
For more information about pet nutrition, check out the PetFoodology Blog by Tufts University

Written by: Amanda S, Veterinary Student



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Last updated: January 5, 2022

Dear Clients,


At Manitou Animal Hospital our primary goal is to care for your beloved pets. By extension, this means keeping you as a pet parent healthy as well. Many of you have already recently visited the hospital and have personally experienced the additional safety procedures we have put in place to ensure the well-being of you and your pets using our “closed waiting room” policy.

Our "closed waiting room" policy:

  1. When you arrive in the parking lot, please remain outside the hospital and use your cell phone to call 519-893-1360. We will take a history of your pet's health and discuss any concerns.
  2. A staff member will then meet you outside to bring your pet into the hospital for an examination.
    We ask that you remain in the parking lot and keep your phone turned on.
  3. The Veterinarian will call you once the physical exam is complete to discuss the recommended treatment plan.
  4. We encourage credit card over the phone as the preferred payment method. We can also accept e-transfer.
  5. A staff member will bring your pet and any medications back outside to you.

During the coming months and as long as COVID-19 continues to circulate in our community we at Manitou will continue to offer our services using these enhanced safety procedures, including the curbside and closed waiting room service model. For the health and safety of everyone, we will not be able to have you accompany your pet(s) into the clinic for procedures at this time. We unfortunately would just not be able to meet proper physical distancing requirements and ensure your safety and our team's.

We typically have a significant number of clients [100+] visit our clinic daily whether it be for medication, food or for a visit with the veterinarian or vet technician. Space in the front room and the exam rooms is very small, a well documented factor for increased risk of COVID transmission. If everyone were to come inside our clinic, even with masks on, it would significantly increase the risk of COVID exposure to each client entering the clinic as well as our staff. We are simply not willing to risk the health of you, your family and our staff. We know that with continued effort we will get through this together. We sincerely appreciate your patience and help in working with us during these challenging times.

Until then, we promise to give each and every one of your pets the very best care and a ton of hugs and kisses when they are in for a visit. We always treat them as if they were one of our own and look forward to seeing them!


Your dedicated care team at Manitou Animal Hospital


We are OPEN with the following hours:

Monday to Thursday: 8:00am - 7:00pm
Friday: 8:00am - 6:00pm
Saturday: 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Sunday: CLOSED