Does This Collar Make Me Look Fat?

One of my pet peeves is seeing overweight dogs and cats. To me, pet obesity borders on abuse. When pet parents equate food with love, they are literally killing their dogs and cats with what only appears to be kindness. My dogs, Sanchez and Gina, are Labs. They’d eat non-stop all day if I let them. It is our responsibility as loving pet owners to keep our pets healthy and fit.

How do you know if your dog is overweight?

Even though over half of the dogs and cats in the U.S. are considered obese or overweight, this is not often an easy discussion for veterinarians to have with clients. Loving dog owners often take it personally and are offended when told their dog or cat is overweight. I’m not a veterinarian, but my personal suggestion: If you can’t see a waistline on your pet, they’re overweight. And if you can’t feel ribs (as suggested by Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM), you probably can’t see a waistline.

Pet obesity mirrors human obesity, according to Dr. Kirsten Pieper of the Animal Emergency Clinic of McLean County in Indiana. “We sit on the couch, watching the Kardashians and eating chips and our pets are sitting there too, eating treats,” she said in a recent interview for

In the infograph below, you’ll find some surprising statistics about the pet obesity epidemic in the United States.

Next: What you can do to help Fido get fit

How to Keep Fido Fit

  • Go for quality walks together.
  • If you have a solid recall, find places to hike off leash together. The smells are stimulating for your dog, and the exercise will benefit both of you.
  • Learn a canine sport. Agility, dock diving, musical freestyle, lure coursing, flyball, and dog surfing are some examples. Just make sure to check with your veterinarian first, as Fido may need to take off a few pounds before you ask him to jump over bars.
  • Limit Fido’s portions. Use kibble as training treats during the day, instead of feeding him his entire meal at once.
  • Weigh him regularly. Since dogs don’t have jeans to zip up, it’s sometimes hard to tell when they’ve put on a few pounds. If you monitor his weight, it’s easier to know when to increase his exercise and decrease his intake.
  • Use fresh fruits and vegetables as treats. While dogs shouldn’t eat grapes or onions (or these other “people” foods), there is a long list of produce that is good for them, including bananas, apples, shredded carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and green beans. Just don’t feed them at the table, unless you want to encourage begging during dinner.

Is your pet fat or fit? If the answer is fit, how do you help keep them that way? Thanks for posting your comment below.

Have you seen the new Adoptable Pets page on Care2? Please also share with your friends. We’d love your help in finding homes for these adorable animals!

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Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Joy T.
Joy T.2 years ago

My Paladin loved apples! He'd get almost as excited about them, as he did steak.

Diane L.
Diane L.2 years ago

Angela, it still should be in PROPORTION to overall, body length and bone structure. Maine Coons are just BIG cats, and if you measure them from base of the head to base of the tail, you'll find them probably 1-1/2 times or twice the length of the average "tabby" housecat. The rule of thumb still holds about looking from the top of the animal down, and finding a "waist" somewhere and being able to FEEL ribs. You can't go by looks, especially with a furry CAT, but if you pick the cat up and can't feel ribs or a backbone, then the cat is too fat.

Angela Roquemore
Angela Roquemore2 years ago

This article forgot to mention that there are certain breeds, like the Maine Coon (for cats) that are supposed to be big. Average size for a Maine Coon is about 25 pounds for males and 15 pounds for females.

John S.
Past Member 2 years ago

Vet's seem much more willing to talk about pets weight versus doctors, it just harder to convince people that 5 pounds might be 25% to much. Personally, I like to see a dog with no belly.

Barbara D.
Past Member 2 years ago

Charlotte, I absolutely agree with you! There are certainly always exceptions. The point, though, is that we're seeing a very dangerous trend. The majority of obese animals that we see are simply overfed. We discuss the pet's diet carefully with the owner, often they are simply unaware of the proper portions they should be feeding, the caloric requirements of their pet, and that many of the popular pet treats are so high in calories that 1-2 pieces can equal an entire feeding.

Charlotte S.
Charlotte S.2 years ago

Not every pet can be thin. We rescued a border collie (Bill) who we think was on his own for at least a year when we took him in. It took 3 months of feeding him and creeping ever closer to gain his trust. He was very malnourished and underweight. We feed him according to the vets advise. Sadly we can not keep him from eating things (he steals from the garbage, he chewed through a door to get to it) he chews steel cans to get to food, he eats things on the ground, etc) We'd love to keep him thin but we can't short of locking him in a cage. He's exercised every day. So don't assume a pet companion is abusing their dog by letting him get fat. We talked with a specialist who said because he was starving his metabolism may never be normal and he may always be over weight. And being overweight doesn't necessarily mean bad health. They're finally figuring this out about humans. Bad assumptions on your part.

Barbara D.
Past Member 2 years ago

Surely you jest, Anita A! Did you just try to negate my comment that is not a credible, authoritative source by posting a link to to verify your claim that fluoride is killing millions?????
WHO declared your posts are spam? I don't think they're spam, just very misinformed by misinterpreting quack science and inadequately considering factual information.
Noob: fluoride kills millions
Noob: fluoride causes dementia
Noob: fluoride causes Cushing's disease
Noob: fluoride causes pet obesity
Noob: fluoride has caused the American Dental Association to publish erroneous
and dangerous information as part of the government/AMA/corporate/BigPharma/FDA/
USDA/BigAg conspiracy to kill all Americans

Dale O.

Surely you jest, Anita A. Thinking that I eat Twinkies? What do they even look like, I have heard of them but no, I don’t eat them as I prepare all my food from scratch. I think they might be a dessert, let me check online under images. Ewww, you must be out to lunch if you think that I would ever touch those toxic items requiring extreme caution while handling it. One must be safely enclosed inside a Hazmat suit. Maybe it fuels starships or perhaps Fluoride paranoia?

You do have something going for you, giving me fresh material for endless satire, mocktails dedicated to your endless illogical premises. The crown of Drama Queen rests squarely upon your head with Fluoride encrusted inset jewels. So shiny! Hold your sceptre proudly, O Drama Queen!

Dale O.

Anita A insinuates: “Again, I ask: Are the Fluoride Companies paying you two handsomely to run pro-fluoride campaigns on sites like this?

Rofl, no…let me count the ways of conspiracy theory paranoia. A vegetarian once asked me if I were paid by the big meat companies. Too funny, since I eat small amounts of organic non-factory farmed meat along with organic veggies so I am quite the big disappointment to big meat along with Monsanto and their GMO Follies. Perhaps you are vegan or vegetarian?