We hear these phrases every day after seeing flashing numbers on that scale. Ever surprised to hear the vet say your pet is a little on the hefty side? Here are the guidelines we use to put an objective number on pet body condition, most lovingly referred to as “The Chonk Chart”:
Ideal weight animals are between 4-5 on the scale, which 85% or more of pet owners feel is “too thin”. In reality, these levels of body fat reduce joint disease and pain, prevent neck and back injuries from jumping on/off of furniture, reduce risks of pancreatitis, high blood pressure, and many dermatologic problems. In cats especially, staying low on The Chonk Chart greatly reduces the chances of developing diabetes and requiring insulin injections daily. In both species, staying in between a body condition of 4 and 5 maximizes chances of reaching the longest lifespan possible for the breed.
Ever wonder if your pet is ideal weight? Follow this link to a calculator to give it a good old fashioned internet-style guess, then ask your veterinarian to see if their answers line up with yours.
Measuring a little heavier than desired? Treats are usually the biggest culprit. Small, tasty treats can stack up calories extremely fast, so replace them with fresh veggies (my dogs love green beans and baby carrots), and watch the pounds melt away. If your dog prefers crunchy treats, frozen green beans are a sneaky (and cheap!) alternative to milk bones and help cut calories significantly. Another pro tip would be using a true measuring cup to make sure you aren’t overfeeding the suggested amounts. A giant gas station fountain drink “cup” or a horse feed scoop DOES NOT equal a “cup” like one would use to bake a cake. Invest in a measuring cup from the dollar store and leave it with the food at all times to avoid guessing and overfeeding.