Obesity is one of the most serious issues in our daily lives. And this is a growing problem that affects our pets! Obese animals have a higher risk of developing diseases that can decrease their life expectancy.
As in humans, there are two types of body mass, lean mass including bones, muscles and internal organs, and fat including visceral fat (fat that is associated with internal organs) and subcutaneous fat, which is the fat that is deposited under the skin. We can consider that an animal has an appropriate body composition when the energy they obtain from food, which must be complete and balanced, is identical to that used for their daily activities (eating, playing, sleeping, etc.). The animal's body composition should be assessed according to various intrinsic factors associated with the animal itself, such as breed, age, sex, reproductive status (castrated or not) and health status, as well as extrinsic factors such as nutrition and physical exercise, factors that have a major effect on the body composition of our pets. In clinical practice, it is increasingly common to observe animals with an improper body composition, largely due to a nutritional imbalance (e.g., in most cases, owners provide more food than is necessary for the animal) and a deficit in physical activity/sedentarism (e.g., lack of time for owners to take daily walks).
Assessing an animal's body composition involves evaluating its current weight or using palpation methods and a numerical scale of corporal conditions, such as we can see in the illustrative figure presented with 5 points, in which the ideal corporal condition is 3. If you think your animal does not have the ideal body condition (equal to 3), you should consult your veterinarian for a fuller diagnosis.