Pet Nutrition & Weight Management

Keeping your pet’s weight in check and feeding them a nutritious diet can often be a confusing and conflicting cycle.

Pet obesity is constantly on the rise and with so many brands of pet food available, it is difficult to know what is best for your pet. Our registered vet nurses have pulled together some helpful information on weight management and they are always happy to discuss this with you.

Book one of our free nurse consultations to have your pet examined and then monitored by our experienced team. If your cat or dog is overweight, or your small furry pet seems bigger, our vet nurses in Devizes are here to help.

Obesity in pets

Obesity is prevalent in UK pets, making a wide part of our pet population more susceptible to diseases and health conditions. Arthritis and diabetes are two of the common conditions affecting overweight pets, however certain types of cancer are more likely to develop in an obese patient.

There are a few reasons why pets start putting on weight and those are usually due to overfeeding, medical conditions, and a lack of exercise.

Overfeeding your pet

There have been some big advances in the nutritional quality of pet foods in recent years. This has allowed for any nutritional deficiencies from previous diets to be eliminated, however, with these ‘complete’ diets available – we must take note of those little extras we give our pet as a treat. One store-brand dog treat is the calorie equivalent of us eating a burger. For cats, 15g of cheese as a treat is the same as us eating two burgers.

Always read the food’s instructions on feeding and tailor it to your pet. If a certain brand of food is designed for sporting dogs, this will contain a higher level of protein and calories. This food should be given in a smaller quantity to that of a less active dog or consideration should be given to changing your pet’s food.

Medical conditions

Often, pets may have an underlying health condition which could be the reason they are gaining weight. No matter how hard you try with diet and exercise, if the medical condition is left untreated, your pet might never be able to reach a healthy weight.

Osteoarthritis – stiffness in your pet’s joints – often leads to them becoming overweight as they are reluctant to exercise – especially dogs. However, there are some rarer conditions that require a blood test to be diagnosed, such as your pet having an under-active thyroid gland. This leads to a hormone imbalance in their body with weight gain being a very common symptom of the condition.

If you are concerned your pet may have an underlying health issue, contact our team to get booked in with one of our experienced vets. With our onsite laboratory, we can usually get test results back the same day, allowing for a swift diagnosis and prompt medical treatment.


Exercise is an important part of your pet’s healthy lifestyle. Dogs need walking once or twice everyday (depending on breed, age and health) whilst cats need access outside or plenty of spaces indoors to climb and play. Small furry pets require plenty of space to dig, run and explore to help mimic their natural environment. Our nursing team can answer any questions you have on your pet’s exercise regime so get in touch today!

What do I do if my pet is underweight?

There could be many reasons why your pet is struggling to keep weight on. A high energy pet may need a higher protein diet or it could be you are accidentally underfeeding your pet. A stressful experience may affect your pet eating or they could just be extremely fussy, making it hard for you to get calories into them. However, there could be an underlying health condition, so it is best to chat to our vet team for advice on testing and how to get your pet to gain weight healthily.