Did you just take your fur baby into the clinic and did Dr. Marna or one of our techs say your fur-baby is looking a little chunky? When I heard those words about our Labrador, Loomis, I knew something needed to change. He was way too young to be carrying extra pounds, and on top of that he had developed knee problems. Just a few extra pounds on a dog can be hard on their joints and organs, and poor Loomis had about 10 extra.
The first step towards getting your pet in shape is to determine a good weight for their size. Our staff is always happy to help you decide on an optimal weight range. For Loomis, a Labrador with a smaller bone structure, his ideal weight is between 65 and 73 pounds. At that weight he has a waistline and not too much extra on his ribs.
Once you have a good weight range, start looking at your food and decide how much you need to feed for the desired weight and most importantly actually MEASURE the food. When I started to measure his food, I realized that I had been over feeding him by almost 3 cups a day! I thought the scoop we were using was 1 cup, but when I measured it, the scoop was actually closer to 2. Just cutting his food back started the weight loss process.
The other step in keeping weight in check on your pet is to watch the snacks. We love to treat our pets, so just remember to include those "extras" into the total food allotment for the day. Also, consider low calorie snacks, such as prepared snacks or frozen green beans for example. Our clinic carries several healthy low-calorie snacks.
Exercise is also a great way to burn calories. If your pet has a lot of weight to lose it is a good idea to start slowly with daily walks. Just like humans, our pets that are out of shape will need a little time to build up to longer walks. Once some of the weight has dropped off, exercise intensity can increase.
If you need some help deciding on a food or how much to feed your pet, feel free to come by the clinic and talk to our staff. We offer a selection of foods that are designed to help our pets lose and keep off weight. Because Loomis’ knee was going to require surgery, I decided to use one of our prescription foods, Hill’s J/D Metabolic. This particular food is designed to help him lose weight, as well as provide extra vitamins and lubrication for his joints. Not only does he love the food, but his weight dropped off in about 6 months, and he has maintained it for the past two years. At his last appointment, he was 69 pounds and his knees are doing well. Now, if only someone would monitor and measure my food more closely, I might be as fit as my dog.
Submitted by Mary Hailey