Ask the Veterinary Services Expert – Leah Turner

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Losing weight and getting in better shape have to be two of the top New Years Resolutions.  Why not consider your pet?  Studies show that over 50% of pets are overweight and 50% of them have over 50% body fat when 20% body fat is normal.

Walking is supposed to be great exercise for us so try to take your dog for a walk more often instead of just letting him or her out in the back yard.

The pet food companies we deal with have special diets for weight loss in pets.  In the past Veterinarians would tell you just to feed your overweight pets less.  That is not that easy to do.  It’s hard to resist the sad eyes of a hungry pet when you are trying to eat your supper.  Some pets on diets will search out food anywhere breaking into food storage and garbage when they are hungry.

Royal Canin makes a Satiety Support diet that somehow makes pets feel full and satisfied while getting fewer calories.  The diet contains a blend of fibres including Psyllium fibre which absorbs water.  It is high in protein to maintain lean body weight and contains L-Carnitine which helps metabolize fat for energy.  It also contains omega fatty acids, glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.

Hills makes a metabolic diet with ingredients that actually allow fat to be metabolized more efficiently.   There is a weight loss program that is easy to start and stick too.  It’s not for pregnant or young growing animals but for obese, mature pets.  Once the weight is lost it apparently stays off.

First you take your pet to your veterinarian for a check up to make sure there is no underlying cause for the obesity.  The Veterinarian or Animal Health technician can take some simple measurements and plug them into the Hills computer program to come up with an ideal body weight.  You get a graph that tells you how long it will take for the weight loss and you get recomendations on how much to feed the pet.  The food comes in dry, canned and there are treats.  This is all taken into account and you bring the pet in for monthly weigh-ins.

They make it pretty simple and its not very expensive either.   We actually donated a couple of these weight consultations to Quonset Days and so far no one has come in to do it.  Don’t forget.

Overweight pets just like humans have more health problems like joint problems, diabetes, etc.  So, include your pet in your New Years Resolutions and you can both live longer and enjoy life together.  Happy New Year and good luck keeping your Resolutions and your pets.