PROJECT PET SLIM DOWN
Dr. Christina Frick, D.V.M.
The health problems of obese animals include reduced life span, reduced activity, impaired heart, liver, & breathing functions, digestive disturbances, increased surgical risk, skin problems, arthritis, slipped disks, heat stress, increased diabetes risk, fat around the internal organs, difficulty in giving birth, anal gland impaction and excessive gas and/or constipation. Overweight cat problems include lameness, diabetes, face skin disease, risk for urinary tract disease, liver disease or failure, osteoarthritis and ligament damage.
In a study, Researchers found that a lean fed dog will live 1.8 years longer, delay the onset of osteoarthritis by 3 years, and have healthier blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and heart rates. Observed by researchers the dogs also had fewer visible signs of aging such as graying muzzles and reduced activity level.
Common causes of obesity are high-fat diet, heredity, lack of exercise or hormonal disorders. The most common is over-consumption of food.
As Americans continue to adapt to a more sedentary and pampered lifestyle so will our pets. The number one way to help your pet is Eat Less, Move More.
Did you know???
Three extra pounds on a Boston Terrier is equal to 30 extra pounds on a 150 pound human!!!
Americans are getting heavier, and so are our pets. Some pet owners think their dogs are just a little fluffy or big boned!! And others simply equate feeding their dogs with showing them love. Studies indicate that 50 % of pets in the U.S. are overweight or obese, a condition that creates or contributes to a wide range of health issues. Obesity is the number one nutritional disorder among dogs & cats. With Overweight Pets, there’s more to love but there may be less time to do so. It is important to keep your dog lean. An ideal body condition will add almost 2 years to your dog’s lifespan and be considerably healthier. 33%- 46% of owners think their animal is a normal weight but are incorrect.
Ask yourself the following questions?
Do you know your dog’s feeding and exercise habits?
Is your dog’s breed prone to obesity? Retrievers, Labradors, Goldens, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Shelties & Terriers are.
Do you have a multi dog household? These dogs eat more and faster.
Is your dog over 5 years old and still being fed the same type of food and amount as a puppy?
Is it difficult to feel your dog’s ribs?
Is your dog’s body more Square-shaped when looking at the belly area between the rib cage and hindquarters? What to look for in obese animals include: dogs tend to carry their fat behind the front legs, along the back and tail base. This makes the ribs difficult to feel and no waist seen. Cats carry their fat along the lower abdomen, in the abdomen, and in the face.
Do you regularly feed table scraps or multiple non-meal treats each day?
When you feed your pet do you just pour the food into the bowl (rather than giving a specific measured amount each time)?
Does your dog have difficulty standing up or jumping on the couch?
Does your dog get less than 20-30 minutes per day of outside exercise/play time?
If half or more of these questions are yes, your dog may be overweight or living a lifestyle that could lead them to become overweight. Please set up an appointment with Dr. Frick to discuss an action plan for your pet.
Project Pet Slim Down
It is never too late to help your pet with Purina Project Pet Slim Down Program. With the help of overweight management food like Purina OM, dogs were able to move more quickly and returned to a healthier condition. Dr. Frick assessed these dogs and cats for the body condition score #1- #9, where ideal is #4-#5. We calculated the proper amount of food for these animals to lose weight at the safe ideal percent. Dr. Frick is the best source of information about a weight management program for you pet. Many weight loss programs fail at home but with the proper food and Dr. Frick’s help your pet can have a healthy approach to helping your overweight pet shed fat, not muscle. The Purina OM food is low in calories and fat, high in protein, an optimal level of fiber helps pet feel full and great tasting. The pets came in once a month for weight checks, measurements taken and prizes given each month. Many pet’s loss the weight but also decreased many inches in the neck, chest and abdomen. We had some challenges with each pet but with patience and the right approach we help them shed those extra pounds. The joint food, allergy foods, or owner’s own food were used in special situations to help achieve weight loss due to previous health conditions with some pets.
Help your pet be trimmer
Know how many calories your pet needs to maintain a healthy weight.
Know the caloric content of the food you are feeding. Look at the package label.
Keep a food diary of every item that is offered, including all human table food & treats.
Use only an 8 oz. measuring cup to portion out dry food daily. The pet food company’s labels on the bags are based on 8 oz. measuring cup. Feed only the amount the bag says for your pet’s age and weight. The pet foods are formulated to maintain a healthy weight when fed by the labeled amount only.
Feeding several small meals over the course of the day may reduce an animal’s desire to scavenge. Split up the recommended amount of food 2-3 times a day.
Identify those snacks and treats that are high in calories and replace with no-calorie or low calorie treats. Dr. Frick provided participates a list of treats with the calories per treat. People were amazed about some of the store brand treats and the calories they had- most of them had the full amount of calories the animals needed for the day just in the treats alone!! Many people are also sneaking treats to their pets. Frick Vet Services carries many healthy treat options with lower calories.
Treats and snacks should be portioned out in small amounts, no bigger than the size of your thumbnail. When you give treats you also need to reduce the amount of food you feed that day to stay at the same calorie intake for the day. Treats should make up no more than 10% of daily calorie intake. Treats do have calories!! Love your dog/cat? Then don’t share your food.
Require you’re pet to perform a trick or complete an obedience command before offering a treat or snack; encourage your pet to work for treats!!
Consider placing the food bowl at the top or bottom of a staircase, so that your pet must climb stairs to reach its food (you get exercise this way too)
When exercising outdoors is not an option, have your dog do some doggy sit-ups before each meal or for a treat. (“sit” and “lay down” repeated three times)
Purchase a toy that can hold small pieces of kibble and use it as a means to provide exercise and some of the pet’s daily calories. Frick Vet Services has many new kongs, toys and nutritious snacks to stuff inside them. We also carry many cat toys to keep your cat active.
Good habits and prevention starts with the owner. It is easier to start a puppy or kitten out right on an exercise plan, and the correct food diet & amount. But even older animals can start anytime. Dr. Frick carries many commercial prescription weight loss diet foods for pets and weight maintenance foods.
Make an appointment with Frick Vet Services for your dog’s free weight assessment. Visit www.projectpetslimdown.com for information. Make Dr. Frick’s diet and exercise recommendations a part of your pet’s daily routine, and get ready to love them longer. Make an appointment at Frick Vet Services to get on the way to a healthier year for your pet and your family.