Weight Loss and Maintenance

How the right plan can add years to your furry family member’s life.

Your pet’s weight is more important thank you think.

It often comes as a shock to many pet parents to be told that their furry family member is overweight. Pet obesity is actually quite common and as a society, we may be so used to seeing overweight pets that it has skewed our expectations of their ideal body conditions.

The tool that our veterinary team uses to determine if a pet is over or underweight is called the body conditioning score chart, on which a healthy pet will rate a 4 or a 5. Can you identify your pet on the charts below?

In the ideal range, the abdomen tucks in at the waist and is not tubular. When the waist starts to become less obvious and the ribs become more difficult to feel, the higher on the scale the pet will rate.

Tip: In most pets with an ideal body condition score, their ribs will be just as easy to feel like the bones in the back of your hand.

Maintaining a healthy weight not only protects your pet against the discomfort of joint pain, complications, kidney disease, cancer, and diabetes… It can increase their lifespan! We all wish our furry family members could live forever, so wouldn’t earning back a few extra years would be a dream come true?

Our veterinarians are here to help you make informed decisions about your pet’s diet. Contact us to set up a nutrition consultation for your furry little one.

CALORIES COUNT

In order to lose weight, one must consume fewer calories than are burned in a day. One of the hardest parts of human weight loss is calculating calories while eating a varied diet. Fortunately, the consistency of our pets’ foods makes it very possible to create a plan based on their nutritional needs!

A veterinary technician would be happy to help you calculate your dog or cat’s daily needs (with an allowance for treats, of course!) Dogs and cats have different energy levels and needs throughout their lifetime as they grow and mature. Therefore, if you’ve been feeding your pet the same food for the last few years, it might be time for a change of food to adjust to their different nutrient requirements.

In addition to helping you find the right food, your veterinary technician can show you how to measure your dog or cat’s daily food using a measuring cup or food scale. A measuring cup is better than a scoop or free-feeding, but extra kibbles add up fast, so weighing your pet’s food is the most accurate way to ensure extra calories aren’t sneaking in (food scales are usually about $10 at most grocery stores).

We know food is the language of love, so don’t worry. Dieting doesn’t have to be the doggy-or-kitty-equivalent of “eating a salad every day”. We carry many calorie-conscious veterinary diets that are specifically designed and proven to be palatable, nutritious, and satisfying. In some studies, they have even reduced the frequency of begging behaviours! We can even recommend weight-loss approved treats that your pet will love.

Please contact us and we’ll be happy to help calculate your dog or cat’s daily requirements or make product recommendations.

EXERCISE

Every dog wishes the solution to weight loss was an extra walk in a day (sounds like a win-win for them!) Unfortunately, while every bit counts, it’s very difficult to provide a pet with the amount of exercise needed to burn off the extra calories consumed in a day; it’s better to just not to consume them in the first place.

However, good news for all those playful kitties and pups! In addition to carefully monitoring caloric intake, extra exercise does help to burn calories, but it can help with maintaining a healthy weight in other ways, too…

We’re all guilty of mindlessly eating just because we’re bored. For pets, it’s the same thing. Many of our furry family members are home alone all day, and even when their family is home, they are responsible for their own entertainment. Usually, this means sleeping or eating.

By providing your pet with activity, extra walks, and scheduled playtime, they become distracted and stimulated instead of turning to food.

You can also make the fun of mealtimes last longer with a slow feeder or a treat puzzle, that challenges your pet’s cognitive abilities and rewards them with their breakfast or dinner!

If you’d like to try a slow feeder or puzzle treat, contact us for a recommendation on some great options we can order in for you – and even deliver for free!

HELP IS HERE

Weight loss isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. You have a dedicated team of individuals committed to helping our furry friends live their healthiest and happiest lives! We are happy to break it down into realistic steps, help you keep up with your furry family member’s progress, and create a plan to keep them at their ideal weight for life.

It is extremely rewarding to see a cat or dog earn their energy and mobility back, reduce health complications, and enjoy their favourite activities to the fullest. By being mindful of your pet’s diet and exercise, you can truly change your furry family member’s world. 

If you’re ready to increase your pet’s quality of life, contact us to get started.

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