National Nutrition Month for Pets

Its National Nutrition Month and what a great opportunity to discuss pets, nutrition and healthy weight.

Earlier this month I joined Royal Canin Canada at the Ontario Veterinary Technician conference in Toronto where the topic of discussion was pet nutrition; knowing the signs of obesity in pets; obtaining and maintaining healthy weight in pets.

National Nutrition Month and Obesity in Pets. Discussing pets, nutrition and healthy weight in your dog.

Discussing Pet Obesity with Royal Canin Canada

As a pet owner attending the conference, it gave me the opportunity to tackle the subject of pet obesity from the pet owners side of view; the challenges of dealing with a demanding, begging dog that never seemed to be satisfied, a dog that once topped the scales at 14.4kg!

National Nutrition Month and Obesity in Pets. Discussing pets, nutrition and healthy weight in your dog.

Dr. Jackie Parr discusses Nutrition Support Plans

What struck me most when Dr. Jackie Parr discussed the topic of pet obesity with the veterinary technicians was that many pet owners do not see or want to believe their pet is over weight. Nor are we all completely honest about what and how much we are feeding our dogs. It’s very easy to forget about those treats we give throughout the day or the leftover “human” food that gets added to our dog’s dinner bowl.

No one including me wants to be told there is something “wrong” with his or her pet!

“My dog’s not fat”!

“I can get my dog to loose weight just by feeding them less”.

I’ve been there, done that, bought the t-shirt!

Guess what?

Edie was fat, and no matter how hard I tried to feed her less, or fill her up on green beans and carrots she was still hungry, begging for food and gaining weight!

National Nutrition Month and Obesity in Pets. Discussing pets, nutrition and healthy weight in your dog.

Before, During and After Weight Loss

I needed help to get Edie healthy again and my vet was the one that helped me help my dog.

The “first” step  on this weight loss journey was to start feeding Edie a food that was recommended by my vet (Royal Canin Satiety Support Small Dog). This food would address the issues of an overweight dog and help satisfy Edie’s feeling of constant hunger.

Of course there is more to weight loss in pets than a change of food. I needed to begin measuring/weighing the amount of food Edie was getting – each and every time she is fed. And of course an increase in exercise was needed as well.

I truly believe what kept me motivated during Edie’s weight loss journey was visiting our vet’s office on a regular basis to have Edie weighed. To actually see the numbers on the scale go down helped confirm what I was doing was indeed working. It also gave me the opportunity to ask any questions, voice any concerns or challenges I had along the way.

National Nutrition Month and Obesity in Pets. Discussing pets, nutrition and healthy weight in your dog.

Regular weigh-ins are an important part of weight loss

Could I ever imagine it would take two years for Edie to drop from 14.4kg to 9.7kg?

No.

Were there challenges along the way?

Yes.

Was it worth it?

Definitely!

I would like to add that once your pet has reached their goal weight it does not end there. I still keep tract of Edie’s weight, she still eats Satiety Support Small Dog, the food recommended by my vet, although we have adjusted the amounts to maintain her weight as opposed to losing weight.

So I ask you these questions:

  • Have you been told by your vet that your pet needs to lose weight?
  • Do you give treats or add “people” food to your dogs bowl?
  • Do you measure, weigh or scoop your pet’s food?

 

Disclaimer: Although I am an ambassador to Royal Canin Canada, all opinions and experiences with the Royal Canin food are my personal opinion. Edie’s weight loss journey and her health is continually monitored by my vet. 

Author: Kelly Harding & Edie The Pug

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57 Comments

  1. How nice that Edie was able to lose the weight. I’m very lucky that Truffle and Brulee don’t overeat and the vet thinks they are at a great weight.

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    • That’s wonderful news for Truffle and Brulee!

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  2. It is great to see Edie dropping the extra weight! She is such a cutie. 🙂 It can be difficult to ignore the cries of a pet that wants more food (even though they don’t need it). I haven’t had any weight trouble with my kitties. They get 2 cans of food per day each.

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    • Pets can make it very difficult to resist when they are hungry! Especially with their big eyes. I wonder if as many cats beg for food like dogs do? Topic for another day 😉

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    • My humans care because they want me to be around a long long time.

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  3. I’ve only ever had a weight issue with one cat when I was free-feeding dry food before I became more knowledgeable about pet nutrition. I’ve never been big into to treats for my dogs or cats and rarely gave my dogs people food so I guess that’s why I never had an issue with my dogs. So glad for such a successful outcome for Edie. She is on Weight Watchers like me! This is important information to get out to pet parents.

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  4. Great post! I’ve never told my Huskies were overweight. At one point in time, my one boy, Gibson, gained 20 pounds as a result of epilepsy medication. And it took about two years to get it back off of him by adding green beans and pure pumpkin puree to his food (in place of some of the kibble). I do feed mine treats – but they are healthy baked ones, also berries and veggies from time to time. I do measure their food via scoop. Edie looks adorable!

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    • Yes, some medication can cause weight gain, but I’m happy to hear Gibson was able to shed those extra pounds.

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  5. Keira, my Labradoodle, changed her lifestyle last year. She lost 10 lbs and has kept it off but it was changing to a food for this purpose. Great post with tons of good info!

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    • 10 lbs, that is super! Having a food that addresses the issue of weight loss and satiety is what helped me.

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  6. Losing weight is a slow but sure effort for our dogs. Tashi is generally healthy but will be on steroids for a cough going forward. Keeping his weight down is an important responsibility as his appetite increases as a result of the meds. He’s 16+ and increased exercise is minimal. I make my dog’s food and have for more than 20 years. I weigh it. It’s an ongoing battle! Thanks for sharing your experience =)

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    • Medication can definitely have an impact on weight and hunger. I hope Tashi will get over his cough soon!

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  7. Wow Edie, lookin’ good! You’re a great little role model. Thank you for his very important information. Henry has gained 1/2 kilo – ooops.

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    • Thank you! I hope my story inspires others and let them know that it is possible for a dog – a dog that’s always hungry – to lose weight and keep it off. Hopefully Henry will lose that 1/2 kilo once the nicer weather comes and we can get out and move more.

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  8. Great post. Pet obesity is a big problem, it often leads to serious health problems. People think over weight pets are chubby & cute, but there’s nothing cute about the health risks.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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    • Nothing cute about an unhealthy pet 🙁

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  9. I’ve been measuring food starting with Harley. His diabetes made it really important to measure and make sure he ate and we counted every carb/calorie and we’ve continued doing it with Shasta as well.

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  10. My dog Theo was quite overweight when we adopted him. It took a while to get him to a healthy weight, but it hasn’t been too hard to maintain it. We always measure his food now and don’t go overboard with treats. It makes me happy that I’ve minimized some of the his health risks by helping him maintain a healthy weight.

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    • Well done! I bet Theo feels so much better.

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  11. My oldest dog, Zora, has something called malignant hyperthermia, which means she is unable to regulate her body temperature which makes it extremely challenging to exercise her without her overheating. She has struggled with weight all of her life and we have tried so many different things over the years from raw diet to prescription foods. It can be really hard to find the combination of foods and in her case gentle, monitored exercise to get and keep the weight off but, as you said, totally worth it!

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    • I’ve not heard of malignant hyperthermia. I hope you find something that will work for Zora and make her feel better.

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      • Thanks! It’s really just a management issue. Dogs with this condition are unable to regulate their body temperature and can overheat very quickly and stroke out. I just got very lucky that she was diagnosed early so I know what to look for. She’s made it to 13, which is pretty great for dogs with malignant hyperthermia.

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  12. Great post I will have to look in to this! I’m always trying new food and have been for 8 years now for my cattle dog mix she is always hungry and even though we measure her food and give her green beans to help with hunger she is still gains weight she looses it then gains it back its like she is on a yo-yo diet its so frustrating!

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    • Oh the frustration of having a dog that’s always hungry! As much as Edie loves the green beans, it was not enough to satisfy her and stop the begging for food. I can only imagine that yo-yo dieting in pets is just as bad as it is in humans. I hope you find what’s right your dog so she can feel better (and full).

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  13. It’s great to get as much pet nutrition information as possible – good info!

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  14. Edie is looking good! My Eddie (boy terrier) is getting up there in years and has added a few pounds in the 13+ years we’ve had him, but he’s not considered overweight. My husband is guilty of the human food treats more than I am. But we do measure his food each time.

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    • Wow, 13, that’s super!
      There seems to always be that one person in the house that “sneaks” food or “accidentally” drops crumbs for the pets 😉

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  15. Edie looks great! We give Gracie treats and very occasionally people food, but she won’t eat any more after she is full. It’s normal that she leaves food in her bowl.

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    • That’s amazing that Gracie leaves food in her bowl! I could never imagine Edie – or any pug for that matter, leaving food on the plate LOL!

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  16. What a great opportunity for you! I was also guilty of having overweight dogs. It’s a great feeling knowing we have helped our best friends get in shape. ☺

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    • There is nothing better than knowing you are doing the best you can for your pet to make them their healthiest!

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  17. Edie looks great! We often use kibble for training and cut back on days when we use a lot of treats, but Cow has been thickening up since she was spayed.

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    • I like to use Edie’s dry food for training or on days I need her to “pay attention” to me, maybe while on a walk or at an event. And after Edie was spayed, that’s when her weight started to “creep” up as well.

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  18. I have two brothers (cats) who eat the same but have very different metabolisms – one is a perfect weight, the other one is a little more cuddly. As indoor cats I try to encourage playtime and activity as much as possible but it is a challenge.

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    • We have 2 cats as well. Both are completely different as far as appetite and weight. But just like humans, each cat (pet) has a different personality and needs, and we have to address each of them as individuals and what’s best for them.

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  19. Nutrition is so important to a dogs health. I love that you feel your dog deserves proper nutrition for good health.

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  20. Wow great info and Edie is looking good! 🙂

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    • Thank you! I have noticed a wonderful difference in Edie since she has lost weight. She is much more energetic and youthful.

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    • Thank you so much!

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  21. I haven’t been told that by my vet before. Zoe is in the “ideal” range and Phoenix is on the slimmer side of “ideal”. I think this is a very important topic and people who are having trouble dieting their dogs should definitely seek help from the vet! I know that my inlaws had trouble with their dog and when they ran her bloodwork they found that she had a thyroid problem. Once she was on meds for it she had an easier time losing weight.

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    • That’s great that Zoe and Phoenix are at ideal weights. I’m happy your inlaws had their dog checked with their vet. Sometimes weight gain or weight loss can be signs of other medical conditions.

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  22. Pet health is something that owners need to help their pet with. Just as adults age pets do as well and making sure we are not contributing to their obesity by feeding them too much or the wrong things as well as lack of exercising them is something we need to be mindful of. My vet recently told me that my dog needed to lose 2 pounds. That doesn’t seem like much but with a pet that is prone to have hip and joint issues it was something that I took very seriously.

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    • Although 2 pounds sounds like such a small amount, it can mean a big difference on our pets joints.

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  23. Great info to have and congrats on Edie’s weight loss! I think the hardest thing about losing weight is keeping our pets from feeling like they are starving all the time. I will be trying the feline version of this for my cats!

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    • A big part of Edie’s weight loss was satisfying her hunger and reducing the begging for food. Within a month on the Satiety Support I noticed a difference. She was more satisfied and the constant begging for food was greatly reduced.

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  24. I have heard great things about royal canine. Edie.looks great!

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    • Edie has done very well on the Royal Canin food. And thank you!

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  25. Edie looks fabulous now! I love seeing a fit Pug 🙂

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    • Thank you so much!

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  26. Great post!! Measuring your pets food should be a no brainer! And on days they may get extra treats, you can scale back on the kibble. 🙂

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    • Thank you! And yes, we all like to treat our pets, we just need to keep track.

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  27. Mr. N usually runs slim but he’s gained a few ounces over the winter due to an unusually rainy winter and extra training because of said weather. He had a vet appointment last week and I went in being like, I’m pretty sure he’s fat. How much does he need to lose? He loses weight super easily though so I’m not too worried.

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    • It can be hard over the winter months when we can’t get out and move around as much. Let’s hope for warm, sunny weather soon!

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  28. No, my schnoodle is a picky eater and exercises like crazy. He has to full out run everyday or he’s a handful – which means I get out too. I think it might be impossible for my Victor to get fat. Me … Different story.

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