The Scales Don’t Lie – Weight Loss Management in Pets

The Scales Don’t Lie 

Weight Loss Management in Pets

I had the privileged of attending a Weight Management Symposium with Royal Canin Canada and meeting Dr. Alex German and Dr. Ernie Ward, both experts in the field of pet obesity.

The scales don't lie - weight loss management in pets

Dr. Alex German

The scales don't lie - weight loss management in pets

Dr. Ernie Ward

Some may consider pet nutrition, pet weight loss and pet weight management a boring topic but I find it fascinating.

Why?

Until 2 years ago pet nutrition, weight loss and weight management, was a topic I never gave much thought about until Edie was one of the statistics. Extra weight on our pet creates numerous health issues, more than just an elevated number on a scale.

The scales don't lie - weight loss management in pets

The scales don’t lie

The majority attending the Weight Management Symposium were veterinarians and vet technicians gaining knowledge about the topic of weight management and weight loss in pets.

Dr. Alex German and Dr. Ernie Ward discussed why the topic of healthy weight in pets is an important part of veterinarian care and what is the best way for veterinarians to approach and discuss the topic of weight loss with pet parents like myself.

It was unanimous that all the vet’s and technicians want the same thing pet parents do –  a healthy pet.

I am not here to preach about overweight pets, or tell you because Edie lost weight your pet should too. It’s a personal decision, a decision that has to be right for you and your pet.  Speaking from my own personal experience of getting a pet to loose weight, I know that it is a process that is definitely challenging for both pet and pet parent. What made the journey easier for me and Edie was having the assistance of a vet’s knowledge and assistance along the way.

When Edie started packing on the weight my vet approached the subject that “Edie needed to lose weight” and  suggested a food that could help her do this. Although I knew deep down inside that Edie was getting heavy I didn’t do anything about it  – right away.

Why? I thought I could manage it on my own by feed Edie less, maybe increase her exercise, give her green beans and carrots in-between meals to keep her fuller and stop the begging.

Did it work?

No.

I could no longer deny that Edie was most definitely overweight and what I thought would work didn’t work. More importantly I needed help to get her hunger issues and weight under control and it was then that I reached out to my vet for help and took their suggestions as to what direction was the right one for Edie.

I’m interested in knowing if you are going through a similar situation with your pet?  If so, how are you managing it?  How is your pet managing it?

I’ve shared and documented my experiences of Edie’s weight loss by blogging about it and I would like to hear what other pet parents (dog/cat) are going through.

My questions to you  are:

  • Has your vet approached you about your pet needing to loose weight?
  • How did they approach you on the subject of weight loss?
  • Could they have done it differently – if so, how?
  • What was your reaction to being told you pet needed to loose weight?
  • Did you agree with their weight loss recommendations?
  • Did you follow-up on the vets recommendations?
  • Has your pet had weight loss success?

 

Disclosure: All opinions in this post are my own. I am not, nor do I suggest that I am an expert in pet weight loss. I speak from my own personal experience with my dog Edie and the positive results she has obtained since losing weight. It was at the suggestion of my vet and what they felt was the right choice for Edie, she was placed on Royal Canin Satiety Support Small Dog (dry) and Satiety Support wet to help her achieve a healthy weight loss. 

 

 

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Author: Kelly Harding & Edie The Pug

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43 Comments

  1. What a great opportunity to attend a symposium with Royal Canin, it must have been so informative. They are such a leader in pet care. My pets are at their optimal weight but I know how important it is to manage their weight. Obesity is pets can lead to serious health problems.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    Post a Reply
    • It was a very informative day indeed!
      Pet parents and vets need to work together so that our pets can be their healthiest.

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  2. It’s a very important topic to be sure. I’m lucky that the Farm cats are of healthy weight. I think it’s all of the running around they do chasing each other.

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    • I bet all that running around and getting lots of exercise is helping to keep the Farm cats a healthy weight!

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  3. I knew Harmony needed to loose weight when I adopted her. We got started on our own with a low calorie food. When she went to her yearly check-up with the Vet, she mentioned the need for Harmony to loose more pounds. I was disappointed that what she lost was not enough but I knew I had to be done. Her hips and joints were already not in the best condition so having the extra weight was not going to help her. We are still on the low calories food. If she doesn’t loose the weight the Vet recommended than it may be a thyroid problem. What I didn’t realize is that dogs take months to loose a few pounds unlike humans.

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    • Extra weight can definitely effect our pets hips and joints among contributing to other health issues.
      Something I learned while Edie was loosing her excess weight was that is not something that happens – or should happen – overnight. It took 2 years for Edie to reach her target weight.
      I hope Harmony feels better and I’m happy you are following up with your vet to make sure she has no underlying health issues. I would love to hear how Harmony makes out.

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  4. I’m so glad to hear that Edie has lost those extra pounds and is feeling better! I have been very blessed in the fact that my cats have always been a healthy weight. Manna looks a little big chunky, but she still has a defined waist. Cinco is just one of those cats that could eat a whole cow and never gain an ounce (so jealous).

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    • Manna and Cinco sound just like my cats Lloyd and Lily. Lloyd also looks chunky, his thick, long coat make him look even larger, but he is fit. Lily is and always has been tiny, but she’s weird as far as a cat goes – drop a fish in front of her and she would turn up her nose and walk away!

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  5. When we adopted Theo he weighed almost 40 pounds and the vet said he should weigh around 28 pounds. The first few pounds were easy to lose, but after a while Theo was really unhappy and almost aggressive in trying to get to a dropped crumb. My vet recommended a special food for him and then we didn’t have any problems. It probably took about 8 months from the time we adopted him to reachi his ideal weight. That was nearly two years and he’s been a healthy weight ever since. It was without a doubt the best thing I have done for him (besides taking him home from the shelter.)

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    • *claps paws* to you and Theo for such a great achievement!
      Healthy weight loss is not something that happens quickly. Until Edie was put on a vet recommended diet, she too was always hungry and looking for any dropped crumb she could find. After about a month on her Satiety Support food, she settled down, became more satisfied and then her weight began to reduce. It was a slow and steady weight loss, but what is most important, it was a healthy weight loss.
      I’m happy you and Theo found one another 🙂

      Post a Reply
  6. We have been very fortunate with Mary. If we noticed any weight gain, we just cut back on her food a little. Reprimanded the person giving her table scrapes. A few extra walks around the block and she was back to a healthy weight.

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    • Yes, those table scrapes can be an issue! Happy to hear you’re able to keep Mary at a healthy weight.

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  7. I haven’t had the problems with my Persians, but my mom has needed to assist her dog with taking off some weight.

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  8. I’m glad I never had this issue with my pets. We keep them active and monitor their food intake.

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    • I’m happy that your pets are doing so well! Monitoring food intake and keeping them active is the way to go!

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  9. I know that Milita needs to lose a bit of weight. Our former vet didn’t give us a plan to follow, though. So I’ll be interested in seeing what our new vet has to say when she sees her next month.

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    • I hope your new vet can help Milita on the right path for healthy weight management. Maybe you can bring up the subject of weight and ask for assistance.

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  10. That does sound like it would have been very interesting. We agree, weight management is very important. In these Canadian winters it is especially easy to get a bit soft and gain a few pounds.

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    • Winters are a challenge when trying to keep our weight managed. But being a small dog, I’m able to move around and play in the house to get me moving. I also like a walk around the local pet store – sometimes I even get a new toy! 🙂

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  11. Congratulations Edie. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a thin pug so you’re not alone with your struggle, except maybe at a dog show. Our Teddy,(not a pug) would weigh up there with the best of him if we let him overeat. It makes him a breeze to train – he’ll do anything for a treat- but I have to keep a close eye on the weight, which is as high as it should be without being overweight (ok, maybe a pound)

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    • I think many people expect pugs to have all those rolls. But as much as those rolls looks cute, they are not healthy for us. My humom keeps a close watch and control over what and how much I eat so I don’t lose my healthy, slim figure. Training is definitely easier with a food motivated pet! We just have to include those training treats as part of our daily intake.

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  12. I am proud to say that Bentley, my Basset Hound has lost 15 pounds. He is now at his ideal weight. The difference in his stamina and health are so much better. Great post.

    Post a Reply
    • How super is that!
      15 pounds!
      You both deserve a round of applause *claps paws*
      Did you ever do before/during and after photos? I did them for Edie while she was on her weight loss journey and when I look back I can’t believe the difference.

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  13. Mr. N runs skinny and the vets praise his condition. We had a foster dog though who was overweight when we got him and we put him on a diet and had him exercise more and he lost about 3/4 of a pound.

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    • Good job Mr.N for staying slim!
      Exercise and moving are a great way to assist in weight loss. Happy to hear you were able to get your foster dog to reduce!

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  14. My biggest fear is weight problems with Layla so I watch her intake of treats to make sure she eats her food and thank goodness have managed to keep it on track – woof

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    • I’m happy you’re able to keep Layla on track. Treats are fun to give, but I just include them in Edie’s total calorie intake for the day. I will also just use her regular dry food as treats when I’m doing training.

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  15. I was able to fool the humans in my house! for a couple of years my aunt was living with my parents. With so many people under on house. There were days where I was getting fed several time. Once my humans figured out they were all feeding me and my food cost and weight going up, they came up with a calendar system where they indicate if they fed me. That way everyone was on the same page! Great post and have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

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    • Wow! I think I’m impressed that you made it a couple of years with multiple feedings before it was figured out 😉
      What a great idea of having a calendar system so everyone knows if you’ve already been fed or not. In my house my humom is the only one that feeds me so I never get a chance to be fed extra.

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  16. Charlie the cat always has always battled weight issues, complicated by the fact he also has IBD – so it was always a question of what was most important – initially it was about finding foods that didn’t upset him and actually getting him to eat (nausea was also a problem). Now, it’s about getting the quantity right and his overall health. At his heaviest he weighed 7kg and is now at 6.1kg… we have another 600grams to go until he’s at his ideal weight (vet recommended).

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    • Sometimes it takes a while to find what is the best course of action for our pets. Not all food is right for all, there are many factors to take into consideration. I’m happy that Charlie is reducing and that you are getting help from your vet. I hope Charlie continues to get healthy and his IBD stays under control.

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  17. We haven’t had a problem with N.A.S.H.A.’s weight, but I can imagine how hard the struggle is, as I pet sit for several overweight pets. I make suggestions, if asked, but it can be a sensitive subject. And some pet parents don’t even realize how overweight their pet is. The weight can creep on so slowly, that it goes undetected, but the health problems are undeniable. Keep up the good work, Edie!

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    • It can be a very sensitive subject indeed! When I look back at the “before” pictures of Edie I am shocked! I feel bad that I allowed her to get as big as she did, but I’m thankful I did something about it and she is now healthier for it.

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  18. Edie and Kilo look so alike in certain photos LOL. Keeping an ideal weight and fit is an ongoing battle for Kilo and I. We both love food! Feeding myself and feeding Kilo Kilo makes me happy and makes him happy. However I am very aware I have a responsibility to keep him slim and not stress his joints and heart etc He now eats a high protein grain free kibble diet with some raw and cooked vegies, fish, meat and fruit. We use all sorts of games and tricks to slow him down and make him work for a percentage of his food. We both hate going out in the cold and I have bad knees but we force ourselves on short walks a few times a day then play chase and go find and do tricks indoors. I ride a stationary bike and throw his treat toy. I would have found the seminar very interesting.

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    • Playing games and making pets work for their food is a great idea. Edie and I don’t like the cold weather either, but we are able to get active by playing in the house – tossing toys and playing fetch, or even taking a trip to the local pet store and having a walk around. Since Edie has lost her weight, it’s not so much of a battle – she does have days where she is more hungry, but those days are few and far between now. I find keeping to a feeding schedule is very helpful.
      We need to get Edie and Kilo together to take some photos!

      Post a Reply
  19. Edie is adorable! One of Huskies, who sadly recently cross the Rainbow Bridge, was on medications. Two of the side effects from the medication was lethargy and increased appetite, which naturally led to weight gain – to the tune of 20 lbs! I replaced a portion of his food with green beans and pumpkin puree, and after two years, brought him down the 20 lbs! I kept the food incorporated and he was able to once again consistently maintain his weight for years, even on the meds.

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    • I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of one of your Husky 🙁
      20lbs is a lot of weight to loose, especially when on medications that cause weight gain, but I’m happy to hear you were able to get it under control and what’s important for pet parents to understand is that it takes time to get this excess weight off.

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  20. We always talk about weight issues with our vet. With Maggie having hip dysplasia it is so important to keep her weight on the low side to help with her hips and arthritis that she has developed as a result. When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race!

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    • There is no (safe) fast way to lose excess weight. Slow and steady is definitely the way to go. Keeping Maggie’s weight under control is important and helpful with hip dysplasia and arthritis.

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  21. Our dogs are not super active so we keep a close eye on their weight. We have really furry dogs so you don’t always see the weight creeping on. Our Sheltie was diagnosed with arthritis a few years ago and that is when we realized that she had gained weight. We immediately reduced her food (and started feeding her in a separate room from her brother – she was eating his food too) and increased her activity. It didn’t take long to get her down to a better weight and it helped her arthritis symptoms too. We didn’t buy any special food, just decreased the amount of the good stuff we were giving her (we feed our guys Acana kibble with a bit of fresh veggies and meat) and got her (and us) moving more. Both our guys are also on a glucosamine supplement to help with their joint health (they are both 8 years old).

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    • I’m happy to hear that her weight loss is helping with her arthritis symptoms! I know all about having to feed in separate rooms – but in our case it’s one of our cats’ that eats his food and then checks out the other pet food dishes in the house for any left overs. Thank you for sharing your story.

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