Pet Obesity – Where to Find Help

Pet Obesity – The Series

Where to Find Help

Last week I discussed tools to help identify if our dog’s are overweight or obese.

But what’s the next step, and where do we find help once it’s been confirmed our dog or cat is overweight?

Is there someone that can answer questions and help us with the challenges we’ll face along the way?

I had plenty of questions, concerns and yes, frustrations when it came to figuring out how to help my dog get back to a healthy weight.

Like many of us do, I reached out to other pet owners for answers, and yes, I googled and read articles about pet obesity hoping to find that magic cure to get my dog to loose weight and most importantly for me at the time, get my dog to STOP BEGGING FOR FOOD!



The answer to my questions were always there, I just had to accept their help and professional knowledge.

But I needed to go through the process, of  “I don’t need help”, “I can figure this out on my own”, “what’s so difficult about getting my dog to loose weight”.

I don’t have a firm answer as to why it was important for me to go through this process, although stubbornness comes to mind 😉 and sometimes I can make things just plain difficult when they don’t have to be.

Pet Obesity - Where to Find Help

Pet Obesity is a health issue

Once I pushed my pride aside and stopped being stubborn, and yes, maybe even a little embarrassed, I finally accepted support from the person I go to whenever my dog Edie has a health issue – my veterinarian.

Sounds simple when you think about it. If my dog is not well, my veterinarian is on speed dial and Edie is on her exam table getting checked out in a flash! 

It’s easy to look back and think, why would I have not done the same when Edie needed help with her weight? An obese dog can, and if not treated, will have complications from obesity, so if I can stop a potential health issue with my dog why wouldn’t I?

What my vet did for me: My vet did not make me feel guilty, instead she worked with me to make decisions I was comfortable with. Because really, what would have been accomplished by making me feel guilty, nothing, and in my opinion, it could and most likely would have had the opposite effect by turning me away and increasing the chances of not following up to improve my dog’s health and well-being.

What my vet did for my dog: First off, eliminate any other health issues. I say “other health issues” because pet obesity in itself is a health issue. The next step for my dog was a plan that included a food to address her weight, satisfy her hunger so as to help STOP THE BEGGING, and a schedule to bring Edie in for regular weigh-in’s to monitor her weight. The weigh-in’s were an opportunity to have any questions or concerns answered, and if needed, have adjustments made to the measurement of Edie’s food.

Do you believe obesity in pets is considered a health issue that should be followed up with a veterinarian just as any other health issue?

If you have or had an overweight dog (or cat) did you seek help, if so, from whom or where?

Author: Kelly Harding

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  1. I think it’s wonderful your vet worked with you to develop a plan to help with the weight loss. I’m lucky my girls aren’t overweight. I need to work on my own body now.

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  2. I do believe that obesity indeed is a health issue as well, and even more importantly, the root of many health issues that can stem from it.

    It is best to keep on top of it and nip problems in the bud, meaning starting making changes as long as the weight creeps up just above what is ideal. That can be easier said that done, particularly since seeing our dogs all the time we adjust to what is in front of us.

    Some tips? More smaller meals are helpful as the “factory has to fire up” for each of them. Substituting higher-calorie items for lower calorie items helps keeping up with the same volume while feeding less calories. Even between meats, chicken breast is about half the calories than a piece of a roast per the same volume, for example.

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    • I have always fed my dog three meals a day. I am fortunate that I work from home an am able to do this. I find spreading her meals throughout the day, rather than once, or even twice a day, makes a difference and she does not “gobble” her food down quite so quickly.

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  3. Vets should definitely take obesity seriously. Sophie should be about 50 pounds. She was 62 when we got her from the shelter. She would linger around 58 for a while. She’s a stocky dog who can put on weight very easily. Honestly, the best thing for her was the addition of Rufus who played with her every day hardcore. I eliminated canned food from her diet and moved her to ToTW Pine Forest which has fewer calories. She definitely lost weight and I’ve been able to keep it off. She exercises regularly thanks to walks and wrestling. And the vet lets us come in for weekly weigh-ins too! I love the they are invested in her health that way.

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  4. My cockers were very overweight when I inherited them from my mom. One thing I did was to weigh them once a week. They are small enough that I can pick them up and weigh them with my home scale and write their weight down on the calendar. Long walks and as my vet recommended, using a measuring cup for their food really helped. Those handfuls and approximations with measuring their food really causes them to eat too much – use a measuring cup.

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    • Measuring out our pet’s food has a big impact on their weight! I like that you weigh and mark their weights on the calendar.

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  5. Having a plan with the vet so you know your dog is getting everything they need is a great idea — takes away the guilt, I am sure! I personally am not a big eater, but I am still young. I’m glad to know this for when I get older!

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  6. I am blessed not to have one but my vet does make sure to remind me all the time about Layla and her weight, what he told me to do is if she gets a couple more treats than normal in the park then less food at home and that is what is working with her. This is one of my biggest fears and that is why I am so careful.

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  7. We have been down this road, and I admire you so much for sharing your story. Having a vet with a good attitude and not making you feel guilty is key. Congrats and thanks for these resources, too. It is really helpful and I will share!

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    • Thank you! I share my story to let other pet owners know that they are not alone, they should not be made to feel embarrassed, there is help, and there are solutions available for both the pet and pet parent. I let people know it can be done! Importantly and ultimately, are the benefits are having a happy, healthy pet!

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  8. Pet obesity is such a problem and something that needs to be taken seriously. I have seen so many people who just truly don’t realize their pets are fat, but then I’ve also sadly seen the other side of the spectrum – those who know their pets are fat but don’t seem to take it as seriously as they should. Either way, it’s up to the vet to have a serious, candid conversation with the owner. It is definitely a sensitive topic that needs to be addressed in a certain manner though.

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    • From discussions I’ve had with vets, they have or try to have, conversations with clients about their pets being overweight, but some pet owners don’t always see the issue, pet owners may also take being told their pet is overweight as being told something negative/wrong about their pet. There is definitely a fine and delicate line when it comes to discussing this topic with clients and of course doing so without alienating the pet owner and then not having them return with their pet for future health visits and check ups.

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  9. Obesity in dogs & cats is definitely a problem, I’ve read that Veterinarians say it’s one of the most common problems they see, along with pet dental issues. I do think it’s a health concern. Fortunately, all my pets have been at a good weight so I’ve not had the problem – not yet anyway! Your video of Miss Edie is so funny! She’s adorable.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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  10. When we adopted Theo he was really overweight. I was able to help him lose some weight, but we did put him on a vet prescribed diet to help him lose the rest. I might have been able to help him lose weight without the diet, but it did seem to take some of his hunger pains away.

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    • I notice a big improvement in Edie’s attitude and her feelings of feeling satisfied once I switched her over to the vet prescribed diet.It was truly a turning point for both of us.

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  11. Pet obesity is definitely a health issue and the first place to go to deal with a health issue should be your vet.

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  12. This is a great post in that I know many dog owners react to their pets in much the same way you did. At first you question whether there is an issue at all, then you sort of deny or make excuses or procrastinate about it, then you finally open the pocketbook and head to the vet. I think your reminder about how helpful vets can be is a very important one. So often make them our last stop when really, like you said, should be on speed dial. Oh, and your video was as cute as can be!! Sweet Edie wants some food…NOW! 🙂

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  13. I admit I find it so sad when I see obese dogs in the park, poor babies can barely walk and the “owners” seem oblivious when I strike up a conversation. I understand what you mean when you say you believed you could help Edie on your own, but it’s great you have such a wonderful vet to turn to for help. There’s nothing more important to me than having a vet I can rely on, no matter what issue arises, to help me care for my animals.

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    • I think it’s very important to be able to talk to our vet, and discuss the options available for making out pet’s the healthiest they can be.

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  14. I’m struggling with this issue right now myself. Lexy is a little petite cat and weighs 13 lb, which is too much for her small frame. I’m trying my hardest to get her to reduce but it’s just so difficult. I’ll be working with my vet to see if she can help me.

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    • I hope you and Lexy can find the help she needs to get down to a proper and healthier weight. I’m sure your vet will be happy to assist you and offer advice.

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