Program helps plump pooches take off pounds
It’s not just the waistlines of Canadian humans that are expanding this time of year, thanks to over heaped plates and too many goodies.
Our pets are also following the trend.
“It’s becoming a really big problem with animals and we are seeing a lot more diabetes and arthritis and mobility issues,” said Monica Snedden, a ve michael kors bag terinary nutrition specialist and registered veterinary technician at Princess Animal Hospital on Bayridge Drive.
“Feeding them the wrong thing, overfeeding them, just leaving the food down and leaving the bowl full all the time” are all contributing to overweight pets, she said.
Pet food companies are part of the problem, she said.
“A lot of the food on the market now is extremely high calorie and high fat,” Snedden said.
A single cup of food can be 500 calories, but simply cutting down the food enough to allow the pet to lose weight may mean you’re not meeting all of the pet’s nutritional needs.
“There are so many companies out there that are making so many foods and they come and go that it’s hard for people to know what they michael kors bag are feeding any more,” she said.
Sned michael kors bag den said products are promoted as being fresh and organic, but consumers may not know what these terms mean. “Consumers don’t know what they are buying and we can’t keep up with what’s hitting the shelves.”
Sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly what the nutritional value of a brand of food is since the information written on the bags may not be specific enough, she said.
“If you look on your labels you are not going to find a calorie content,” Snedden said. “In fact, some of the time if you call the 800 number, they won’t give it to you or they give you a hard time.
“We have tried to do that for some of our clients and been yelled at by food companies.”
The animal hospital has had an overweight pet counselling program running for a couple of years now.
Called the Pawsitive Pounds Program, it invites pet owners to enrol their dog or cat and come in every two to four weeks to receive nutritional counselling, weigh ins, ideas for better exercise and prizes when weight goals are reached.
Snedden and fellow technician Pam O’Connell handle the program.
“Weight loss is hard,” Snedden said. “It’s a struggle for people and it’s a struggle for their pets, too.”
The technicians take pictures before and after the program, and take measurements before and after to see how many inches each pet lost. Photos of the top losers are posted on a wall in the animal hospital.
One of the stars is a dachshund named April, who went from a stomach dragging 11.5 kg to a svelte 9.2 kg.
All of the photos are of dogs, although cats are also welcome. “We’ve only had one cat successfully complete the program,” said Snedden. “They are much more difficult.
“ michael kors bag Cats are specifically challenging because you can’t take a cat for a walk on a leash, where you can with dogs.”
The results from the challenge speak for themselves, said Snedden.
“The biggest thing we hear once they lose the weight is how much more energy they have.”
Now the dog can jump into the car whereas before, the owner had to lift him in, or the cat can jump up onto the counter again.
There are about five pets currently in the program.
“Really, when you consider the number of overweight pets, that’s not very many.”
Snedden said pet owners can also contribute their pet’s obesity by feeding them from the table.
“People don’t realize how much they actually are giving.”
Depending on the size and weight of the dog, giving them one chip can be equivalent to an entire hamburger.
“It’s different for pets. One little, one ounce cube of cheese is like three chocolate bars. It seems small to us, but for them it is a huge sum of calories for the day.”