Biggest Loser…Dogs and Cats?

When you hear of medical conditions like heart disease, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, and osteoarthritis do you immediately think of diseases primarily faced by overweight people? Did you know that excess weight is one of the leading causes of these same medical conditions in cats and dogs?! Worse yet, nearly 55% of all pets in America today are overweight, with 1 in 5 pets considered obese. This excessive weight trend worsened in American dogs and cats throughout the past decade, mirroring the human obesity epidemic. As a result many weight related diseases are now showing up in our animal patients. Check out this latest study on our website: Pet Obesity Study 2012

How did this happen to our beloved companions? Several causes are potentially underlying this trend: domestication, lack of exercise and excessive nutritional intake. As cats and dogs became domesticated their need to hunt and reproduce (both high energy activities) decreased, yet their metabolic physiology did not. Our pets remain “wired” to want big-calorie meals even though catching that meal is no longer needed and reproduction is not possible after spay and neutering. Pets are at our mercy for daily exercise and feeding. Lack of exercise and overeating, takes a toll on us as pet owners and can translate negatively to our beloved companions. Many pets receive far too much food and treats for their relative small body size. Just 1/4 cup of extra food daily for a cat would be comparable to a person eating a few extra cheeseburgers each and every day! With popular shows like Biggest Loser reminding us of the need to lower our risk for weight-related disease, isn’t it time for us to turn the focus onto those pudgy pooches and plump kitties to do the same? They can’t do it for themselves and are counting on us!

The Fairhaven Veterinary Hospital doctors and staff believe it’s time to reverse this overweight trend in our own pets and patients. We have a goal to reduce the incidence of many of the preventable diseases associated with excess weight. The old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” applies now more than ever. We have some great new tools at our disposal to help an overweight pet lose unhealthy pounds, and help healthy pets maintain their weight. Thanks to recent research partnerships between the Hill’s pet food company and University of Tennessee Veterinarians, veterinary professionals now have precise healthy weight calculators which utilize a body fat index score (BFI), age, breed, sex, and spay/neuter status, to generate a custom feeding plan for any pet. For even greater accuracy, detailed body measurements can be taken along with a BFI score to craft a feeding plans and safe weight loss programs. Our professional staff can help a client choose a quality food for their pet or instruct them on the proper quantity to feed of a current favorite diet.

Hill’s has crafted an exciting new prescription diet line called Metabolic:Advanced Weight Loss Formula. This line of food has been developed for dogs and cats utilizing multiple proven strategies. The metabolic line of foods is appropriate to feed not only to achieve weight loss, but also to maintain healthy weight long term. There is no longer a need to transition from one food to another at the end of a weight loss program. The Metabolic product line comes in dry kibble, cans, and crunchy treats. It is highly palatable, satiates the pet’s appetite at each meal, and it works! In field trial studies 88% of cats and dogs lost significant weight after 2 months of eating the Metabolic: Advanced Weight Loss Formula.

To encourage you to take charge of your pet’s weight now, we are offering free weight consultations with one of our Licensed Veterinary Technicians. For a limited time, LVT staff will identify a healthy weight for your pet based on the new evidence-based evaluation system and also recommend an appropriate daily caloric intake. If a dog or cat is found to be at or near a healthy weight they will discuss the many diet options available and direct you to a local retail source trusted to provide excellent products and advice. For those pets found to be overweight or obese, we will create a custom weight loss plan utilizing the new Metabolic:Advanced Weight Loss product line available only through a Veterinarian. Additionally, any pet placed on the Metabolic line will receive $10 in FVH Bucks after initial purchase of a full bag or case of the Metabolic diet. FVH Bucks are good toward any future service at FVH. Please call for an appointment time to take advantage of this service. There is no better time to make every cat or dog a winner in the veterinary version of Biggest Loser, Pet Addition!!