Obesity is becoming a very common problem in our companion animals and it can negatively affect their quality of life—and the length of their life as well. Just as in humans, carrying lots of extra pounds can lead to an increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and other health issues. The video below can give you more information on the seriousness of this problem.
At Prairie Animal Health Centre, we use a body condition scoring scale to determine if your pet is at a healthy weight. Once we know for sure that your pet is overweight, we will enroll them in the SlimFit Program, which is essentially computer software designed to tell us how many calories and how much exercise your pet needs in order to shed the excess pounds.
While on the SlimFit program, we’ll ask you to bring your pet for a “weigh-in” every 3-4 weeks, so we can assess your pet’s progress and to adjust the food/exercise amounts if needed.
Obesity is a very common condition in our companion animals and can affect their quality of life in many ways. To maintain optimum weight we need to provide exercise, choose the correct amount and type of food and eliminate high calorie treats and/or table scraps. To determine if your pet is overweight we use a body condition scoring scale from 1-5; 1 being underweight, 2.5-3 being ideal and 5 being overweight.
Once we determine that the pet is overweight we enroll them in SlimFit which is a computer program that tells us how many calories per day the pet needs to shed the excess weight using a specialized diet called Satiety or Calorie control, in addition to regular exercise. The way you feed your pet plays a very important role in their weight loss program; feeding smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day helps increase their metabolism as well as satisfy their hunger.
Just like us pets an have an initial weight gain within the first 1-2 months before starting to lose weight. It is important to not get discouraged. Taking before pictures and then monthly can help see the subtle differences in your pets body shape. Weighing your pet monthly will help us keep your pet on track and allow us to make adjustments to the feeding amounth depentding on weight reduction or gain. Keeping a daily log of activity, feeding amounts, and treats given can help with making adjustments.
It is important for the owner to bring their pet in for regular weigh-ins every 3-4 weeks as each pet is unique in their weight loss. It also helps the veterinary team assess the animal’s progress so we can adjust the food intake according to their success or failure in the program. By achieving the pet’s weight loss goals it will leave the owner with a feeling of satisfaction and the pet will live a longer, happier life!