Whether human, feline or canine, maintenance of a healthy weight is regarded as one of the most important things you can do to stay well. But as many of us know, it’s not easy! Every individual is preset to aim for a certain weight, and it can be tricky for some to manage that. Too much emphasis is placed on only calorie counting, or intense exercise, or fad diets- the solution is a personally developed plan that suits the individual lifestyle, combining all of these things in a doable manner. There’s little point in advocating intense exercise for an arthritic dog, or calorie restriction in a young growing dog. Mel Loveridge, owner and groomer at Pampered Paws told us about weight issues in her dogs – Daisy a 7 year old Lurcher, and Lola a 3 year old Mastiff. Two very different types of dog with the same problem- too much weight!
Walking into the consultation room to see John, I had one question on my mind “are my dogs fat?” After a chat we decided the dogs needed to loose a few kilos and that booking a consultation with Lin for a weight loss clinic was the way to go.
Hopefully, some of you have seen my video “How to score your dog’s body condition“, and are now able to quickly assess if your dog is carrying too much weight. The question isn’t whether their weight is appropriate for the breed, but whether it is appropriate for their body frame. Assessing fat and muscle coverage over the ribs and loins is an easy way to check this. When we saw Lola and Daisy were too heavy, and that they were otherwise healthy and well exercised, it was time for Lin to look at their diet.
Lin advised me on how much food to give the dogs and what food was best. I chose the prescription diet, but Lola and Daisy were allowed the odd treat too so they didn’t feel like they were missing out. Armed with their food I went home and weighed their daily allowance of food into bags which made it easier for me each day. 10 weeks later and Daisy has lost 4.3 kilos and Lola 4.1 kilos. It has been so easy and our lives have changed forever. Both dogs have so much more energy, love their walks and Lola can now run. They seem so much happier and most importantly they have increased their life expectancy.
The key to any change of diet is to make sure it’s achievable on a daily basis. Treating your dog is an important part of the relationship, as is avoiding the feeling you’re starving them! Since we are (usually) the sole provider of food for them, in most cases Lin simply has to educate us, the owners, and show us how we can treat our pets with kindness and love, whilst still maintaining a healthy diet. Lin points out:
We decided on a food that Mel would be happy to feed, a complete dry diet food. I explained that it’s easier to weigh the daily allowance out first thing every morning that can then be used throughout the day as they wish. Treats were still allowed as long as Mel removed some of the daily allowance of normal food.
Regular contact with me, either weekly or fortnightly to weigh and measure the girls again ensured that the Mel could see the progress and if weight loss slowed down I could modify the food or exercise to help keep it on track.
The key is having an owner who is prepared to listen and do the hard work! It’s tougher on the owner than the pet
I don’t judge, I just try to offer friendly advice and encouragement!
Regular contact is essential to keep things on track – sometimes we can get lost in the weeds and having someone like Lin advising and tweaking the plan makes sure no one gets frustrated. Mel couldn’t agree more!
The key to the weight loss is to keep in touch with Lin; she is full of advice, doesn’t judge and offers so much support. Lin puts you at ease as soon as you meet her, I felt like a bad owner but she assured me I wasn’t. I love our weekly consultations and get so excited when the dogs lose weight, and Lola and Daisy love seeing her too. I would advise anyone who thinks their dogs need Lin’s help to go and see her – I promise you won’t regret it.
Very kind words Mel, many thanks!
Lola has lost a total of 4.10kg. 6cm off her shoulders and 11.5cm from her waist! Daisy has lost a total of 4.35kg – 6cm off her shoulders and 6cm off her waist. Don’t they look amazing?
Yes they do Mel 🙂 We’re so pleased for you and the girls.