Question for Dr. Alison:
Hi Dr. Alison! I have a 6 year old lab named Riley and he is my love. I absolutely adore him and want him to live forever. Since he was neutered as a puppy, he has slowly been gaining more and more weight. Our veterinarian told me he is about 10 pounds overweight. I really do try so hard to get him to lose weight but just seem unsuccessful. What are your recommendations for getting pets to lose weight? Thanks so much!
Hi and thanks for emailing us. This is a common thing I see on a daily basis and seems to be becoming a bigger and bigger problem. I am glad you recognize he needs to lose weight and are taking action. That is the first step. Here are some tips for getting pets to lose weight:
- First, have your pet evaluated by your veterinarian and routine bloodwork performed to rule out systemic disease. Many times, weight gain can be from systemic illnesses such as hypothyroid.
- Measure Meals. Have your veterinarian establish the ideal body weight that your pet should be at and make that your pet’s goal weight. Once the ideal body weight has been established, feed your pet the recommended amount according to their ideal body weight.
- Establish a Feeding Schedule. Many pets graze on food all day that is left for them. With overweight pets, I do not recommend this method of feeding. Measure out the exact amount of food they should be getting, and give it to your pet at scheduled times throughout the day.
- Cut down on treats. I know this is a tough one but people do not realize how many calories treats can contribute to your pet’s diet. Just cutting out the treats alone, or switching to low fat treats, can result in weight loss for your pet.
- Exercise! Exercise! Exercise! Just like us, pets need to exercise to lose weight.
- Finally, if your pet is not responding to decreasing the treats, or the proper amount of food and exercise, please speak with your veterinarian regarding a low-fat diet.