Obesity is, in the majority of cases, brought on by simply overfeeding. But you can turn things around! If you read my previous article on the tragedy of obesity, you need to know there can be happy endings! We just need to acknowledge the problem and intervene as early as possible.
Here’s two success stories of dogs for whom weight loss saved their lives!
Gunther is an older lab with severe chronic injuries to his knees. His hips aren’t so hot either. He should weigh about 80 lbs. He weighed 98 lbs when I met him, and was having a lot of trouble getting up. I asked the owner how much she was feeding, and I got the typical answer of “this much” as shown with a thumb and index finger. She guessed it was 2 cups a day. I realized that, barring any major metabolic problem, there is no way this dog could weigh that much on 2 cups of food a day. Good news – I am a house call vet. She showed me the food bowl, which is always full. She said the amount in there was about how much he eats throughout the day. I pulled out my measuring cup and started scooping. He was eating TEN cups of food each day! I calculated how much he should be getting, and she started feeding a measured appropriate amount. Gunther is down to 78 lbs, and is moving much better! To boot, his owner saved a LOT of money on dog food!
Darcy is truly a success story. She’s had surgery on both knees, but they still were rather arthritic. She was on three pain medications just to be able to stand and walk. A German Shepherd mix who weighed 90 lbs, she should weigh 65. Her owner knew she was overweight, but insisted on feeding her organic, grain free food. (Grain free food tends to be rather high in calorie). With Darcy hobbling around, even on multiple pain medications, barely able to get out the door to potty, her owner was considering euthanasia. Moving at all was difficult, and her owner was unable to lift her. She agreed to try my idea: forget the grain free and put her on a prescription weight loss diet for 3 months. Darcy got down to 72 lbs! She went from three pain medications to one, and lived feeling the best she’d felt in years! Better yet – by reducing her medications, her owner was able to put that money towards keeping her on prescription food, and still be money ahead!
Web-DVM guest blogger Dr. Karen Louis is a practicing small animal veterinarian. See more of her articles at her blog at VetChick.com