Welcome to the all-new Vetlearn

  • Vetlearn is getting a new home. Starting this fall,
    Vetlearn becomes part of the NAVC VetFolio family.

    You'll have access to the entire Compendium and
    Veterinary Technician archives and get to explore
    even more ways to learn and earn CE by becoming
    a VetFolio subscriber. Subscriber benefits:
  • Over 500 hours of interactive CE Videos
  • An engaging new Community for tough cases
    and networking
  • Three years of NAVC Conference Proceedings
  • All-new articles (CE and other topics) for the entire
    healthcare team

To access Vetlearn, you must first sign in or register.

registernow

  • Registration for new subscribers will open in August 2014!
  • Watch for additional exciting news coming soon!
Become a Member

Veterinary Forum June 2007 (Vol 24, No 6)

Editor's Note: "Talk the talk, lose the weight"

by Marie Rosenthal

    My 4-year-old female weimeraner, Jane Eyre, recently lost 12 pounds. Although she is a very active dog, she was pretty portly at 96 pounds. I was determined to help her lose weight.

    It wasn't easy, though; Janie loves to eat. In fact, her first words were "cheese ball," because I had to give her medication when she was a pup. To this day, if I yell, "Cheese ball!" she comes running from any room in the house looking for a tasty morsel.

    Getting her on a diet took will power — not for her but for my husband and me. The hardest part was reducing the amount of people food we give her. Please, don't groan. I cannot look at those gorgeous, pleading eyes and not share my food.

    Dr. Dunbar Gram nailed it right on the head when we spoke recently: "There is a reason why dogs were domesticated — they are so good at their jobs [obtaining food]. Who can resist those sad eyes?"

    Not me, and certainly not my husband.

    So, how did we do it? We gave her less food. We switched to a low-calorie dog food, table scraps now contain more lean chicken, less fat and fewer carbs, and we cut the snacks to a little taste, rather than her own dishful. In addition, my husband is taking her on longer walks so she can burn off more energy.

    As a result, she lost the 12 pounds, and I was pretty pleased with myself when I took her for her annual checkup. I expected my veterinarian to congratulate me, but he didn't. He told me she was still overweight and was at risk for ≥ well, you know the list.

    My veterinarian is a good guy, and my animals get great care, so I'm not going to name names here, but I could have used a little more encouragement. If I were someone else, I might have been discouraged.

    Weight can be a difficult subject to discuss with owners, but your approach is most important, according to veterinary nutritionists. Show empathy with the owner and concern for the animal, they say.

    So, a word of advice from a pet owner: If the owner is committed to helping the animal lose weight, encourage any change. Honey goes a lot further than vinegar (and it's tastier, too.)

    NEXT: FDA approves new drug for CHF in dogs