04 March, 2009
Living in Canada and dealing mainly with Canadian and U.S. dog owners I forget about all the great stuff the United Kingdom does for dogs. The PDSA is the UK's leading veterinary charity, caring for more than 350,000 pet patients belonging to people in need. Recently they ran a program helping overweight pets to lose weight and in fact made a contest out of it. Participating in the contest, which consisted of a 100 day diet and fitness program devised by vets, was 5 obese dogs and one cat. Many of which were in their senior years.
The winner of this contest was a Labrador Retriever by the name of Keano (great name by the way) who began the contest at more than 100 pounds, which means that he was approximately 55% overweight. Losing 22 pounds earned him the skinny crown that he deserves. Second place went to a 7-year-old German Shepherd by the name of Alfie who joined the program at over 125 pounds, approximately 55% overweight. Alfie missed the top spot by only a couple of pounds as he lost 20 pounds (19% of his body weight) and 6 inches off his waist by participating. Tinks, the lone cat in the contest, fared exceptionally well, even at he young age of 13-years-old. Tinks was a shocking 96% overweight at 23 pounds, but left the program with a waistline that was 2 inches shorter and a body that was 2 pounds lighter.
It is hopeful that all the participants will continue to see the benefits that exercise and a healthy diet can bring, and if these results are possible within just 100 days, then think about what can happen over the next 6 months. The bottom line is that no matter what age your pet is you can make a significant difference in their happiness and well-being by keeping them active and making sure they have a healthy diet.
The benefits that controlling their weight can bring are absolutely endless, from preventing diabetes and heart problems, to keeping their spirits up and stimulating their minds. Mackenzie (my pug) could be a poster child for weight-loss. By around 8 years-old he started gaining weight. He was getting older and has an enlarged heart. This meant that he would hyperventilate quite easy...it became a vicious cycle where I was too worried to walk him for fear that he was straining his heart, but by not walking him he was gaining weight which in and of itself put strain on his heart. Thanks to a wise vet we found the magic solution.
We put him on a special diet food and I took him for walks early in the morning and at night when it was much cooler. The walks started very slowly, shorts walks that gradually grew in distance as Mackenzie became fitter and lighter. Long story short - he went from being 31 pounds to 20 pounds and became a whole new dog. His energy shot up, his health dramatically improved and he has kept the weight off to this day, 5 years later. I am a big believer in keeping your dog active and controlling their weight is one of the major benefits. Do you have a dog with a great weight-loss story? If so we'd love to hear it. Full story