Guest Post by Kelly Harding
I recently posted about my visit to Royal Canin Canada where I spoke to a group of veterinarians about how I felt as a pet owner being told I had an obese pet, how I reacted and what I did about it. My post did not go into detail or answer any of the below questions, I only wrote about my experience on this day. Dr. Ryan Llera asked if I would discuss in detail what it was I told the vets attending the weight management session, in the hopes it would help others understand what I did, what I didn’t do, and why.
Why I didn’t take my vet’s recommendation the first time I was confronted with Edie needing to lose weight?
I was aware that Edie was getting larger, bigger, yes, fatter. But when it was suggested “the first time” that I should switch her food to a product that would address her weight, her constant hunger and begging for food I hesitated. I believed I could manage it on my own and thought I could continue to give her the same food, the food that I still had almost a full bag of at home, but just give her less. I also felt that if Edie was still hungry I could just supplement her with carrots and green beans. And largely, I couldn’t see how changing to a different food, a food that I now had to purchase from my vet’s office, would make any difference
What made me change my mind?
Edie’s begging and constant demanding of food!! Not entirely, but it was a large part because she always seemed hungry. She seemed frustrated by my restrictions on her food and I also became desperate as she began to scratch furniture and dig up carpets until she got food. There just never seemed to be enough green bean or carrots to satisfy her! The final straw was that Edie’s weight continued to climb.
What didn’t work for Edie’s weight loss?
I couldn’t keep up and thought I could manage Edie’s weight loss on my own but it wasn’t as easy as I thought.
What did work for Edie’s weight loss?
Well, if you’ve seen recent photos of Edie, you know that we’ve since succeeded in getting her weight to a healthy level. Ultimately, I took my vet’s advice. I switched Edie to a prescribed food (Royal Canin Satiety Support) that addressed her weight issues and her need to feel satisfied. Aside from the food change, learning how much was the right amount to feed Edie (weighing and measuring food portions properly) was key. And of course, taking Edie in to my vet’s office for regular weigh-ins so that she could be monitored.
How did Edie’s vet support me and make me feel comfortable with the decisions that I made along the way?
Although my vet had mentioned Edie’s weight on a couple of occasions, she never made me feel bad for not doing it earlier. I was embarrassed enough about Edie’s weight but my veterinarian never did anything to embarass me further. While most people focus on the numbers on the scale, my vet never overwhelmed me with the big picture (need to lose 10 or 12lbs). We boiled it down to taking small steps, each weigh-in at a time. I was welcomed and encouraged to drop in to have Edie weighed anytime. Each loss was a success, no matter how small! Veterinarians assess each patient and give them a Body Condition Score (BCS) so the numbers are often just a measurable goal but as weight loss happens, the endpoint of an ideal BCS could change.
Things that helped me along the way and my tips for you:
- Ask your vet for a weight chart print out. My vet was able to print out a chart that documented Edie’s weight starting with her very first vet visit. Seeing the weight climb to its highest was an eye opener; seeing it reduce to a healthier weight was encouraging
- Have your vet teach you how to do a body condition score on your pet. There may be a time when you think your pet has lost enough weight, but learning to “feel” your pet’s body helps to understand
- Pictures! Take lots and lots of pictures of your pet! I can’t stress this enough! When you’re with your pet day in and day out you can’t always see what your pet “really” looks like. Take photos from all angles. Take photos from above to see if your pet has a waist. Compare the photos over time and if you are like me, you will be surprised, shocked and amazed by the changes along the way.
I finally started to notice a difference in Edie’s attitude and hunger issues within a month of being on Satiety Support. The begging, the scratching of furniture, the digging up of carpets subsided. Edie became more content and of course that made me happier and encouraged. The Satiety Support was working just as my vet said and Edie lost 1.3kg/2.86lbs in the first 4 months! We were on our way. Today, Edie is a healthier, happier dog, weighing in at 9.3kg.
Have you ever been told by your vet your pet needs to lose weight? What did you do about it?
Kelly Harding is the human at the end of Edie the Pug’s leash. She is better known as “Edie’s Humom” and is the voice behind Edie the Pug. Kelly acts as typist for Edie the Pug on her blog and social media outlets – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
All opinions about Edie, her weight loss journey and how it affected Edie’s health are Kelly’s own personal experience. Edie has been on Royal Canin products since she was a puppy and continues to be on Royal Canin Satiety Support Small Dog dry and Satiety wet. Edie is an Ambassador to Royal Canin Canada, but this in no way influences Kelly’s opinions of the product. Edie is, and always has, monitored by her veterinarian to ensure her health, her healthy weight loss and maintenance.