What a difference a weigh makes: How knowing your pet's weight can help trim the pounds - Dr. Marty Becker

What a difference a weigh makes: How knowing your pet’s weight can help trim the pounds

Tuesday, Jul 29th, 2014 | By Dr. Marty Becker

QuoraDNAMost pet owners with overweight or obese cats and dogs think their pets are at or near their ideal body weight, and therefore aren’t willing to do something about the problem. Fortunately, I’ve got a tip that will take the scales from their eyes!

Using scales to measure and motivate for weight loss has been successful for hundreds of thousands of pets who undergo supervised weight loss programs with their veterinarian. And I’ve never known a veterinarian who wouldn’t let his or her clients bring in a pet as often as desired to use the practice’s very accurate scales!

Do I practice what I preach? You bet!

I know what each of our dog’s ideal body weight is, and have weighed them quarterly since they were one year of age.

Recently, we were traveling for an extended time and our two canine cocktails, Quixote and Quora were staying with their Aunt Kate at Happy Tails Bed & Bisquit in my home town of Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

It seems Quora was not only eating her own food, but was sneaking food from other dogs and begging extra treats from a house guest, too. When we picked her up to take her home, there were a few less bounces and a few more ounces.

When I weighed Quora, she was 19.6 lbs rather than her normal 17.6. While two pounds may not sound like a lot, it’s the equivalent of a 150-pound person  putting on 17 pounds.

It’s safe for a dog to lose about 1.5 percent of her body weight per week, so it was going to take about 6 weeks for us to get Quora back in optimum squirrel-chasing condition. (Don’t worry — she doesn’t catch them!)

My wife, Teresa, has a masters in Athletic Administration, has been a fitness trainer, and was a Weight Watchers leader for over a decade. She has an ideal body weight of 123 pounds.  “It’s critical for people to catch weight gain as soon as it begins,” she said. “That goes for pets, too.”

So take a page from my book (l mean that literally), and do like “America’s Veterinarian” does with his own pets at Almost Heaven Ranch: keep exact track of your pet’s weight monthly, and  get any extra weight off promptly. Your dog or cat’s joints, heart, lungs, and skin will thank you, and so will your veterinarian!