Oct. 10 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Winnie knows about the issues that come with extra weight firsthand.
Over the course of one year, Winnie gained 14 lbs. due to lack of activity and overfeeding by a helpful, yet overzealous, toddler in her home. In August 2017, Winnie weighed in at a healthy 61 lbs., contrasted to June 2018 when she weighed 75 lbs. Winnie’s pet parents knew it was time to get her weight under control when they reached the final notch on her collar and it was still too tight.
WINNIE WEIGHS IN
To combat the extra fat, Winnie started a weight loss journey on July 15 and worked on slowly and safely losing weight through Sept. 30. Winnie and her family kept a diary during this time, to help inspire other owners and to show them how easy it is to make simple changes that benefit your pet’s health.
Winnie weighed in 14 lbs. overweight, kicking off her weight loss journey. Dr. Gary Richter, holistic veterinarian and Dog People Panel member at Rover.com, an online pet care provider, recommended upping her exercise, including three walks a week during work days, paired with a strict diet.
“Being this degree overweight can lead to joint pain and arthritis over time,” said Dr. Richter. “Dogs do not get coronary artery disease so heart attacks are not a concern like they are in people. By far, the biggest problem is mobility issues and pain.”
Pet obesity in the U.S. increased in 2017, affecting 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). “In the case of an overweight dog, it is important to increase their activity level in order to help them burn more calories and build muscle,” said Dr. Richter. “Adding in a midday walk is an excellent way to do this.”
Take a look at Winnie on her first of many walks with a dog walker hired through Rover.com! Winnie started a regimen of walks three times weekly, along with more monitored feeding times. (Her family’s 3-year-old was instructed to stop at two scoops exactly.)
JULY 18 (PART 2)
Even though Winnie was a little out of shape, she was able to walk close to one mile at the beginning of her weight loss journey. Remember when you are planning an exercise regimen for your pet, make sure you take his or her physical limits into consideration.
In addition to photos, time and distance walked, Winnie’s pet parent received walk start and stop times, a GPS map of her walks and notes about any “activities” during Winnie’s work day walks.
Winnie enjoying a mid-day walk with her walker, Eric.
“Obesity in dogs can limit both quality and quantity of life in dogs. Just like with humans, the key to maintaining a healthy weight in dogs is a function of good nutrition and exercise. Getting dogs on an optimal diet (fresh, whole food) and a safe and sustainable exercise regimen is the best way to keep them fit and trim. Appropriate weight loss is a benefit at any age but preventing obesity or resolving it at a young age is the best way to prevent the arthritis and pain that can occur due to obesity,” Dr. Richter said.
Winnie began trimming up from her more frequent walks and monitored food intake. She currently weighs 71 lbs.
Winnie on one of her three work day walks of the week. Tired, burning lots of calories and gaining strength.
Winnie getting ready for her 30-minute walk with her beloved walker Eric.
Winnie feeling healthier and looking svelter! During her final weigh-in, Winnie weighed 67 lbs., losing a total of 8 lbs. over a three-month span.
Way to go, Winnie!