Despite being one of the easiest conditions to diagnose, obesity in pets remains one of the most difficult to treat. More than half of North American pets are overweight which means many also face life threatening weight-related diseases. The latest tool in combating obesity in pets and helping pet owners to determine how much food to feed a pet to maintain a healthy weight is actually an app that can be downloaded to your iPhone or iPad. It is only one of a number of new technologies helping pet owners and the veterinarians in Richmond Hill measure and track healthy weight.
Utilizing information such as your pet’s weight, age, gender, intact status and body condition score the app generates a profile. It will even automatically enroll the pet in the weight loss program if already overweight. Next, you have the ability to select from 1,700 different available foods found either at the pet food store or at veterinary clinics. IF your brand doesn’t happen to be on the list you can enter the information from the nutritional label. Lastly you are then prompted to enter the total kilocalories of treats given. You don’t need to nix treats altogether. Just be realistic — if you or your family likes to give them, make sure they are included when you enter your information for you to succeed. The veterinarians in Richmond Hill recommend choosing healthy alternatives, such as veggies or rice cakes, and decide at the beginning of each day exactly how many the pet is allowed; put this amount in a bowl, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
The app will now indicate how much food your pet should be eating in cups. If your pet is supposed to be loosing weight it will display how much your dog is expected to loose every two weeks and even remind you of weight-ins on a weekly (for weight loss), and monthly (for maintenance) basis. Anytime there is an adjustment in portion size the app automatically does a protein check by comparing the grams of protein it is receiving to the amount that your dog requires and will issue a warning if it isn’t enough.
There are also a variety or portion control products (feeders) on the market such as PortionPro RX., a product that uses patented RFID technology to control both portion and access. This is done usually with using your pet’s microchip or if they are not ‘chipped’ then they are provided with a tag that is placed on their collar that is read by the feeder. When the assigned pet approaches, the feeder door opens so the pet can eat. If an unassigned pet approaches, the door closes until the unassigned pet leaves. This device also measures and dispenses the recommended amount of food for the assigned pet to control overeating. One hundred households with pets used PortionPro Rx feeder for three months to measure appropriate portions, regulate the timing of feedings, and prevent food theft between pets:
As a result of the trial:
- 87% of overweight pets lost weight
- 97% of pet owners said food stealing between pets was eliminated
- 83% of pet owners said it was easier to follow a prescription diet and
- 86% of pet owners saw reduced stress and frustration at mealtime.
The veterinarians in Richmond Hill want to remind you if cutting out unhealthy snacks and table scraps, serving the right amount and right type of dog food and increasing physical activity, don’t do the trick, an underlying health condition likely triggered the weight gain. That’s why consultation with your veterinarians in Richmond Hill who can perform blood work is so important.
Overweight dogs, just like people can face a litany of health issues, so a diet may save your pet’s life. The potentially devastating consequences of obesity include:
Greater risk for heat stroke
Compromised immune system
Reduction in life span
Mammary tumors (particularly in un-spayed females)
High blood pressure
Regardless of how, once you’ve achieved success, maintain the weight loss by sticking to what you know. Avoid between-meal snacks and treats, regular exercise, and controlled food portions. Getting the whole family into healthy-dog habits is essential for long-term weight management.
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Bayview Seven Animal Hospital
Bayview Seven Animal Hospital, a veterinary clinic located on Hwy.7, one block West of Yonge, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, Vaughan and North York since 1988. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets and birds.
Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.