I’ve known Regan for years. She had slowly put on more and more weight as she got older. She finally reached the point where that extra weight was dramatically affecting her life. Both knees are compromised, with one being surgically repaired, so asking those joints to carry extra weight caused even more pain. Even with pain medication, her mobility was severely compromised. She reached the point she was unable to stand up from sitting without her owner helping her. Regan’s owner was feeding only grain free foods, or foods labelled “natural,” “organic,” or ” holistic.” Regan kept getting bigger and bigger on this diet. Clearly this was not working for her.
We tested her thyroid, and it was in fact a little low, so we began treating her, hoping the weight would just fall off.
It only trickled.
(Click here for our previous article on thyroid disease).
With Regan’s “chow hound” appetite, it took some tough love to get the weight off of her. After going from 91 to 83 pounds, simply by treating her thyroid, Regan still has significant weight to lose (her ideal weight is closer to 70 lbs). But, that moderate weight loss improved her mobility dramatically! She no longer barked for her owner to help her stand up, but could (slowly) rise on her own. Her energy level increased, which led to an increase in her activity level, further helping her joints stay healthy!
So what now? After she started reading labels, Regan’s owner changed to food that was low in calories, rather than what I call the “buzz word” food (holistic, natural, grain free,etc). Through limiting the amount, and feeding moderate to low calorie food, the weight began to come off.
Regan reached 73 pounds and was able to go on walks around the neighborhood again!
Three main points :
- ANY weight loss can help an obese old dog live a better life. Perfection need not be achieved! Small changes can make a big difference! Even when Regan was 83 lbs, still rather overweight, but her life was better
- Food labeled “natural,” grain free, etc is not diet food. These tend to be VERY high in calorie. When it comes to weight control, all calories are created equally, so these are not the food of choice!
- Many great prescription weight loss foods are not out there, available from your vet! We put Regan on a prescription diet food for 4 months, got her weight down to 73 lbs, then kept her there on an over-the-counter light food.