Tag Archives: Prescription diet

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Weighs In On Pet Obesity

Pet obesity can be difficult to talk about –but avoiding the issue isn’t helping. Come on out and see a KAH veterinarian so we can start helping your furry friend.

What is the most common health problem our veterinarians see at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital? Easy guesses might be kidney disease, or oral disease, so the answer might be surprising: it’s obesity. Chances are, everyone knows someone with a chubby dog or a fat cat. This is because America’s furry friends have a big problem: pet obesity rates are at an all-time high. In 2018, 56% of dogs and 60% of cats were overweight. Obese pets are at significantly increased risk for joint disease such as osteoarthritis and hip dysplasia, as well as overall health problems such as type II diabetes and hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease).

KAH assistant Aaron and technician Robin showcase  body condition scoring systems. Ask a KAH veterinarian for a copy at your pet’s next visit!

How exactly is pet obesity defined? Here at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital, our veterinarians use the Purina Body Condition System to assess a pet’s weight. Each pet is assigned a score from 1 to 9, with a 4-to-5 as the “ideal” weight. At a 5 on the scale, pets have a defined, easily visible waist as well as an obvious abdominal tuck. A 6 or a 7 is an overweight animal, with 8s and 9s qualifying as obese. An easy way to check if a pet is at a good weight is to feel along the animal’s rib cage. The ribs should be felt in the same way as the bones across the back of a human hand. If they are more prominent, the pet is underweight, but if they can only be felt by pressing hard or can’t be felt at all, the pet is overweight.

Once a pet has reached overweight or obese status, what is the best way to help him or her lose the weight?  This depends on a lot of factors, such as: the animal’s age and normal activity level; whether it is a dog, a cat, or a rabbit; and what the pet’s current diet is. The veterinarians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital work closely with pet owners to create a custom weight loss plan based on all of these factors. Sometimes it is as simple as cutting each meal back by 20%, or switching to a

KAH assistant Kayla is checking pooch Bruce’s weight. KAH staffers will happily conduct free weight checks for any pet–call today to schedule a tech appointment!

weight-management diet. Pets on grain-free diets are more likely to pack on the weight since grain-free diets are usually more calorically dense (have more calories per cup) than diets that contain grains, so a switch to a different food altogether may help Fluffy or Rover slim down.  For obese pets in need of a rigorous diet plan, KAH veterinarians sometimes recommend Hill’s Metabolic Diet, a prescription-only food that is formulated specifically to help pets feel full while increasing their metabolism.  Each dog or cat started on Metabolic is measured to determine their target weight and given a weight loss-over-time plan.  This is because It is dangerous for animals, especially cats, to lose weight too quickly! Rapid weight loss, whether it is intended or not, is a sign that a pet needs to see a veterinarian.

KAH patient Piper has lost almost 30 pounds this year! Check out her weight chart, displayed by KAH technician Katie.

Perhaps the most compelling argument to get the pounds off the pooch is a recent study from the University of Liverpool in England. Researchers found that dogs who were overweight live an average of two-and-a-half less years than dogs who were a healthy weight. All of us want as many years as possible with our fur-babies, and we want them to be good, healthy years, right? Please make an appointment with a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital so that we can help with any weight-loss woes!

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s Focus On Food: Tips For Healthy Pet Nutrition

Continuing on Kingsbrook Animal Hospital’s theme of New Years’ resolutions, many people vow to eat healthier or go on a diet starting in January.  Healthy eating can extend to our pets, too! There’s a lot of information available on animal nutrition, so it can be challenging to know fact from fiction. Here, KAH will provide our Top 5 Tips on Healthy Pet Nutrition.

 

  1. Most scientists agree that dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores. This means that “wild” dogs will eat plants, grains, and meat, while cats will eat almost exclusively (greater than 95%) meat. Be sure pets are getting appropriate levels of protein—too much can be as harmful as too little!
  2. Be sure to use a measuring cup or scoop to accurately measure how much each pet is eating. Make sure each cup is level (like the small scoop) not rounded at the top (like the bigger cup)!

    The type of protein is just as important as the amount. Unlike people, our pets don’t really need “variety” in their diets. To avoid food allergies and picky eaters, feed just one protein (such as chicken or lamb) and stick with it!

  3. Choose a reputable brand of pet food made by a company that staffs certified nutritionists

    KAH technician Julie’s kitty Calvin poses with his food. Science Diet is one of the brands KAH recommends for good pet nutrition!

    and has solid quality control procedures in place. It’s even better if they have a good customer support department that can answer any questions owners may have. Kingsbrook Animal Hospital recommends Royal Canin, Hill’s Science Diet, and Purina ProPlan as excellent choices for any pet’s diet.

  4. Pet food bags usually overestimate the amount an animal should be eating. For example, most cats don’t need more than ½ a cup of dry food in a day. For exact recommendations for a specific pet, consult a veterinarian at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital.
  5. Meal feeding is always a better idea than free feeding. It’s much easier to monitor how much and how well a pet is eating if measured amounts are put down 2-3 times a day. Also, just like for humans, several small meals tend to keep metabolism higher than just one big meal every day.

Weight Loss Success on Hill’s Prescription Diet T/D

 

When kitties Winter and Twilight Gronsky were brought in to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital by their owners for a routine examination back in 2014, Dr. Cardella noticed a pattern of weight gain. In January of 2014, Winter weighed 14.9 lbs. Twilight, also a domestic shorthair cat, weighed 14.44 lbs in February, 2014. The cat’s owners were feeding them a good quality food and measuring out their portions, but they were still too heavy.

Both Dr. Cardella and the cat’s parents were concerned that the gain in weight would start to affect the kitty’s health negatively. Studies have shown that there is an association between oral health issues and other health issues such as with the heart, kidneys and metabolic systems. Dr. Cardella suggested switching the cat’s diet to a prescription food and Winter and Twilight’s parents readily agreed. The prescription diet chosen was Hill’s Prescription Diet Feline T/d. T/d (Tooth diet) has very large-sized kibble that pet’s can’t swallow whole. They must chew the kibble to break them up small enough to swallow. Chewing the kibble allows it to scrape plaque and tartar off the teeth. So why did Dr. Cardella choose to prescribe a dental diet when these cats needed to lose weight? T/d has the additional benefit of being low in calories!

Dr. Cardella recommended feeding each cat ¼ cup of T/d twice daily. With their owner’s hard work and dedication, we are happy to report that both cats have lost weight! Way to go! In February, 2015 Winter weighed in at 10.85 lbs, and in March, 2015 Twilight weighed 10.98 lbs. Both cats are now at their ideal body weight! Their owners have done an amazing job with their weight loss challenge and report that both cats are much more active and happy now that they’ve lost weight. Now that both kitties are at their ideal weight, their fed portion size may be adjusted to help them to maintain their perfect physique. It’s not an easy task to help pets lose weight, but it leads to a happier, healthier pet. Winter and Twilight are so lucky to have such amazing pet parents.

Winter

Before: 14.9lbs

After: 10.85 lbs

Total weight lost: 4.05 lbs!

Twilight

Before: 14.44lbs

After: 10.98 lbs

Total weight lost: 3.46 lbs!

Here is Winter now! He is looking svelte as he explores one of our exam rooms.

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If you have questions about your pet’s weight, please call Kingsbrook Animal Hospital at: 301-631-6900