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Posted on 03-02-2016

We at Helena Veterinary Service understand that weight control in your pet can be one of the most frustrating aspects of pet care.

1. A rule of thumb to keep when you have a pet that needs to lose weight: No "people food". "People food" is one of the most common weight gain problems or weight loss difficulties as well as causing other medical issues as pancreatitis, ganstroenteritis, IBD, colitis and such.

2. ideally, when weight loss is needed, treats must be reduced. We do understand the bond owners feel with "treating" their pet, or when it is necessary for training purposes. Because of this, our recommendation is to limit the treats and snacks for your pet to half of what they were before you strated the diet (reducing calories by 50% from this source).

3. We recommend reducing your pet's normal food by 10-25%**. This means if you were feeding one cup per day, you would now feed 3/4 cup per day. While you personally might struggle with the seeing the reduced food amount in your pet's dish, you pet will gain more energy, better health, and a longer life by losing weight. Dividing food into 2 meals per day is better than feeding once per day. This works well in cats also!

4. High quality pet food is necessary. This goes without saying, i.e. when "dieting". We proudly carry Hill's and Royal Canin prescription diet foods which are clinically tested and are high quality. Let us know your preference!

5. You can feed your dog green beans!! As long as your furry family member as no signs of any allergies to them you can use some green beans to supplement the volume reduction of regular dog food. They are filling and provide a great source of fiber with reduced calories.

6. Exercise is EXTREMELY important! Obesity leads to joint, back and muscle problems. Keeping your pet active helps these issues and aids in weight loss. Make sure to check with us before starting your pet on a workout routine. Some activity levels are not safe for the very obese or very sedentary pet when they first begin. As with people, start slow and be consistent. Gradually increase activity levels over time.

**Every pet's rate at which they should lose weight is different. Typically, you should look for 2-5% of your pets starting weight to be lost per month. This percentage depends on the condition in which they begin their weight loss and we can help you determine the safer goal to set.

~Dr. Armstrong

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