Penny loved food too much as a young dog. By the age of three, she had become more than just overweight: she was obese, weighing 35kg.
Then in 2014, she suffered a severe bout of lower back pain. She became dull, nervous and cowering, yelping in pain if she was touched at all. An early slipped disc was diagnosed, and while she responded well to treatment, the family realised that if she did not lose weight, the problem would recur, and the next time, she might not recover so easily. She had to lose weight urgently.
family rules were put in place for Penny
First, a family rule was put in place: Penny was only to be allowed to eat a measured amount of her complete dried dog food every day. No more treats. Penny did not like this at first, continuing to beg for food, but she soon learned that this was the new way.
Second, everyone gave Penny more attention, petting her and spending time with her, giving her alternative pleasure to food.
Third, an exercise routine for Penny was put in place, with regular energetic walks. Penny enjoyed these, and so did Amy and her family.
Penny’s new routine soon produced impressive results. Within six months she had lost 7kg, and after a year she had trimmed down by a full 10kg, reaching her ideal weight. Since then, she has stayed trim and fit. She’s a much happier dog, with more energy and enthusiasm for life, and there has been no recurrence of her back pain.
current veterinary advice
Penny’s story ties in with current veterinary advice on the best approach to good health in pets. Three key factors have helped Penny.
First, correct feeding, with nutrition that’s appropriate for a pet’s lifestage, giving the right type and quantity of food. Penny’s health problems had been directly linked to over-feeding. Once her diet was addressed, she rapidly became healthier and fitter.
Second, pet-owner time: pets need us to focus on them, to help them get the best from life. This can be as simple as just spending time with them, carrying out simple tasks together such as dog training, dental care, petting and grooming.
Third, play and exercise are essential parts of any dog’s life. For Penny, they played a key role in getting back to her ideal body weight.
Many pet owners find it difficult to make the changes that Amy and her family made. Thousands of dogs remain overweight and unhealthy because these three basic aspects of pet care are not properly addressed. Is your pet one of them?