A common question I hear from clients is, “I think my pet has arthritis doc. What can I give her to help?”

Before we jump into the medicine cabinet, one of the best long term treatments for degenerative joint disease (which includes osteoarthritis) is taking a look at our pet’s weight. Weight optimization is one of the most impactful things we can do for our pets. Even a modest 6-8% loss in weight, significantly improves the signs of osteoarthritis. Helping our pets transition their physique from tubby to toned will greatly improve our pets quality of life. Also, due to the destructive components released by fat, having an optimal weight greatly reduces the risk factors for many other debilitating diseases like diabetes, heart disease and all types of cancers.

Your veterinarian will help you develop the best weight loss plan for you and your pet.

  • Before embarking on a weight loss plan your veterinarian may want to have some bloodwork performed on you pet to check for any underlying conditions or diseases that are causing or will affect the plan.
  • Calories in will have a much bigger impact than exercise alone. Your veterinarian will likely discuss making sure your pet is getting accurately measured meals. So no more, all day, all you can eat buffets.
  • Feeding your pet a “light” or “reduced calorie” pet store diet may not be enough. A transition to a prescription veterinary diet may be what is needed to help shed those pounds in the safest way. What sets a veterinary diet food apart are these foods are often more calorie restricted yet still provide adequate nutrients. They also can have additional ingredients to help loose fat over muscle. Some of these diets also work with nutrigenomics, normalizing your pet’s gene profile through specific ingredients.
  • Treats and snacks can be a big contributor to extra daily calories. By adjusting what we give our pets, we can continue to reward them and not worry about their waistlines. Some good options your veterinarian may discuss with you are, frozen/fresh green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower. Plain, air-popped popcorn is another great option.
  • Monitoring and adjustments with monthly reweighs and body condition assessments will be another integral part of the plan. How can we sing your praises if we don’t see you?
Remember the old adage, “an ounce of prevention…?”. What a better time to work in some preventive measures than when you have a growing puppy or kitten. By making sure our pets never become tubby in the first place, we can greatly delay or prevent the onset and severity of degenerative joint disease in their future.

  • Meal feeding a measured amount will not only help you keep track of the calories your youngster is consuming, but it will also help with house training.
  • The same treats and snacks mentioned above may also be recommended by your veterinarian.
  • Keep up with the monthly visits after the initial vaccine series is completed. Besides helping prevent portliness, these monthly visits are a great way to make future visits to the veterinary office fun.
If you would like some guidance on telling if your pet is at risk or if you are looking for help in developing a weight loss plan, give us a call. We’d love to help!