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Weight Management Program
Our main goal at the Animal Therapy Center (ATC) is to help our animal companions live many long happy years through healthy lifestyles. Key to this goal is maintenance of optimum weight through proper nutrition and exercise. Sadly, canine obesity is on the rise in our culture because of readily available, tasty, high calorie foods combined with our sedentary lifestyles. Studies have shown that approximately 40% of our dogs are overweight or obese. Obesity shortens lifespan, increases the risk of cardio-respiratory disease and joint problems, and will also aggravate pain in a dog with arthritis.
Is my dog overweight?
Many owners do not realize that their dog is overweight or even obese. An easy way to determine this is to simply look straight down at your dog’s body. A dog that is overweight does not have a “waist” when viewed from above. Also an overweight dog lacks a “tuck-up” in the abdomen when viewed from the side. In a truly obese dogs you may see rolls of fat around the shoulders or hind end. Such a dog is quite likely to develop serious health problems.
Our Weight Management Program is a 10 week program:
1st Visit: In this hour visit we will assess your dog’s physical condition, discuss target weight, diet and feeding schedule, and a home exercise program. We may ask you to bring your dog’s food bag for evaluation. This is also the time to introduce your dog briefly to the underwater treadmill or swimming pool.
Thereafter, visits will be 30 minutes twice weekly for underwater treadmill or swim sessions along with continued focus on home follow up. Your dog will be carefully monitored during her water exercise, as aquatic therapy places high energy demand on the body. We will weigh your dog every other week to track progress. In each session your therapist will discuss concerns and encourage and support your efforts.
A) Diet: Once your dog’s target weight and rate of loss have been determined, her daily food portions will be calculated. Allowable treat suggestions are incorporated. A prescription diet may be recommended, with the consent of your dog’s veterinarian.
B) Exercise: Just as in people, frequent, sustained exercise is an important part of a weight loss program. Leash walking, ball playing etc. is needed, as letting your dog lose in the yard rarely provides sufficient exercise. We will work with you to develop an exercise plan that both you and your dog can accomplish. Twice weekly water exercise sessions serve to jump start the process, because one minute of swimming is equal to 5 to 15 minutes of walking and thus serves to increase overall fitness, endurance and cardiopulmonary output. Furthermore, the buoyancy of water reduces stress on joints and enables overweight dogs to get started exercising.
**Maintaining optimum weight is an ongoing commitment, but the rewards are well worth the effort**
Tips for Owners of Pudgy Pooches:
All staff have undergone specialized training in canine rehabilitation
Good for 20% of any service at the Animal Therapy Center. Includes initial evaluation. One per customer, can not be…