A DOG NAMED BLUE: A Real Weight Loss Success Story
Meet Blue, a 5 year old, spayed female Bluetick Coonhound who has been overweight for a long time. Blue has tried a range of weight reduction dog foods for the last two – three years without much impact on her overweight problem. Her ideal weight is 90 pounds, but she weighed in above at 120.2 pounds (30.2 pounds /33% overweight). To give you some perspective, if we compare Blue to an average human with an ideal weight of 150 pounds, who is also 33% overweight, that human would weigh 200 pounds and be 50 pounds overweight. Thanks to all the advances in human and veterinary medicine, we know that such a large percentage of excess weight is extremely detrimental to the overall health of both humans and our beloved pets. Obesity weakens our immune systems. In pets, excess body weight also damages the heart, lungs, kidneys and liver, and overweight pets often have skin and coat issues that can lead to secondary problems such as skin infections and hair loss. Overweight conditions also put unnecessary stress on joints.
Blue’s Weight Loss History reveals a poor track record, but in spite of all her previous dieting and weight loss failures, Blue’s family describes her as a happy dog. She loves to go for walks, run in the yard, chase balls, and play with the children, but her excess weight was causing a dip in her energy level and her interest in playing was declining. That was before Blue’s parents and Blue’s doctor developed a health plan that included Hills® Metabolic Advanced Diet. On other diets, Blue was always hungry and begging for more food. Like a typical restricted food dieter, she seemed to crave more food. Her parents were frustrated, because she wasn’t satisfied on the two cups a day that these other diets limited her to. She was also limited to one or two treats per day and one rawhide treat per week. Even with these restrictions, she was just not able to lose any weight; in fact she had actually gained weight on some of the previous weight loss foods. As a young dog, Blue had spent one half of her life trying to lose weight and failing. Blue’s owners understood that the risk factors would increase as she aged and so they sought out professional support through Blue’s WignallAnimalHospital veterinarian. Dr. Megan Brown recommended they try a new weight loss diet showing great promise in reducing pet obesity. They agreed to a health plan designed to champion Blue’s weight loss; this time the family’s efforts met with unprecedented success.
Blue’s Success has been attributed to the Hills® Metabolic Advanced Diet. She was able to eat 4 cups of food per day and still lose weight! Not only is this remarkable because she seemed to be satisfied after meals, but Blue reduced her cravings for more, her activity level began increasing again and she showed more interest in playing – all these positive results without any typical diet food side effects like gastrointestinal problems and lack of interest in the food.
In just one month on the new diet, Blue lost 3.3 pounds; her “begging behavior” declined from a score of 9 out of 10, to a score of 5. Her appetite went from a score of 10 (ravenous) to 5 (normal); her energy level went from 7 to 9 (over several months).Most importantly, her happiness score stayed at 9! Her parents are ecstatic to see her succeed and to know that their perseverance has finally paid off.
How do we know these scores? We actually entered Blue in a special clinical food trial through WignallAnimalHospital in which we monitored Blue via monthly interviews with her parents, monthly weigh-ins and visits with Blue at the hospital. The data collected was submitted to Hills® Pet Nutrition to become part of their database on the Hills® Metabolic Advanced Diet. We have tracked Blue for 5 months and she continues to lose weight and is still a happy, satisfied (not begging!), energetic dog.
Blue’s Report Card
When Blue began the Hills Metabolic Advanced Diet, she was graded on her progress every month. We measured her success according to her Body Composition Score, Measurements, Energy Score, Appetite Score, Begging Behavior Score, Happiness Score, Weight, Overall Health and input from her parents.
Blue’s Body Profile was created in order to measure her real progress on the Hills diet. There are several ways we assess a pet’s weight health, including Body Composition Score, Body Weight and Body Measurements.
Body Composition Score (BSC) ranges from 1 to 9, gives a numerical score to each pet based on physical characteristics related to being emaciated at one extreme and extremely obese at the other extreme.
Blue’s Body Composition Score Before Hills® Metabolic Advanced Diet: 9 (ExtremelyOverweight/Obese)
Blue’s Ideal Body Composition Score: 5
Ideally, dogs and cats should have a “waist”, a slimming or indentation at the mid-body, above the hips; the belly should be tight to the rib cage without sagging; the skin and hair on the shoulders and back are tight to the muscles without rolls of excess skin; the neck skin should be tight to the neck and upper back muscles without rolls or excess fat; lastly, there should be a “tuck” of the abdomen, just in front of the rear legs. Note in the BEFORE Photos of Blue, she did not have a waist evident, she had some rolls of skin under her chin and on her chest and her belly sagged slightly. She had more of a boxy shape (no “tuck” just in front of her rear legs) rather than Blue’s BCS was “9” in October 2012, weighing in at 120.5 pounds. As defined below in the Body Condition Score Table, Blue’s BCS was “Extremely Overweight/Obese”.
2= Very Underweight
Body Weight was measured using a calibrated, highly sensitive and highly reliable scale on which we weighed Blue’s entire body, at rest. Our clients are welcome to bring their pets to the hospital at any time for a free weigh in on our scale. Her body fat was calculated to be 40.6% which means that nearly ½ of her body weight was fat before she began the Hills® Metabolic advanced Diet. She had 48.8 pounds of fat putting a strain on her bones, muscles, joints, skin, coat and internal organs; her body was intended to carry only 90 pounds total weight! Based on Blue’s 40.6% body fat, she was a high risk for increased physical injury, arthritis, reduced mobility, cancer , respiratory disease, kidney disease, pancreatitis, liver disease, bladder stones and a shortened life expectancy.
Blue’s Starting Weight: 120.2 lbs.
Blue’s Ideal Weight: 90 lbs.
Blue’s Weight Loss Goal to Achieve Ideal Weight: 30.5 lbs. Weight Loss
Blue’s Ideal Body Fat: 20.7%
Blue’s Weight Profile
|DATE||WEIGHT||POUNDS TO GO!||% Body Fat||Pounds of Fat|
|TOTALS LOST||13.8 Pounds||7.7%||13.8 Pounds of Fat|
Blue’s Body Measurements were obtained in October, before starting on her new Hills diet. The measurements enable us to create accurate weight and body fat goals, based not on her breed, gender or age; but rather based on her actual bone structure in key areas of the body, such as the head and length of the legs.
BLUE AFTER 4 MONTHS ON THE HILLS® METABOLIC ADVANCED DIET
Notice that Blue’s belly now is much tighter to her rib cage than before and you can actually see a curve in shape vs. before when her shape was very block-like and square. In the right photo, notice that she actually has a waist now, her body shape has curves, she now has the “tuck” in her abdomen just in front of her rear legs and she has already lost her fatty look. She has gone from obese (BCS 9) to significantly overweight (BCS7) AND continues to lose weight as she progresses to BCS 5 (ideal). We have no doubt that Blue will be a weight loss success. After struggling with several different weight loss foods, Blue and her parents have a winner!
Blue continues on the Hills® Metabolic Advanced Diet as of April 2013, losing weight at each monthly weigh-in and continues to be monitored by her veterinarian, Dr. Megan Brown.
Blue’s Parents Say: “She loves the food and it is definitely working. We LOVE it!! She LOVES it and is losing weight!”
Do you have a pet struglling with excess weight? Have you tried and failed to help your pet lose weight? Do you always feel like you are depriving your pet on a weight loss diet? Consult your veterinarian to discuss the best options for your spcific pet’s needs.