601 – Add Years to Your Dog’s Life with One Simple Step
Add Years to Your Dog’s Life with One Simple Step
Dr. Marty Greer DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss how every pet owner can add years to their dog’s life with the simple step of avoiding obesity.
“It’s a difficult conversation,” Greer said. “It’s difficult for veterinarians to bring it up. It’s difficult for clients. So all the way around, it’s a challenging process and we have to be very careful, as veterinarians, that we don’t insult anybody because our role is not there to be body shaming their pet, but rather to be that advocate for their pet’s best health.
“We know that dogs that are ideal body condition live 2 years longer,” Greer noted. This is based on a laboratory study of littermate pairs. One group was free fed as much food as they wanted over their lifetimes. The other group was fed 25% less. The dogs fed less lived two years longer than their littermates.
“We’re not going to convince people that they’re going to stop giving their dog treats,” Greer added. “I mean, that’s just not a practical thing for us to talk people into because that is their love language. That is the way that they communicate with their pet in a lot of realms. It’s easy to continue to give that love language of food to your pet, but to do it in a way that has lower calories. So instead of feeding them extra, you can do some simple things by changing the treats that you give.”
Dr. Greer’s top tips for avoiding obesity in pets:
- Weigh your pet routinely.
- Use your hands to feel the pet’s body condition (HINT: Watch the YouTube video of this pod for Greer’s demo of how she explains proper weight for each pet!)
- Trade out fruits and vegetables for dog biscuits.
- Limit “people” food or reduce amount fed at meals to compensate.
- Spayed and neutered pets need 25% fewer calories immediately.
- Increase activity.
- Plain Cheerios and ice cubes are fun treats for dogs. Get creative and make healthy eating fun for you and your dog.
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