Dieting made easier for pets and owners |

Dieting made easier for pets and owners

I am writing this article not because there are overweight people in the Vail Valley, but because I found an interesting study and would like to share it. This is a true study sponsored by Hill’s, a company that makes pet food and prescription diets for pets with various medical conditions. Hill’s is a reputable company that is constantly researching diets relating to all different conditions in pets. Most of us are aware of the specific diets that some pets require depending on illnesses. For example: a cat in kidney failure needs to eat a food low in protein and easy to digest, such a Hill’s K/d diet. A dog with acute vomiting and a sensitive stomach will start on a bland food (simple protein and easy digestible carbohydrate), such as Hill’s I/d diet. There are many different foods made for various conditions and they have been well researched and tested. Most veterinarians will be able to advise you on the appropriate diet for your pet.Hill’s study examined the possible benefits of treating of overweight people and their dogs at the same time. The study showed animals and their owners are more likely to stick to a weight-loss program when they participate together.Obesity among pets is an epidemic in this country, and it poses significant health risks. Owners may realize their pets are overweight, but many lack the motivation to tackle the problem. Owners also get tired of hearing how fat their pets are. Some veterinarians are reluctant to even raise the subject for fear of insulting their clients. Referencing this new study, a veterinarian can open discussion about a pet’s weight and perhaps provide a comfortable solution that benefits the owner and the dog. Trying to lose weight at the same time can also strengthen the human-animal bond. Hill’s described its concept as a “social support system” of owners and pets to help weight-loss programs succeed initially and in the long term. Hill’s study lasted 12 months and included three groups: obese people and pets; a group of obese people; and group of obese dogs. The groups were given strict low fat diets, and exercised three times a week.All three groups lost weight and exercised more, but the group with people and pets were the most active and lost the most weight. That group also had the fewest dropouts.If you and your pet exercise together, you will both get healthier. Dr. Nadine Lober 949-7972Vail, Colorado

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