Weigh in on portly pets

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Jul 01, 2007



Canines counting calories? Felines fasting? Raneé Baker, RVT, a technician at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, Md., developed a better plan to manage pets' weight. Her practice uses these steps to help pets lighten up:

1. Clients and their pets meet with a credentialed technician knowledgeable in nutrition. During the consult, the technician takes a dietary history, performs an exam, weighs the pet, and generates a body condition score. Then the client and technician discuss the pet's exercise history, present diet, and target weight. The technician makes recommendations, summarizes the consult in the patient's medical file, and gives the client a written copy of the feeding, calorie, and exercise recommendations.

2. The technician calls the client two weeks after the consult to discuss the recommendations and the client's questions.

3. Two weeks later, the client and pet return for a weigh-in. During this visit, the technician reviews the recommendations and makes adjustments and the client gives feedback on the pet's progress.

4. Weigh-ins and evaluations continue every four weeks until the pet reaches its target weight.

Once the pet achieves its target weight, the technician offers long-term maintenance recommendations and the pet receives a reward—dogs earn a dental treat and cats get a furry mouse. "Of course, the biggest reward is a happy, healthy pet," Baker says.