Lu-Seal is a morbidly obese chihuahua who is on a weight loss mission! Pet obesity is a big problem! The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates 54% of dogs are overweight. It can cause arthritis, heart problems, diabetes, and lots of other health problems for our furry friends.
Lu-Seal was abandoned at 9 years old, weighing 16 pounds (double her healthy weight). When her new mom adopted her, she was barely able to walk and had arthritis as well as torn CCL ligaments in both knees, meaning her back legs were painful and unstable. She’s been working hard ever since to get healthier and she’s lost a total of 6.5 pounds. That’s like 150 human pounds!
Here are her tips for losing weight and getting healthy:
Your vet can tell you how many calories your dog should consume based on their age, weight, and activity level. Lu-Seal’s vet calculated 250 calories. You don’t have to change your dog’s food, you can read the labels and calculate how much to give to make the calorie goal. Lu-Seal gets 200 calories in regular food, which leaves 50 calories free for treats!
Take it slow. Lu-Seal could only walk a few feet at a time, but each day she got a little bit further and now she can walk a whole mile! The key is to keep trying and stay patient. It may take lots of short walks throughout the day.
Lu-Seal uses the FitBark, but there are a few others out there. They’re a great way to see how you’re doing and make sure your dog is getting the activity he or she needs. It’s also a great way to see how far you’ve come. Lu-Seal has gone from being in the bottom 20% of chihuahuas to being an average chihuahua!
Make Sure it Doesn’t Hurt
Lots of obese dogs have joint pain that prevents them from getting the exercise they need. Lu-Seal is on a medication called Metacam which helps with the pain and inflammation from her arthritis. She also takes a joint supplement to promote her joint health. Talk to your vet to see if these are right for your dog.
Weight loss in dogs, just like in humans, takes time. Your dog should only lose 1-2% of his or her body weight each week. Check in with your vet regularly to make sure that your dog isn’t losing weight too fast or too slow and to adjust their calorie intake as needed to go at the right pace.
It’s a long and hard road, but it’s worth it!