In order to prevent obesity, it is necessary to modify risk factors that led to obesity in the first place. This involves
altering behaviors of not only the pet, but of the owners as well. In animals that have difficulty in keeping weight off,
diets are available that are less calorically dense, contain higher fiber content, and are complete and balanced for maintenance
(see table of diets). Animals that are high risk for recurrence of obesity should be evaluated periodically. Examination should
involve not only a good physical examination, but also measurement of body weight, and estimation of body condition using
a body condition score. This can be accomplished as part of an overall health maintenance plan. This allows the veterinarian
to recommend changes that may aid in preventing obesity from recurring. Also, it establishes a good patient-client-doctor
relationship. Owners require positive re-enforcement for doing a good job and a gentle "push in the right direction" if their
pet is beginning to gain weight back.
Snacks may be an important part of development and maintenance of obesity. Therefore, they should be used sparingly. If used,
they should not represent more than 5% of energy intake, and they must be accounted for in estimation of dietary intake necessary
to meet maintenance energy requirements. Because "snacking" is a large part of human existence, it is difficult to break owners
of this habit. Instead of punishing owners for giving snacks to their pets, in which case they may be dishonest about providing
such treats, it is better to counsel them on what treats and what amount is acceptable.
Top 10 excuses clients give for not managing a pet's weight. – NAVC clinician's brief – Jan, 2007
1. No one outlined a weight loss program before: "I was told she should lose weight, but I don't know what to do."
2. Metabolism changes: "But I don't feed him any differently than before."
3. Unable to exercise pet: "I just don't have the time to walk her."
4. Feeding is a bonding experience: "But we look forward to treat time."
5. Other people feed pet: "When I'm at work, my mom overfeeds him."
6. Previous weight loss plan failure: "She doesn't like the diet food and nothing seems to work."
7. Pet appears hungry: "But I feel like I'm starving him and he's always begging."
8. Multiple-pet household: "She eats her brother's food. What can I do?"
9. Do not see benefit of weight loss: "So what's a little extra weight? I love him the way he is."
10. Do not view pet as overweight: "She looks okay to me."
Nine tips to improve obesity management – Laflamme, 2000
1. Use a body condition scoring system
2. Diagnose obesity
3. Utilize effective 2-way communication
4. Use support staff
5. Be flexible & individualize treatment
6. Recognize the human-animal bond
7. Follow-up with clients
8. Reward success
9. Use photographs