Archive for the ‘Weight Management’ Category

Biggest Loser Winner: Lucy

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

At the end of September, the Colorado Sheltie Rescue got a Sheltie into Rescue that was significantly overweight to the point of being morbidly obese. This poor thing came into Rescue at 69 pounds and should be 28-29 pounds. Lucy is her name. We don’t know how Lucy came to be so fat. We suspect a lack of exercise, poor food choices (as in poor quality), scraps being fed from the table, and free feeding (instead of two single meals a day).

As with every Sheltie that comes into rescue, they are given a full vet health screening, checkup, along with blood work to ensure their health. The vet determined that she was morbidly obese and needed to lose 25 pounds immediately and a total of 40 pounds for optimum health. The 25 pound weight loss was just to get her to the point that she could get a dental. She couldn’t breathe properly with all the extra weight, which would have caused significant issues while under anesthesia for the dental, including a possibility of death. Her weight also caused problems with her hips, knees, and other joints of her body. Her body was already starting to deteriorate under all this extra weight. In addition, the blood work showed that she was low hypothyroid. She was immediately put on a prescription diet dog food (Purina OM) and on thyroid medication. The rescue kept her for a little while since she was at a high risk of heart failure due to her weight. Once it was determined that it would be safe for her to start the weight loss program, she was sent to me to get the weight off her.

I’m the foster home that gets the fat dogs, the special needs dogs, and the puppy mill dogs and on occasion, get a healthy, happy, fun dog to foster (but those get adopted quick).  Here is Lucy’s story/blog of her weight loss journey.



10/24/14 – arrive at Skinner Fat Camp

Starting weight to Skinner Fat Camp = 68 pounds

My new foster dog and my new weight loss project! Lucy checked into the Skinner Fat Camp at 68 pounds. She should be 28-29 pounds. She’s on a strict diet of low-calorie food (3/4 cup twice a day of OM), veggies as “treats”, and lots of walks/exercise to lose almost 40 pounds. She is a sweet girl! It will be a challenge, but I think she’s up to it! Look how small her head is compared to the rest of that big body!

She didn’t eat all her food today. I put the bowl down and she ate a couple of kernels and walked away. So, I picked up the food. She’ll learn to eat when the food is given to her. This makes me think she was free fed if she thinks she can just go back to the bowl whenever she wants to.


10/25/14 – walked .50 miles – Lucy did really good! She LOVES to go for walks, so this is going to be easier than I thought. Most of the fat dogs that come to me have bodies that are so severely damaged by their weight and the arthritis that they can’t go very far on walks. So, this is a pleasant surprise. I won’t walk her every day to make sure there are no injuries to set us back.

She didn’t eat all her food again (at both meals). She’ll learn…

10/26/14 – walked .75 miles – no issues. She INHALED every last kernel of her food this morning. I don’t think there will be any more issues with that.

10/27/14 – walked .75 miles – no issues

10/28/14 – no walk today – rest break

10/29/14 – walked .75 miles – no issues

10/30/14 – no walk today – rest break


Week 1 weight = 65 pounds

That’s 3 pounds in 7 days! 3 down and 36 to go! Great start girl! Walked .75 miles – no issues

11/1/14 – no walk today – rest break

11/2/14 – walked .75 miles – no issues

11/3/14 – no walk today – rest break

11/4/14 – walked .75 miles – no issues. I think I’m going to increase the distance. She seems to be doing very well at this distance.

11/5/14 – walked .82 miles – no issues

11/6/14 – no walk today – rest break


Week 2 weight = 62 pounds

That’s 6 pounds in two weeks! 6 down and 33 to go! Keep it up girl! She’s doing so good!

11/8/14 – walked .85 miles – no issues

11/9/14 – walked .85 miles – no issues

11/10/14 – no walk today – too cold. I cut back her food a little today since we couldn’t walk today.

11/11/14 – no walk today – heavy snow. I cut back her food a little today to compensate for the lack of exercise.

11/12/14 – no walk today – too much snow. Again, I cut back the food.

11/13/14 – no walk today – too much snow


Week 3 weight = 62 pounds

No weight loss this week. Sadly, due to weather and super severe cold, not as many walks this week. We missed the last four days of exercise. We’ll get back on track this week!

11/15/14 – walked .85 miles – no issues

11/16/14 – walked .85 miles – no issues

11/17/14 – no walk today – rest break

11/18/14 – walked .85 miles – no issues. I’m going to increase the distance a little more.

11/19/14 – walked 1 mile – no issues

11/20/14 – no walk today – rest break


Week 4 weight = 60 pounds

Two pounds this week! Good job Lucy! She’s such a sweet and happy girl. I can’t wait to see her personality even more when she’s skinny. Walked 1 mile – no issues.

11/22/14 – walked 1 mile – no issues

11/23/14 – walked 1 mile – no issues

11/24/14 – no walk today – rest break

11/25/14 – walked 1 mile – no issues

11/26/14 – no walk today – rest break

11/27/14 – walked 1 mile – no issues


Week 5 weight = 57.5 pounds

Two and a half pounds this week! Great job Lucy! That’s 10.5 pounds in 5 weeks! Me, on the other hand, after two Thanksgiving Day dinners, I need to get on Lucy’s weight loss program. Walked 1.1 mile – no issues

11/29/14 – walked 1.10 miles – no issues

11/30/14 – walked 1.10 miles – no issues

12/1/14 – no walk today – rest break

12/2/14 – no walk today – rest break

12/3/14 – walked 1.12 miles – no issues

12/4/14 – no walk today – rest break


Week 6 weight = 56.5 pounds

Only one pound this week. At least it’s in the right direction. Going down! Walked 1.10 miles – no issues

12/6/14 – walked 1.20 miles – no issues

12/7/14 – no walk today – rest break

12/8/14 – no walk today

12/9/14 – walked 1.0 miles – no issues

12/10/14 – walked .5 miles – no issues

12/11/14 – no walk today – rest break


Week 7 weight = 55 pounds
One and a half pounds this week! Great work Lucy! Walked 1.2 miles – no issues.

12/13/14 – walked 1.25 miles – no issues

12/14/14 – walked 1.25 miles – no issues

12/15/14 – no walk today – rest break

12/16/14 – walked 1.20 miles – no issues

12/17/14 – no walk today – rest break

12/18/14 – walked 1.20 miles today – no issues 


Week 8 weight = 54 pounds

Doing great Lucy! One more pound this week! That’s 14 pounds in 8 weeks! She’s already feeling better. She now fits through the dog door and is enjoying the outside more! No walk today – rest break

12/20/14 – walked 1.20 miles – no issues

12/21/14 – walked 1.20 miles – no issues

12/22/14 – no walk today – rest break

12/23/14 – no walk today – too much snow

12/24/14 – walked 1 mile – no issues

12/25/14 – walked 1 mile – no issues


Week 9 weight = 52.2 pounds

1.8 pounds lost this week! Woo hoo! Nice work Lucy! She’s getting so playful in the backyard. She gets the zoomies with Wiggins chasing each other all over. I can’t wait to see how energetic she is when she the weight she’s supposed to be! She’s going to be crazy fast! Lucy is getting very agile by jumping up on the couch and making herself very comfortable! She’s still got a long way to go, but she’s obviously feeling better already! Walked 1.2 miles – no issues


12/27/14 – walked 1.25 miles – no issues. I increased the distance a little more. She’s doing so well. She could probably go much farther, but we are taking it slow and easy to increase the distance walked.

12/28/14 – walked 1.25 miles – no issues

12/29/14 – no walk today – rest break – too cold

12/30/14 – no walk today – too cold

12/31/14 – no walk today – too cold

Lucy has a forever home! Someone wants to adopt Lucy, but they can’t take her home until she loses her extra weight and until she can get a dental. They are former adopters with experience with overweight dogs, so she couldn’t go to a more perfect home when she’s ready. Good news for Lucy!

1/1/15 – walked 1.25 miles – no issues


Week 10 weight = 51.2 pounds

Walked 1.25 miles today – no issues

Tough week this week because it has been so very cold. We missed walks on three days. She still lost a pound though! Great job Lucy!

1/3/15 – walked 1.25 miles – no issues

1/4/15 – walked 1.25 miles – no issues

1/5/15 – no walk today – rest break

1/6/15 – walked 1 mile today – no issues. We tried something new today. I’m trying to get more weight off her a little faster since she now has a forever home to go to. However, I still want to be careful of walking her too far and hurting her joints and knees. So, I brought her with me to CRCG, so she could try out the underwater treadmill. Dare swam while she walked in the treadmill. She wasn’t so excited about it at first, but then just rolled on like a champion!


1/7/15 – no walk today – rest break

1/8/15 – walked 1.5 miles today – no issues


Week 11 weight – 49.2 pounds

Lucy is under 50 pounds! Woo Hoo!!! She lost two pounds this week. We are almost half way there! I think the underwater treadmill worked great this week! Walked 1.5 miles today – no issues

1/10/15 – walked 1.5 miles today – no issues

1/11/15 – no walk today – rest break

1/12/15 – walked 3.0 miles today – no issues. She was driving me crazy while I leashed up my other dogs for their walk, so I just brought her along with me on their walk too. She did very well and didn’t lag behind or get tired at all during the second walk.

1/13/15 – walked 1.5 miles today and walked on the underwater treadmill for 15 minutes. She did GREAT!

1/14/15 – no walk today – rest break

1/15/15 – walked 1.7 miles – no issues


Week 12 weight = 47.4 pounds

Lucy is half way to her weight loss goal! She’s lost 20.6 pounds! She’s got 18.4 pounds to go! Woo hoo! No walk today – rest break (plus I was injured)

1/17/15 – no walk today – foster mom injured L

1/18/15 – walked 2.25 miles – no issues

1/19/15 – walked 2.25 miles – no issues – Vet visit for a checkup today! Lucy got her blood checked to make sure things are still going OK and the vet checked her over too. He was very impressed with her weight loss! He said she didn’t have labored breathing like she did when she was first surrendered to rescue (at 69 pounds), so he felt comfortable giving her a dental. So, she’s lost a total of 21.3 pounds in 12 weeks!

1/20/15 – no walk today – dental procedure

1/21/15 – no walk today – too much snow

1/22/15 – no walk today – too much snow


Week 13 weight = 46.7 pounds

Tough week this week and not much walking. I couldn’t walk for a couple days (injury), then we were able to walk a couple days, then Lucy got a dental, and then it snowed like CRAZY. So, we only walked two days this week. At least she lost a little weight and didn’t go up! Walked 1.5 miles today – no issues

1/24/15 – walked 3 miles today and walked on the underwater treadmill – no issues. She was a little tired tonight, but she wasn’t limping or sore in any way.

1/25/15 – walked 3 miles today – no issues

1/26/15 – walked 3 miles today – no issues

1/27/15 – walked 2 miles today – no issues. Lucy also walked on the underwater treadmill for 15 minutes. No issues. She’s pretty sleepy tonight though.

1/28/15 – no walk today – rest break

1/29/15 – walked 2.7 miles – no issues


Week 14 weight = 45.2 pounds

Good week this week! Lucy has walked extra miles and hasn’t had any adverse side effects. She loves to go for walks and is really enjoying them! She gets so excited when I pick up the leash. She is running around like crazy in the back yard too. 16.2 more pounds to go to her goal weight!

She tried something new today! Lucy went swimming! The underwater treadmills were shut down for the day, so Dr. Washington tried Lucy in the endless pool. She swam for only 6 minutes since it was her first time swimming, but she did GREAT! Dr. Washington said that she was a strong swimming and had to hold her back a little bit. When we got home, we went for a 2.5 mile walk and had no issues. She is loving the exercise now!

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The Importance of Weight Management

Friday, June 6th, 2014

The Importance of Weight Management

By: the CRCG Experts Richardson


Obesity rates in the United States continue to rise in children and adults. What is interesting and alarming is the parallel of increasing obesity in our furry companions. Approximately 52.5% of dogs and 58.3% of cats are overweight or obese in this country and the numbers appear to be rising. Carrying around this excess weight can have devastating effects on their health, longevity, functional mobility and pain.

Weight gain is serious enough in and of itself, but several other conditions can exacerbated or caused by weight gain. In dogs, osteoarthritis is one of the most common disorders seen with obesity. The increased stress on the soft tissues and joints predisposes to instability or inflammation which in turn can cause arthritis in patients. Other disorders seen include difficulty breathing , intolerance to exercise and heat, problems with anesthesia, skin disorders, increased fat/cholesterol in the blood stream, pancreatitis, renal disease and decreased life span. In cats, some cancers, diabetes, skin disorders, urinary tract disease, and mouth problems are linked to obesity.

As a veterinarian and animal rehabilitation therapist, I converse with clients about weight A LOT. One of the most concerning issues that I find is that a lot of owners do not recognize that their companion is overweight. That said, here is some to help identify obesity in your companions. Purina has a great set of body condition score charts to help you identify if your companion may be overweight:

Body Condition Article/Info

Cat Body Condition Info

If you still are not sure if your pet is overweight, check with your veterinarian. Weight on a scale is only 1 criteria in identifying obesity.

I also encounter clients who feel that a pet has had a hard life and should be allowed to eat whatever they want. I agree that those companions that have had a hard life need to be spoiled, but unfortunately if we give them whatever they want, we are increasing the stress on their bodies and not doing them any favors. Spoiling a pet can not only include food treats but all the love, cuddle time and play time they want. In essence, they want our attention. There are so many ways that we can give attention that don’t include food. Treats used judiciously and love given freely is the best way to spoil your companion and keep them healthy.

If you do discover that your furry friend is overweight or obese, you may be wondering what to do next. The first step is to talk with a veterinarian. Depending on factors such as your companion’s medical history, present body condition score and length of time they have been obese, a controlled weight loss plan will be developed with you to provide a healthy weight loss that will not cause harm to your friend. And BE PATIENT. Weight loss in companions is a process that occurs at its own pace. It is recommended you weigh your pet every 1-2 weeks and keep a food journal. I highly recommend the journal. In a family, there may be a lot of “treats” given that not everyone knows about.

Another part of a healthy weight loss plan is exercise. Sound familiar? Regular exercise every day is the key to increasing metabolic rates and building muscle mass, both of which help burn fat. Daily walks can be a great start to an exercise plan in an obese dog. These walks may start by just going to the mailbox or walking 3 laps around the yard, but as your friend loses weight they will be able to go further. Cats can also go on walks, but for those feline friends that are not up for a stroll, creativity is needed. Engage them in play that requires movement. In some cats, this can be very difficult, but keep at it. You can make a difference by encouraging exercise.

For those companions that are so overweight or have conditions where walking causes pain, there are other exercises that can help to lose weight. Swimming is a great exercise that does not put compressive stress on joints and can allow for freedom of movement. Like walks, short swims at first are needed, but can be increased as your pet’s endurance increases. Other exercises can be shown to you by a animal rehabilitation practitioner based on your pets needs.