Walking dogLast month I wrote about helping your pet live a fit and active life style in the New Year. Being the human caretaker to an obese, diabetic kitty, I understand the struggle of keeping your pet fit and active. As a veterinary technician for 20 years, I occasionally find myself not following my own words of advice and wondering if anyone can really make life style changes that make a huge impact in their pet’s life.  Little did I know I was about to find out.

On a crisp fall day last year an adorable, energetic black Sheltie mix came bounding into the exam room.  I was surprised to find that only a few months previously she was a meandering, limping, obese black dog. Her name was Maya and I instantly fell in love with her and her story.

For many years, Maya’s weight issues were discussed at her wellness exams and suggestions were made to help her lose the extra pounds. After many years of being overweight (her heaviest weight being 46 pounds), Maya’s obesity began to catch up with her.  In early April of 2014 Maya was seen for her wellness exam. She had chronic hip and joint issues that caused her to limp.  Maya’s quality of life was declining and would continue to do so if some changes weren’t made. Maya was prescribed a special metabolic diet that would make her feel full and help her lose weight.  Her owner was advised to decrease her joint health treats to two a day and not to give Maya any TABLE FOOD.

Maya’s owner was committed to helping her become fit and improve her quality of life. Six weeks later Maya’s weight was rechecked and she had lost 2 pounds and her weight lost did not stop there 4 months later she had lost another 5 pounds and at her last exam she had lost another 2 pounds!! In six months Maya had lost 9 pounds – a fourth of her starting weight. Maya continues to enjoy her special diet, loves her joint health treats and has made a life change to live a fit and active life style.  Maya’s owner was kind enough to answer some questions about Maya’s new life style changes.

Was Maya accepting of the new lifestyle changes?

Maya was accepting of the new food and has always loved her joint health treats.  At first she was slow to accept our longer walks but after a few weeks she was excited to go out for our daily walks in the park.

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I know you and Maya exercise everyday. What do you do to exercise?

We take daily walks and Maya loves to play at the local park chasing after the squirrels.

What changes have you seen with Maya since starting her on her new fit and active lifestyle?

Maya has so much more energy; she is like a new dog!! I didn’t know what Maya was like as a puppy because I found her wandering around my backyard. After an exhaustive search, I was unable to find her original owner. After seeing how energetic she is now I can only imagine that she was a very active puppy.

As Maya’s fit and active lifestyle helped you in anyway?

Our daily walks have helped me become fit also. I really am very happy I made the decision to help Maya lose weight.

Maya is a great example of an animal living a fit and active life style every day. Because of her owner’s dedication to helping her improve her life, she is now chasing squirrels and no longer living a sedentary life filled with medications. Maya and her owner have inspired me to not only help my pets lead a fit and active life style but also for myself.  What better way to become fit and active but with a workout buddy – a furry one.

-Meghan, AS
Veterinary Technician