Weight Loss Success!!

Weight Loss Success!!

Rusty in June 2014 at 109 pounds.

Rusty today at 89 pounds.


We had the opportunity to ask one of our clients, Brad Derstine, to share his dog, Rusty’s, weight loss success!! Here are Brad’s answers to questions about his and Rusty’s journey toward weight loss success and a healthier life.


Q:  What’s Rusty’s story…..when did you adopt him?

A:  Rusty is a rescue that I adopted in the Spring of 2009.


Q: How old is Rusty?

A: 10 years old.


Q:  How did you find out Rusty was overweight? How did it feel to hear this?

A:  During Rusty’s wellness exam with Dr. Smith, I was educated on the importance of keeping Rusty in a healthy weight range.  I was then informed that Rusty was very overweight and needed to come down. I was disappointed, but I knew he was getting a little “husky”. 🙂


Q:  Prior to being told this, did you think Rusty was over weight? 

A: I knew he had a few extra pounds but I wasn’t sure what a proper weight was for him.  I was feeding him varying types of dog foods, whatever was cheapest at the time, and then adding in food scraps and leftovers from my meals. I knew he was getting unhealthy, but he looked so happy eating it, he used his charm to get extra food from me whenever he wanted it.  I had a hard time saying no to him.


Q:  What was the feeding plan established to help support Rusty’s weight loss? 

A:  During our first appointment with Dr Smith, I was given a welcome bag and inside was a leash, some pamphlets, and two measuring cups. Dr Smith explained what a proper diet should look like, (controlled calorie intake, limited table scraps and treats) after finding a steady food the dogs liked, I stuck with it.  I began measuring their meals instead of just filling the food bowls.  Rusty now only eats a controlled amount of food once a day, with limited treats and table scraps.  His diet consist of 2 cups of dry food, and half a can of soft food mixed in.  Rusty’s brother Lobo is a picky eater and likes the canned food.  What I give one dog I must give the other so they both get some canned dog food.   When I first started Rusty on his diet, we were more aggressively trying to cut down his weight, so he received less dry food.  We incorporated more walks into our routine to help get him down to a healthy weight.  We now maintain Rusty’s weight by continuing his diet and exercise plan.


Q:  Was it difficult to stick to the new feeding plan? 

A:  I had to retrain myself, removing table scraps from his diet was difficult for both of us to get used to.  I allowed the dogs to manipulate me, giving into sad eyes while I was eating, for me this was the hardest part. My other big mistake was blindly filling the food bowls and not watching what the dogs were eating. The smaller dog would eat till he was full then walk away, then Rusty would finish his food. By measuring both dog’s food and ensuring neither is eating more than they are given, I’ve been able to get Rusty’s weight back under control. He eats only his food, and the occasional pizza crusts.


Q: Did you struggle with feeling guilty about not giving in to treats or excess food? 

A:  At first it was difficult for me to stick to the plan and change our routine.  After a couple of recheck visits with Dr. Smith, positive feedback and results on the scale it became much easier.  I knew I was ultimately doing what was best for my dogs.


Q:  When did you start noticing a difference? 

A:  I didn’t notice much of a difference until one recheck when Rusty got on the scale and he had dropped 6 to 7 pounds. It has been a few months now and it is so rewarding to see his progress.  He still does not enjoy getting on the scale, but I really can’t blame him, neither do I!


Q:  What was Rusty’s original weight and what does he weigh now?

A:  Rusty weighed 109 pounds in June of 2014 and today weighs 89 pounds.


Q: What improvements have you noticed overall following the weight loss? 

A:  Rusty’s overall energy level is higher, he now enjoys going for walks, doesn’t pant as much and now likes being outside.  His walking durations have also gotten longer, so it is helping me too!


Q:  What advice would you have for pet parents struggling to maintain a pets’ weight? 

A:  It begins and ends with diet and exercise. My biggest regret was the excessive amount of people food I was giving them, and how much it was negatively impacting their health.  Find a quality diet that your pets enjoy, then stick to the routine/portion control.  When they seem hungry don’t give in to their sad eyes.  If you have multiple pets you may have to watch them eat for the first few months to ensure that they are only eating their own food.  Pick their food bowls up when they are finished or walk away from their food.  Exercise is the other key to success.  We were taking short walks, so they could both go to the bathroom but it was for necessity not for exercise.  I would advise to start with a longer walk each day that is for exercise and not just necessity.


The Skinny on Overweight Pets

The Skinny on Overweight Pets

The skinny on pet obesity!

Get the skinny on Overweight pets.  Fat pets are nothing to take lightly – this message was brought to you by VPI Pet Insurance.

  • Obesity effects 52.5% of dogs and 58.3% of Cats in the United States.  That means that over half of the clients that come into your office are overweight
  • One pig ear = 6 twelve ounce Colas
  • Overweight cats are 4x more likely to become diagnosed with diabetes
  • 45% of pet owners identify their pets as being a normal weight
  • Overweight pets are more likely to be diagnosed with kidney disease, arthritis, diabetes, ACL injury, and die prematurely
  • If your dog is 5 pounds overweight it can be at risk for developing diseases
  • If your cat is 2 pounds overweight it can be at risk for developing diseases


Provided by Veterinary Pet Insurance

Fit and Fun in the New Year

Fit and Fun in the New Year

The New Year is approaching and many people make the resolution to get healthier through diet, exercise, and eating healthy. This New Year’s resolution doesn’t need to be just for us humans – now is the time for your pet to begin a new year with their best paw forward.

Pet obesity is on the rise.  It is estimated that over half of all companion animals are either over weight or obese. A gain of even a pound or two of additional fat on some dogs and cats can place significant stress on the body leading to daily discomfort and possibly shortening their life.

Fit and Fun in the New Year photo #2

Obesity is a serious health issue and can lead to a number of long term problems for your pet, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Liver disease
  • Joint and bone issues
  • Breathing issues

It is easier and cheaper to prevent health problems rather than treating all the significant health problems that can arise from a pet being overweight or obese.

Dietary Changes:

When starting your pet on a diet it is best to schedule an appointment to consult with your veterinarian to formulate a weight loss program balanced with good nutrition, portion control, and exercise and play.  Your Veterinarian can help set a realistic goal for your pet depending on current health issues and degree of obesity. He or she may be able to recommend a specific diet that is formulated for weight loss and/or that can help treat health issues that your pet may have developed from being obese. You may be tempted to just reduce the amount of food you are feeding but, reducing the portion of your pet’s current food could also reduce the essential vitamins and nutrients your pet needs.

 Fit and Fun in the New Year Photo #1

Physical activities for dogs to promote weight loss:

Your veterinarian can also advise you on an exercise plan that will specifically benefit your pet’s age, weight and breed. One of the most effective ways for your pet to loose weight is with exercise. Daily brisk walks thru your neighborhood are not only beneficial for your dog but also for you. As you see your dog being able to participate in your daily walks with less exertion you can increase the intensity of your walk or exercise.  You can also take your dog for a walk thru the woods, play fetch or do dog agility exercises at the local park. For dogs built for running, go for a jog around the neighborhood or a local park. Physical activity is a main component to help your dog become fit and trim. Not only does it lead to weight loss but helps to keep joints and muscles healthy.

 Physical activities for your cat to promote weight loss:

Getting your cat to exercise daily may seem like a silly idea. But, with some participation on your part it can be a fun, rewarding time for you and your pet. Cats enjoy anything that moves. There are many wonderful cat toys that promote movement including, bells that jingle, teaser wands, and motion cat toys. Cats are sedentary creatures. They will always choose lying in a sunny spot over actively finding a toy to play with. This is why it is important for you to find the time your cat is most active and engage them in physical activity at that time.

Helping your pet to become fit and active in the New Year can be achieved with a few simple life changes:

  • Daily exercise
  • Eliminating all treats
  • Have fun, safe toys available for your pet to engage in physical activity on their own
  • Monitor weight loss frequently, once a month.
  • Keep the lines of communication open with your veterinarian so you can work together for the best results for your pet.


– Meghan, GVH Veterinary Technician

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