Does Your Pet Have Their Beach Ready Body??

By Katrina Cumming, L.V.T.

Alright… it’s time for some real talk here. Summer in Northeastern Nevada has found us, and as history ALWAYS repeats itself, so have all of the latest diets…the best weight-loss programs…the newest technology to help you reach your goal (FitBit-ers…I mean YOU!)…and not to mention, the most grueling/intense/sweat-inducing regimens to help you tone down and firm up. And don’t get me wrong, all of these are great, and there are many options available to find one that fits each of us uniquely. But…did you know that there is also the same emphasis in veterinary medicine on your pet’s physical appearance and health?!

The 21st century has been revolutionized by the huge advances in human medicine, which in turn intensely influences the field of veterinary medicine as well. A huge part of what veterinary professionals do in daily exams is not only assessing your pet’s teeth, eyes, ears, etc. We also take into account your pet’s age and breeding, and how those numbers dictate their body score. Just as the case is in people, the extra pounds your pet is toting to the beach increases the workload of the heart and lungs, as well as the musculoskeletal structure of your pet. Diabetes, congestive heart failure, joint injuries, arthritis, and shortened life span are all potential issues that our voluptuous companions could experience sooner than later.

Now, understand me here. The call to arms is not an intense regimen of daily 5-mile walks, and only veggie/water diets. That extra 5 minutes every day of tossing the ball, or playing in the sprinklers, or chasing the stuffed mouse around the house does WONDERS in a small way. Feeding ONLY their food, and cutting back on the Greenies/jerky treats/your dinner leftovers, is also just that little bit that goes a long way. Substitute the jerky treats you give to your food motivated companion with carrot sticks, or snap peas. Try to portion their food according to the weight and age requirements on the food bag, and set aside a small amount every day to use as the treats.

And, just as you will hear human conversation flow both ways… “Oh, you only just started!”, or, “Muscle weighs more than flabby fat!”, or (my personal favorite), “Go by how you feel, not by how you THINK you should feel.” Your pet is not going to miraculously drop those unnecessary pounds. They will gradually lose the weight, and you will start to notice the reappearance of that cute little waistline, or the slight feeling of the ribs and backbone when you’re giving them some quality TLC. Compare the new Fluffy to the old Fluffy, and let the new, energetic outlook on life do the talking for you. Don’t lose heart…not all of us can look like Marilyn Monroe on a Cali beach…not even your pet!

​ Katrina Cumming is homegrown and raised in Northeastern Nevada. She received her A.A.S in Veterinary Technology from the College of Southern Idaho, and practices as a licensed veterinary technician at the Elko Veterinary Clinic. Katrina works with both large and small animals, and immensely enjoys the challenges that both present on a daily basis. Her heart lies mostly with patient care and client relations, as she considers the client/patient/nurse/doctor relationship to be the strongest building block of veterinary medicine. She resides in Jiggs with her best friend, Flyer, and WAY to many foster pets.