When it comes to managing our pets’ weight it seems South Africans have got a lot to learn; vets says that more than half the pets they see weigh more than is healthy. Veterinary nurse Sister Cindy du Preez can give top notch advice; she runs one of the most successful pet slimmer clinics in the country, at Bakenkop Animal Clinic, Pretoria. In the past five years Sister Cindy has helped scores of obese patients reach their goal weight. Many have made it to the finals of the annual Hill’s Pet Slimmer of the Year competition, including Milo, the Jack Russell who took the 2015 title having shed 46% of his bodyweight (6.5 kg) and Hector, the 2013 winner.

 

Sister Cindy says there are several common mistakes many owners make in the battle of the bulge. The first is in thinking it’s cruel to put a pet on a diet. “About 95% of my patients absolutely love their special diet food – Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution – and the transformation is remarkable; limping pets start walking normally, breathing difficulties become a problem of the past. As the excess weight melts away they become more energetic and so much happier.”

 

Another error is feeding just once a day. “At least two meals a day helps keep the metabolism going and eases hunger pangs. Measure out their daily food then divide it up into two or three smaller portions.”

 

Table food and sweet treats are a definite no-no. “Schedule feeding times before preparing a meal and keep pets out of the kitchen. Show your love with play, exercise and attention rather than food. For a medium-size dog, just 100g of boerewors is equivalent to 22 mini koeksisters!”

 

Too many owners think that a ‘light’ diet is equal to a weight-loss diet. “Light is for weight maintenance or preventing weight gain. It is a real struggle to get overweight pets to lose weight on a light food.”

 

For more expert information on managing your pet’s weight ask your local vet or go to www.petslimmer.co.za.

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