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Feb 22

Nicole's doggie diet dilemma

Posted at: 02/21/2012 9:27 PM | Updated at: 02/21/2012 10:41 PM
By: Nicole Brady, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Many people make New Year's resolutions to lose weight, but KOB Eyewitness News 4 anchor Nicole Brady made a different kind of weight loss resolution this year – to get her dogs to lose weight.


On January 7, Lucy and Sonja weight in at 84 pounds and 55 pounds, respectively.

Lucy and Sonja are overweight and they are not alone.

James Burns' dog Chica is overfed. "The vet has always clearly said that she's overweight and need's to lose the weight."

Merideth Dixon has two dogs on a diet.

"Patience actually put on 20 pounds in one year," Dixon said. "We were astonished. I mean, she had been 75 pounds for most of her adult life."

Dr. Kacie Martin of VCA Wyoming Animal Hospital said about half of the dogs and cats that come into her office are overweight.

A chubby dog was even the star of a popular Super Bowl ad this year. But unlike the commercial, the problem is not funny.

"It's not cute and unfortunately it does lead to a lot of health concerns – Joint disease, heart disease, diabetes…unfortunately it increases their risk for cancer too, which we see a lot in our patients," Dr. Martin explained. 

The day after their January 7 vet visit, Lucy and Sonja went on a diet.

The first step was to figure out how much they are supposed to weigh. Vets usually estimate that based on a chart that shows their ideal body shape.

But Lucy and Sonja are now part of a pilot project to determine a "Body Fat Index" for dogs, similar to the body mass index for humans.

"This is king of the new up and coming things .. it's through one of the universities and food companies. They're starting to take measurements and trying to find out what is the ideal weight," Dr. Martin explained.

The vet measure the dogs' limbs and heads and enters the numbers into a formula.

Those numbers revealed Lucy should be 60 pounds and Sonja 35 pounds.

Our vet thought those seemed a little low so we adjusted, coming up with an initial goal of 70 pounds for Lucy and 45 pounds for Sonja.

Now comes the hard part – getting them to that weight.

I have been using a measuring cup to strictly measure their food instead of free feeding them.

They are not getting as many treats and we are starting back on the walks, which are about 30 minutes a few days a week.

And the pounds are coming off, but it does not happen fast.

At their first weigh-in, about two weeks after starting their diet, Lucy was down four pounds and Sonja, nothing.

Now, another four weeks later, Lucy has gone from 84 pounds to 77 pounds – halfway to her goal. Sonja started at 55 pounds and now weighs just under 52 pounds.

To keep up with their progress, visit our Facebook page. We will post updates and let you know when Lucy and Sonja reach their goal. You can also post about your own dogs and any tricks that help them stay in shape.

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Nicole's doggie diet dilemma

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