Pudgy pets fight the battle of the bulge

Tessa, a 7 year old Goldie, tips the scales at 95 lbs. Too much, says her vet, who recommends eliminating between-meal treats.

Pudgy pets fight the battle of the bulge

CREATED Feb 15, 2012

Reporter: Stephani Ruiz

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Tessa is a 7-year-old golden retriever pushing 95 pounds.

But the good news is she's on her way down.

"It's only been a couple of weeks since we started this, but she's already lost a pound or two. So she's on her way down instead of on her way up," Dr. Tim Ireland said.

He said Tessa needs to lose 10 pounds total to help ease the strain on her hips. She's already being treated for hips dysplasia.

Owner Lisa Rehurek said she knows exactly where the extra pounds came from.

"Totally treats," Rehurek said, laughing.

Those treats have been cut out completely. If you're not ready for that, Dr. Ireland recommends cutting calories by substituting treats for vegetables or a piece of normal dog food. It's all the same to most pups who are just excited to get a reward.

"It's been really easy because I just switched their treats out and then he also gave me advice to feed them three times a day instead of two which has actually helped them," Rehurek said. "They're not as famished adn they just seem to be eating better."

Always choose meal feeding over free feeding, Ireland said. Snacking all day just piles on the pounds.

Similar to humans, the formula is pretty basic. With a good diet and exercise, most pets can get back to a healthy size and live much longer.

Experts don't recommend putting your pets on a weight loss plan during the cold winter months. Which means we're just about to hit the prime season for your furry friends to get their figures back.