One of the biggest challenges that dog owners face is managing their pet's weight especially when the animal also has problems moving or staying active due to joint health issues.
A new dog food option -- Hill's Prescription Diet Metabolic + Mobility was introduced this spring designed to help with both challenges. In fact, a member of the Pipestone family was one of the first to try the new product when it became available.
Max is a ten year old, yellow lab mix that is owned by Pipestone Veterinary Services employee, Kim Lape. He has arthritis in his knees and hips and torn ligaments in both knees.
"When the Metabolic + Mobility product came out, Dr. Weber thought Max might be a good candidate to try it out," said Kim. At the time, Max weighed 102 and was having difficulty with moving around the house and with some of the activities that he had always enjoyed.
Max had been eating Hill's Prescription Diet JD, which was designed for joint issues, and didn't have any issues transitioning to the new food.
"He loves it. He began eating it right away and hasn't had any problems at all," said Kim.
Max has lost just over 10 pounds, weighing in at 91 pounds in September.
"He has had a healthy rate of weight loss, about two percent of his body weight each month, which is exactly where we want him to be at," said Dr. Nicole Weber, small animal veterinarian at Pipestone Veterinary Services.
"Even more important than the weight loss, there has been improved mobility and the positive impact on Max's quality of life," said Kim. "He is now able to go up and down flights of stairs with no problems and is back to some of his favorite activities."
"He is a very energetic and outgoing dog who loves to go on car rides. Before, we had to help him get in and out of the car, but now he is able to climb in by himself," she said.
"The challenges that Max was facing are not unusual," said Dr. Weber. "About 50 percent of the pet population is overweight."
"One of the primary reasons that dogs have arthritis and joint issues is excess weight," she said. "If we are able to decrease their overall weight, we can often improve their arthritic condition without medication."
The Science Diet Metabolic + Mobility dog food contains a special formula of ingredients that helps dogs feel full longer. It contains a synergistic blend of ingredients which works with your pet's unique metabolism. This food combines high levels of omega-3 fatty acids with special fiber blends from fruits and vegetables. This special combination is designed to help pets feel full and satisfied without depriving them of their daily meals. Not only does Science Diet Metabolic + Mobility decrease joint inflammation, but it also helps to rebuild joint fluid, creating comfort.
'One of the hardest things for pet owners to deal with is helping their pets lose weight because they feel guilty about depriving their pets," she said. "With this diet, that isn't a problem because the dog feels full. They are able to decrease total calories without depriving their pets at all."
When the new diet was tested in a blind taste test, dogs were given the food without owners knowing what it was designed to do, said Dr. Weber. The owners were pleased to see the dogs losing weight and moving better as they stayed on the diet.
"A dog can stay on the Metabolic + Mobility diet as long it needs to" said Dr. Weber. "Once the pet reaches its target weight, they can either stay on this food and increase amount per feeding or switch to another diet option, such as Science Diet JD."
Pet owners should keep an even sharper eye on their animal?s mobility as the weather changes.
"When we transition from warmer to colder weather, pet owners may see a difference in their animal's movement," said Dr. Weber. "If your pet is getting up more slowly, or showing signs of limping or lameness, they may be having difficulty with arthritis or joint issues and owners should talk to their veterinarian about whether the Metabolic + Mobility diet is a good option for them," she said.