Losing weight can be a struggle at the best of times, but what about when it’s your pet that has been piling on the pounds? We caught up with Clare Bruce, a pet owner who is working together with the nursing team at Clent Hills Vets to help her dog Busta lose weight and ease his arthritis.
Here’s what Clare had to say about her experience and how Busta has been getting on with his weight loss programme.
Main Photo: Busta on the day he started his weight loss programme (left) & Busta just a few months later (right)
Busta Bruce’s Story
Clent Hills Vets: When did you first realise Busta was a bit overweight?
Clare: I guess I’ve always known it in my heart of hearts, he’s always been overweight, maybe about 3 – 4 years.
CHV: What prompted a visit to the vets to talk about his weight?
I did talk to the nurses about his weight a while ago and they said “Yeah he is overweight”, I knew it but maybe dismissed it – Busta’s my boy, I love him to death, how could I not feed him?
It was over the last 2 years that we really noticed his weight gain, he had fatty lumps appearing and his clicking was getting worse, he was riddled with arthritis in his front legs.
I just thought, this is no good, it’s ridiculous, there has to be a way of him being happy and losing weight so I went back to the vets to talk about his weight specifically. I wanted to know what we could do.
The nurse told me about Doggy Weight Watchers and said come along and let’s see what we can do. Busta first started his weight loss programme at the end of March this year and has been back to see the nurse every 4 weeks.
CHV: How much did Busta weigh before he started his weight loss programme?
Clare: He weighed 44.6 kilos.
CHV: Do you know how much he should have weighed?
Clare: I’m not sure exactly what his weight should have been as we discussed it with the nurse, he’s naturally a big dog. He was the biggest of his litter, a real stocky boy. He’s almost at the ideal weight now, he’s lost 7 kilos and has another 1.5 kilos to lose. We’re hoping he will achieve this for his next visit. He’s been in for 3 appointments so far.
CHV: What did his weight loss programme entail?
Clare: He was put on Purina OM food as recommended by the nurse. The nurse helped with the amount of food he could have, the weight and how often, and also snacks in between. The nurse gave us the whole plan and exercise regime. So we went away and ordered the food, and Busta started his new food on March 28th – so this the first official day of his diet.
CHV: What changes were made to Busta’s exercise routine as part of his weight loss plan?
Clare: When it came to exercise the nurse asked what we were doing already. I told her we averaged 1-2 walks a day (usually 2 walks from April to Sept and just 1 longer walk in the morning during the cold months), because in horrendous weather Busta doesn’t like going out, so we didn’t. The new regime was about making sure we carried on doing what we were already doing regarding his walks. As it’s warm months now we always go out once in the morning and again in the afternoon. Walks are about 30 minutes long and we’ve made sure we kept that up every day, twice a day.
We cut down on snacks – I’m horrendous, I’d sit and have a slice of toast for me and one for Busta, I just thought he was hungry. Those little eyes and face…how could I say no? He still has little treats, he’s not starving! He has a Bonio at lunchtime and his two meals a day (he’s always been on 2 meals a day).
The most extra he has is if we have yoghurts we let him lick the pot after. Now he doesn’t seem as hungry especially when we’re about to eat.
He used to have terrible wind, really bad, it was so bad people didn’t want to look after him. He hasn’t had it once since he was put on different food.
CHV: What do you hope will happen at Busta’s next appointment? Have they discussed different food with you so that he doesn’t continue to lose weight?
Clare: We discussed that at his last appointment. Hopefully, the plan is to change his food to something similar so as to not upset him, or there is a maintenance diet he can go on, with an increased amount of the food he is currently on to maintain his weight rather than lose anymore.
CHV: If you could sum it up in a few words, what has been the best thing about this experience?
Clare: The biggest difference is his arthritis. Since being on this diet and losing the weight the clicking has stopped and the fatty lumps have reduced massively and will no longer require surgery. I can’t say the arthritis has gone, I guess from our point of view the symptoms have gone.
It was heartbreaking taking him for a long walk as we knew the afternoon was going to be spent massaging his front legs. He used to hobble downstairs on three legs, so it’s a massive difference as he bounds everywhere now. He bounds on and off the sofa. We’re so happy that he’s now pain-free and drug-free.
CHV: How old is Busta?
Clare: He’s 8 this month and has gotten healthier with age!
CHV: Do you see any one person in particular when you come in?
Clare: Alun [Edwards]. We always see Alun and I’d trust him with my life! We tend to see different nurses which is fine, but we’ve built up a relationship with Alun since Busta was a puppy, which is especially important as you know when they are puppies they can be quite nervous.
Alun spent the first few minutes of the appointment on his knees fussing him and letting him lick his face. No other vet has done that before. Now when Busta needs to come to the vets he doesn’t care, he’s happy to come.
This is so important and is why we love Clent Hills Vets so much.
Read the next instalment to see if Busta does achieve his next weight loss goal!
Weight & Diet Clinics at Clent Hills Vets
If your pet is diagnosed as being overweight it needs to be dealt with as it can lead to a variety of illnesses and will age your pet prematurely. Our Weight & Diet Clinics are set up to give you and your pet the support you need to make a change.
Marketing Manager Amy Holloway explains; “Losing weight can be so much easier when you’re not doing it alone, which is the theory behind our Weight & Diet Clinics. Knowing where to start can be the hardest part and that’s where we can help. Our nursing team will work with you by assessing your pet’s current health and creating a new weight goal and a plan of how to get there. They will monitor your pet’s progress and help you stay motivated in order to do the best by your pet.”
The team here can also treat your pet for any health conditions they are experiencing due to excess weight. Arthritis is common in overweight pets and can be managed with changes to their environment as well as laser therapy, which can reduce pain and improve symptoms. However, losing weight will have the biggest impact on your pet’s health.
If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight or think they could be suffering from arthritis, book an appointment with our nursing team today.