It has been a long couple of months, but with a lot of hard work, Tessa finally reached her weight loss goal! (I should clarify, a lot of hard work by her… but those walks in the park were no walk in the park for me either.) Tessa joined our family as a plump, 3 year old English bulldog about 3 months ago. We adopted her with the hope of bringing another animal into our lives (to join the 2 dogs and 2 cats), but also to offer her a better quality of life.
She weighed just over 57 pounds when we brought her home and her chest measured 31 inches around… definitely not her ideal shape (geometrically and figuratively). She struggled to get on the couch when we watched a movie, she labored to get upstairs when it was time for bed, and she couldn’t even keep up with her new sisters Annie and Ashley. We knew something had to change.
We started by taking her to the vet and also consulting the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. We found out that not only was she the equivalent of a 5’4″ woman who was 60 lbs overweight, but the vet felt she could lose in excess of 10 lbs! We discussed with the vet what our best path for a slimmer and happy Tessa would be. Her checklist include a lot of the pointers you would imagine, including exercise and smaller servings, but she also mentioned a number of holistic solutions, including vitamins and supplements like fish oil and digestive enzymes, and even some things I would never imagine, like healthy table scraps.
The exercise routine was difficult to get started (to say the least). The front steps were about the extent of what she could handle. To supplement her outings, we got her started on several joint support supplements, including Get Up & Go and Lubri Ease. Now she’s pulling us around the block on her evening walks and with a running start, she can gracefully get up on the bed and couch!
Her diet was probably the simplest, and one of the most effective, steps we took to get Tessa on the right track. She was eating Iams at the shelter, and all of the extra fillers and carbohydrates were packing on the pounds. We got her off of that and on to “I and love and you” Nude Food kibble, which was a similar consistency, but much healthier, including higher protein amounts, unique carbohydrates (like lentils and chick peas) and even added natural sources of nutrients like glucosamine. Once she was completely transitioned, we started mixing in EasyRaw with her “I and love and you.” She is crazy about the taste (like the huge, whole chunks of raw, freeze dried turkey) and the vet said the quality raw was just what she needed for healthier stool and high protein.
The healthy table scraps took me for a loop. The best part about the vet recommending those is that it made me think about my diet as well. When Tessa would start circling my legs in the kitchen, it made me consider whether I should grab the carrots or the chips… I definitely went for the carrots.
To keep Tessa’s body functioning on all cylinders, the vet recommended an all inclusive daily vitamins, plus some extras like fish oil and digestive enzymes. She was one of our guinea pigs for our newest Ultimate Super Daily Plus vitamins, and I’ll say it worked perfectly. She gobbled the powder with every meal and I knew that on top of a healthy diet, she was also receiving all the nutrients necessary for keeping her happy and healthy.
Surprisingly enough, one of the most beneficial things for Tessa’s weight loss was a positive attitude and a lot of encouragement! Not a day goes by that I don’t compliment Tessa on what a great job she’s done and the amazing work she continues to do. And for those of you who might think this is a little silly, think about how helpful support is for a difficult task in your life and then remember, we all get by with a little help from our friends.
Now, Tessa is a slim 45 pounds and doing fantastic! And just because she reached her goal, that doesn’t mean her weight loss habits are ending. Just like everything in pet care, weight loss is a journey, not a destination.