Weight Loss Hack
This is our second blog post under the category, 'Heel! Hacks'. In these posts we'll be discussing interesting and novel ways of using the network that our Pet Parents and Veterinary Clinic Partners have come up with. We're hoping this category becomes our most interactive and that you'll share with us new or different uses you've found for the app so we can share those with other Pet Parents. Just leave comments below on how you've made Heel! work for you!
Obesity in pets is an epidemic. I've grown up in the South where food=love. So I get it! It's hard to say no to those soulful little eyes when they're staring down that chicken dinner you're eating!
But tough love is sometimes necessary, and, in the case of obesity, keeping your pets lean and healthy has remarkable benefits for them. Excess weight can lead to worsening of arthritis, potentially predisposes some dogs to slipped discs in their back, and can even affect liver function and other metabolic conditions.
The difficult part for maintaining a healthy weight for our pets is that their numbers on the scale are too variable between individuals and between breeds. So some very smart people have developed a Body Condition Score to use in place of body weight for pets. There's a link to that technique here.
When we're trying to take weight off one of our pets, there are two major components to the process. The first is caloric restriction, just like a South Beach Diet for us, monitoring their food intake and nutrition is a vital component for weight loss, but it doesn't work that well by itself. You have to pair it with increased exercise, the other component in a successful weight loss program.
Lucky for you (and your pets!) Heel! can help keep you on track with both of these programs. Just enter the volume of food you're feeding your pets and how often you feed them into the app and we'll remind you of the details every time you feed them. You can even use the app to track the number of treats you give them by setting those up and checking the history of when they were given.
And, if you want to start a work-out regimen or walking schedule, you can use the app to remind you and track those events, too!
While a general rule of thumb for caloric restriction in pets is to reduce the daily volume by 25% and monitor for the weight loss to taper off before making further adjustments, you'll get the most of a weight loss program if your veterinary care team is helping you craft it.
You guessed it! Heel! can even do that. If your veterinary care team is in our network, they can write 'prescriptions' for how much to feed your pets and make changes to those recommendations on-the-fly. Our system will pick up those recommended changes and remind you of them every time you're feeding your little fur-babies!