Pipps – A Story to Warm your Heart


Pipps prior to her health issues & weight loss

by: Jennifer Oldfield

Pipps is a 13 year old cat with a new lease on life.  Pretty amazing is a great way to describe her for more than one reason.  Let’s start her story in April of 2013 when her owner brought her in because she wasn’t eating and she suddenly had lost a lot of weight*.  Pipps was jaundiced and had mild dehydration.  Dr. Barb Eatock suspected she had fatty liver and went over the options with her owner.  It was decided that she would return the next day for an ultrasound by our in-house diagnostic ultrasound expert Dr. Jo-Ann Liebe.  Ultrasound confirmed a diagnosis of fatty liver.

In a nut shell fatty liver is a form of liver disease where too much fat has entered the kidney too quickly and the body can not process it.  When cats end up with this form of liver disease they often will not eat so the next course of action for Pipps was to place a feeding tube.  The options were to place a tube in her esophagus (through the neck) or directly into her stomach.  Dr. Liebe discussed the options with Pipps’ owner and it was decided to proceed with the esophageal tube.

Although the surgery (performed by Dr. Tracy Fisher) went well, when Pipps breathing tube (from the surgery) was removed she turned blue and stopped breathing.  She was immediately intubated again, CPR was performed and she was given epinephrine.  Once Pipps stabilized the tube was again removed however Pipps was still not well oxygenated so an oxygen mask was kept on her and her chest was xrayed.  Her left lung lope looked as though there could possibly be a tumor.  Dr. Fisher contacted Pipps owner to discuss and it was decided to not proceed further with investigating the potential tumor.  Fortunately Pipps began to stabilize on her own and was steadily improving.

Pipps was kept overnight in clinic on IV fluids.  The following day she was very yellow (more jaundiced then when she first came in), depressed but responsive.  She was fed Recovery and given water through her feeding tube.  Her owner came and took her home with a guarded prognosis.. she anticipated that Pipps may not get better and it could be the end of Pipps time.  However, Pipps had other ideas!  Nine days later she was doing well  – well enough that she was eating again on her own!  It was recommended to change her food to i/d, a diet that is easy on the digestive system.   She came in, had her feeding tube removed and was looking great.  She was no longer jaundiced and she had gained a bit of weight.  Yeah Pipps!  Her owner was thrilled and relieved.

By November, however, Pipps had gained a bunch of weight on the i/d.  Definitely not good as overweight cats are at higher risk of fatty liver and her owner certainly did not want a repeat of the problem she had miraculously overcome.  Pipps’ owner had a consultation with veterinary technician Brianna and together determined it best to switch her over to Metabolic – a diet that works to increase a pet’s metabolism.  By April of 2014 Pipps had not lost any weight, although fortunately she was no longer gaining.  While in for her annual exam she was measured to determine exactly what her daily intake of Metabolic should be and she entered our Biggest Loser Challenge.  At this point Pipps owner described her as a pretty laid back cat.  She couldn’t jump up on to the counters (her owner thought in part due to her age and in part due to the weight).  She didn’t really play much, seemed like the kind of cat that just wanted to spend the day lounging – an older cats prerogative, right?

Over the course of the 6 month challenge Pipps weight lose initially was non-existent, however after 3 months she had lost 0.4kg and by the end of the challenge she had lost 0.7kg (a significant decrease for a cat) clinching the winning spot for the biggest body fat percentage lost by a cat!  Well done Pipps.  Another great success in her health challenges.

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Now Pipps has a renewed lease on life.  She is energetic and playful and surprises her owners daily.  She can get up on the counters, loves to look out the window and in fact, aids the dog in stealing food by knocking it off the shelf!

Even though she is behaving like a kitten, her owner would never complain.   Two years ago she didn’t know if Pipps would still be with them.  Her owner feels it is important for people to realize that just because your pet is older doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be playful and energetic.   It could, in fact, mean that something medically is going on that may be causing them pain or other health issues.  She recommends consulting your vet to be sure your pet is in their peak health so they get the best quality and biggest quantity of life.

IMG_0368  IMG_0370

If you have any questions about your pet, if something seems maybe not quite right, please don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.

*Quick weight loss in any pet is not a positive, regardless of whether they are overweight or not.  Just like in people weight loss should be intentional and slow.  If it occurs quickly and unexpected it is a sign that something is wrong.


Biggest Loser Season II – WINNERS

by: Jennifer Oldfield

Our second season of Biggest Loser has come to an end and we are happy to report that all contestants lost weight over the course of the challenge.  We have a few contestants that hadn’t made it in for a final weigh in, but in the few months they had participated they too had lost weight.

Losing weight is not easy and sometimes it seems it can be even harder with pets, especially for cats.  It is certainly easier to increase your dog’s activity by going for more or longer walks and playing more games of fetch.  With a cat it is tough to increase their exercise, but it can be done with games at home, various toys and activities.  The Metabolic diet is also very helpful, working with your pet’s own body to increase metabolism and burn off that extra weight.  We are so happy that the cats in the Biggest Loser Challenge this year had great success with their weight loss and are all planning to stick with the new food to get down to that ideal weight!

Dogs Jade Poko Leo Moka Pup Pup
First Place Second Place
Starting Weight 10.8kg 8.5kg 15.5kg 44.4kg 6.6kg
BFI 48.9% 49.2% 57.1% 47.4% 54.5%
Final Weight 8.5kg 7.5kg 13.5kg 40.6kg 6.1kg
BFI 35.1% 42.4% 50.8% 42.5% 51.5%
Total Loss 2.3kg/13.8% 1kg/6.8% 2kg/6.3% 3.8kg/4.9% 0.5kg/3%
Fritz BJ
Starting Weight 9.3kg 52.6kg
BFI 41.1% 54.8%
Final Weight no final weigh in no final weigh in
Total Loss as of July 0.8kg as of June 1.3kg
Cats Pipps Indiana Comet
First Place Second Place
Starting Weight 5.9kg 5.9kg 7.2kg
BFI 46.0% 49.0% 43.3%
Final Weight 5.2kg 5.2kg 6.8kg
BFI 40.0% 43.1% 40.0%
Total Loss 0.7kg/6% 0.7kg/5.9% 0.4kg/3.3%


The winners all receive a bag of food and a bag of treats!  Congratulations again to all on their weight loss success!

Biggest Losers…& the Winners are…

Monday October 7th marked the end of our Biggest Loser Challenge.  We are happy to report that EVERY contestant lost weight during the contest period!  Congratulations and well done!  Today, Wednesday October 9th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day – we thought it extremely appropriate to announce our winners in conjunction with this important day.

We asked each owner to provide us with some feedback on their experience.  The questions asked were:

1) Did your pet like the diet food?

2) What did you like and/or dislike about the diet?

3) What changes did you notice in your pet? (activity level, exercise tolerance, etc)

4) Would you recommend this diet to a friend?

5) Do you plan to continue with the diet?

6) Once your pet has reached their ideal weight, what will you do to maintain it?

Here are the answers and starting photo(s) from each of our contestants:

Poko (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 54.6%

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1) Yes she liked the food.  We soaked the kibbles at first to make her feel fuller.

2) Her appetite stayed the same (the diet didn’t bring it down).

3) We noticed that she is a little less tired after walks.

4) Yes, I would recommend this diet to a friend

5) Yes, I plan to continue the diet.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6) Once she has reached her weight goal we will wait for the vet’s recommendation for what food to go with next.

Janu (on r/d) – starting BFI 46.2%

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1) Yes she liked the food


3) I noticed that Janu is more energetic.


5) Yes, I plan to continue the diet.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

6) I will discuss with the vet/technologist the plan to maintain her weight once we reach our goal.

Daphne (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 54.4%

Daphne above1) She loved the food!

2) I am amazed at the results of the diet.

3) I noticed her energy level is higher and that there is no longer laboured breathing after short periods of exercise.

4) Yes, I would recommend this diet to a friend.   Daphne belly

5) Yes, I plan to continue the diet.

6) I plan to continue to feed Metabolic.

Piper (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 54.8%

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1) Piper liked the food, it took a little longer to eat due to the kibble size.

2) I didn’t see the results that I expected, but am happy he lost some.

3) His breathing is better, not so laboured after doing the stairs.  He is more energetic and active, has a higher exercise tolerance and looks forward to his walks.

4) Yes, I would recommend this diet to a friend.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5) Yes, I plan to continue the diet.

6) I plan to keep him on Metabolic.

JoJo (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 55.0%

JoJo1) Yes Jojo likes the food, she is eating it well and really likes the canned.

2) I saw results, noticed more loose skin and she doesn’t have her fat pad on her neck anymore.

3) She is more active and lively and has a better appetite (wants to eat).

4) Yes, I would recommend this food to a friend.  Jojo Brown Side

5) Yes, I plan to continue the diet.

6) I plan to stay with Metabolic.

Rusty (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 53.9%

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1) Yes, Rusty liked the food.

2) The food is easy to use, just use the measuring cup and he can have the Metabolic treats.  For the price of the food I believe you get your money’s worth and it’s cost effective.

3) Rusty’s collar is looser, he can jump on the bed easier and seems more active.  His appetite seems to be the same.

4) Yes, I would recommend this food to a friend.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

5) Yes, I plan to continue the diet.

6) He is doing well on the food and seems to like it, so I will probably stay with Metabolic for maintenance.

Gunner (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 54.6%


2) Everything was good.

3) He has way more energy, his fur looks shinier and healthy, his teeth even look whiter!  He is also playing with our new lab.

4) Yes, I would recommend this diet to a friend.


6) I plan to keep him on Metabolic – he is doing well on it.

Jimmy (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 53.9%


2) The food was easy to measure and I saw the results.

3) Jimmy is no longer limping.  Previously when he had been laying down, upon rising he would limp, he no longer does.  His eyes don’t tear up as much and he has more energy.


5) Yes

6) Will discuss with the vet/tech what is the best diet option when the time comes.

Moka (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 57.4%

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1) It took a few days to get use to, but Moka likes it now.

2) I liked that I saw the results

3) Moka is like a puppy again, she is brighter and wants to play.  Before I had to pull her to go for a short walk now she pulls me on 45 min walks!


5) Yes

6) Plan to discuss it with the vet at that time.

Playdoh (on Metabolic & r/d) – starting BFI 35%

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1) Playdoh eats anything, so the food wasn’t a problem.

2) It is easy and I didn’t worry as much when he would sneak some of the other cat’s food or steal something from the kids.

3) He doesn’t have his handful of fat pad anymore! He is easier to pick up.


5) Yes

6) Will keep him on a combination of Metabolic and r/d, especially since he is such a food thief, it will help to keep him nice and trim.

Lucky (on Metabolic) – starting BFI 50.0%

lucky1) Yes, Lucky was a kibble only cat, he would not eat wet food but he really liked the Metabolic wet.

2) Dislike the price.

3) Lucky’s coat looks healthier and he seems happier.  He also is moving around better

4) Yes

5) Yes

6) Will discuss when he gets there – I do plan to stay with a veterinary formula.

Now, we are sure you are wondering;

How did they all do??

Well here it is, each of our contestants.  We have listed their starting BFI, the amount of weight lost over the course of the Challenge, where their BFI ended up (the top end of ideal for both cats and dogs is 25% so this is the target BFI for all Contestants) and the total fat percentage lost.  Congratulations to ALL of our contestants for losing weight!  Every single one is well on their way to a healthy BFI and a longer, fuller life.

Contestants Starting BFI (%) Weight lost kg/lbs Ending BFI (%) Total Loss (%)
Jojo (K9) 55.0 0.5/1.1 48.1 6.9
Poko (K9) 54.6 1.3/2.9 48.0 6.6
Janu (K9) 46.2 1.2/2.6 40.6 5.6
Piper (K9) 57.8 0.9/2 53.7 4.1
Gunner (K9) 54.6 2.5/5.5 48.5 6.1
Daphne (K9) 54.4 1.9/4.1 44.4 10.0
Moka (K9) 57.4 11.8/26 45.9 11.5
Rusty (K9) 43.9 2.8/6.2 37.7 6.2
Jimmy (K9) 53.9 1.6/3.5 44.5 9.4
Lucky (Fe) 50.0 2.27/5 33.3 16.7
Playdoh (Fe) 35.0 0.5/1.1 29.2 5.8

Our winners are:

for the dogs –  Moka with a total loss of 11.5%

for the cats – Lucky with a total loss of 16.7%.

We would like to thank Hill’s for sponsoring our Biggest Loser Challenge.  Each contestant received a canvas bag with a small bag of food, a bag of treats and two cans, plus a $10 off coupon of the Metabolic diet at the midway point of the challenge, courtesy of Hill’s.

Our winners will be receiving:

  • A bag of food (owner’s choice of type courtesy of Hill’s)
  • A toy (pet’s choice provided by us)
  • A night at the movies (for the owner provided by us)

Our second place winners will receive:

  • A medium bag of food (owner’s choice of type courtesy of Hill’s)
  • A bag of treats (Metabolic – courtesy of Hill’s)

And because all our contestants are winners we are providing all our other contestants with a prize as well:

  • A toy (pet’s choice)

Here are all the contestants before photos and their current photo (side by side with the before for comparison):

For more information on Obesity, Weight and Management and the Hill’s Metabolic Diet:

Obesity Quiz

Calorie Contents in Treats

More Calorie Contents in Dog Treats

Hill’s Metabolic

Body Fat Index


Diet is Only Half the Battle


The statistics say that 30 to 50 percent of our pets are overweight, with 35% being obese – and most of us owners aren’t even aware of it!  That’s a very high incidence.   Part of preventative health care includes maintaining a healthy weight.

Take an Obesity Quiz to see how much you know about obesity, the risks and factors involved.

There is sound and irrefutable evidence that obesity has devastating effects both on longevity and on the quality of life.  As an example; in humans, mortality at any age is higher in people who overweight. This is primarily due to increased heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and digestive diseases.


Increased incidence of disease in the obese pet is equally alarming:

  • Heart and Circulatory disease increase up to 75 percent
  • Reproductive disorders increase up to 65 percent
  • Musculoskeletal diseases increase up to 54 percent (eg. ruptured ligaments, arthritis)
  • Cancers up to 50 percent increase.
  • Skin conditions up to 40 percent increase.

These are very worrying statistics.

What is Obesity?

Obesity is medically defined as a 15 percent or greater increase in optimal body weight – so what’s the ideal weight?  Most pets will reach their ideal weight within one year of maturity.  The ideal weight for your particular dog can be found from charts.  With few exceptions, the ideal weight for the average healthy adult domestic cat is between 3.5 and 4.5 kilograms (8 to10 lbs.)

A fairly simple, although subjective, test for the degree of obesity is to make a judgment of the amount of adipose (fatty) tissue overlying the rib cage and along the abdomen.  Here’s how to do it.  The animal is too thin if the ribs are easily seen.  The animal is normal if the ribs are easily felt with light pressure, without any appreciable layer of fat.  The animal is obese if the ribs cannot easily be felt.  We should also appreciate that most breeds should have an hourglass or waist line when viewed from above.  Other signs of obesity include a pendulous or protruding abdomen, enlarged fatty areas over the hips and around the tail, and a waddling sluggish walk or gait.

Our concern with obesity isn’t merely for cosmetic vanity, but is based on sound evidence as to its devastating effects on longevity and quality of life.

What Causes Obesity?

In a word … calories!  Obesity is nearly always caused by one simple fact – overeating.  Too much food and too little exercise.

Metabolic, “hormonal” or “glandular” problems are extremely rare and can often be corrected by medical means in addition to diet control.  There is an old adage “fatness runs in the family” – the truth is that overeating runs in the family, and nobody runs!

We are well aware that some breeds are more prone to obesity than others, for example, Beagles, Dachshunds, Labs and Goldens tend to lay it on with ease, but this should prompt us to be even more vigilant with these particular breeds of pet.  The true tragedy is that the obese pet is the helpless victim of a compulsive owner.  A pet simply cannot get fat on its own. Many people use food as a reward. A treat is offered and the animal is rewarded for eating it by being petted or some such thing. The animal then associates food with affection and constantly seeks more of each. The owner then continues to feed the animal in the belief that the actual feeding pleases the animal and the cycle continues.

Let’s examine what we can do about it.


Controlling the Problem

Admitting to yourself that your pet is obese is the first step.  Accepting responsibility for the condition is the next.  Then, and only then will you be in the frame of mind to succeed in your goal of weight loss.

Every program of weight reduction should be tailored to the individual pet after consultation with your own veterinarian.  It is also absolutely vital that you solicit and acquire absolute cooperation from every member of the family – lack of total dedication and commitment will only bring frustration and disappointment.

The following guidelines will be something like your own veterinarian might recommend.

  • Eliminate ALL extra sources of food, table scraps, treats, snacks from neighbors etc. In fact, throw out all pet treats! (Or donate them to the animal shelter.)
  • Consider the use of specially formulated prescription reducing diets.  These diets are high in fibre and lower in calories, but otherwise completely balanced so are very filling.  There is also Metabolic to help increase a pet’s metabolism.
  • Make sure the diet you are using is top quality and suited to your pet and then consider reducing total consumption by up to 20 percent.  Feed the remaining 80 percent in three or four divided meals during the day. This method works on some dogs and tends to eliminate begging.
  • Make sure ample fresh water is available at all times.
  • Weigh your pet weekly – this will keep you motivated to keep thinking positively.
  • Do multiple short periods of exercise instead of one long period.  Once your pet’s exercise tolerance increases, you can decrease the frequency as you increase the length of exercise time per outing.

To help you realize the ease with which obesity can creep up on us, consider this:

A dog or cat that consumes only one percent more calories than needed, on a daily basis, will be 25 percent overweight by middle age.

If your pet is overweight or you aren’t sure contact us, so together we can start to treat this disease right away.

For more information on weight and exercise ideas for your pet(s) see our additional blog posts:

Body Fat Index – what does that mean?

Diet is Only Half the Battle

Meet Jimmy – Biggest Loser Contestant

Day One

Day One

Meet Jimmy – he is a 5-year-old Shih Tzu with a starting weight of 9.1 kg (20 lbs) and an ideal weight of 5.2 kg (11.4 lbs).

When asked to describe Jimmy, his owner says he is a happy and friendly boy with an interesting trait of cleaning his face like a cat!  He loves stuffed toys and his favourite is a stuffed squirrel.

Jimmy’s owner says she plans to get in more exercise for Jimmy, in part by being  consistent with going for walks, to help aid in his weight loss.  She feels the benefits of weight loss for him will be to help prevent arthritis and give him more energy.

Day One

Day One

Day One

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Good luck Jimmy!

Watch for updates on how all the contestants are doing over the course of the Challenge.

Feel free to post comments and words of encouragement to each of them.  We will be certain to pass it along!

Enroll YOUR pet!

Meet Rusty – Biggest Loser Contestant

Day One

Day One

Meet Rusty a 5-year-old Spaniel Cross.  He is starting with a weight of 26.8 kg (59 lbs) and his ideal weight is potentially around 18.7 kg (41.1 lbs).

Rusty’s owner describes him as “a fun loving easy going pooch, who found his forever home at the Regina Humane Society.  Rusty loves to climb trees, get the squeekies out of toys and scout the counters for any food that may be close to the edge.  He loves to go for car and boat rides and visit his relatives and other dog cousins.”   His owner says Rusty can’t wait for the yard at his new home to be finished so he can play outside more.  He is also looking forward to going for more walks with his family.  The best part of the weight loss plan she says; “he doesn’t even know he’s on one!!”

Rusty thinks that losing the extra weight will make him look less like a sausage when he wears his Rider shirt on game days.  His family hopes that it will give him a long life with them and help his snoring problem 🙂

Day One

Day One

Day One

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Good luck Rusty!

Watch for updates on how all the contestants are doing over the course of the Challenge.

Feel free to post comments and words of encouragement to each of them.  We will be certain to pass it along!

Enroll YOUR pet!

Meet Allie – Biggest Loser Contestant

Day One

Day One

Allie is a 3-year-old Beagle and is starting with a weight of 18.4 kg (40.5 lbs).  Her current BFI is 47.3% and her ideal weight is 12.1 kg (26.6 lbs).

When asked to describe Allie, her owner says she is super family friendly.  She also howls when she wants to be petted.  She loves stuffed toys and penguins are her favourite.  Allie also enjoys going down the kid’s slide at the park.

Allie’s owner plans to walk her more often to aid in her weight loss and says the benefits for her will be a healthy and longer lifespan.

Day One

Day One

Day One

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Good luck Allie!

Watch for updates on how all the contestants are doing over the course of the Challenge.

Feel free to post comments and words of encouragement to each of them.  We will be certain to pass it along!

Enroll YOUR pet!

Meet Moka – Biggest Loser Contestant

Day One

Day One

Moka is a 10-year-old Lab X.  She is starting at a weight of 55 kg (121 lbs) and her ideal weight is 29.2 kg (64.2 lbs).  Her current BFI is 57.4%!

When asked to describe Moka her owner says, she loves attention and makes a fuss if she isn’t getting any.  She is a very loving dog.  Her favourite toy is a bungee bear, but she also likes stuffed toys that squeak.  He also says she really enjoys watching animals on TV.

Moka’s owner plans to cut out the milkbones and go for walks to help facilitate the weight loss.  When asked what benefits he feels the weight loss will have for her, he says a longer life, increased mobility and it will help her joints.


Day One


Day One

Good luck Moka!

Watch for updates on how all the contestants are doing over the course of the Challenge.

Feel free to post comments and words of encouragement to each of them.  We will be certain to pass it along!

Enroll YOUR pet!

Body Fat Index – What Does That Mean?

We have all heard of BMI (body mass index)  – even if we weren’t sure what it stood for – we know it has to do with our body weight.  It indicates what is considered to be a healthy weight based on your height and age.  In animals we use the term BFI (body fat index) to determine how over (or under) weight a pet is.  The calculations are based on weight and specific measurements across the body to determine ideal body size.

We often don’t think of our pet being overweight when we are told they need to drop about 5 lbs.  We think – 5 lbs?, that’s it? – that isn’t very much at all.  Well it is true that 5 lbs isn’t much… on a adult human body that weighs over 120 lbs.  However 5 lbs on a dog that weighs only 30 lbs is about 20% of their total body mass.  Think of that on the average adult human.  Let’s say the adult is 145 lbs, 20% is 29 lbs!  Now that seems like a fair bit, doesn’t it?

To give an even better perspective let’s take a look at our Biggest Loser Contestants.  In this chart it shows each contestants weight, ideal weight, what that equates to in terms of BFI and how much weight they need to lose to reach an ideal weight.  Ideal weight is considered to be a BFI in the 20% range (from 16-25%) in both cats and dogs.

Contestant Starting Weight Ideal Weight Current BFI Lbs to Lose
JoJo 4.3 kg / 9.5 lbs 2.4 kg / 5.3 lbs 55.0% 4.2
Poko 9.6 kg / 21.1 lbs 5.4 kg / 11.9 lbs 54.6% 9.2
Piper 8.5 kg / 18.7 lbs 4.4 kg / 9.9 lbs 57.8% 8.8
Gunner 20.2 kg / 44.4 lbs 11.4 kg/ 25 lbs 54.6% 19.4
Lucky 9.1 kg /20 lbs 5.7 kg / 12.5 lbs 47.4% 7.5
Playdoh 5.7 kg / 12.5 lbs 4.6 kg / 10.1 lbs 35.0% 2.4
Aspen 38.6 kg / 85 lbs 23.6 kg / 52 lbs 50.9% 33

Now let’s look at these BFI’s on a human adult.  This chart shows how much an average adult male would weigh if he were the same BFI percentage as the animals above and how much he would need to lose to get back to the healthy weight.

Healthy Adult Male   OverWeight  Lbs to Lose
83.5 kg / 183.7 lbs if 55% BFI then    –> 148.6 kg / 327 lbs 143.3
83.5 kg / 183.7 lbs  if 54.6% BFI then –> 147.2 kg / 323.8 lbs 140.1
83.5 kg / 183.7 lbs  if 57.8% BFI then –> 158.4 kg / 348.5 lbs 164.8
83.5 kg / 183.7 lbs  if 54.6% BFI then –> 147.2 kg / 323.8 lbs 140.1
83.5 kg / 183.7 lbs  if 47.4% BFI then –> 127 kg / 279.4 lbs 95.7
83.5 kg / 183.7 lbs  if 35% BFI then –> 102.7 kg / 226 lbs 42.3
83.5 kg / 183.7 lbs  if 50.9% BFI then –> 136.8 kg / 299.6 lbs 115.9

Let’s look at a couple cross comparisons:  Jojo is at a BFI of 55% and ideally should weigh 5.3 lbs, she needs to lose 4.2 lbs to get to her ideal weight.  The same BFI in an adult male who should ideally weigh 184 lbs, would need to lose 143 lbs to achieve that goal.  The 2.4 lbs that Playdoh needs to lose is equal to this adult male needing to lose 42.3 lbs –  and in both cases that puts this male at a BFI of 20%, which in humans is actually still quite high.  Really this male would need to lose even more weight to reach what is considered a healthy BMI comparable to the equivalent healthy BFI in your pet.

Now let’s look at some food comparisons (provided by Hill’s Pet Nutrition):  whole bar

Did you know that for a 10 kg (22 lb) dog, 1 small oatmeal cookie is the caloric equivalent of 1 hamburger or 1 entire chocolate bar for a 5’4″ person?

How about  if a 5 kg (11lb) cat ate just one 28 gram cube of cheddar cheese? That would be the same as if a 5’4″ person ate 3 1/2 hamburgers or 4 whole chocolate bars!

What about if a 5’4″ person ate 3 hamburgers or 2 whole chocolate bars? That would be the same as a 10 kg (22lb) dog eating just 1 hot dog!

burgerNow what about that 5 kg (11 lb) cat again – what if he ate 1 whole potato chip or drank an 8 ounce glass of milk?  That would be the equivalent of a 5’4″ person eating 1/2 a hamburger or 1/2  a chocolate bar for the chip or 4 1/2 hamburgers or 5 chocolate bars for that glass of milk.

It isn’t uncommon for us all to think – awe it is just a little treat.  It can’t hurt, and maybe if it only happened that rare once in a while, it wouldn’t be so bad, however, we need to remember to think of everything in terms of the lesser size our pets are compared to us.  If they are only 1/5 our size (or even less) than that treat that seems small to us, is probably really big for them.

There are certainly health risks that go along with an unhealthy weight.  As the body fat increases, so to does the risk for both cats and dogs on:

  • Shortened life expectancy
  • Diabetes
  • Reduces mobility
  • Arthritis
  • Increased physical injury
  • Respiratory disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer
  • Pancreatitis

and also for cats is an increased risk for:

  • Hepatic lipidosis (Fatty liver which can lead to liver failure)
  • Bladder stones

Now you are probably wondering how you can assess your pet at home to know if they are in the healthy range or heading their way towards unhealthy.  The images (provided by Hill’s Pet Nutrition) below show how your pet looks physically and how that corresponds with each BFI value.

BFI Charts1

 Dogs Ribs Shape from Above Shape from the Side
20 Slightly prominent, easily felt, thin fat cover Well proportioned lumbar waist Abdominal tuck present
30 Slightly to not prominent, can be felt, moderate fat cover Detectable lumbar waist Slight abdominal tuck
40 Not prominent, very difficult to feel, thick fat cover. Loss of lumbar waist, broadened back Flat to bulging abdomen
50 Not prominent, extremely difficult to feel, very thick fat cover. Markedly broadened back Marked abdominal bulge
60 Not prominent, impossible to feel, extremely thick fat cover. Extremely broadened back Severe abdominal bulge
70 Unidentifiable, impossible to feel, extremely thick fat cover Extremely broadened back, bulging mid-section Very severe abdominal bulge

BFI Charts



Abdomen Shape from Above

Shape from the Side

20 Prominent, very easy to feel Loose abdominal skin, easy to feel abdominal contents Marked hourglass Moderate to slight abdominal tuck


Not prominent, easy to feel Loose abdominal skin with minimum fat, easy to feel abdominal contents Slight hourglass/lumbar waist No abdominal tuck


Not prominent, can feel Obvious skin fold with moderate fat, easy to feel abdominal contents Lumbar waist Slight abdominal bulge


Not prominent, difficult to feel Heavy fat pad, difficult to feel abdominal contents Broadened back Moderate abdominal bulge


Not prominent, extremely difficult to impossible to feel Very heavy fat pad; indistinct from abdominal fat, impossible to feel abdominal contents Severely broadened back Severe abdominal bulge


Unidentifiable, impossible to feel Extremely heavy fat pad; indistinct from abdominal fat, impossible to feel abdominal contents Extremely broadened back Very severe abdominal bulge

One thing for us to remember is that our pets are certainly smaller than us and a little is really a LOT for them.  Reducing their weight even just a little towards the healthy ideal can go a long way in improving your pet’s quality of life and reducing their risk factors for certain health conditions.

If you have concerns about your pets weight, give us a call.  There are diets that are specifically designed to help your pet lose the weight without you feeling like you aren’t feeding them at all.  Many of our staff are trained nutrition counsellors and are here to assist you.

Meet Aspen – Biggest Loser Contestant

Day One

Day One

Meet Aspen, an 8-year-old Golden Retriever and the newest Biggest Loser Contestant.  Aspen is starting at a weight of 38.6 kg (85 lbs) and her ideal weight is 23.6 kg (52 lbs).

According to Aspen’s owner she is outgoing, loves people and loves to play fetch with the tennis ball (which is her favourite toy), she also loves to cuddle.  As we know animals are amazing creatures with the most amazing abilities – as Aspen’s owner can attest to.  Recently Aspen found her owner’s breast cancer!

The plan for Aspen?  Along with the diet change is to also increase her activity, spend more time playing with their other dogs.  Her owner looks forward to the benefits of the weight loss being less fatigue and a longer healthier life.  Plus her owner says, she will worry less about a possible injury from playing.

Good luck Aspen!

Day One Top View

Day One Top View

Day One Side View

Day One Side View

Watch for updates on how all the contestants are doing over the course of the Challenge.

Feel free to post comments and words of encouragement to each of them.  We will be certain to pass it along!

Enroll YOUR pet!