Join us for an informative and inspirational interview with animal advocate and client ,Genna M.
Genna takes us on her journey with two special rescue dogs, who came to her family overweight & in poor health. Read on as we hear about “Leia” and “Abby” and how their health is being restored thanks to Genna’s commitment. Rescued & Beagle are truly her favorite breed! Thank you Genna for sharing your story with us!!
Share with us the dogs’ names, age, breed, name of the rescue they came from
Leia is approximately 11 years old. She is a beagle/basset mix adopted from Albert’s Dog Lounge on July 3rd, 2020.
Abby is a 9 year old puggle, adopted from Trio Animal Foundation on July 11th, 2020.
Look these rescues up if you aren’t familiar with them, they are both amazing and specialize in seniors and/or major medical dogs. See Links below
How much weight did the dogs need to lose?
Believe it or not, both dogs started at 52 pounds. Recommended loss for Leia was 15-20lbs. and for Abby, 20lbs. Leia is currently 37 lbs and Abby is 39lbs!
What other medical issues were present?
Abby did not have any medical issues other than her obesity. Her weight put great pressure on her legs and ankles. Although she moved well, her legs would shake while walking.
Leia came with a slew of medical issues. Her rescue and foster home had already made great progress getting things under control and starting her weight loss. She had severe allergies, ear infections, recurrent urinary tract infections, dry eyes, hypothyroidism, and arthritis.
What strategy did you create, for the dogs to safely loose the weight?
Feeding plan:We feed twice a day, in smaller portions. Depending on the dogs’ needs, sometimes a very small “lunch” is needed to accompany midday meds. (1/4 a hot dog, for example)
Both ladies immediately began a low carb, high protein diet. The purpose of this was weight loss as well as to address Leia’s allergies and itchy, yeasty skin. They only ate grain-free wet food (from the Bark Market, of course!), cooked meats, vegetables, eggs, plain yogurt, and occasionally pureed pumpkin. Frozen vegetables were a great help for Abby because they allowed her to chew longer and feel more satisfied without adding carbs. Leia cannot eat frozen vegetables because of her dental situation but enjoys thawed veggies.
Supplements:As far as supplements, we love probiotics, especially for dogs with skin, yeast, ear, and/or weight issues. The probiotics address these issues from the inside out and allow the dog’s body to rid itself of the nasty stuff causing the issues. Oftentimes, these problems are the result of poor or inadequate diet over long periods of time. We also love Goat’s milk. All dogs love it and it is full of beneficial nutrients.
Exercise Plan:Leia doesn’t know what exercise means but she graduated from going up and down one stair to get outside for potty, to going up and down several stairs in the yard and moseying around, sniffing with the other dogs! She just recently figured out how to get herself up onto the couch (and back down too)! She takes an anti-inflammatory medication each day and I believe that this helped her to feel better, which in turn, allows her to move around more comfortably and more frequently.
Abby loves to “jog” in the yard when the younger, faster dogs run and chase each other. We encourage her to do this as often as possible. I spend a lot of time outside with them, as they will walk around for much longer if they are following me! Our exercise routine isn’t too intense, as you can see, but we feel that the best way to get them moving is to encourage what they already do naturally and make them more comfortable while doing it.
What were the biggest hurdles?
Patience! When adopting a dog with medical and/or weight issues, I want to fix everything immediately. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Whether your dog is new to you or not, their weight loss and health take time. Start now and expect to see results within months, not weeks. If it only takes weeks, that’s a huge plus!
Consistency… I know the importance of consistency when managing a new doggy diet plan but it is also important to change things that aren’t working, all while giving the dog a variety of healthy foods each day.
Lastly, getting breakfast ready, each bowl specifically tailored to each dog’s needs, with supplements and medications, and getting out the door by 8am- biggest hurdle!
How long did it take?
We have been working on Leia and Abby’s weight loss since July, so four months. Although, it is important to note that Leia began losing weight in her foster home in late May. Abby didn’t begin until rescued in early July.
What changes in behavior and temperament did you notice throughout the process and now that they are at a healthy weight.
They are both more active and enjoy the large, fenced in yard, far more than they used to. Abby seems more confident in her environment and less nervous when we are not nearby. Leia has started doing things we never would’ve guessed, like getting herself onto the couch and back off, multiple times a day.
How are the dogs doing now?
They are both doing great. They’ve settled in, feel comfortable, get along really well with their doggy siblings, and know the routine around here.
Please share any other insights and advice you would offer to other pet parents faced with an overweight pet.
The best innovative doggy weight loss advice I ever received was to cut portion of dry food (or eliminate entirely) and substitute frozen vegetables. If your dog can chew frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, this is an excellent way to make them feel like they’re eating a large meal, without the carbs and calories. Low carb, high protein, probiotics. Like a human, this is a great plan for energy, weight loss, and health. Encourage their natural tendencies for exercise, whether its jogging, just doing a couple more stairs than normal, or sniffing around the yard. You can’t go wrong with a high-quality diet, as long as it’s tailored to your pet and their needs. And be patient.
For information on Albert’s Dog Lounge, Senior, Special Needs dog rescue Albert’s Dog Lounge
For information on Trio Animal Foundation: Trio Animal Foundation: