Dr. Terrance Ferguson DVM and Dr. Vernard L. Hodges DVM are the veterinary stars of Critter Fixers: Country Vets, now streaming on Disney Plus. Their Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital serves more than 20,000 patients, and they handle cases ranging from pet care to farm visits. We spoke with Dr. Ferguson and Dr. Hodges about pet obesity, and sought their expert advice on the best ways to help your furry housemate maintain their healthiest weight.
“For cats and dogs, especially the smaller ones, as little as a pound or two, can have a dramatic impact on their health, and for bigger dogs in particular, they are at risk of developing osteoarthritis,” Hodges told the Spruce Pets. “Many of the secondary health conditions that we treat are caused by obesity like cardiovascular issues, arthritis and inflammation, and diabetes are often side effects. If we can get the pet to lose weight, then those issues go away for the most part.”
The best place to start is with a visit to your veterinarian so that they can assess your pet’s specific needs. “ We know that the best medicine is preventative medicine,” Ferguson said. “A lot of pet parents aren’t aware that they are overfeeding their pets. As puppies and kittens, pets require a higher caloric intake. That changes as they grow and things like being spayed and neutered will also slow down the metabolism.”
In addition to the right portion size and the proper nutrition, annual checkups with your veterinarian are an essential part of keeping your pet healthy and comfortable. Both vets agree that something as simple as changing the food you give to your pet can help them shed the extra pounds. They also encourage you to play with your furry friend and get active together.
Make The Most Of Meal Time
The Critter Fixers have partnered with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to bring awareness to the pet obesity epidemic. A favorite of the Georgia-based veterinarians is the Perfect Weight line for dogs and cats. It’s available as a dry kibble and wet food for both animals along with varieties to align with the size of your pet.
“All these babies are different so check with your veterinarian, so you make sure your baby is on the right food,” Ferguson said.
Cat Food: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Cat Food
The Hill's Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Cat Food provides balanced nutrition, fiber, and lean protein in a liquid-rich formula to help your cat feel full in between meals. Hill's Science Diet is formulated in the United States, and in their clinical trials, over 70% of adult cats lost weight within 10 weeks by eating Perfect Weight Cat Food. Plus, they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of their products. Hill's Science Diet Perfect Weight Cat Food is also available as dry food.
Dog Food: Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Small & Mini Dog Food
A Chihuahua’s needs are different than a Great Dane, but dogs of all shapes and sizes can find a version of Hill’s Science Diet Adult Perfect Weight Dog Food to suit their needs and satisfy their appetite. The Small & Mini Dog Food is made with real animal protein to help compact-sized canines achieve lean muscle mass and their optimal weight. The Perfect Weight line from Hill’s Science Diet also includes dry food along with size-specific varieties.
Frolic With Your Feline
“Excercise, exercise, exercise! You can use simple things with cats, like feathers or laser pointers to have them chase that around,” suggests Dr. Hodges.
Here are our favorites:
Laser Pointer: Litterbox.com Rechargeable Laser
Encourage your cat to pounce, stalk, and chase a tiny red light. The Rechargeable Laser from Litterbox.com is lightweight, easy to turn on and off, and recharged via a USB port. It’s a convenient way to engage your cat’s instincts for daily exercise. As with all lasers, this item should never be pointed directly at your cat’s eyes.
Feather Wand: MeoHui Cat Toys Retractable Teaser Wand Set
This simple toy will dangle small colorful objects in front of your cat to get them moving around, and you’ll enjoy watching them pounce and play. The Menhoui Cat Toys Retractable Teaser Wand Set comes with two telescopic wands. Each flexible wand has a string at the end where you can attach one of five feathers or four plush worms to entice your cat.
Get Moving With Your Dog
“Dogs love to go for walks and it’s also beneficial for you,” shared Dr. Hodges. “If it’s hot where you live, like in Georgia, you can take your dog swimming.”
Dog Leash: Max and Neo Dog Gear Nylon Reflective Double Dog Leash
Dogs love exploring, sniffing, and peeing on their surroundings. With the Max and Neo Dog Gear Nylon Reflective Double Dog Leash, you can keep your dog safe while they roam. You’ll both get your steps in with this reasonably priced leash. It’s made out of nylon webbing with reflective piping and has two neoprene padded handles to help you keep your dog close when needed. It comes in a variety of colors and two lengths–six feet and four feet.
Dog Pool: Yaheetech Foldable Plastic Dog Pool
The Yaheetch Foldable Plastic Dog Pool comes in a variety of sizes and colors. If you have a backyard, it’s a convenient way to give your dog a place to practice their doggie paddle and cool off on a hot day. Not all dogs love swimming, but the ones that do won’t be able to resist this container of inviting H2O. And best of all, it’s all for them! When not in use, the pool can be folded and stored until the next sunny day arrives.
Watch Critter Fixers: Country Vets
You can see more of veterinarians Terrance Ferguson and Vernard L. Hodges streaming on Disney Plus. The 5th season of Critter Fixers: Country Vets premieres Saturday, April 8 on Nat Geo Wild.