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Bring Your Pets From Fluffy to Fit in 2023

The New Year has officially begun, and most everyone is starting their New Year’s Resolutions to make 2023 the best year yet. Gym memberships often skyrocket in January as we vow to get in shape after the holidays. But setting goals isn’t just for us humans. Obesity is the result of multiple factors, but you can still make changes to improve both your and your pet’s life. Working towards health goals together only strengthens the bond between us and our furry friends, bringing back a life with more energy and less stress.

Coloradoans do report lower obesity rates than the rest of the American population, with a 24.2% obesity rate in adults rather than the country’s 41.9% of obese adults. This is largely due to our thriving outdoor culture and the abundance of exciting physical activities throughout the year. But why not bring your dog along as well? Check out this list of dog friendly hiking trails in the area or visit a nearby park for a day filled with exercise that leaves you feeling refreshed.

However, obesity and being overweight have emerged as the most important health conditions in dogs today. The consequences of obesity are far-reaching. It shortens dogs’ lives and can actually contribute to chronic inflammatory pain. The good news is that obesity is preventable. More good news is that even if a dog is overweight or obese, the disease can be reversed, normal body condition can be restored, and life expectancy can be returned to normal.

Being overweight or obese sets the stage for joint damage and Osteoarthritis, leading to chronic pain. This is because fat tissue is very biologically active, secreting hormones and other chemicals that both cause and enhance inflammation. Obesity can also lead to diabetes, which includes symptoms such as increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, and increased appetite. While there are treatment options for diabetes and pain, they can become quite expensive and are stressful for both you and your pet. If your overweight pet seems to be in pain or suddenly changes their daily habits, medical attention is needed. To prevent obesity before the disease occurs, manage your pet’s weight with a balanced and regular diet with plenty of exercise. Avoid overly fatty or sugary treats, and give them time for daily walks and play. Reduce stress factors and visit the veterinarian regularly to ensure the physical and mental wellbeing of your pet.

But changing your pet’s diet and exercise on your own is extremely difficult, and sometimes small changes aren’t enough for them to return to a happy and healthy ball of fluff and muscle. Our Fluffy to Fit program offers guided treatment specific to your pet, including a calorie assessment, sessions on a water treadmill to build muscle and confidence, and stretches/exercises for home specific to your pet. Moving forward, this program will bill as a monthly membership and include discounts on other veterinary services at our clinic, such as massages! Registered Veterinary Technician Jamie Gartenmann manages this program and has seen many lives improved after overweight pets worked hard to shed the extra weight. Read about rockstar Scooter Brown’s story here.

The Fluffy to Fit program has also restored the happiness of a beloved Cavalier King Charles mix, Halo. At 12 years old, she was lacking in energy and struggling to keep up with her furry siblings on walks. When entering the Fluffy to Fit program in July 2022, she weighed in at 27.2 pounds, almost 10 pounds over her healthy range. Jamie worked with Halo’s family to formulate an exercise and diet plan to help the spunky dog feel her best. 

After switching to a new diet that aids in metabolism and joint care, Halo feels much happier and even smells better, according to her mom! In addition to the food switch, Halo comes into Harmony Veterinary Center twice every week to walk on the water treadmill. Though Halo sometimes prefers socializing at the front desk over the exercise, she feels much more comfortable at a lower weight. It’s the peak of everyone’s day when Halo zooms around our clinic after drying off! Though Halo is at a brief plateau of 23.4 pounds as of January 2023, she is much closer to a healthy body and has regained her energy and adorable personality.

It’s important to remember that each and every pet is different. Some dog food brands tend to be more effective in weight management, but each of our furry friends have different needs. Your dog’s breed, age, and other health conditions also play into their weight management. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations before drastically changing your furry friend’s lifestyle. If you are interested in having your pet join the Fluffy to Fit program for a personalized and integrative approach, please contact us at