IF losing weight were an Olympic sport, my miniature wiener dog Zoe would take the gold medal.
I hate to boast, but the pounds have been steadily melting off our official "spokes-dog" since we kicked off the Pet Valu Fit Pet Project, a monthly series examining overweight and obese pets.
In Zoe's case, the recipe has been relatively simple: a metabolic pet food that is lower in calories but keeps her metabolism high; a steady increase in exercise; and carrot sticks instead of high-calorie store-bought treats.
Back in January, my pudgy pet tipped the scales at a hefty and lethargic 8.6 kilograms, far above the accepted breed standard of 5.4 kg.
With each visit to the vet, Zoe's weight has decreased. At her last weigh-in on June 24, she was down to 6.5 kg.
Our vet for the last 30 years, Dr. Jim Broughton, owner of Exclusively Cats Animal Hospital on Corydon Avenue, was ecstatic with his shrinking patient's performance.
"She's lost another 10 per cent of her body weight since May," Broughton points out. "Since we started... she's lost over 25 per cent of her body weight. That's like a 200-pound person getting down to 150 pounds in that period of time.
"It's just perfect. It's just ideal. Compared to what most vets are used to seeing, it's unusually good. We only usually see such spectacular results in a small percentage of dogs that we diet. She's the gold standard for weight loss."
The key for a pet to lose weight, the vet noted, is the ability of the owner to stick to the rules and not dish out treats whenever their animal makes a moony face and begs for more.
The wiener dog's daily intake of her prescription kibble remains pegged at three-quarters of a cup, supplemented by as many carrot sticks or shaved carrots as she likes.
With the target weight of 5.4 kg in sight, Broughton says it's time to level off the weight loss "so we come into a smooth landing to our target. We're going to flatten out our descent a little bit."
If your pet's weight-loss journey is taking a little longer, don't get discouraged.
"It's like the Manitoba Marathon," our vet says. "Sure, one guy is the winner and finishes while everyone else is still on mile No. 2, but at the end of the day, everyone finishes and gets their name in the paper."
Especially my medal-winning pup because, let's face it, she's already a wiener.