A number of risk factors affect companion animal energy imbalance, and research has suggested that proinflammatory cytokines, which can be secreted by adipose tissue, contribute to a low-grade inflammatory state promoting chronic diseases (eg, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus). Moderation of dietary intake and increased physical activity are likely antiinflammatory in nature. This study examined the impact of veterinarian-initiated counseling (encouraging both dog owner and dog exercise) on anthropometric and biochemical measures of health.
Seventy-five owners and their dogs were enrolled in this study; baseline data (eg, bloodwork, body condition score [BCS], human body mass index [BMI]) were measured. The first group of owners in the standard care group had a general wellness appointment without specific activity goals, while the second physical activity group was counseled about specific physical activity goals and recommendations. All participants were asked to wear a pedometer and record daily activity with their dog for 3 months. Dog owners were generally willing to follow a veterinarian-prescribed exercise regimen; adding only 30 minutes of walking per day reduced patient weight and improved BCS.