Have you heard of the Critter Fixers: Country Vets on Nat Geo Wild? How about the Hill’s Annual End Pet Obesity Campaign? Well now the Critter Fixers and Hill’s are working together to help raise awareness with pet parents about pet obesity and how to put a stop to it.
In an effort to help pet parents to be more mindful of their pet’s health, Hill’s teamed up with Dr. Terrence Ferguson and Dr. Vernard Hodges, best known for being the Critter Fixers to remind people of the importance of diets and food when it comes to managing weight. As part of this partnership, Dog O’Day had a chance to speak to the veterinarians about their work and this campaign with Hill’s.
Not only did we talk about the Hill’s campaign itself, but also about changing our pet’s diet and the way the things we feed our pets can have an impact on their health.
The Critter Fixers talk to Dog O’Day about their partnership with Hill’s to help End Pet Obesity
Dog O’Day: What convinced you guys to work with Hill’s on the End Pet Obesity campaign?
Dr. Hodges: “We deal with a wide variety of things. We deal with things from kidney disease, to diabetes, and liver disease, heart disease, and of course, unfortunately, more obesity than we care to think about. Hill’s has a variety of food that covers them all. You know, we’ve used Hill’s since basically veterinary school.
We’ve used the Hill’s diets, and they really understood now that there is a big pandemic, we’ve got a big epidemic with animals that are overweight. And they’ve come up with these foods that really help the overweight animal, and animals that have a need to maintain their weight. So we talked and we thought this product definitely fit our MOs. You know, we feed our pets this food. We use it in the hospital, so, we felt like this campaign was right up our alley.”
Dog O’Day: So, what do you think is contributing to the rising obesity you’re seeing in pets?
Dr. Ferguson: “Oh, there are a lot of things, one is definitely just nutrition. You know, the pandemic didn’t help a lot. We were home with our pets a lot. And of course, we overfed them while we were there. And we assume that the more we love our pets, the more we feed them and the more we make them happy, but actually it can cause a lot of problems when we do that.
So like Vernard was saying, then Hill’s came along. When you see the name Hill’s, they’re the leader in pet nutrition, like Dr. Hodges said, we’ve known the Hill’s brand since we were veterinary students, and that’s been over, you know, roughly 25 years ago. So when they call, you know what they stand for, and they make things in life easy for us in a veterinary clinic having these diets and having different ways to assess animals that are overweight, because a lot of times it’s a little tough talking to clients about their babies being overweight. But they’ve made it a smooth transition for us, and tools for us to use, as well as food that actually works.”
DOD: It’s hard to talk to about weight but at the same time, it’s so important. And it doesn’t help that for some people they don’t know what their breed of dog is when they have a mutt from the pound or something like that. So how do you help them figure out what’s best for their dog when they don’t know what’s best?
Dr. H: “So, I’ll be honest, we talked about loving your pet to death and treats are the biggest culprit. I see a lot of pancreatitis. I see a lot of cardiovascular problems because treats have a lot of salt. I mean, I get it. Who doesn’t like to go eat a doughnut? You know, I get it. I’m guilty of that as well. But you know, moderation and using the right diet. The beauty of this Hill’s pet diet is it helps with the metabolism. It makes the animal feel full, and that’s the biggest thing. Obviously if we eat and we don’t quite get that satiation, we go right back in the fridge or in the cupboard to try to find a food or something that makes us feel full full. That’s the beauty of this. This Hill’s food, it makes the animal satisfied.”
DOD: How can changing your pet’s diet help or hurt their health?
Dr. F: “Okay, so on the hurt side when we’re talking about changing diets, it really depends on what their diet is. So it’s not necessarily the changing the diet that does it though. It’s what diet are you going to. And sometimes that diet is something from the table which are definitely things that are not good because what they can do is they can cause a lot of health issues, just anything from pancreatitis to gastroenteritis, even long term things. We link them to things like diabetes. So it’s very important to feed the right diet, which is again where Hill’s comes in. They have so many prescription diets, but in this case, diets for animals that are a little bit overweight, or to keep these animals maintained in the right weight range that they should be in. And so they have these diets that are just fantastic for that. So it’s not necessarily the change in diet it’s making sure that they are on the right diet.”
Check out the rest of our interview with the Critter Fixers in an upcoming piece which will feature what it’s like for then to be on TV, how it has changed their practice, and of course what breed of dog they think they would be if they were dogs.