It is estimated that 54% of cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.
This observation, combined with his personal experience with a fat rescue dog, prompted SlimDoggy.com Founder Steve Pelletier to create an app that helps you manage the daily amount of calories ingested and expended by your dog, as well as a website full of useful information on canine food and fitness.
We spoke to Steve, the founder of SlimDoggy.com to learn more about this project.
Tell us how you got started? What was your inspiration for Slim Doggy?
SD: SlimDoggy grew out of our experience with Jack, a yellow Labrador that we rescued in August 2011. He weighed 105 lbs. (48 kgs.) and was on both Prozac and Rimadyl (for anxiety and orthopedic issues from the extra weight). We knew we could help with diet and exercise. With guidance from our orthopedic vet and lots of research to figure out portion sizes and calorie targets, we put him on a diet and exercise program immediately and within 3 months, Jack was down to 85lbs (39 kgs.), off of both medications, and a happy and healthy dog.
Little did we know that there are a lot of dogs like Jack. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, there are close to 40 million overweight/obese dogs in the US! The incremental cost in vet/medicine bills to address health issues related to obesity is an estimated $8 billion per year in the US alone. We also learned that being overweight shaves years off a dog’s life, just as it does with humans.
Evidence suggests that similar canine weight issues exist in other countries throughout the world.
Can you tell us more about the app?
Based on these startling and disturbing facts, we decided to create an App based our successful work with Jack and attack the dog obesity problem head on. We have created something that we describe as a Runkeeper and Weight Watchers for dogs. Features of the App include:
Ability to research dog foods in our database of 2,000 + foods. We provide calorie amounts, ingredients, and a quality score so you can select the right foods and the right portion for your dog.
Track your dog’s daily activities and we calculate the calories they expend. Use the phones GPS to track or enter your activity directly.
A Diary page that combines the food and exercise and total calories fed and burned. You can see exactly how many calories your dog needs each day and adjust their food or exercise appropriately.
Slimdoggy App is available in the iTunes App store for only $2.99: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slimdoggy/id580323006?mt=8
There is a free ad-supported version as well.
What are your projects and expectations for the future?
We are starting to create partnerships with other companies that want to leverage our extensive dog food database and our proprietary calorie estimation algorithms.
We are also working on an eBook on dog food which is based off of our weekly posts where we analyze dog food ingredients. It will help people to better understand how to read a dog food label, how to scrutinize ingredients for “the good, the bad, and the ugly”, and how to determine the quality of their dog’s food.
What is Pets Move and what is the goal behind it?
Like the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama’s childhood obesity awareness program “Let’s Move”, our “PetsMove” initiative aims to wake up pet owners, get them up off their sofa and get on the MOVE with their pets! We want both the pet owner and their pet to get & stay active, fit and healthy.
There is activity and food tracking tools as well as some great social/community tools so that people can share ideas and progress. Check it out on Petsmove.org
Do you have any pets in the office?
We work very closely every day with SlimDoggy Jack and his sister Maggie May, our two rescue Labs that make sure we don’t miss any deadlines (dinner deadlines, that is).
Don't forget to check out Slim Doggy's website and use the widget to estimate your dog’s daily calorie requirements so you can feed them the proper servings.