Helping a pet stay at a healthy weight isn’t easy. At Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital in Danielson, Connecticut, no one knows this better than Amber. In addition to being a veterinary technician at QVVH, Amber is a proud dog mom to Pip, a 9-year-old pug. Throughout his life, Pip has had issues with his weight. Luckily, he’s had Amber to help him.

pug weight loss

Pip started off his pug life at a healthy weight for a dog, but extra treats started to catch up to him. By age 3 in August of 2008, Pip was about 80% overweight at 32lbs. Using the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s pet weight ratio guide, the Quinebaug Valley Veterinary Hospital staff found out this was like an average-sized woman (5’4″) being 121lbs overweight. 

It wasn’t just Pip’s appearance that made it obvious to Amber that he was obese. “He was lethargic and seemed unhappy,” Amber mentions, recalling Pip’s behavior at his heaviest. His mood wasn’t the only thing being damaged by his weight, Pip’s health was at risk. Obese dogs are more likely to develop diabetes, cancer, heart disease & other health conditions. Wanting the best for her dog, the QVVH veterinary technician resolved to help her pug lose weight.

Amber started to work on increasing Pip’s exercise, but it wasn’t easy. “He was so overweight that he’d overheat at the park when it was 70 degrees out,” she notes. As a veterinary technician, Amber knew that getting Pip back to a healthy weight was going to involved a combination of portion control and exercise. Determined to get him moving, she brought him swimming.

Fat pug swimming


“He hated swimming at first, but he was just too obese for any other activity,” Amber recalls. They worked on it, and eventually she was able to get Pip on a swimming routine, which isn’t something you see many pugs do! “He started to seem happier as I got him moving more and more,” Amber remembers. Seeing her pug’s mood improve helped her to stay committed to his weight loss goals.

In addition to increasing Pip’s exercise, Amber was sure to practice portion control with his food. To make him feel special, she used healthy alternatives to other dog treats – Cheerios, carrots & Lean Treats. (Everyone needs a little flexibility in their diet!)

Amber’s hard work with Pip paid off slowly but surely. By September 2009, Pip was down to 29lbs. A loss of 3lbs might not seem like a lot in human terms, but that’s like a 140lb women losing around 10lbs! Pleased with Pip’s success, Amber continued to keep him active.

These days, Pip weighs in at a svelte 24lbs. That is an impressive 9lbs less than his peak of 32lbs. Luckily, Pip is not Amber’s only dog child. He gets to spend time playing with the veterinary technician’s other dogs, Cerbie & Tao. Maintaining Pip’s healthy weight isn’t an easy task, but Amber has remained a dedicated dog owner.

photo (37)If you would like to learn more about helping your pet lose weight and keeping them fit, join us on 1/29/14 at 7pm. We’ll be holding another one of our QV Clients Care meetings, this time focusing on pet weight management. Our veterinary technician, Amber, will be sharing the tips and tricks she’s learned from helping Pip.


Save your spot at our meeting here:



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