Could your relationship with food be affecting your pet’s health? Nadina Cojocaru is here to talk to us about how pets become overweight as a result of being overfed by their owners. 

When a pet parent is no longer emotionally eating, it is common for them to start offering more food to their pet instead. Nadina sees many overweight pets who have been emotionally overfed by their owners and she wants to help. She knows how fun it can feel to excessively treat your pet, but she wants to help owners understand the issues that can arise as a result. Giving your pet too much food is not loving, so let’s talk about some other ways to show them love and keep them healthy!

Dr. Nadina Cojocaru, DVM, is the VetCoach (a Small Animal Veterinarian and a Certified Life & Weight Coach). 

Growing up in communist Romania, she went from not knowing where the next meal would come from, to an abundance of food in the early ‘90s, when communism fell. This kick-started her career as a professional dieter, all whilst trying to find her place in a then male-dominated profession. 

The shift came for Nadina when she made the connection between her thoughts and feelings and learned how our brains work. She said goodbye to emotional eating and rediscovered the sparkle in her relationship with her body, food, and veterinary medicine. 

Nadina currently lives in Sweden, where she works as a small animal veterinarian and as a life coach. Through her coaching, she has impacted people from over 20 countries. 

Nadina provides the practical tools for vets just like herself to beat burnout, stress, and create a sustainable life that they LOVE – and she has a LOT of fun whilst doing it!  

Her deep passion for her patients and how human brains work, ignited the idea of her latest training, called ”Stop Emotionally Overfeeding the Pets”. The training will support dog and cat owners in dealing with the emotional challenge of helping their beloved pets achieve their naturally healthy weight: https://www.vetcoachinternational.com/offers/mXuZoVgQ


Listen To The Episode Here:


Topics We Cover in This Episode:

  • The similarities between veterinary and human medicine
  • The importance of understanding that pets don’t feel shame 
  • Why you should see yourself through your pet’s eyes
  • Normalizing our feelings about weight 
  • The benefits you will see when you help your overweight pet lose weight 
  • What to do when your pet is begging for food 
  • Meeting your pet’s emotional needs through other means 
  • The importance of getting all family members involved

If you don’t have a pet, I bet you know someone who does who could benefit from this episode. We’re also touching on the similarities between veterinary care and pediatric care and how some of these principles apply to parents with young children so if that’s you, don’t miss it!

If you’re looking for a holiday gift for a doctor in your life, gift certificates for enrollment in our January 2023 Weight Loss for Doctors Only coaching program are now available! Learn more at katrinaubellmd.com/gift

If you’ve read my book, How to Lose Weight for the Last Time: Brain-Based Solutions for Permanent Weight Loss, it would mean the world to me if you would leave me a review letting other readers know what you thought! Click here to leave a review on Amazon.


Click the image below to download a handy one-page printable to

share How to Lose Weight for the Last Time with your patients!


Resources Mentioned:

Visit Nadina’s Website

Follow @nadinacojocaru on Instagram

Gift Certificates for Weight Loss for Doctors Only January 2023

Leave a Review of My Book

 

Additional Resources:

Follow the Podcast

Follow Along on Instagram 

Follow Along on Facebook

Free Resources

Email me!

Interested in working with me? If you’re a practicing MD/DO physician, click here to learn more.

Sign up for my email list!

 

Nadina’s Links:

Website: https://www.vetcoachinternational.com/ 

Podcast: Weight Loss For Small Animal Veterinarians 

Instagram: @vetcoachinternational 

Facebook: @VetLifeCoaching 

For additional information please email info@vetcoachinternational.com


Follow & Review on Apple Podcasts:

Are you following my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today so you don’t miss any future episodes! Click here to follow on Apple Podcasts

I would also appreciate it if you would leave me a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify! I read each of them, and they help me make sure I am providing the content that you love to hear! Plus, you get to pay it forward because it will allow other listeners like you to find the podcast!


Other Episodes We Think You’ll Enjoy:

Episode #305: What to Do When You Stumble on Your Weight Loss Journey

Episode #304: Weight Loss Problem Solving

Episode #303: Burnout vs. Moral Injury with Dr. Jimmy Turner

 

Read the Transcript Below:

Welcome to the Weight Loss for Busy Physicians podcast. I’m your host, master Certified Life and Weight Loss coach Katrina Gabel, M.D. This is the podcast where busy doctors like you come to learn how to lose weight for the last time by harnessing the power of your mind. If you’re looking to overcome your stress, eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place. Hey there, my friend. I am so glad you’re here today. I have a really fun episode that’s a little outside of the norm from what I typically do, but I think you’re really going to like it. And if it’s not something that applies to you, it probably applies to someone you know or someone you love. So I am bringing on today my friend and colleague, really, Nadine Cojocaru. She’s a veterinarian, a small animal vet, and she’s also a weight loss coach for veterinarians. And so big shoutout to our veterinarians. Head low. Head low. I know your fans with this podcast. I know you love Nadine as well. Nadine is just an amazing human being. She’s from Romania. And then several years ago, she and her family just up and left and went to Sweden and then she had to learn Swedish and is a practicing veterinarian in Sweden. And she also speaks English. I mean, I’m Tanya, I’m jealous. That’s really, really awesome. But the reason I wanted to bring her on today is I was on her podcast a little while ago and she shared with me afterward that a problem that she sees in her office, like all the time, is that people have overweight pets.

 

And the main reason the pets are overweight is because the humans who own them or their pet parents, I mean, come on, on my dog’s mom, who’s who are we kidding? But that the humans in charge of the animals emotionally overfeed them? I never thought of this, but it made perfect sense. I mean, sure, if you have a toddler who’s dropping food all over the floor, then that could contribute to it too. But assuming that you don’t have that going on, many pets who struggle with being overweight are overweight because their humans think that they need more food than they do. Read into their facial expressions and their body language as the dogs or cats or other animals having more complex emotions as we’ll hear in the episode, then they probably do. And also this idea that when we are no longer emotionally eating ourselves, we sometimes then offer more food to the pet. It’s kind of like, Well, if I can’t emotionally eat, there’s no reason you should suffer Fluffy or Fido or whatever right spot. And so I just literally never thought about this. But she deals with this all the time in her small animal veterinary practice. And so she offered to come on the podcast to talk to people about it because it really is a big deal. It really negatively impacts the quality of life of the animal.

 

And, you know, veterinarians are such good people. They just absolutely love animals and want to help animals and the humans that love them. Right. And I thought, you know, that is a good idea. Then we had one of our master’s live events and we had some breakout sessions. And so I was leading one of the breakout sessions, and it just popped into my mind that Nandita had suggested this. And I said, Yeah, you know, there’s there’s this person I think I want to bring on to the podcast and she wants to talk about emotionally overfeeding your pet. And it’s like everyone’s ears perked up, their eyes widened. They were like, Yes, bring her on. That sounds amazing. Like, everybody kind of resonated with this idea of how sort of fun it can feel to excessively treat your pet and the issues that result from that. So I brought on Edina. She is just such a delight. I’ve known her now for several years. I just think she’s a lovely, lovely and amazing human being. I know you will, too. And so have a listen to all that she has to say about pets and feeding and how, you know, giving them too much food is not loving them. Just like us. Feeding ourselves too much is not loving ourselves either. I just think it’s so interesting and I can’t wait for you to share in this conversation, so please enjoy my conversation with Nadia Cojocaru medina. I’m so happy to hear. Welcome to the podcast.

 

Thank you for having me.

 

So like you’re all the way in Sweden right now. Yes. So fun, right? I love it. So good. Okay, so we’ve known each other for several years now, and I remember you coming up to me very early on and saying, I want to do what you do and I want to do it for veterinarians. And I was like, Amazing, because I have a ton of veterinarians. So listen to my podcast.

 

Yes.

 

They’re really not happy that they can’t work with me. So yes, please do that. So hello to all the veterinarians out there. We’re all waving.

 

Hello? Hello. Yes, we are waving.

 

And so that is who you serve now. But I would love for you to just give us a little bit more information about you and whatever you’d like to share. Just introduce us to you.

 

Yes. So I am Nadine Cojocaru. Almost all people can say my last name if they are not.

 

Romanian, so. Or from Romania.

 

So it’s. It’s good. Whatever you are calling me. And I am coaching veterinarians. Weight loss. I have a podcast, Weight loss for Small Animal Veterinarians podcast. I am a small animal veterinarian myself. I am born and raised in Romania, moved to Sweden to practice veterinary medicine 11 years ago and I became a coach with a mission to become Katrina For vets.

 

Finding that we did that.

 

That we I certified in 2018. I was at the in-person event in Dallas, met you in person there. I was talking.

 

You already like, Oh, I’m the best, I’m sweet. I’m talking you like webinars.

 

I love connecting with other vets. I love coaching them because my main goal all the time is for our pets to feel better. I’ve been told that I’m an amazing veterinarian, so I own that and that’s why I still work as a veterinarian because I still love this job. I love I love this profession. I love connecting with the pets, with the pet owners. And I think my main goal is always if we have veterinarians who can manage their minds about their lives, then more pets will get served at the highest level. Because if our vets are struggling, then they can’t be the best version of themselves in their relationship with the pets and more than that within their relationship with the pet owners. Yeah.

 

So and veterinary. So veterinarians are suffering from burnout at super high rates too. Like there’s a lot of parallels between, you know, Physicians for Human Bodies and physicians.

 

To work for animal.

 

Bodies. Right. I mean, I think there’s some things that are really unique that are different, but veterinarians are really struggling. I feel like when I as a kid, it was always just like, oh, wouldn’t it be fun to be a veterinarian, just like, be around cute animals all day? It’s a hard, hard job, right?

 

Yes, it’s it’s a really hard job. And we are I feel that we have all of those studies. You know, the CDC study about veterinarians suicide and those high rates of suicide. And the my my people are really struggling with with burnout, with suicide ideation and all of those things. And that’s a real problem in this in this profession. And I think we need all the help that we we can for supporting our colleagues to stay in the profession and to feel great doing that, that profession. That is a call. I think we relate so much with pediatricians because we have the you know, we have that interface. We have like the pet owners or the parents or the caregivers that that have to be on board, you know, teams.

 

And that actually makes sense, right? Because like a baby can’t tell you what’s wrong. You have to figure it out. Another way is the same thing with an animal.

 

Yeah, exactly. Yes. Yeah. Fortunately, kids start to speak at some, right?

 

Eventually. Eventually. So they can express themselves with words as well.

 

But so we have that connection, you know, even even thinking about, oh, how how the medicines are given. Oh, you have to calculate like the body weight and.

 

Right.

 

The dosages.

 

And things. Yeah.

 

That dosage of that thing. So it’s a fun connection to, to human doctors.

 

Yeah.

 

And similarly we often some of us pet owners treat our pets like they are our children.

 

Yes, exactly. Exactly. And I always say my.

 

My first dog was like my first child. I mean, literally, I loved her like my kids before I had kids. Yeah.

 

Yes, exactly. It’s I think even when we have kids and I don’t have kids personally, but my mom told me, even if.

 

She loves us a lot.

 

All her three kids, you know, her pets were always with her. So she developed that connection. You know, we left at some point.

 

Right.

 

So what what she had behind were the pets were with her all the time, supporting her, giving her comfort. You know, all all of those pets are important, that pets are really, really important for our mental well-being, for our happiness, for our oxytocin, you know, connection, bonding, animal or creature. So they are really, really important. And sometimes we think that we.

 

Love them and we love them too.

 

Much, giving them too much food.

 

Right? So that’s what I when you propose this type. I was like, Absolutely, You need to come on and talk to us about this, because when you describe this to me and I’ll ask you to talk about it here in just a minute, it was I was like, Oh, yeah, like, I never thought of it, but it makes so much sense. I have definitely seen not often, but I have seen sometimes, like even as a pediatrician, I can remember one family in particular where the mother was like very restrictive with her own eating and then was overfeeding her child. And it was like over the course of time, it really it became like an obvious pattern. Right? And so then when you were saying, yeah, people start getting their eating under control themselves, but they still like they’re not overeating themselves, but they’re overfeeding their pet. I was like, Oh my gosh, tell me more. I’m sure there are people who are doing this. And, you know, that’s of course, not good for the pets as well. So so tell us what you see as a veterinarian. Like, what are the patterns?

 

Yes. So I’ve seen this pattern over and over again. You know, that people are emotionally overfeeding their pets. I have to make a little, little note that they that are people who are emotionally under feeding their pets as well. But that is like a small amount of the people. But the vast majority of of the people are emotionally overfeeding their pets. What what does that mean is, for the first one, they don’t recognize that the pets are overweight. They don’t see it. And even if they see that, if their emotions or if if their first interaction with the vet team is not so successful, for instance, if they feel called out or or if they feel shamed, what if they feel like attacked by the vet’s team? You know, when the veterinarian or the some somebody in the vet team, because it might be a vet technician or a vet nurse or whatever points out at them. That the pet is overweight or the pet needs to lose weight, then that interaction can feel really triggering for them. Why? Because we have this internalized shame body shame as humans, because we are we know that we are floating in an ocean of discriminating fat bodies, that we have bad thoughts about our bodies. And we project that internalized shame to our beloved pets like my pets have been shamed. You know, even if the pets can’t be shamed, you know.

 

And that that.

 

Pet is not feeling shame. Yeah.

 

Pets doesn’t feel shame. They they are mimicking it. You know, they are they are websites, you know, with the pets or having shamed, you know, or a shame face. But that is that is a learned behavior. So we have to to put it out.

 

There as it is.

 

They can’t see fear. They can feel anger, they can feel anxiety, but they don’t feel shame. They don’t feel complex emotions as we do. So when our emotions come as as a pet owners come into into the place, we have to understand how to approach that problem and how to involve the vet team in our team. If we want that pet to be helped to lose weight. And I’ve seen all kinds of combinations, you know, of people who are really slim or and have overweight pets, they are if they if they lost their weight or if they maintain their weight through a really restrictive diet with willpower and white knuckling and restricting themselves and their bodies. And then they have this thought because we know thoughts create emotions and the emotions will drive our actions. And if we feel already or we think on repeat that, oh, at least he or she, or at least they can eat what they want.

 

You know?

 

Right. Like there’s no consequences if the pet eats whatever they want, which like dogs they always want.

 

Yes.

 

It doesn’t want at 100% of the time. Right. Yeah.

 

Yes. So that’s thought that oh at least they can eat whatever they want. That shows a little bit of their internalized shamed or their internalized struggle with, with their own weight or the way they think they have to eat. That is a problem for because or or created generated by the diet industry and the way people were educated. That weight loss happens. And it’s another another point to take into consideration is that people have tried and failed to lose weight themselves multiple times. So at some point they say, what’s the point with all of that? I’ve been enjoying all my life, so thank God for your book that, you know, that addresses permanent weight loss with brain based solutions for humans, because that puts out in the open that there are solutions for permanent weight loss without restricting ourselves, without restricting our bodies. And it’s it’s a shame that we as humans experience that that restriction and that scarcity mentality around our food and then overcompensate through overfeeding the pets or if the pet owner is overweight and they they just want a body on the journey and they are eating together, they are sharing everything, they are really lonely.

 

The pet might be the only creature on this planet who doesn’t judge their bodies. And I use this analogy with my weight loss clients, with my veterinarians that try to see your body through the eyes of your pet because they don’t care how your body looks like. And we know that permanent weight loss has to have the roots in in love and body, body love and acceptance of of our bodies where they are at that point. And that is a useful tool to use to to see yourself through your pet’s eyes because they will come and wiggle their their tails even if you are overweight. So they feel a bond with their pets as humans see food as comfort and try to give the same comfort to their pets and try to express the. Love through food because that is another thing that we are raised and educated to believe food is love. That is another thought error that we have to address when when we discuss weight loss in pets as well. Because I think even I as a new veterinarian, I have stepped on.

 

Some toes, you know. Yeah.

 

In the beginning when addressing this problem, not having the weight loss coaching tools that I currently have because this is a really sensitive problem to address, it creates that, you know, stress response or trauma response in our bodies when when somebody is told your pet is overweight, that triggers a lot of a lot of thoughts and emotions that we feel in our bodies. Some some of the pet owners or some of us even even veterinarians. I even have veterinarians who who totally said, oh, my God, I’m totally doing that, you know?

 

Yeah, I’m.

 

Sure. Yeah, sure.

 

So those responses, you know, fight flight, freeze or phone, depending on how our nervous systems are wired, those are normal reactions. I think it’s it’s good to normalize that we might feel those things in our bodies when a veterinarian or a veterinarian professional will approach this problem with us and we’ll be prepared that we might feel some buzz in our bodies. And that is that is just just the response. Depending on how our nervous system is wired and nothing has gone wrong, is nothing wrong with you? Is nothing wrong with their words either. It’s just putting into the open and into the light a problem. So after acknowledging that, because it has to be done, you know, we still see tender love and care. Yeah. Because otherwise we will lose. We as as veterinary professionals, we will lose an important part of the team from the situation. And I think for me as a veterinarian, especially after learning the coaching tools that I currently have, I became one of the best in in addressing this problem in a gentle way. And those conversations are usually. One of the longest conversations that I had with a pet owners. And it’s I have to say that I am fortunate to work in a clinic and we have abundant time with our with our appointments, which. It’s not the case for four other veterinarians who have like 10 minutes or 15 minutes appointments. You cannot have this conversation with gentleness in ten or 15 minutes. You usually drop.

 

The bomb.

 

And leave. The people go or, you know, go into that own shaming as a professional. You can’t be the best communicator of what you want to reach because we all have the same goal. We see the pets. We see they’re suffering. And being severely overweight or overweight is suffering for the pet. Even if they wiggle their tails, even if they want those traits, their bodies are not feeling great. So.

 

So and that’s really right. As as a veterinarian who really loves animals, what you’re also seeing is the long term effects. I mean, they’re mammals just like we are, right? Pets can get Oh, I mean, I guess we could be, I don’t know. People overfeed like snakes and birds and hamsters.

 

So. So maybe they’re not mammals, but some of them. But.

 

You know, having issues like, you know, preventable diseases when they’re older.

 

Yes. Diabetes or type two diabetes or or joint problems or cardiac issues and and so on and so on. And they are not actually happy, you know, when you see. The moment you are aware and if you are looking around and you see those those overweight paths going, you know, not moving themselves, going after the pet owner, dragging their feet.

 

Right.

 

And being really.

 

Slow when they walk. Yeah.

 

Yes. Being really slow on their walk. They are not they are not feeling great in their bodies. They are not fulfilling their needs as a species. And we tend to forget as humans, that is in our responsibility to try to fulfill as much as possible from or as many as possible from that pet’s specific needs, even if the pet is domesticated. So they need supervision, they need attention, they need to to play. They need to if we are talking about cats, they have to hunt things even if they are hunting something or toy around the house or to to scratch things. Those are natural behaviors that need to be addressed and fulfilled for that creature to feel at, at at its best. And the same with dogs. They they need to move, they need to play, they need to run. So it’s it’s important to recognize the problem and. If you are in that position, when you see that your pet is overweight and you want to address the problem, I think it’s really important to talk to your vet provider and to inform them ahead of time. I come to you for help. I need help with my pet losing weight. I am aware that my pet is overweight. I don’t need to hear it one more time.

 

Right. Yeah.

 

But you’re looking for solutions at this visit. Not to.

 

Be exactly told.

 

What the problem is.

 

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And then to. To just, as you said, Katrina in the early podcast, you you are a weight loss coach for four doctors, but you are not their doctor, you know, and I’m a veterinarian and I am a weight loss coach, but I am not their veterinarian. So I think it’s really important. And I teach people how to connect, how to filter, which the vet teams are matching with their specific needs, ones desires or communication styles, because sometimes it’s just a communication style problem or a mismatch there. Or which vet professional or which vet. Nurse or vet tech have the time and the curiosity and willingness to help me on this on this journey because it’s a. It’s the same as losing weight for us. It it can be quite lonely and it can be quite hard. And it’s good to have somebody in your team to have somebody to just send an email. I encourage my weight loss patients and we have really amazing vet vet techs in the clinic where I work and they take over this this communication after they are. They talk with us with the vet first. Then they they take over this communication and they are they are supporting the the pet owners on on this way because it’s hard to not even open the door to what they should eat. You know, it’s it’s a jungle out there. Every time I work as a vet, I work currently two days every week as a as a veterinarian. Every day I learn about a new food.

 

I am not kidding.

 

At least one like a pet food.

 

Or like, treat or something like that. Oh, okay. Because they’re just pumping out new stuff.

 

I’ll just let it go.

 

There’s so many. It’s like so many options and it’s really hard to find. Like, you know, they’ve taught us how to read labels on human food, right? So I know what I’m looking for. But I have found often looking at at least in the US, like what is listed on the back of like treats or things like that. Like, I don’t know what to make of that information. Like, is this good, is this bad? You know, all of them say it’s great for you, but, you know, same in America, right? That’s the main thing for you. And it’s not.

 

Yes. And and to to talk about labeling. If it’s not a veterinary approved diet, which is standard and they they are obliged or they are forced by the law to to write all the ingredients exactly as they are the rest of the foods, if they are saying, okay, it contains, let’s say, turkey and and the pumpkin and rice, the only rule right on the package, pumpkin, turkey and rice is to have at least 4% turkey, 4% rice, 4% turkey in that container. So it’s most of.

 

That right then. Yeah, or it might be, but we don’t know exactly.

 

We don’t know what is the rest, you know. Oh, animal proteins. You can read it on the label. You know what kind of animal.

 

Right. Right. That could be any number of things.

 

Yeah.

 

Yeah, exactly. The only things that are controlled and verified are those who are like veterinary diets. That’s why they are more expensive. Or maybe our.

 

Quality, right?

 

Yeah. Yes, higher quality. And so it’s not to to promote because I have no, you know, connection with any, any food company, but I know that all those diets are based on tens of years of intense research and studies done by veterinarians, behaviorists, nutritionists and biologists and the people who are really dedicated to to research what’s the best for for the pets. And sometimes we as a veterinary, as veterinarians, sometimes we are not listening to the pet owners either, because sometimes we have to be open to see what’s what’s the situation in that house, You know, what is the pet owner or the pet? Able to do in that situation. They might not like the food. They might not. It’s a complex thing, you know. They might get itchy. They might they their stools might might get banana if they eat something like that.

 

So so if you really abruptly change your diet, it can create other problems. And that’s again, you need that support. So you can call and say, yeah, we tried that thing. It didn’t work. Exactly. Next. Yeah.

 

Yes, yes. So it’s important to find that team that is on board with and has a communication style that you love where you can you can communicate with them. And it doesn’t take that long. Sometimes I offer my my clients to to just send an email, you know, weekly with the day with the weight and what’s happening and how all those things. And to me, as a pet owner, it’s important to know that you have to be patient. As with any weight loss process.

 

It’s not going to be fixed in a week.

 

Yeah, no, there is no bullet proof solution. Unfortunately, not for humans, not for pets either. So what works for my cat or your dog will not work for for other dogs. And even we as veterinarian veterinarians have a preference for a specific food that might work. We have to be open to to the idea that that specific pet might need something else. And what is the best to for for that specific pet to try or the pet owner. So imagine that it will take time. You have to be open to think about this journey with wonder curiosity. A little bit of giddiness, because I promise you on on the other side, when when you will see how good the pet feels when they lose their their weight. All the people are I mean, all the clients, all that that have done this journey say, oh, my God, I’ve got my my puppy back. Oh, my God, I’ve got my kitten back. It’s it’s so amazing to see how how good they feel when they lose their weight.

 

Right.

 

And to be willing and to to have that expectation, to be open, to try and fail and try and fail. Sometimes we find that bullet proof from the first shot, but sometimes it takes time and it takes patience, because to lose weight in a healthy way, especially for the cats, you are not allowed. People say the studies say 1% of the body weight per week in in dogs is 1 to 2% of body weight per week. I usually tend to be much more restrictive about that. I would say 0.5% of body weight in cats and max 1% of body weight in dogs. It’s the slower.

 

Lower. Yeah, it’s better.

 

Lower the better, especially in cats, because cats are not small dogs and they get a lot of problems with fatty liver that’s that can occur in people as well because their bodies are not they are protein burners, they are not necessarily fat burners. So they they don’t metabolize fat efficiently, the cats. So they have a lot of fat byproducts that accumulate in in their livers. And it’s like stuck like poison in their livers. So that’s why slower is better for a cat and. Cats are really.

 

Stubborn animal, to say it mildly.

 

They don’t have such a diverse palate. Better sense. So. Even changing the food from what you are feeding them now towards something else. It might take a long time, especially if they are eating.

 

Mcdonald’s right now or your.

 

Feed. I know people being McDonald’s for their dogs, they feed that to their cats too.

 

They feed them to the cats as well.

 

It was more like.

 

The the McDonald’s.

 

From from the past, like the pet food.

 

Equivalent of McDonald’s.

 

Right. Okay. Got it. When I left McDonald’s.

 

The Big Macs and fries. Yeah. Yeah. And they are, like, enjoying that a lot. And then you are suddenly feeding themselves like.

 

Oh, right. Yeah. They’re like.

 

What is happening?

 

That brings me to the next question because, you know, as this episode comes out, it’s the week of Thanksgiving in the US. And, you know, just with the holidays coming and everything and I think I’m just guessing that. I mean, I don’t know how many people feed their cats off their plate, but feeding dogs off their plate and dogs begging for food and that whole dynamics is a really big issue because dogs get that really annoying. You know what? They don’t get what they want. And it really can be like a behavioral issue, too, right? It’s what you’re feeding them. And then also as the pet owner, you have to be willing to tolerate. It’s like having a toddler like, you know, and not giving them everything they want because, you know, in the long run, it creates more problems. And so I know, you know, outside of the scope of this episode, for you to be giving people all this behavioral advice. But do you factor behavioral advice in when you’re helping these pet owners? Yeah, because, of course, the dog is sitting there driving you crazy and want some turkey off your plate.

 

You know, like. Yeah.

 

Yeah. Because I usually use.

 

Giggles, you know, to incorporate giggles with my pet owners, you.

 

Know, because otherwise we are not.

 

So open to the idea of.

 

Well, just feeding them their food. And I don’t care what your vet recommends as food, it might even incorporate turkey. I don’t care as long as it as as is recommended by your vet and it’s incorporated in their diets. But I usually say, okay, you have the daily feeding amount of food, whatever the food is, and. Let’s say that is dry food. It doesn’t matter if it’s dry food or wet food or a combination. Let’s say that that you have it all in your kitchen or where whatever you have the feeding bowl for, for your dog or for your cat. And every time you want to give them a treat, your hand goes in that. Uh, closed container, let’s say, with dry food. And instead of picking things up from your plate, you can give them something else or. It usually takes only a week to take away that learned behavior of coming at your pet for.

 

The conditioned response. They’ve been conditioned since they bug you in this way. And then the reward is actually the food. If you stop giving them that reward, then that D conditions them from that.

 

Exactly.

 

Like our old friend Pavlov, right?

 

Yeah, exactly. That were.

 

Dogs he started.

 

On.

 

Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Well, that’s good to know, though, right? I mean, it’s like there’s so many parallels, right, with, you know, parents and toddlers and toddler behavior and things like that. And people are just like they just want the child to be different. But, you know, you have to teach them. And it’s the same thing with pets, right? So it might be more annoying in the short term, but in the long term, they leave you alone. Like there’s so many benefits, right? They’re no longer doing that anymore. They’re healthier. Yeah. It’s just better for everyone.

 

Yeah. And it doesn’t have to be something. You don’t have to feel as punishment, you know? You have to manage your mind. I’m saying that over and.

 

Over and over.

 

We think we’re punishing them by feeding them the right amount of food. Right? Then we feel like we’re mean mommy or whatever for dinner.

 

And guess what? They are reading our body language.

 

Yeah.

 

They that the dogs can read our thoughts. You know.

 

They they sense our energy right.

 

They pick up. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. There there are studies, recent studies that show that they can sense our train of thought. So that’s why it’s so important to to to be aware of how your brain works and how your emotions are created. Because if you are feeling sorry for them and you know, you projected that that negative emotion that is felt by your pet. So bring in some giddiness, bringing some some joy, bringing something else that you can always, always, always reward them with hugs and kisses. That is great for you as well. It secretes a lot of oxytocin in your body, which is amazing.

 

So just a different way to relate to the pet, basically. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like you’re you’re like wanting to fill an emotional need and right now you’re doing it by feeding them more food than they need. And instead you want to figure out a different way, like going out like, like, you know, lately we have been taking our dog to this field where he can go off leash. And, you know, there’s I mean, it’s pretty flat where we live, but this has some rolling hills. And we were just talking last night about just like the unbridled glee that I see in him when he gets to discharge around and scamper around and do all it be just the dog that he is. And that makes me so happy for him.

 

Exactly.

 

Exactly. That’s why I took that example. You know, when you see those dogs that are overweight or the cats, we are unfortunately not seeing because they are usually inside the houses. But you feel that joy, to see the dog running around and be happy and content. And I usually say to the pet owners, okay, if you have the daily portion for your cat or your dog, the only thing that goes in their mouths comes from that jar. They are allowed to breathe and they are allowed to drink water.

 

And their eyes like popping out of their heads because they are like, you know, what about that? What about that? What about that? What about the, you know, chewing the bones? Or what about.

 

Treats? What about, you know?

 

Yeah.

 

And in the beginning is actually what is in that, you know.

 

Jar or is it.

 

Yeah. That container. They are allowed to breathe air. Never made us.

 

Overweight. Yeah.

 

And water. Fresh water all the time, you know, and because that’s another important point. We have to have all the family members on board. I usually call in all the family members that are involved in in feeding the animal. The grandma grandpa sometimes are present by phone because that’s an important conversation. And sometimes, especially with older people, it’s hard to break those habits of giving them something from the table. So at least they have something else, like put your hand in that jar and give them something from that jar. Hmm.

 

Right. So it’s like we’re retraining ourselves to. Really? Yes, that’s right. We’re in these behavioral patterns and we need to shift. Everyone needs to. Needs to.

 

Adjust. Exactly. Yeah. And to do it with with grace, love and compassion for ourselves. We might feel some negative emotions in the beginning, and that’s totally okay. And then just reframe the way we think about our way of feeding them. Mm hmm. And to give them a lot of love, a lot of. Of attention and. To compensate the lack of extra food with extra kisses and hugs. Those are allowed.

 

Yeah, right.

 

I love it. So as we wrap up here, there’s one thing that I would love for you to share, because when I came onto your podcast, you talked about this and it just resonates with me. And so I would love for you to talk about your example, about how like a pug isn’t trying to be a whippet, and a whippet is not trying to be a pug and kind of the whole back story. Like that whole story. Would you share that, please, with my audience?

 

It’s so good.

 

Yes. Yeah. I think we as veterinarians are a little more privileged because we have all of those breeds in our attention, you know, And we have Frenchies and we have pugs and we have boxers and we have German shepherds and we have poodles, many poodles. And all of those shapes and forms of of dogs especially. And. We have something that is called body condition score BCS. We can you can Google that and you’ll find a rate from 1 to 9 for different breeds. So we don’t use something as BMI in humans. We have something that is specific for that body shape. So you cannot. Judge wipe that from body shape, body condition, score for a pug, because those are totally different body shapes. Or we can take a Frenchie and the weight, but who might weight the same or their ideal weight might be the same or in the same range, but they are looking totally different as body shapes. And we failed to recognize that in humans we have different body shapes and our figures or our the way the the skeleton or the muscles or the fat tissue is distributed on our bodies is not the same for everybody. And we have that ideal, especially for women, ideal body shape. That doesn’t resonate with with us. So what we are trying to do, we are sometimes born as pugs in a pug body and we try to diet and exercise ourselves, you know, with that body.

 

Right? We want to become a whippet. We’re like, If I just work hard enough.

 

I’ll look like a whippet. Exactly. If I.

 

Work hard enough, if I’m consistent.

 

You know, if I. If I’m disciplined enough. Right. If I’m disciplined enough.

 

I will become a whippet, which is bananas.

 

Right?

 

But it’s but this is what we do. We we we fail to recognize that we are sometimes born in a different type of of bodies. And we are healthy. We are in our our bodies weight. That is natural, healthy for us. And we are not looking sometimes really fit, you know. But no matter how much you try to exercise or diet or shift your feeding patterns, you won’t become a whippet if you are born as a pug.

 

Right. And it’s like they’re all dogs.

 

Yes.

 

So different. And I yeah, for some reason that resonated so much with me. That example, just like that is what we’re doing. Yeah, I think we’re, you know, all the different breeds think they all can become a whippet if they just work hard enough. And if they don’t, if they can’t get there, it’s their fault. They just haven’t worked hard enough.

 

To be more consistent.

 

And.

 

Protective.

 

That that is not working. I have to work out more or to restrict myself even more. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe my nose will grow as well.

 

Right. No, it’s not happening. Exactly. Yes.

 

Well, thank you for sharing that. I just. I just love that example because it’s so ridiculous to us when we think about it in dogs. And then we can extrapolate that to the way we think about ourselves and our own bodies to. Yeah. And what’s so interesting too, is like, on top of it, it’s not like everyone agrees that the Whippet should be the way everyone should look know, like for ten years you should look like a whippet and then you should.

 

Look like whatever. So something. Yeah.

 

Exactly. And then suddenly a Rottweiler comes into the.

 

Picture, right?

 

Because you have muscles or something or whatever is the new trend of how our bodies are.

 

Supposed to look like.

 

Exactly. Exactly. It’s so fascinating. So you are. Well, first of all, tell everybody, especially in particular veterinarians where they can find you, find out more about how you can help them. But then also you have a course coming out where you’re going to be talking about emotionally overfeeding pets. So tell us all that information.

 

Yes. So they can find me all over the place on Facebook, Instagram and online on vet coach international dot com and I am vet coach international on on Facebook and Instagram as well and the the course will be available starting last week in October.

 

So by the time it airs it should be available.

 

Yes Yeah. Yes it’s available it’s it’s a weight loss course for pet owners and I think it’s really beneficial for the vet as well because there is a lot of of coaching in the course how to approach this this problem, how to communicate better to to have a little bit of light on how how our communication is perceived from the pet owners perspective and how can we change or improve our communication style sometimes to to help the pets lose weight because that is our main goal for for the pets to feel, to feel great and to have a normal life. Yeah.

 

Yeah. And you mostly coach in English, right?

 

Yes, yes, yes. Right now, the vast majority of my clients are from Canada and the United States.

 

Okay. And so. But you can coach in Romanian or Swedish, too.

 

Yes. Yes. I’ve coached in Swedish and Romanian as well.

 

So I just I really very impressive.

 

I just want to point that out. I.

 

I can coach you in three languages.

 

Isn’t it Swedish. One of the hardest languages to learn.

 

I thought the medical Swedish it is because they have so and especially the veterinarian side, they have so many specific names for diseases or for syndromes or for that the lay people don’t understand. So you cannot tell them pancreatitis. Even if pancreatitis exists as a word for the medical professionals, the layperson will never understand that word. So you have to tell them the big specialty lymphoma, which means like inflammation in.

 

The.

 

Gland inside the abdomen that secretes saliva.

 

In one. What? Wow. Wow. It’s like, och.

 

So, yeah, that’s a lot.

 

It’s a challenge. It’s a challenge to learn the medical Swedish and it’s an important part of communicating with the pet owners is really, really, really important part. I yeah, When I moved here, I focused, I think for the first after three months, I was able to speak with the pet owners in Swedish. But for the first, I think two or three years, I wasn’t able to understand anything in the break room. You know, there.

 

Were people already talking. Yeah.

 

Yes, I was not interested. My brain was just focused on retaining medical. Terms and communication with the partners without being interested in the normal conversation.

 

Right. I caught up in the meantime. Yeah. Oh.

 

Well, I just think that’s really impressive. That’s really.

 

Yeah, a.

 

Big, big challenge. So anyway, that’s on the side. All right, so everybody check out Nadia’s work. She’s obviously incredible.

 

Nadia, thank.

 

You so much for being here. I love this conversation. It’s just so good and so unique. But I think so many people are going to resonate with it and realize, you know what? This is what I need to do to get help. So thank you so much.

 

Yes. Yes. Thank you for allowing the pets to be helped. Yeah.

 

Ready to start making progress on your weight loss goals. Four Lots of free help. Go to Katrina Belle IMDB.com and click on Free Resources.