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Why guidelines matter

Veterinary practice guidelines, including the 2014 AAHA Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, help ensure that pets get the best possible care. From medical director to veterinary assistant, guidelines keep your hospital staff on the cutting edge of veterinary medicine.

The 2014 AAHA Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats is the most complete and medically sound compilation of updates, insights, advice and recommendations ever developed. Those guidelines help ensure all pets enjoy the benefits of assessment and management to maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetimes.

AAHA guidelines review the latest information to help veterinary staff address central issues and perform essential tasks to improve the health of the pet. In addition, AAHA guidelines define the role of each staff member so that everyone on the health care team can work together to offer the best-quality medical care.

Guidelines are just that: a guide established by experts in a particular area of veterinary medicine. Guidelines do not outweigh the veterinarian’s clinical judgment; instead, AAHA guidelines help veterinarians develop and carry out treatment plans that meet each patient’s individual needs and circumstances.

Aligning your practice’s protocols with AAHA Guideline recommendations is a key step in ensuring that your practice continues to delivery best-quality care. To support your dedicated efforts, AAHA is pleased to offer this toolkit. In here, you will find facts, figures, highlights, tips, client handouts and other tools you can use every day to implement the recommendations of the 2014 AAHA Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.

In addition, AAHA and other organizations have committed to providing a full suite of implementation tools, fact sheets and more information through the Pet Nutrition Alliance (PNA, available at Page 23 of this toolkit highlights just a few of the many resources you can find on the PNA website. AAHA and other organizations are continually updating the website, so check back often for new tools.

Thank you for helping to advance our shared mission to deliver the best in companion animal medical care. Together, we can make a difference!

Michael T. Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP
AAHA Chief Executive Officer


When selecting weight management products, as well as other types of products, veterinarians have a choice of products formulated for humans and those developed and approved for veterinary use. Manufacturers of veterinary-specific products spend resources to have their products reviewed and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for canine and/or feline use. These products are specifically designed and formulated for dogs and cats and have benefits for their use; they are not human generic products. AAHA suggests that veterinary professionals make every effort to use veterinary FDA-approved products and base their inventory purchasing decisions on what product is most beneficial to the patient.