Introducing AAHA’s Nutrition Prescription and Weight Loss Plan Generator

“The cool thing about the weight-loss plan generator is that veterinarians or technicians can use it to generate a nutrition prescription,” says Caitlin DeWilde, DVM.

DeWilde is AAHA’s Veterinary Content Consultant for Guidelines, and she’s talking to NEWStat about the Nutrition Prescription and Weight Loss Plan Generator, a brand-new, first-of-its-kind online tool developed by AAHA in conjunction with the 2021 AAHA Nutrition and Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, which were released last July.

The Nutrition Prescription and Weight Loss Plan Generator uses guided questions to generate custom 12-week weight loss plans that help your team work together with clients to get patients to healthier weights. The tool allows you to:

  • Calculate your patient's individual nutrition requirements, based on weight and life stage
  • Provide detailed food and treat recommendations, along with the option to include a URL to the manufacturer's website or the food on your practice's online pharmacy
  • Generate a customized prescription for a branded nutrition weight-loss plan for every patient

“The guidelines say that every pet in the practice needs to be given a nutritional recommendation every visit,” DeWilde points out. “[But] many vets aren’t good about doing that, because we’ve got so many other things to cover .”

And even if we do, she adds, “It’s often tossed off: A Casual, ‘Oh, by the way, feed your dog X, Y, and Z.’”

Plus, she says, pet owners are looking for information about what to feed their pets, “[But] that’s not always top of mind on their veterinary visits.”

DeWilde says the weight-loss plan generator offers a solution that works for everyone: “It allows veterinary teams to create a written prescription that not only tells the client what kind of food they should be feeding their pet, but also how much food, and how often.” It can even give them a link to the hospital’s online store. “So instead of ordering it on Chewy, they can order it directly from the practice, generating more revenue.”

If the practice doesn’t have an online store, no worries—DeWilde says the vet can put in a link directly to the website of the pet food manufacturer.  “So if I say, ‘Your dog needs to eat W/D’ and the client is, like, ‘What? I’ve never heard of W/D,’ I can put in a link to the Hills W/D website so the client can look at it, find out what the food does and why I’m recommending it, [as well as] where they can order it.’” 

Another big plus, says DeWilde: Using this tool is a way to take back the title of who’s the best source of information about pets’ health: the internet, the food store, or the veterinarian.

DeWilde says that in the past, dietary recommendations were often an afterthought for many veterinarians: “It was like, ‘Oh yeah, feed your dog a puppy food until they’re a year old,’ and that was it.” 

AAHA’s Nutrition Prescription and Weight Loss Plan Generator  makes it easy to be a lot more precise, turning dietary recommendations into dietary prescriptions that specify the food, the amount of food, and feeding frequency, she says.

Which means clients are more likely to comply. 

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