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Obesity in Dogs

By: Dr. Rebecca Remillard

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Treatment In-depth

Therapy recommendations are dependent upon the underlying cause of the obesity. Take your dog to your veterinarian for a complete work-up before beginning a weight loss program to rule out major diseases.

Recommendations for obesity due to excessive caloric consumption:

  • Lower your pet's daily caloric intake by 50 percent of that required for his ideal body weight.

  • Change the pet food product to one designed for weight loss and containing:

    - less than 340 kcal per 100 grams of food on a dry matter basis

    - between 5 to 10 percent fat

    - between 10 to 30 percent crude fiber

    - greater than 25 percent crude protein

  • Feed your pet a prescribed measured amount of food several times daily.

  • Give treats only as directed. Use specifically designed low calorie treats or give cooked or raw vegetables.

  • Increase exercise activity

  • Try getting your pet to swim. Swimming is excellent exercise for patients with orthopedic disabilities.

  • Return to your veterinarian for monthly visits for a weight check and appropriate adjustments in meal size.

    Recommendations for obesity due to diabetes mellitus:

  • Often in the management of diabetes, a dietary change to a veterinary therapeutic diet is necessary for controlling blood glucose levels. The food should contain a moderate level of fiber (5 to 10 percent) with lowered levels of readily available carbohydrates.

  • Insulin treatments are individualized to the patient.

  • In some cases of diabetes, when the dog loses weight, the clinical signs of diabetes resolve and occasionally insulin treatments are no longer needed.

    Recommendations for obesity due to hyperadenocorticism:

  • Medical management usually involves initial treatments and maintenance doses of Lysodren® (mitotane). Recheck visits are recommended with an ACTH test every 3 to 4 months.

  • In most cases, a weight loss program is not needed to return to an ideal body weight.


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