See new updates on our weight loss challenge participants at the end of this blog!
Obesity is an increasing problem in our pets and can predispose them to increased health risks such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular problems, liver disease, musculoskeletal problems, immune dysfunction, and certain cancers. A (Nestle Purina) feeding study, which followed 48 labrador retriever dogs over their life span, showed that lean fed dogs receiving 25% less food (who weighed less and had lower body fat) lived a median of 1.8 years longer than the control dogs fed 25% more food.
Below you can see the body condition scoring chart that veterinarians use at North Lake Veterinary (and many other practices) to help grade a pet’s weight. With our terribly cold and snowy winter this year, I have seen a majority of my patients gain weight and I find myself writing down more and more “4 and 5” scores on annual exams which worries me.
I attribute some of this recent weight gain to dogs not being able to exercise outside much. A dog’s weight is controlled by the amount of food calories consumed minus the calories burned with exercise. The amount of calories a dog needs to consume a day also depends on their metabolism. When dogs can’t exercise, owners need to cut down on the amount of food they are feeding. Yet, some owners cut down on their pet’s food and still have trouble getting the extra weight off their pets. If this pertains to you, your pet may have a slow metabolism.
What can we do about our overweight pets with slow metabolisms?
Recently, I have worked closely with Science diet and our North Lake Vet team to develop a weight loss challenge program for our overweight pets. If you have been told your pet needs to lose weight and you have not been able to accomplish this with your current food, consider joining the challenge. If your pet has not had a wellness exam within the last 2 months, an exam fee may be charged to assess if you pet is healthy enough for the challenge and to check that no other disease processes are contributing to your pet’s obesity. Monthly recheck appointments with a technician are free unless your pet becomes ill and needs to be seen by a doctor. To join the challenge please call North Lake Veterinary Clinic at (262) 966-7577.
WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE
The food: Science Diet Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution- this food is formulated to not only decrease calories but most importantly to increase a obese dog’s metabolism so that they can finally start to lose weight. This way most owners still feed similar amounts to what they are currently feeding so the dogs are not hungry on this food.
Let Me Introduce Our first participant: “Winston” an 8 year old Male Labradoodle
Winston was a “5” on the body condition scale at his last wellness exam and I recommended to his owner that we get Winston to lose some weight. Winston’s fabulous owners agreed to enroll him in our weight loss challenge (he is our first participant) and share with you his progress on my blogs.
Winston’s owner provided us with some cute pictures of him as a puppy and informed me that Winston had always been on the puggy side since puppy hood.
He was named for Winston Churchill and I think you can see why 🙂
Click on this link to see : Winston’s Weight Loss Plan (every dog in the challenge will be provided with their own tailored plan)
When Winston started the challenge his owners planned to continue to give Winston an average of 3 treats a day so we reduced his daily intake to 4 cups/day of the metabolic food (from the 4 1/4 in his weightloss plan). His treatment plan estimated that we would take Winston from 110 pounds down to 83 pounds over 6 months. In the past month his owners have actually been able to cut out most treats and use the metabolic food kibble as a treat instead. Winston just recently did his 1 month recheck and has lost 5 pounds in the last month. His original goal in 4 weeks was to lose 4 lbs. (see his weightloss graph). His owners are very proud of him and confirmed that Winston really likes the food, doesn’t act more hungry on the diet, and may even be more active on the food.
Once Winston has reached his ideal weight he can either stay on the food long term or we can try to transition him to another food option (making sure he stays at his ideal weight).
New Updates on our Weight Loss Challenge
Since Winston first started the program we have some other pet friends who have also joined in the weight loss efforts. Lets see how some of the pets are doing who have completed their recheck weigh-in (s).
You remember Winston- he started out at 106.5 lbs in February then dropped to 101.6 lbs in march and now has weighed in recently at 96.6 lbs.
He’s averaging 5 lbs of weight loss per month which is exceeding his monthly goal. Great job!
Meet Moxie, a 4 year old female spayed Weimaraner.
She started at 138.2 lbs and was estimated to have 50% body fat. Her ideal weight was estimated at 87.9 lbs. and she was started at 4 + 1/4 Cups of food per day.
Her weigh-in after 5 weeks was 128 lbs and after 8 weeks was 121.6 lbs so she is on her way to a healthy weight!
Meet Oscar, an 8 year old male neutered Labrador, who weighed 98.3 pounds in mid march. His body fat content was estimated to be 40% and he was started on the metabolic food at 3 + 3/4 cups per day. His weight was rechecked 2 weeks later at 95.4 lbs and 3 ½ weeks later at 90.8 lbs. His ideal weight is 73# and he is heading rapidly toward his goal.
Meet Katie, a 9 year old female spayed Pug. Katie completed her measurements and was rated at 40% body fat.
She was started at 1 + 1/2 cup of metabolic food per day. After 2 weeks Katie had lost 1/2 pound. I suspected that Katie is probably closer to the 50% body fat that was estimated by her body measurements so I reduced her to 1 + 1/4 cup per day. 2 weeks later Katie had lost 1 pound.
Even though she hasn’t lost as much weight as the bigger dogs, Katie is pretty much on track as far as her weight loss plan.
Stay tuned for more weight loss updates…
9/14: New and Exciting Updates for our Weight loss Challenge participants!!!
-Winston has almost reached his goal. He started at 110.9# in February and was supposed to reach a goal of 83# in 26 weeks. His most recent weigh in was at 90lbs (only 7 lbs from his goal). He is currently eating somewhere between 3 3/4 C- 4C per day of the metabolic food.
– Oscar has reached his goal!!! He started the metabolic food in March and weighed 98.3 lbs. He just weighed in at 71.9# and his goal was 73#. Check out his before and after pictures:
Oscar at his ideal weight!
Moxie’s most recent weight in September was 114lbs (significantly down from 138lbs when she started her challenge in march). She still has another 25 lbs to loose but she is doing great!
New to our challenge is Sophie, a 11 year old Labrador. Sophie started her weight loss challenge in June, weighing in at 84lbs. Her most recent weight in august was 76lbs. She is so far on track to reach her weight goal of 72.8lbs in the next month.
Stay tuned for other new weight loss challenge pet updates as we have many other new pets who started the challenge recently.
A Few Sources:
Kealy RD, Lawler DF, Ballam JM, et al: Five-year longitudinal study on limited food consumption and development of osteoarthritis in coxofemoral joints of dogs. JAVMA 210:222-225, 1997.
Kealy RD, Lawler DF, Ballam JM, et al: Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs. JAVMA 220(9):1315-1320, 2002.
Alenza P, et al. Factors influencing the incidence and prognosis of canine mammary tumours. J Small Anim Pract 2000;41:287
Edney ATB, et al. Study of obesity in dogs visiting veterinary practices in the United Kingdom. Vet Rec 1986;118: 391.
Krook L, et al. The interrelationship of diabetes mellitus, obesity, and pyometra in the dog. Am J Vet Res. 1960;21:120.
Mattheeuws D, et al. Glucose tolerance and insulin response in obese dogs. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 1984; 20:287.
Rocchini AP, et al. Obesity-induced hypertension in the dog. Hypertension 1987;9(6 Pt2): III64.
Glickman LT, et al. Epidemiologic study of insecticide exposure, obesity, and risk of bladder cancer in household dogs. J Tox Envir Health 1989; 28:407.