From Fat to Fit: Feeding the Overweight Dog

If my dog is overweight, how do I determine if he should be on a weight-loss food or if cutting the current food is best? SM, North Carolina

Dear SM,

Just feeding your dog less of his regular adult maintenance food will cause him to feel hungry and to become deficient in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and protein. Instead, gradually switch him to a weight management food that is both lower in calories and higher in fiber while maintaining the same levels of nutrients. That way, he will still be getting a complete and balanced diet yet have a sense of “fullness” that is not simply due to calories. Feeding measured portions twice a day will also help him avoid becoming ravenously hungry and begging for food.

In addition, there is evidence to support the use of ingredients like chromium, magnesium, cinnamon, green tea, L-carnitine, CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), and others in promoting proper muscle and fat metabolism in dogs. SmartCanine Healthy Weight may be used as part of a complete weight management program under the direction of a veterinarian. Diet, exercise, supplements and regular checkups that include body condition scoring and weighing are all important in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight in your pet.

With 50% of the dogs in the US labeled as overweight or obese–conditions which are linked to health problems such as arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism and others–it makes sense to do everything you can to get them back to their ideal weight and keep them there.

Lydia Gray, DVM MA, is the Staff Veterinarian for SmartPak. Prior to joining SmartPak, Dr. Gray served as the first-ever Director of Owner Education for the American Association of Equine Practitioners. She has authored numerous articles in publications such as The Horse, Horse Illustrated, Western Horseman and a variety of veterinary journals and magazines. Dr. Gray is also a frequent speaker at horse expos, veterinary conventions and other events. After graduating with honors from the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine and receiving her Master's Degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, she practiced at the Tremont Veterinary Clinic for several years. Dr. Gray is active in the American Veterinary Medical Association and Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association. She enjoys training and showing her Trakehner, Newman, in both combined driving and dressage, and is a USDF “L” Program Graduate (with distinction). Find Dr. Gray on Google+

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