My Dog Is Overweight, What Can I Do?

My 2 year old lab/collie cross is about 10lbs overweight. I need to get her weight down quickly as she suffers from dysplasia and now has a problem with a luxating patells, which need to be operated on. She is having very limited exercise at the moment and obviously none for a few weeks when the operation takes place. I have recently started her on IAMS low fat dry food, and an amount to help her lose weight. She needs to lose it quickly is there anything else I can do to help?

Dr Monica Lundervold,  veterinary services manager replies.

I’m sorry to hear your lab/collie cross is suffering from dysplasia. You are completely right that it is vital for her to lose weight before the operation. Iams Light is formulated for dogs that need to lose less than 15% of their body weight. It contains lower levels of fat, and also L-carnitine, a vitamin like compound which burns fat and helps maintain muscle condition.

Helping Dog Lose Weight

If fed according to the guidelines, weightloss will occur at a rate of roughly 0.5% per week. If your dog weighs 60 lbs, that is around 1lb per month, ie she will need 10 months to lose the weight. In her case this may be too long, so if your vet agrees, you could decrease the amount she is fed by a further 20-30%.

It is important for her health that she does not lose weight quickly, the fastest should be 2% per week, ie losing 1lb per week over a 10 week period.

This can be achieved asking your vet for a veterinary prescription diet especially for obese dogs (eg Eukanuba Restricted Calorie). The most important part of any diet is that the dog sticks to it, you must make sure no family members are feeding any titbits.

If your dog is begging, it is a good idea to split her daily ration into 3 feeds a day, and to shut her out of the kitchen / dining room while you are eating / preparing meals. If you want to feed treats it is better to take out a handful of her daily portion of food, and keep that aside for using as treats.

Remember that some dogs beg just because they want attention, and that you can play with them or stroke them instead of giving food. I would also advise frequent trips to your vet to have her weight checked. This is especially important as you should feed her according to her current weight, decrease her food intake as she loses weight. Good luck!

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