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Here are my general diet recommendations for overweight and obese cats and dogs:
Step A. Blood work to rule out diabetes and other diseases associated with excess weight.
Step B. Your veterinarian will discuss with you about portion sizes, types of snacks, about substituting play and exercise instead of snacks and so forth. They will talk to you about the calorie evils of table scraps.
Step C. Consider a drastic diet change.
The diets I have experience with that worked in many cases are:
Hills RD diet for cats or dogs
Purina OM diet for cats or dogs
Royal Canin Calorie Control diet for cats and dogs
Eukanuba Restricted Calorie diet for cats and dogs
But my most successful weight loss diet is fairly new and is an prescription diet based on the Atkins Diet (very low carb) called
Hills MD (metabolic diet)
But in all my successful cases the main factor has been the determination of the owner to take control and stick with it for at least 4 months; IT TAKES TIME before you start seeing real results.
But patience and integrity (in the sense of not cheating on the diet) works
A personal aside: My favorite dieting recommendation for both people and pet dogs and cats: fasting one day a week. This is not just good for weight loss but bowel and overall health and for humans, mental and religious discipline.
Supplements for weight loss:
Lean Treats: Your vet will have several appropriate treats or recommendations (such as green beans) to give your pet. But it's critical to success to stop giving high quanities of high calories snacks and table scraps.
DHEA and other neutriceuticals advertised for losing weight: I don't know enough about these products except that there are hundreds of products claiming to aid in weight loss based on the flimsiest of science. I keep thinking that if one such product was really safe and effective there wouldn't be so many overweight people around.
Prozac like drugs: Some vets are recommending medications that help break compulsive eating habits in some of their patients. I think they are quite helpful in many cases ... but only when combined with weight loss diets and exercise.
The reward for your patience and efforts is a pet that will feel better and live longer. If you are successful in getting your pet down to a healthy weight you will greatly decrease the chances that your pet will suffer from:
fatty liver disease
obstructive sleep apnea
Urinary Tract Disease
We have learned a lot about obesity in recent years. This page is simply about the actions and diets I recommend for your over weight pets. For information about Obesity as a Disease, please click here.
One last comment:
Avoid over feeding kittens and puppies. Once the weight is on pre-puberty, it's very hard to remove.
Puppy and kitten diets are different from adult diets in that they tend to be easier to digest and are high calorie... designed for rapid growth and high activity levels. We used to recommend staying on these diets for a full year... until the bones pretty much stopped growing. But now we recommend switching to an adult diet sometime between 6 and 12 months depending on several factors. If your dog is a fast growing midsize or large breed, very active dog and lean... by all means continue the puppy diet until about 12 months of age. But if your dog is a smaller breed dog... especially a short legged breed or individual, not all that active, or getting a little chubby; then switcth to a less high calorie dense adult food earlier. Same for kittens.
Spaying and castration have now been proven to make your pet more likely to store fat. So factor this information in.
And finally, eating habits are hard to break. Train yourself and your pet to give and expect small portions and infrequent treats early in life.
Hill's new metabolic diet (MD) is working well for both cats and dogs. Most the pets I recommend this diet too have successfully lost weight and kept it off. The trick is sticking to the diet long enough to see the results... about 4-6 months.
Most of the other diets I've tried (pictured below) are also often successful but seem to take a little longer