Over-Weight Dogs

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/68b9/dafdbaaccaa28470b451a54771c2f810c9e1.pdf

  • What’s The Problem With Extra Weight?

  • Where To Start

    • Body Condition Score

    • Skin Tent Test

  • Medical Conditions Causing Weight Gain

  • How Many Calories Do Dogs Need?

    • Fat vs Muscle Loss

  • Weight Reduction Program

  • Choosing A Dog Food

    • Protein, Fat, and Carbs

Keeping dogs lean is the only proven intervention to increase both the quantity and quality of life
— Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition. Wiley

What’s The Problem With Extra Weight?

Lean dogs have longer lives

https://petobesityprevention.org/

  • Median life span was significantly longer for dogs in which food was restricted. [1]

  • Lean dogs have healthier lives

    • delayed onset of chronic diseases

    • “diet restriction also was associated with a longer median time to first treatment of osteoarthritis (the most common chronic disease among dogs in this study) and a longer median time to first treatment of any chronic condition.” [1]

  • Overweight dogs and cats have an increased risk for urinary stone formations. [2]

  • “Weight gain could indicate medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease, or that you are overfeeding him.” [3]

  • Joint Health (Hip Dysplasia) Pain relief

“The maximum lifespan of the domestic dog is estimated to be about 27 years” …”However, very few dogs live beyond 18 years” [5]

“Lean dogs live, on average, 1.8 years longer than obese dogs.” [7] [1]


Where To Start

Start with a visit with your veterinarian to determine your dog’s body condition score (BCS), muscle condition score (MCS), and the amount of subcutaneous fat in the area of the last 3 to 4 ribs. (See below) Your veterinarian can help you determine your dog’s target weight.

The Body Condition Score (BCS), is a 9-point scale that uses a visual and descriptive assessment of the dog, to evaluate their dog's weight.

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/68b9/dafdbaaccaa28470b451a54771c2f810c9e1.pdf

There are some challenges with using just the BCS index.  (Dr. Chris Zink)

“It might apply to a short-coated, average-structured dog, but what about dogs with big barrel chests and heavy, wavy or sculpted coats, such as the Bernese Mountain Dog or the Portuguese Water Dog?” [10]

“When it says for a score of 5: “ribs palpable without excess fat covering,” how do we know what is excess?” [10]

“Purina’s own study showed that a dog with a BCS of 5 out of 9 could have a percent body fat between 13 and 22%. That range is so broad that we don’t feel that the BCS method is specific enough to help keep our dogs at a healthy weight.” [10]

“There's a better way! Just feel the thickness of your dog’s subcutaneous fat using the Tissue Tent Test. This is easily done in the area of the last 3 to 4 ribs, about 1/3 of the way down from the topline. In that area, there is just a layer of skin and a layer of subcutaneous fat overlying the ribs.” [10]

“In an active dog, canine athlete, or working dog, that layer should be as thin as a folded piece of duct tape. Many people can’t feel that layer at first, and usually it’s because they aren’t grabbing enough tissue, so remember: pinch deep and hold tight as you pull the tissue tent away from the skin. We recommend that you use the Tissue Tent Test to monitor your dog's body fat layer weekly and adjust its food intake appropriately.” [10]


A study of Labrador retrievers showed that subjects who were only 10% to 20% overweight (not obese, which is usually defined as being overweight by more than 30%) had their lifespans shortened by a median of 1.8 years compared to dogs at an ideal weight. Health complications resulting from obesity include diabetes, osteoarthritis, respiratory complications, heat intolerance, skin disease, some forms of cancer, and a reduced lifespan with an overall lower quality of life.” [14]


Medical Conditions Causing Weight Gain

“Before placing your dog on a diet, be sure your veterinarian examines him for an underlying medical condition that could be causing his weight gain, such as hypothyroidism (as we discussed in The Canine Thyroid Epidemic) or Cushing’s disease. Failing to do this can result in unsuccessful weight loss for your dog and a lot of frustration for you. Once your dog has received health clearance, your veterinarian will determine his ideal weight and will serve as an important resource for periodic health checks, weigh-ins and motivational support along the way.” [8]


How Many Calories Do Dogs Need?

A good starting point to establish your dog’s calories needs is to determine the total calories they are currently getting each day in the form of food and treats. Their body condition and target weight is then used to determine whether your dog needs the same (maintenance), more, or less calories each day.

CANINE DAILY CALORIE ESTIMATOR

Calorie requirements can vary greatly depending on the dog’s breed, size, age, metabolism, activity level, environment, temperature, and humidity. Two dogs of the same breed and size living in the same environment can have completely differing energy (calorie) requirements. (See MER and DER below) “Individual pet needs can vary by as much as 50% from calculated values however, so these are only starting points for estimating the amount of food to be provided daily.[6]

You can use the Canine Daily Calorie Estimator to help you estimate your dog’s daily calories needs.

Calculations and sources for the Canine Daily Calorie Estimator

“Calculate the resting energy requirement (RER) using the pet’s estimated ideal weight, then feed a percentage of that amount. Although there is no established standard reduction, feeding 80% of ideal-weight RER is effective and well tolerated.” (See below: Table 2 Minimum Protein Requirements In Diets)

Fat vs Muscle Loss

“Even when body weight is lost using more conventional weight-loss programs, 10 to 20% of the loss comes from lean tissues…” “This loss of lean body mass ultimately decreases an animals’s RER and the number of calories required for DER, unless the level of activity is increased to that associated with athletic training. Therefore, one underlying objective in setting the number of daily calories for weight loss is to restrict calories enough to produce weight loss, but still provide enough calories, protein, vitamins and minerals to prevent or minimize nutrient deficiencies and subsequent loss of lean body tissue.” [4]

Dog owners often mismeasure kibble


Weight Reduction Program

The percentage of body weight a dog can safely lose varies with each dog. The desired rate of weight loss in dogs is 0.5 – 2%/wk, or about 2 to 8 percent per month. [9] [12]

“In general terms, a dog can safely lose 1 to 3-percent of its body weight and cats 0.5 to 2-percent per month. Many dogs can lose 3 to 5-percent and most cats should aim for about a half-pound per month” [11]

“Two options for determining the daily caloric requirements for weight loss are the following:1. Feed an amount to provide 80% of the current caloric intake. That approach may be effective in patients that are overweight and are at a stable weight with an accurate diet history. However, if a pet is actively gaining weight, a greater reduction may be required to promote effective weight loss.2. Calculate the resting energy requirement (RER) using the pet’s estimated ideal weight then feed a percentage of that amount. Although there is no established standard reduction, feeding 80% of ideal-weight RER is effective and well tolerated.” 2014 AAHA Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats [9]

"Calorie restriction—but not protein restriction should be pursued in overweight animals to achieve a slow rate of weight loss of 0.5% to 1% weekly." ... "Diets high in protein appear superior to those with moderate amounts of protein"

Download the “Canine Daily Calorie Estimator” to calculate your dog’s resting energy requirement (RER) and to track his weight loss progress.

Obesity & The Microbiome


Choosing A Dog Food

“The big question most have when it comes to weight loss diets is whether or not a specially-designed therapeutic diet is necessary. The goal of course is to restrict calories while meeting all of the dog’s nutritional needs. If you are already feeding your dog a “complete and balanced” dog food (whether it is kibble, canned, raw, or fresh), he is likely getting all the nutrients he requires and should continue to do so even on a semi-restricted diet.” [13]

“For weight loss, dog food higher in lean proteins and somewhat lower in fats and carbohydrates can be beneficial. Protein is especially important for maintaining muscle mass in a restricted-calorie diet, and for older animals that tend to suffer weight gain more frequently.” [13]

“evaluating a diet for sufficient protein is an important step for weight loss plans. Consider dietary protein on an energy basis (in g/1,000 kcal) to evaluate the impact of the proposed reduction of caloric intake on National Research Council recommended allowances (Table 2). For a quick rule of thumb to ensure that the diet contains adequate protein,” select foods that provide “dogs with > 2.5g/kg BW based on ideal BW.” [9] (at least 1.1 grams of protein per pound of body weight) Get a copy of the Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet to calculate

One challenge when searching for dog food for a dog with a moderate activity level is finding one that has a percentage of fat that is no more than 50% of the protein listed. Higher fat diets are a great energy source for active dogs but most dogs will get more calories than they can burn on a high fat diet. For dogs that are overweight I avoid foods marketed for the “less active” dogs. If you checked the label you may find that this food has the same calories or more than the food you are feeding now. Many of these foods contain a high fiber content which can reduce the overall digestibility and insoluble fiber like cellulose can reduce mineral adsorption. “A dry food that reports a crude fiber content that is higher than 5 or 6% has added fiber.” [5] High fiber can lead to increased need to defecate and a larger volume of feces. Instead I would limit treats and slightly reduce the amount of food feed, and increase their daily exercise. There’s an old saying, if your dog is fat you’re not getting enough exercise!

Successful weight loss requires exercise, calorie control, and the right balance of protein, fat, and carbs.

“Aim for your dog to get about an hour of exercise per day, as long as he can tolerate it. The amount of calories your dog burns during this period is related to the distance you travel. Dogs consume about 0.75 calories per pound per mile during walks.” https://www.nomnomnow.com/obese-dog-weight-loss#how-to-help-a-dog-lose-weight

“Dietary protein: If your dog is overweight, you want her to lose fat while preserving muscle mass. Protein is critical to the maintenance and growth of skeletal muscle, which is key for mobility. Studies have found that increased dietary protein may help preserve muscle tissue in dogs on weight-loss plans. "Protein also requires more energy to break down in the dog's body than fat or carbs, so protein calories may be more beneficial for weight loss too," says Shmalberg. As for how much protein, clinical studies suggest that 75 grams per 1,000 calories of food is the minimal amount needed to preserve lean body mass—but even more may be beneficial.” https://www.nomnomnow.com/obese-dog-weight-loss

“More essential vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids: The whole purpose of a weight-loss dog food is that you can restrict the number of calories. But, you don't want to restrict the essential nutrients your pet needs. A food with elevated amounts of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids ensures your pet gets what he needs even when he's eating less overall.” https://www.nomnomnow.com/obese-dog-weight-loss

Protein

"Calorie restriction—but not protein restriction should be pursued in overweight animals to achieve a slow rate of weight loss of 0.5% to 1% weekly." ... "Diets high in protein appear superior to those with moderate amounts of protein"

“High-protein diets are recommended during the weight loss period.” [7]

  • My goal is a high quality and high protein food. Min of 32% “Guaranteed Analysis” (If high quality animal based protein)

  • Homeskooling target: Protein 100+ g per 1000 calories - At a minimum 75 g per 1000 calories if high quality food animal based protein

  • Higher protein is recommended for weight loss and senior dogs. The lower the protein the higher the fat and or carbs will be and that is not recommended. Dogs have no requirement for carbs, but they do need protein and fat.

  • Dogs fed animal based higher protein diets vs animal and plant based protein diets “had better body composition and a muscle-specific protein pattern identical to that in healthy young-adult dogs.” [7]

2014 AAHA Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats [9]

“Although energy requirements vary greatly, protein needs are fairly constant, with adult dogs generally needing at least 1 gram per pound” 2014 AAHA Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats

Isn’t high protein bad for senior dogs?

  • "There is a lot of misinformation floating around regarding optimum protein intake for senior dogs (Case et al., 2011; Wannemacher & McCoy, 1966). Many people believe that protein overworks older kidneys and that protein should automatically be decreased in an older dog’s diet. This is false. Dietary protein does not stress or harm the kidneys of otherwise healthy senior dogs. On the contrary, healthy older dogs require slightly more protein. Protein minimizes loss of lean body mass that accompanies the aging process. [2]

“Animals have well defined amino acid requirements; providing additional protein can prevent possible deficiencies of taurine or other amino acids. In addition, high-protein diets preserve lean body mass during weight loss.” [7]

“Protein restriction for healthy older dogs is not only unnecessary, it can be detrimental. Protein requirements actually increase by about 50% in older dogs, while their energy requirements tend to decrease. When insufficient protein is provided, it can aggravate the age-associated loss of lean body mass and may contribute to earlier mortality. Older dogs should receive at least 25% of their calories from protein, typically provided by diets containing at least 7g protein/100 Kcal ME.“ [6]

Understanding Animal-Based Proteins in Dog Foods



Carbohydrates

………………..PET FOOD MATH CHEAT SHEET

………………..PET FOOD MATH CHEAT SHEET

Dr. Patton  (cuts the carbs!) The problem with dry dog and cat foods are the high carbohydrates. Many veterinarians and nutritionist recommend if your dog or cat is overweight cut the carbs!

  “foods producing low glycemic responses should be recommended for obese or diabetic patients”  [4]

Carbohydrate sources that result in a lower glycemic index are more desirable for metabolic weight control.“ [4]

Limiting dietary carbohydrate is an important component of metabolic control for weight loss. There are three key advantages to limiting dietary carbohydrate to 20% (DM) or less: 1) lower glycemic index, 2) metabolic shift from energy storage to energy usage and 3) increased satiety.” … “Increasing the dietary protein level during weight loss spares lean body mass.[4]

In 2018, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese.

Pet Obesity Remains a Serious Health Threat, Pet Owners and Veterinary Professionals Confront Conflicting Nutritional and Weight Loss Advice - https://petobesityprevention.org/

Are you feeding a diet high in carbohydrates? Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet

MORE THAN 50% OF PROTEIN

Fat

One challenge when searching for dog food for a dog with a moderate activity level is finding one that has a percentage of fat that is no more than 50% of the protein listed. Higher fat diets are a great energy source for active dogs but most dogs will get more calories than they can burn on a high fat diet. For dogs that are overweight I would avoid foods marketed for the “less active” dogs. If you checked the label you may find that this food has the same calories or more than the food you are feeding now.

… FAT LESS THAN 50% OF PROTEIN (GOOD)

Fiber

Many of these foods contain a high fiber content which can reduce the overall digestibility and insoluble fiber like cellulose can reduce mineral adsorption. High fiber can lead to increased need to defecate and a larger volume of feces. Instead I would limit treats and slightly reduce the amount of food feed, and increase their daily exercise. There’s an old saying, if your dog is fat you’re not getting enough exercise!

Using the gold standard pet food formulator Steve Brown recommends carbohydrates would be 6% of calories. (Dry kibble ranges from 20% to 60%+) The ideal remaining calorie breakdown would be 49% of the calories would come from protein, and 44% from fat. Remember that the percentage of calories is not the same as the "guaranteed analysis" %. We will show you how to determine the percentage of calories later with the Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet.

HOW TO CHOOSE DOG FOOD

Exercising Your Dog

The Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet will do all the calculations.

Effects of diet restriction on life span and age-related changes in dogs

“Median life span was significantly longer for dogs in which food was restricted. The onset of clinical signs of chronic disease generally was delayed for food-restricted dogs.”

Being Overweight Shaves Nearly a Year from Your Dog's Life

Association between life span and body condition in neutered client-owned dogs

If Your Pet is Overweight, Please Stay Away from These "Fixes"

HOW TO CHOOSE DOG FOOD101

HOW TO MAKE THE FOOD YOU FEED BETTER!

PET FOOD MATH CHEAT SHEET

PET FOOD MATH CHEAT SHEET

Pet Food Math Cheat Sheet

RER in kcal / day = 70 X (ideal BW kg [kg] 0.75




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