Obesity is a common problem in dogs. Identifying the causes and following a total weight management program can result in controlled weight loss and maintenance. A total weight management program includes evaluating your dog, then modifying behaviors and successful dog weight control.
Definition of obesity
Obesity is defined as an increase in body weight beyond the limitation of skeletal and physical requirements, resulting from an accumulation of excess body fat.
Causes of obesity
Obesity is caused when caloric intake exceeds caloric expenditure. This simply means that a dog eats more energy (calories) than he uses and stores the excess energy.
Factors contributing to obesity
Fat and carbohydrates
Dogs use fat as their primary energy source. An overweight dog stores fat more easily if the calories are consumed in the form of fat than if they are from carbohydrates. An overweight or obese dog should be fed a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet to restrict calories available from fat, which is important for dog weight control.
Fiber and fatty acids
A normal fiber level, provided in a moderately fermentable fiber source, helps create and maintain healthy digestion. This is especially important for the dog on a diet. Some weight-loss foods for dogs dilute calories with high levels of fiber. High-fiber foods may reduce the digestibility and absorption of many nutrients, including fat. These foods reduce weight by providing what would be considered poor-quality nutrition. These high-fiber diets also result in large, frequent stools and decreased skin and coat condition. Dog foods such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Weight Control, which provide essential fatty acids like those found in vitamin-rich fish oils, help maintain your dog's healthy skin and coat despite lowered fat levels.
Gradual Weight Loss
The goal of a good weight management program should be gradual weight loss. Dogs should lose 1% to 2% of their initial weight per week. This can be achieved by reducing the caloric intake by 30% to 50% of maintenance.
A total weight management program can lead to successful weight loss in the obese dog. Before beginning any weight-loss program with your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian. Remember, your support is essential to your dog's weight-control success.
How much do you know about the food you’re buying for your puppy? When shopping for puppy food, pay attention to these three sections of a dog food label.
This section lists all the ingredients that make up the product. The ingredients are listed in descending order according to weight before cooking. In dry food, look for a source of high-quality animal-based protein: chicken or lamb, for example. Dogs thrive on animal proteins.
Manufacturers who use large amounts of vegetable proteins might be saving money by providing basic — but not optimal — nutrition. You should also avoid artificial colors and flavors, which offer no nutritional benefits.
Near the ingredient panel should be a chart of percentages called the "guaranteed analysis." These figures reveal the basic nutrient makeup of the dog food's formula and protein content. The minimum percentages of protein and fat and the maximum percentages of fiber and moisture (water) should be listed.
This information must be included on the label by law. A toll-free number or web address for the manufacturer may also be listed. Manufacturers who list a phone number, such as IAMS™, generally have a high-quality product and welcome consumer calls and questions. If you would like information about IAMS products, visit our website or call us toll-free at 800-525-4267.