Health & Nutrition | Dogs | Cats | October 2, 2015

Feeding the Overweight Dog or Cat

Cat curled in a ball

As a general rule, dogs and cats eat to their caloric requirements

Obesity is estimated to occur in 25% of cats and dogs in Westernized society. This occurs due to an increase in sedentary lifestyle, increased palatability in pet foods, and in cat/dog breeds-genetic predisposition.

Although using soluble and insoluble fiber sources have been used to create a feeling of “fullness” in pets, spending your money for fiber filled foods may not seem to be the best alternate. As well, these foods are often restricted in EFAs (Essential Fatty Acids) and the result is often dry, flaking or itching skin. By restricting caloric intake on a regular maintenance food, you may achieve the same result as feeding a low calorie diet. However in some situations, portion control of a regular maintenance diet may not work, as the pet may pester you for additional food. In this case using a food with reduced calories per pound or kilogram may help. However you must also be aware in these situations that use of the feeding guideline, while appropriate, it is only a guideline. Watch your pet for weight loss, or weight gain and adjust accordingly.

In order to choose whether the dog food has the amount of calories appropriate for reduction, always check the kilocalories. While some foods are labeled as a weight reduction diet, the calories MAY be the same as a maintenance diet, depending on the company.

While your dog may enjoy treats and snacks, knowing the amount of calories they provide would be appropriate. Feeding something like raw carrots for a treat provides low calories, and a tasty snack.  While your cat may enjoy treats and snacks, it is important to limit or remove them.