Friday, July 24, 2009

How do you put a pet on a diet?

Our Moose is too big. Moose is a 115-pound Chesapeake Bay Retriver. Our vet says he needs to get below 110.

How do you put a cat or dog on a diet when very few of the pet products have calorie counts on them? Is it better to feed the dog less of their regular food, or the recommended amount (based on dog's weight) of a dog food labeled "weight control formula"?

The best information I found came from the Drs. Foster & Smith (retailer) website. They said you should use a food labeled "weight control formula" to ensure that the dog is getting the right amount of nutrients per serving. The weight control formula will have a lower proportion of fat and thus will have fewer calories per serving, since fat has more than twice as many calories as protein and carbs. I would definitely recommend reading the weight loss FAQs on their site if you need to help your dog lose weight.

According to Purina Pet Institute, a fit and trim dog can live 15% longer than an overweight one. In other words, a dog could live to be 17 instead of 15. To many people, an additional 2 years of healthy life for man's best friend might be worth the effort.

I saw a web post suggesting that you replace 1 cup of the dog's food with 1 cup of low-sodium green beans; the dog will feel as satisfied, but his body won't digest the beans into calories. But how do you confirm whether something like that really works and is recommended? I guess you'd better ask your vet.

Consumer Unmet Need: Calorie information on all pet food packages, and diet tips on weight loss formula products.

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