from Modesto, Calif., writes in to express some
frustration as he attempts to get some pounds off his
is an 8-year-old basset hound who has become quite
overweight. Kyle had AJ neutered about 18 months ago,
and it seems AJ has gotten heavier ever since. Even with
the use of a "lite" formula diet, AJ has
continued to put on weight, and Kyle is concerned.
like to commend Kyle for his concern over AJís weight.
Indeed obesity, as we have discussed before, is a huge
problem in our companions ó one that can have very
serious health consequences. I also would like to
address an issue brought up by Kyle concerning neutering
and weight gain.
the term given for the sexual altering of a male or
female animal, does not cause weight gain and obesity.
This misconception is common, and its source is quite
a companion is neutered, their metabolic rate will
gradually drop, in some individuals as much as 25
percent over time. With this drop in metabolic rate,
there is a corresponding drop in the amount of food
necessary to maintain body weight and condition.
this is not always taken into consideration, and these
companions continue to be fed the same amount of food
after neutering as before. This excessive caloric intake
can lead to weight gain and often obesity.
alleviate this potential health problem, I advise
caretakers to begin to reduce the amount of food they
give their companions after having them neutered. I
shoot for a 25 percent decrease in the volume of food
fed over two to three weeks. This will completely
eliminate the weight gain potential due to the drop in
metabolism brought on by the surgery.
is already obese, and he needs to drop some pounds. Kyle
reports he has tried "lite" formula foods
without results, which I must say, is a common scenario.
diets do indeed contain fewer calories per unit volume
when compared to the regular formula of the same food.
However the difference is often not enough to truly
engage the weight loss cascade within the petís body.
we think about it, it is really quite simple to initiate
weight loss in our companions. Simply reducing the
amount of any diet fed to below the daily requirement
for maintaining body weight will, over time, lead to
weight loss. The problem with this method is the
compliance of the caretaker and the insistence from the
companion that he or she is starving. I have personally
been through this process and can sympathize.
better method for producing consistent weight loss
involves the use of a prescription diet formula designed
to provide your companion with that feeling of fullness
after eating without providing excess calories.
Prescription diet foods are available through your
veterinarian, after establishing that your companion has
no underlying problems that may be causing obesity, can
establish an ideal body weight. Then, with the exclusive
use of a diet formula in a specified volume on a daily
basis, the weight loss program can begin.
length of time need to reach the ideal body weight
targeted by your veterinarian will vary primarily based
on how much weight needs to be lost, but also on each
individualís metabolism. As is the case in people,
each companion is unique in their metabolism, and some
require more calories than others to maintain the same
can be dealt with by starting with a specific amount of
diet formula as established at the beginning of a weight
loss program and then weighing the companion on a
monthly basis and adjusting the amount of food
the weight loss is too rapid, the food volume will be
increased; and if the weight loss is too slow, the
amount will be reduced. These adjustments are determined
by your veterinarian and over time will assure
successful weight loss.
your companion reaches the targeted body weight, a
maintenance diet and amount can be established assuring
a healthy body weight for your companionís long, happy