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Doc Sara
Doc Sara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 952
Experience:  I am a dog and cat veterinarian with a lifetime of experience in our family veterinary hospital.
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I have a 5 year old fixed male Dalmatian who weighs almost

Customer Question

I have a 5 year old fixed male Dalmatian who weighs almost 100 pounds we have tried al prescription diet foods, his thyroid has been tested I've cut him back to 3 cups of dog food a day and he acts starved, he eats his food so fast then keeps licking the bowl and searching for more,he is active and shows no signs of being sick,but he just will not lose weight,i am worried about his health
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

Good evening, I'm Dr. Sara. I'm a licensed veterinarian who works exclusively with dogs and cats. I'm sorry to hear that you're worried about your pup, but I think that I can help. There will be a delay of 5-10 minutes while I type out some thoughts for you. You can reply at any time with more questions or thoughts as well.

Has your vet run any other blood work besides the thyroid? Do you know the results?

What prescription diets have you tried and how long did you use it?

Thanks and I'll await your reply

~Dr. Sara

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you I have had him to the vet several times they have done blood work all of which s normal,but a month ago he was standing in the kitchen and urinated all over,it was crazy he never does that,it only happened that one time but I did not know if it was an early warning of something bigger
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
they did several I am not sure,they checked his urine as well,he was on metabolic diet,grain free food and currently on another with low fat 7% 21%protien,he was on the metabolic for 4 months with no improvement at all
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i mentioned cushings disease but the vet said there were really no symptoms,
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
my black lab was also overweight but he is benefiting from the cut back on food he never acts starved,the dalmation will eat 6 cups of dog food like nothing,i just cant understand why no amount of food seems to fill him up,i have tested that thought and i gave him 7 cups and he had no problem eating all of it and wanted more
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
he loves to run outside,play and just an all around happy dog
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

While I'm waiting for your reply, I'm going to begin typing some general thoughts.

It's not unusual for dogs to act like they are just starving. Some dogs are much more food driven than others. For the dogs that are quite food driven, they can act absolutely crazy about food. I know this from personal experience, as I have a beagle who has, for all of his life, done exactly as you described - constantly begging and searching for food, getting into everything, and generally acting as though he is starving. I swear, he could subsist on air alone, haha. This in itself isn't abnormal. While there are some hormonal issues like the thyroid and cushing's syndrome that can cause a dog to have difficulty losing weight, in many cases it's just a matter of overcoming their naturally slow metabolism.

It's important that the vet has also checked for diabetes and liver enzyme elevations that could indicate cushing's disease. Typically cushing's does have other symptoms like excessive thirst and excessive urinations, but it's not unreasonable to go down that path if the ALP is high on lab work and he's acting hungry all the time. If they did just a total T4 (which is a common screening test for hypothyroidism) and it was in the low end of the reference range, it's also a good idea to send out a larger thyroid panel to an outside lab for a more clear picture of thyroid function. If his full lab work is normal, then it's likely his variation of normal to be as he is. With the episode of unexpected urination you described, it's also not a bad idea to have a urine sample checked for a urinary tract infection. (I just got your new replies and see that this has been done - very good!)

I've had good success with both Purina OM and Hill's metabolic prescription diets, but with some dogs we also have to add a significant amount of exercise to get the weight off as well. If diet alone isn't doing it, we have to reassess their exercise level and check for "cheating", if you get my drift! I've had many a frustrating client situation in which not everyone in the home was on the same page when it came to feeding and I had pets not losing weight because "grandma" or someone else in the home was cheating on the diet. A good way to manage treats and feeding in a home with multiple family members is to pre-portion out the treats and food each morning. Once the food and treats are gone, there's no more cheating by giving anything that wasn't set out beforehand.

Keep in mind that there does come a point at which we are restricting the diet too much, which causes their metabolism to slow to a crawl - they go into "hoarding" mode and then it's very difficult to get the weight off. It's important that we provide his metabolism with enough fuel to keep burning, which is why it seems like you are feeding him a lot on the prescription diets. It's the same concept as how we diet as people - eating a small meal every two hours. It might be that at 3 cups of food a day, he's not going to get enough fuel to keep his metabolism cranking.

As to your last comment that he seems that he's always hungry - some dogs absolutely are that way. My 25 pound beagle could put away 5 pounds of food - he's done it before when I accidentally left a bag of cat food out. I only feed him 1/3 of a cup of dog food twice a day and he follows my small children around licking up every crumb they might happen to drop. You may have already heard these tricks, but adding bully fiber rich foods like carrots, green beans, or canned pumpkin can help fill him up at meal times. Soaking the dry food in water before feeding him also will help him feel more full after eating.

I hope that this is helpful - what other questions can I answer for you?

~Dr. Sara

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
do you feel grain free food is better?is there a difference in the metabolic diet food and the diet food i can buy at the store,i don't know if it is unusual but my lab urinates a little bit on as much as he can mark but the dalmation will stand and urinate for over a minute and a half
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i just found the results from the vet catalyst dx glu normal BUN HIGH CREA N BUN/CREA 18 TP N ALB N GLOB N ALKP LOW the other test called procyte dx showed MCV LOW MCH LOW
Expert:  Doc Sara replied 1 year ago.

The prescription diets definitely are the best way to go for sustained weight loss in these guys. They have a whole lot of research behind them and they also can offer significant support to you and your veterinarian in terms of making and sticking to a treatment regimen. I don't know that I'm totally sold on "grain free", as there are plenty of non-grain carbohydrate sources that can be just as fattening, if not moreso, than a good slow burning grain. The metabolic diet in particular is engineered to change the pet's entire metabolism by shifting gene expression in favor of a more efficient metabolism, so yes it's quite different than what you can buy at the store.

Are there numbers on that blood work?

Thanks

~Dr. Sara

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