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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20842
Experience:  Hello, I am a small animal veterinarian and am happy to discuss any concerns & questions you have on any species.
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I have a 12 year old dog who was diagnosed in 2013 with

Customer Question

I have a 12 year old dog who was diagnosed in 2013 with diabetes. Since that diagnosis in Oct. 2013, his weight has steadily climbed--from 41.9 lbs on that date to his current weight of 61.4! I've had him to my regular vet regularly over this time due to my concern for his extreme weight gain. I had him on Purina Pro Plan senior at the time, then gradually shifted him to weight management and decreased the amount he was getting. The weight continued to climb. I gradually shifted him to Pro Plan DCO, the weight climbed. After the last vet visit (he has to go for a day of blood sugar testing every so often), the vet suggested a diet with the lowest carbs possible. You probably know that dog food bags, unlike our food labels, don't have carbs listed. I was at a loss. A nutritionist at the pet food store I shop at assisted me, and I gradually shifted Oz to Blue Buffalo Freedom (grain free) senior food. I also have cut the amount Oz is getting to 1 cup per meal, 2 cups a day. After a month, he gained again. He gets 11 units of insulin at 6:30 am and 5:30 pm each day. Can you help me with the food? I'm more afraid of the danger to his health because of the excess weight rather than the diabetes.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am actually more concerned with an accurate, reliable answer than speed. I am satisfied with waiting a while for the answer, because I will make all the changes necessary based on the recommendations.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian & I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Has his diabeters been stable? If it hasn't, has his vet checked for other issues (ie Cushing's disease)?

What is your ideal weight for him?

Can you read the label on his current diet and let me know the calories per 100g listed on it?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oz gets regular exams, spends the day at the vet's for insulin testing throughout the day. Other than the weight gain and diabetes Oz seems very healthy and has a lot of bounce!The label reads 3,377 kcals/kg
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you,

While I am glad to see that he is examined regularly and does have blood glucose curves checked, the reason I asked about his diabetic stability is because we can see diabetes secondary to other health issues. The most common is Cushing's disease, a condition where the body produces too much steroid (other less likely issues being hypothyroid, acromegaly, etc). The reason I mention it is because this condition also will cause weight gain and give dogs a pot belly type appearance. Therefore, if this has not been checked for, it may be worth doing so to make sure this isn't playing a role in this ballooning weight gain we are seeing.

That aside, we need to consider what we are feeding in terms of calories and protein with Oz. To start, when we have an overweight dog, we need to use a gradual weight loss plan. Crash diets are no good for any species. Therefore, it will be a case of starting small and then working down our daily calorie ration as we get the weight off. Therefore, if he is currently 61.4lbs, we will do our calculations at that point and then wean down the volume we feed over time as we reduce the weight.

Just to make a wee mention on protein levels to feed, his minimum will be one gram per pound of his weight per day. Therefore, for the moment that is 61.4g daily. This usually is something we stick to or can give a bit more, while we focus on calorie cutting for him. Now in regards ***** ***** calories, what to feed does depend on a few factors (neutering status, activity level, etc). Still, for a 61.4lb dog, we'd feed a base calorie or resting energy requirement (RER) of 888kcal per day. For weight loss, that would be all we'd give but for a neutered adult with normal activity we'd give up to 1430kcal/d (1.6 x RER) and for an unneutered dog with adult normal activity up to 1598kcal/d (1.8 x RER). So, that gives you a range to work with. And since he sounds quite overweight, we may want to stick as close to the RER (so 888kcal) as possible. And if we are using a diet that has 3,377kcal per kilogram that means a daily ration of 262 grams of food per day of this diet. And while cups vary in size and ingredients have varying densities that would work our around 2 cups per day. So, it sounds like you are on the right track there, though I would strongly suggest measuring the food in grams as opposed to using cups so we can just make sure we are keeping to the level we need to be feeding.

Overall, you are on the right track with the recent diet change. Though I would suggest a grams scale be used at home to just make sure. Otherwise, I would note that if he is feeling hungry despite that amount of food, you can soak the kibble to help it be more filling or even add low calorie veggies to his diet (ie carrots, cauliflower, broccoli --but no garlic, onions, raisins, grapes, or raw potato). And of course, exercise is always important from a calorie burning perspective. Finally, just since it sounds like you have been doing everything right only to find him gaining more weight, I would at least advise having a word with his vet about those other hormonal conditions I mentioned to just make sure they are not thwarting you in helping Oz.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Oz has always had perfect coat and skin and has no indication either from that or labs that he has a thyroid problem. He also doesn't have a pot belly. His weight gain has just made him look like a little truck--heavy all over. While my vet has mentioned Cushings with regard to two or three other dogs (I have 11 rescues), he's never recommended testing Oz.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I am glad to hear that he does not have those additional signs. Though we can see early stage hormonal issues like those I mentioned cause only the weight gain until the condition progresses. So, it'd still be a consideration if using the RER/calorie limitation doesn't start to get some weight off him in the next few weeks.

All the best,

Dr. B.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am wondering if I shouldn't shift Oz over a 10 day period to a very low calorie prescription diet (Science Diet rd is the only one I'm familiar with) to see if it makes a difference. What are your thoughts/recommendations on this?
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

From the point of view that he can have more of the low calorie R/D and still meet his caloric restrictions, I do think its ideal. As well, these diets tend to allow us to bring the volume down over time as we achieve weight loss without ending up feeding tiny meals. Therefore, it is ideal especially if you are finding him hungry or food seeking after you give that via the current diet.

All the best,

Dr. B.


*Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )

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