We’re coming up on almost a month now of Koa’s Weight Loss Diaries. Time flies when you’re enjoying life!
She has lost another half pound on Nulo this week. Not bad for a dog on a ‘diet’!
If you’ve ever put a pet on a prescription weight loss food, you are probably familiar with the drill. Yes, they get a decent amount of food, but the ingredient list leaves something to be desired. I was actually unable to put Mulan on any of the prescription diets because of her food allergy issues.
Truth is, while there is a rationale behind those diets, they aren’t the only way to get to the goal. Calories in has to be less than calories out, for dogs, for humans, you name it, we all struggle with the same basic tenets of weight management. The biggest problem people seem to have with using regular (ie, non diet foods) for weight loss in dogs is the common complaint that “my dog is starving. STARVING, I say.”
Well shoot, I’ve gone through the dieting stuff, and I know how crabby being hungry makes me. I am sure it is the same for pets.
So how do you keep a dog* on a restricted calorie diet without making them climb the walls?
1. You can add filler to make them full. Those can be good quality fillers- things like green beans, carrots, and the like; or poor quality fillers, like sawdust, feathers, or some of the other things that may or may not wind up in pet food.
2. You compose your food carefully with thought to ideal protein, fat, and carbohydrate ratios. You can choose carbohydrate sources with a lower glycemic index to make a pet more sated. There is a great deal of interest in this aspect of commercial food composition, with the same theories about insulin response in people thought to parallel that in canines.
Limiting the diet issue to calories alone would be missing a huge piece of the puzzle- equally important as calories per cup is the quality and composition of those calories.
Note that these are the same principles that apply to us. Nothing new here. Just like I could theoretically lose weight by eating my daily calorie allotment entirely composed of Twinkies and Slim Jims, I’m going to make it a lot tougher on myself than if I stuck to lean protein and vegetables.
Exercise helps too. Being a labrador, Koa is genetically obligated to enjoy swimming.
Watching the two of them gliding along puts me in mind of a seal and an otter sliding through the water.
So the point here is, Koa has been losing weight slowly but steadily since coming home with me, and continues to do so on Nulo. She has not been on any ‘diet’ foods, but she has been on controlled intake of high quality foods. It is working.
And she is not STARVING. When the bag of Goldfish mysteriously disappears off the counter, it’s not Koa who comes running around the corner with crumbs on her whiskers. She is happy, loves her food, and isn’t exhibiting the desperation of one whose body is screaming for more sustenance. I’m happy that she is getting healthier and isn’t dumpster diving.
And guess what? She likes cucumbers.
Anyone else have dog weight loss successes? Were prescription diets what did the trick for you (and for a lot of dogs it is!) or do you have some other process that lead to your goal?
*I’m limiting this particular discussion to dogs here. Cats are so different with their metabolic needs that I think they really entail an entirely different discussion.