Dog Weight Loss + Dog Diet Product Guide

With the resolutions 2017 initiative still lighting the motivational fire under our feet, we're back with you today to discuss the best dog health products to help address dog weight Loss and dog obesity. We'll also offer up some of our own dog weight loss and dieting product stack recommendations. We hope that this post will help put another dent in the behemoth otherwise known as the American Pet Obesity Crisis.

From our Pet Weight Loss and Diet Optimization Tips post, we all understand the importance of preventing dog obesity and generally how to defeat the issue, but there is an important question that still remains unanswered sufficiently: How to construct my dog's diet so that they can get to a healthy weight?


Dog Dieting 101

Like people, dog dieting from a 30,000 foot view is a fairly straight forward undertaking. If calories consumed are less than calories burned, than your dog will lose weight. Simple right? The truth is it's not so simple.

For starters, how easy is it to know how many calories your dog has burned in a day? There are online pet nutritional calculators that can help you estimate, but unless you know your dog's individual metabolic rate as it applies to their breed, age and lifestyle, online computer assessments can be widely off.

To scientifically help dog owners without expensive testing, The Ohio State University's Veterinary Medical Center developed a simple formula for estimating your dog's base level calorie needs. The assessment is called Resting Energy Requirements (RER) and it's the minimal number of calories your dog must have to perform essential body functions like digestion, respiration, heart functions and brain functions.

Resting Energy Requirements (RER) is calculated by multiplying you dog’s body weight in kilograms raised to the ¾ power by 70. An example of which would be as such: A 10kg (22lb) adult neutered dog of healthy weight needs RER = 70(10kg)^3/4 = 400 Calories per day to serve basic body functions.

Obviously we don't want our dog's on the edge of starvation, so to get a more accurate number for daily calorie needs, the RER is then multiplied by a formulated factor that corresponds appropriately to your dog's lifestyle. For example:

RER Calculation Information Courtesy of the OHio State University

RER Calculation Information Courtesy of the OHio State University

With this basic daily calorie calculation in mind, you can know your dog's daily calorie needs appropriate to their lifestyle and age. The only problem with the Ohio State RER calculation is that it does not properly account for dog breed type, where there are obviously large differences from one breed of dog to the next. Please also note the key difference between lower rates of calorie needs for dogs that are no longer intact, which is based on changes in hormone levels after the spaying or neutering operation has been performed on your pet.

Another dog dieting consideration that must be taken into account are critical dog metabolism and hormonal problems. In the case of dog metabolism and hormonal problems, Modern Pet Living cannot speak to these issues sufficiently as we are not veterinarians. But please note if your dog has suffered from obesity despite all efforts to cure it, there could be issues of metabolism or hormonal problems such as Hypothyroidism and Hyperadrenocorticism (also known as Cushing’s disease). We advise you to take your dog to the vet to make sure one of these is not the underlying issue.


Dog Food Quality

While calories are a fundamental importance of dieting, it's not just about calories. It's about quality dog food and quality nutrient supplementation.

If too many empty calories are fed to your dog without having the right amount of protein, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, your dog’s instinct will be to eat more to obtain these essential nutrients. In this process of making up for lost nutrients, they'll continue to eat as much as given, becoming fatter and fatter. That's not even mentioning the additional health problems that come with malnutrition.

And no you should not go out and buy some overpriced big brand dog food that comes with "fortified x number of nutrients and vitamins". These big brand factory dog foods are laden with unnatural chemical supplements and fortifications that can lead to health problems down the road if consumed regularly.

The big brands also produce dog food at the "Feed-Grade" level, which are dog food products that contain poor quality by-products, like chemicals, fillers and other low quality ingredients unfit for human consumption. In the worse of scenarios these ingredients are composed of ground-up parts of animals deemed by U.S. Department of Agriculture inspectors unfit for human consumption. The flesh of animals who fall into one of the categories of the four D’s—dead, dying, diseased, or disabled—is what often goes into these big brand pet foods.

We advocate that dog owners should only provide their dog's with products that are of (1) single-ingredient and identifiable origin and/or (2) products certified as "Human-Grade", which is defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) as pet food which is ‘edible’, "safe", and "suitable" for human consumption.

With these certified and critical distinctions, it makes it easy for you to understand just exactly what you are providing your dogs. Not only that, with quality foods your dog will be easily satiated and not have a continuous urge to eat and make up for malnutrition, leading to better weight management and a happy dog.


Still confused by all of the dog products on the market? We'll be happy to give a hand.


Best Product Stack For Puppy Dogs

As the Resting Energy Requirements (RER) and daily caloric requirements indicate above, puppies really should not be dieting or withholding calories. They need to eat a lot as they rapidly grow-up! Puppies do still need quality dog food and supplementation though. We recommend the following:

  • The Honest Kitchen "Force" Grain Free Chicken Dog Food: Without a doubt, The Honest Kitchen is one of our favorite brands, and it's easy to see why. All of The Honest Kitchen's ingredients are processed in the USA in a human grade food processing facility. They are non genetically modified and free of any chemicals & preservatives. All meat is hormone and antibiotic free. The Honest Kitchen is also known for producing results, with 74% of their customers reporting better dog well-being"Force" Grain Free Chicken Dog Food is the perfect starter food for picky eaters and dogs who can’t stomach gluten, grains or too many calories in one sitting. Nutritional analysis: 446 Calories Per Dry Cup, 24% Protein, 15% Fat and 6.5% Fiber.

  • Dr. Harvey's Formative Years Herbal Supplement for Puppies: Another great product from a long-time great pet health company. Dr. Harvey’s draws from 30+ years of research and experience creating essential vitamins and supplements to promote optimal wellness for puppies and young dogs. The Formative Years Supplement is a powdered formula that is easily added to food and contains ingredients only from USA, as well as no artificial ingredients of any kind.

  • The Honest Kitchen "Beams" Fish Skin Chew Dog Treat: A single origin dried catfish treat, made only from wild Icelandic catfish. The chewy catfish treats are a solid source of lean protein and Omega 3s and only contain 26 calories per chew!


Best Product Stack For Adult Dogs

There's no excuse for not helping your dog. What's not fixed now will come back later as a complicated disease or disorder when your dog is a senior. Your adult dog should be a lean mean machine that's at their ideal body weight. Here are the products to help:


Best Product Stack For Senior Dogs

It's never too late to help your dog get to their ideal weight. In fact, we'd say it's just as important for senior dogs to lose the weight as it is for adult aged dogs. Heart strain, cardiovascular problems, joint and bone problems and low energy will almost certainly plague your senior if obesity is not curbed effectively. Let's make the golden years your dog's greatest years:

  • The Honest Kitchen "Zeal" Grain-Free Fish Dog Food: Zeal is a high protein, low-calorie, low fat and grain-free dog food recipe made with wild-caught, Marine Stewardship Council certified white fish, and antioxidant-rich produce. It’s an easy-to-digest recipe that's easy on your senior dog. The antioxidant-rich produce and omega 3s fish oils combine to form a superior anti-inflammantory and anti-aging formula of dog food for your senior. Nutritional analysis: 437 Calories Per Dry Cup, 35.5% Protein, 8.5% Fat and 5.8% Fiber.
  • Dr. Harvey's Golden Years Herbal Supplement for Senior Dogs: Dr. Harvey's holistic whole food supplement formula for senior dogs. A powerful powdered supplement formula that combines a number of nutritious whole foods and herbs that have been known to help fight disease and work to increase longevity in your senior dog.

  • The Honest Kitchen "Beams" Fish Skin Chew Dog Treat: A single origin dried catfish treat, made only from wild Icelandic catfish. The chewy catfish treats are a solid source of lean protein and Omega 3s and only contain 26 calories per chew!

Stay the course and BE PATIENT

As long as your dog is continually losing weight–even at very small amount–they are on the right track.

Together we can work to help end the great American Pet Obesity Epidemic.


Disclaimer: The information contained in this Modern Pet Living blog post is provided for general best practices only. It is not intended as nor should be relied upon as medical advice. Rather, it is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a pet owner/site visitor and his/her local veterinarian(s). Before you use any of the information provided in the blog, you should seek the advice of a qualified professional.