How Dogs End Up Overweight

“Hey Doc, ever heard of this stuff?”

“Yes, why do you need that?”

“My wife bought it thinking it will stimulate my dog’s appetite.”

“There’s nothing wrong with her appetite. She stopped growing, so she eats only 25% of the calories that she needed three months ago.
We can do an experiment. Check out this link.

You will find that her body condition score is a four
Or even a BCS4 plus
I have not seen her recently, but I know this to be true, because if she was at all underweight, she would eat very very well.
In other words she’s as heavy as she needs to get. And their appetite falls off dramatically.
They will only eat for taste and NOT need at that point, and get fat. If the food isn’t dressed with gravy, they won’t eat much of it because they don’t need it.

The following will never happen with you, but it has happened before:

Eventually, they get so fat, their body goes into Leptin-emergency mode, and then they’ll only eat if you put whip cream, syrup, skittles, and bacon on their food.

She’s a body condition score 4, maybe even a 4+. I haven’t even seen her, and I *know* this because if she was even one pound underweight, she would inhale plain dry food.”

====Text #2====

This dog, literally will not eat anything unless it tastes amazing. I’m talking, stroganoff or ice cream. And the owner defends its weight by saying “it hardly eats anything“

And of course it doesn’t. How many calories does that thing NEED? Zero… Zero cal for probably the next two weeks. And if it got beef stroganoff, and garlic bread for dinner today, why on earth would it eat a dry dog food tomorrow?
Nope. That ^ dog is doomed.

He asked: “How can I get his weight down if it won’t a diet food?”

Answer: “By feeding the diet food. And watch as he doesn’t eat again until it actually NEEDS to. Which could be a week.”

“No doc, you got it wrong. He is *starving* to death. Not for DRY food, no, that’ll sit for days….but yes for potato chips and bacon. He won’t leave me alone if I have those things. He’s surely starving to death.”

“He’s not. He’s literally addicted to salt, fat, and sugar. There were studies they were done in a darker time of human history (1945) where they found out that the dog could live for 30 to 45 days without eating a bite. It’s actually unharmed going without food for 30 days. But between day 30, and day 45 it consumes organs, smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and brain fat.”

“She has been getting 2/3 cup am and pm and 1/3 cup at noon. Change that?”

If you feed her 2/3 of a cup in the morning and 1/3 of a cup in the afternoon, that’s a cup a day.
That’s enough for a 30 pound dog unless she’s getting a shi_ ton of treats.
I am guessing that she gets kind of a lot of treats, and that her weight is actually very good. And that the one cup of food total per day is plenty, leaving her appetite for the dry-food-served-dry, just about right.
You may have hit the golden note of weight maintenance!
Don’t jack it up by “getting her to eat.”
It sounds like she’s doing well. Do you wanna send me a picture of her waist line as she standing. I’ll bet it tapers nicely.

Dr Erik Johnson is a Marietta, Georgia Veterinarian with a practice in small animal medicine. He graduated from University of Georgia with his Doctorate in 1991. Dr Johnson is the author of several texts on Koi and Pond Fish Health and Disease as well as numerous articles on dog and cat health topics.