June 15, 2008 "Ask Seth"

I have a 9-year old Shetland Collie and he's FAT! I have tried to cut down on his breakfast, dinner and snacks, but nothing works! He weighs 32 pounds. Is there a dog food that can help?

Dear Seth,

Hi! I have a Shetland Collie, he’s 9 years old and he's FAT! I have tried to cut down on his breakfast and dinner and his snacks, BUT nothing seems to work! He weighs 32 pounds! Is there a dog food that can HELP! I try to exercise him but I can't walk very far for too long. My legs are too weak. Hope You Can HELP!



Hopefully this is what you are looking for.  First and foremost you need to speak with your veterinarian your concerns with his weight.  The vet can do an exam and make sure that his weight issue is not due to an underlying condition such as hypothyroidism.  Hypothyroidism is common in middle aged and older dogs and occurs when there are insufficient levels of thyroid hormone.  The thyroid controls metabolism, so lack of sufficient productions leads to the following symptoms:  decreased stamina, increased lethargy, weight increase, dry coat and skin, hair loss, recurrent skin infections, and increased appetite and thirst. If he is hypothyroid, your vet will give you oral medication to counteract this problem.  Overweight dogs can have increased risk for diabetes, joint problems, heart disease and other complications.

Then you can speak with your vet about the nutritional requirements of your dog.   Because these requirements are formulated with the ideal weight in mind, he will get enough nutrition yet still may appear hungry.  There are a couple of diet foods on the market.  The best ones are the prescription diets that are available through the veterinary office.  These are from major companies that have put in the time and research on the effectiveness of their product, not just cut the calories.  In addition to all of these, exercise will be a essential to productive weight loss.  I know your knees are bad, but maybe there is a dog walking service in the area that can help you out.   High school students are always looking to make a few extra bucks!
Lastly, The FDA has recently approved a weight loss drug for dogs called Slentrol.  Slentrol (dirlotapide) claims to decrease appetite and fat absorption.  There are some possible serious side effects including vomiting, diarrhea and lethargy.  This is recommended along with dieting and exercise. 
Bottom-line, your Vet knows what will be best for your dog.  Utilize them!

Seth Mayersohn, CVT


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