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Thanks, Dr. Marty!

Posted on February 25th, 2011 by Winston

I have a fat dog. Sophie is a female lab and generally they tend to gain a lot of weight after they are spayed. She also had 6 puppies - I like to say she is still carrying her puppy weight. But sadly, that is not true and it is my fault. So I was wondering what Dr. Marty Goldstein, Oprah and Martha Stewart's vet would suggest. He is into holistic pet care. His website is dr.marty.com. On a whim, I wrote to him to see if he would write back. Thinking he wouldn't being as busy as he is I was very surprised and happy when he did. So below is my email and his answer is below that.

I am working on Sophie but can't get to the vet all the time to weigh her so I measure her girth - she has lost 2" since last month. Not bad, maybe 20 more pounds to go!


To Dr. Marty:

Pet's Issue
5.5 year old female lab with food allergies and over weight. She is now eating Nature's Domain Salmon and sweet
potato but may be too high in calories. It keeps her from scratching and has not had ear infections since I started
her on this food last year. She does not get treats. She can only walk because she is about 25lbs over weight and
it hurts her legs when she runs. We are on budget (I am out of work) so I cannot purchase expensive food. Can I
make a low calorie allergy free meals for her? What  exactly should I put in it? How much and how often to
feed? Thanks so much!


Hi Kristin -
If the Nature's Domain food helps with her allergies, I
would recommend you stay with it for now.  But if she is
gaining weight or has not lost any weight while eating it,
then you *must* reduce the size of her meals by at least 15%
to 20%.  That means you must always measure her meals so
there's no chance that the meal size varies.  You can add
about a 1/2 of a can of green beans to her meals just to add
volume that will help her feel full (like us eating salad,
it's volume without calories).  You *must* eliminate all
treats except maybe a small raw carrot or two per day.  And
you must get her to exercise.  Just as in people, weight
loss comes down to a simple formula: eat less and move more.

If you have a lake to swim her in, that's an excellent form
of exercise that won't hurt her joints.  If you don't have a
place to swim her then begin walking her for 15 minutes at 3
different times during the day so that she ends up with a
combined total of 45 minutes of walking *every* day.  After
10 days of 15 minute walks, increase each of the 3 walking
sessions to 20 minutes each.  After 10 days of three 20
minute walking sessions per day, increase the length of each
walking session by 5 minutes for a total of 25 minutes per
session.  After 10 days at that length increase each of the
3 walking sessions to 30 minutes so the combined total per
day is 90 minutes.  Walking sessions can probably be capped
at 30 minutes each.  And by this time you should be walking
very briskly.  By this point you should see weight loss and
can probably reduce the walking time to 45 to 60 minutes a
day to maintain proper body weight.

If you walk her every day AND you are religious about not
giving her treats and keeping the size of her meals small,
she will lose weight.  Here is a link to a chart that shows
how to evaluate he body shape/size.

If your veterinarian has not checked her thyroid values,
that should be done.  Hypothyroidism can cause a loss of
energy, reduce metabolism and add to weight gain.

I hope some of this is helpful to you!

Dr. Marty


This was on Yahoo today:

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Just like their human masters, a majority of American pets have a weight problem, a study released Thursday says.

In its fourth yearly study of how fat Americans' four-legged furry friends are, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that 53 percent of cats and more than 55 percent of dogs were overweight or obese.

That means there are around 50 million fat cats and 43 million pudgy dogs in the United States.

The study looked at 133 adult cats and 383 dogs.

Nearly a third of the cats were classified by their veterinarians as overweight and nearly 22 percent were deemed to be clinically obese, the study found.

Among the canines observed, 35 percent were found to be overweight and 20.6 percent were obese.

"We?re seeing a greater percentage of obese pets than ever before," said Dr Ernie Ward, founder of APOP.

In 2007, roughly 19 percent of cats and a mere 10 percent of dogs were found in the APOP study to be obese -- defined for the family pet as having a body weight that is 30 percent greater than normal.

"This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease," the same illnesses that afflict obese humans, Ward said.

American cats and dogs are doing slightly better, in obesity terms, than their masters and mistresses, around one in three of whom is obese.


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