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Fat Dog won't lose weight

Q. I have a 2 year old male black lab. When he was 7 months old he was run over by a truck. His liver was macerated, but he recovered.

Since that time he has had a chronic weight problem. We even have him on "light" dog food (Science Diet-light-adult, 3-4 cups/day) to no avail. He will not lose weight.

He gets regular exercise. We live out in the country and he runs up and down hills with our two Jack Russell's. What shall we do?

A. Obesity in pets in now an epidemic like it is in people in the U.S. Labradors are a high risk breed because of their metabolisms.

First have your veterinarian evaluate body condition score and determine a weight loss goal. Second, ask your veterinarian about any residual damage your dog's skeleton may have suffered in the accident that could cause pain, arthritis or reluctance to move around. The liver should not be a problem with this at this point.

Next measure the amount of food accurately with a measuring cup at each meal. Don't forget about the snacks. A medium milk bone is close to the calorie count for an Oreo cookie!

Eliminate all treats and use carrots (cooked or raw) or cooked green beans or 2-3 pieces of dry cereal in its place. Finally reduce the amount of light food by 10-20%. You may substitute the beans or carrots for the food.

Eliminate all other accidental sources of calories like leftovers, table scraps, cat food and the other dogs' bowls. Re-check your dog's weight at the vet's office at least once a week to monitor your progress.

Your dog's calorie requirements may be as low as 21/2 cups per day! Since your dog gets lots of exercise outdoors you shouldn't need to do much more than a daily 10 minute walk. GOOD LUCK!

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