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December Ask the Vet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about weight loss for pets.

Q: My cat is overweight but very active, and when I asked my vet what to do, he just recommended giving her less food, so I now feed her 2/3 of a 5-oz can (Wellness canned food) per day. She is still the same weight after I cut back (from 1 full can a day), and she is now meowing more and visibly hungry, hanging out in the kitchen all the time begging for more food. I’m worried that she’s not getting enough food, and I’m surprised she hasn’t lost any weight. What should I do to help her lose weight? She does get exercise and that doesn’t seem to affect the weight either. Could it be a thyroid issue or some other medical concern?

A: To first determine how much weight your cat needs to lose – measure her body weight or body condition.  To start a weight loss and control program an accurate body weight must be recorded.  Weigh the cat frequently.  Visual inspection/estimation of body weight is not enough because it is inaccurate and not repeatable.  I would recommend purchasing a small animal or pediatric scale to weigh your pet regularly.

Feeding one 5.5 ounce can per day of Wellness food provides about 200 kcal of energy per day (depending on recipe).  When you lowered the amount offered to 2/3 can per day, it decreases the caloric intake to 133 kcal per day.  That is 66% of the original calorie intake and will result in weight reduction.  It is a substantial decrease in amount of food offered and is expected to trigger some hunger behavior.


Get an accurate body weight and body condition score during a veterinary exam; rule out any medical problems.  Then, plan on feeding the amount of calories daily to promote weight loss.  Start at offering about 66% original caloric intake—about 2/3 cans per day.  Feed at least two meals per day—no treats, plenty of water.  Maintain the elevated exercise level you describe.  Weigh the cat twice weekly; on Tuesday and Saturday and record the results in a notebook.

In this case, the diet I would recommend is Wellness® CORE® Salmon, Whitefish and Herring Canned Food Recipe because of its high protein and lower fat content.   It helps maintain lean body mass and may contribute to “that feeling of fullness.”   It has 192 calories per 5.5 ounce can— so feed about ¾ can per day. Adjust the amount fed to your cat based on actual results and desired body weight loss.

Q: My dog needs to lose 4 lbs. She is a miniature Pincher Dachshund and she weighs 14 lbs and is just beginning to have a little tummy. I only feed her 1/2 cup of kibble in the morning and 1/2 cup at night but she is not loosing weight. I cannot get her to run and chase a ball, but I do take her to the park and walk her. Maybe I should walk her more?

A: I would recommend that you decrease the amount you are feeding and increase the level of physical activity to help your dog reach an ideal body weight. Try offering 1/3 cup of dry Wellness SuperMix® Small Breed Adult Health Recipe Dry Dog Food in two meals;  with one feeding in the morning and one at night.  A total of 2/3 cups per day or 280 kcal. While feeding this diet, it is important that you offer your dog no table food or treats. You can feed some raw fruits and vegetables as a snack to mix things up a bit. To measure your dog’s progress on this weight loss plan, weigh the dog twice weekly; Tuesday and Saturday and record the results. As far as physical activity is concerned, I recommend walks of at least 30 minutes by leash.  Feel free to adjust the amount you feed based on results you are seeing, and desired weight loss.

Holiday Safety Tips for Pets

WLNS_SnowflakeGraphic21. The Holiday Tree
A holiday tree can look more like a playground than a holiday decoration to a curious cat. To keep pets safe, be sure to anchor your holiday tree well so it doesn’t tip and fall.

2. Decorative Dangers
Pets may think tinsel and ornaments are toys – but when ingested, these holiday decorations can obstruct the digestive tract, causing serious health concerns. Ornaments and tinsel should be kept out of your pet’s reach at all times.

3. Gift Safety
Avoid giving pets toys that can be chewed into pieces. There is always the risk of pieces of a chewed toy becoming lodged in a pet’s esophagus or digestive tract. Although cats love yarn and ribbon, the long fibers can also cause intestinal blockages. When giving gifts to furry family members, it’s best to stick to safer toys (like kongs and balls) and healthy treats (such as Wellness® WellBites® for dogs or Pure Delights® for cats) instead.

4. Festive Plants
Some holiday plants, when ingested, can cause health problems for pets. Avoid decorative plants such as holly, mistletoe, poinsettias and lilies – which can be the most dangerous. Even pine needles, when ingested, can wreck havoc in your pet’s intestines – so keep your pet away from fallen needles.

5. Human Food
Holiday foods, including fatty meats (especially roasts with bones), gravy, spicy foods, sweets and chocolate should all be kept far away from pets. Make sure to keep your pets away from the holiday table and unattended plates of food.

6. Holiday Beverages
Alcoholic beverages are dangerous when ingested by pets and should never be left on tables that are within your pet’s reach.

7. Holiday Lighting
Don’t leave lighted candles unattended. Be sure candles are placed on a stable surface and always put the flames out prior to leaving a room.

8. Reduce Stresses
The excitement of the holiday season can be stressful for pets, triggering possible illness and intestinal upset. If you’re hosting any holiday parties, make sure pets have a safe place to retreat in your house. And make sure they are wearing current I.D. in case they escape out a door when guests come and go.

9. Tree Water
Standing/stagnant tree water can grow bacteria (making it unsafe for pets to drink) – so it’s best to keep your pet away from the trees so they are not tempted to sip the water.

10. Poison Control
If you believe that your pet might have eaten something toxic, call your veterinarian and Animal Poison Control Center immediately.

January Ask the Vet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about a cat with food allergies and keeping a dog’s coat shiny.

Q: I have a 5 year old cat with food allergies. She can’t have food with many grains and is allergic to chicken. Does Wellness have a type of food that she would be able to eat?

A: Working with your vet you have identified a sensitivity in your cat to feeding diets that contain chicken as a primary animal protein source and a long list of grains. For long term maintenance you want to identify Wellness feline diets that avoid chicken and turkey protein sources and limit grain ingredients. The Wellness canned diets of choice would be: Wellness CORE® grain free Salmon, Whitefish, and Herring Recipe, and Complete Health Beef and Salmon Recipe canned cat food.

The Beef and Salmon Canned Recipe has salmon and beef as primary protein sources, and contains no grains. Some carbohydrate is contributed by sweet potato, flax, and vegetables. A 3 ounce can contain 107 kilocalories of energy.

CORE Salmon, Whitefish and Herring Canned Recipe is also 100% poultry and grain free. In addition to fish; potato, cranberry, flax, and chicory root extract are included at low levels.

A 5.5 ounce can contain 192 kilocalories of energy.

Q: We love Wellness products! We have a 140 lb Bullmastiff that has suffered from chronic ear infections and skin issues. Wellness CORE is the food that keeps these issues at bay. I was wondering how I could bring more sheen to his coat. Will supplementing the dry CORE with wet food help give him get a shinier coat?

A: CORE is a natural, grain free pet food that is protein focused. Wellness CORE Original Recipe dry dog food is a chicken and turkey based protein source diet with potato as a carbohydrate source; canola oil and salmon oil for fat sources; and some tomato pomace for added dietary fiber. Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe dry dog food is a fish based protein diet with potato as the carbohydrate source; canola oil for a fat source, and a mix of pea fiber and tomato pomace as a source of dietary fiber. Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish, & Herring Recipe is a canned food that is fish protein based, with some sweet potato and flax, fruits and vegetables; and chicken fat and salmon oil added.

Wellness CORE Original is about 421 kilocalories per cup and Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe is about 417 kilocalories per cup; Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Recipe canned dog food is about 220 calories per 6 ounce can.

Assume you are currently feeding about 5 cups per day of Wellness CORE Original (2.5 cups in the morning and 2.5 cup in the evening); about 2100 kcal of energy per day; and you want to bring out more sheen in the coat. Some changes you may try:

Plan #1:

– Morning feeding- 2 cups Wellness CORE Original dry dog food and 1x 6 ounce can of Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Recipe canned dog food.

– Repeat same as above for afternoon feeding.

Plan #2:

– Replace half the volume (cups) of Wellness CORE Original dry dog food you are currently offering daily with an equal volume of Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe dry dog food for dogs at each meal. That is 1.25 cups of each brand of dry food in the morning and 1.25 cups of each dry food in the evening. A total of 5 cups per day.

In both plan #1 and #2; we are manipulating the amounts and/or ratios of the fatty acids (omega 6 and omega 3) in the total daily diet for the dog. Monitor in a diary the results you see in skin condition, body weight, and stool volume and consistency.