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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.

8 Responses to “December Ask the Vet”

  1. Alice Sharpe says:

    I have a Birman kitten that will be 7 months old on the 15th of January. I am feeding her 1/3 can 3 times a day along with dry food in her bowl all the time. These are the directions from the breeder. Should I be giving her more can food as she gets older?

  2. Rebecca says:

    My cat is a neutered cat (15 years old). When he was 1.5 & 4 years old, he had urinary tract problems (twice). The urinary tract problem was quite serious the first time; and he had a relapse when he was 4 years old. Thereafter, I was very careful with his diet and since then he has been okay. My vet recommended my cat on a low PH diet and he had been on the diet – dry/wet food (Royal Canin vet formula) most of his life until a year plus ago a different vet said my cat should be on senior diet (Royal Canin vet formula matured 7-10 yrs old) instead. Lately, I have concerns with my cat’s health and wanted to put my cat on a healthier diet. I heard about Wellness and would like to switch to this brand. Can you recommend me which food is suitable for my cat? My cat recently had a few seizure attacks (4 times within 15 months with the first one more severe. The last 2 was a very mild attack), vet suspected it maybe neuro/brain related but this can only be confirmed by seeing a neuro specialist and MRI. I don’t think I will bring him to run a MRI, however I will observe his condition and put him on a better food diet for now. Hope you can give me some suggestions.

  3. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for the great post.

    I’ve been feeding my cat (and he LOVES it) Wellness® CORE® Salmon, Whitefish and Herring Canned Food Recipe. Then, suddenly I thought about the mercury content in farmed salmon (I don’t eat farmed salmon, only wild Alaskan). Fearing I’ve been feeding a toxic diet to my cat, I stopped cold-turkey feeding this recipe.

    Can you tell us, is the salmon in Wellness® CORE® Salmon, Whitefish and Herring Canned Food Recipe farmed?

    Thank you.

  4. Juley Hull says:

    Dr. Moser,

    I read this month’s newsletter about the kitty who needs to lose weight, & it brings up wistful memories of a beloved, departed kitty who had a weight problem & how I feel I mistakenly underfed him. Pangs o guilt come flooding back. I will never make that mistake again.

    Although there was nothing wrong with your answer, I wanted to ask if maybe a partially dry food diet might help the kitty feel fuller, the fiber & te nibbling possibly satisying the kitty’s craving for more food? Of course every cat is different, & I know some pet owners believe a 100% wet food diet is best for their cats.

    I like to give both foods, feeling that perhaps dry food is better for their teeth. My vet did say that older cats heading toward renal failure do better on an all wet food diet.

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  6. Judi says:

    I have a german shepherd and he is sensitive to everything lately. He has been on wellness since he was a pup, we used to have him on the chicken but found he was better on the lamb. He always goes through periods of digestive problems, I don’t give him any treats anymore because I never know if he well get diarrhea from them. It is quite frustrating and vet had him on pills in august and then for no real reason started problems again in november and I have him on baby rice and hamburg now to settle his intestines down and I don’t know what he is having a problem with. I don’t know if I should try him on the wellness sensitive Simply. I raised shepherds years ago and never had problems with them, they ate waynes, purina puppy chow and lived long healthy lives. This one is driving us crazy with his sensitivity. Any suggestions ??

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