Low-maintenance energy requirements of obese dogs after weight loss

Br J Nutr. 2011 Oct;106 Suppl 1:S93-6. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511000584.


Weight rebound after successful weight loss is a well-known phenomenon in humans and dogs, possibly due to the fact that energy restriction improves metabolic efficiency, reducing post-weight-loss maintenance energy requirements (MER). The aim of the present study was to estimate post-weight-loss MER in obese pet dogs that had successfully lost weight and did not subsequently rebound. A total of twenty-four obese dogs, successfully completing a weight management programme at the Royal Canin Weight Management Clinic, University of Liverpool (Wirral, UK), were included. In all dogs, a period of >14 d of stable weight ( < 1 % change) was identified post-weight loss, when food intake was constant and activity levels were stable (assessed via owners' diary records). Post-weight-loss MER was indirectly estimated by determining dietary energy consumption during this stable weight period. Multivariable linear regression was used to identify factors that were associated with post-weight-loss MER. The mean length of stable weight after weight loss was 54 (SD 34.1) d. During this time, MER was 285 (SD 54.8) kJ/kg(0.75) per d. The rate of prior weight loss and food intake during the weight-loss phase was positively associated with post-weight-loss MER, while the amount of lean tissue lost was negatively associated with post-weight-loss MER. MER are low after weight loss in obese pet dogs (typically only 10 % more than required during weight-loss MER), which has implications for what should constitute the optimal diet during this period. Preserving lean tissue during weight loss may maximise post-weight-loss MER and help prevent rebound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Dog Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Male
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / veterinary*
  • Weight Loss / physiology*