Effect of Feeding a Weight Loss Food Beyond a Caloric Restriction Period on Body Composition and Resistance to Weight Gain in Dogs

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2015 Aug 15;247(4):375-84. doi: 10.2460/javma.247.4.375.


Objective: To determine the effect of feeding a food with coconut oil and supplemental L-carnitine, lipoic acid, lysine, leucine, and fiber on weight loss and maintenance in dogs.

Design: Prospective clinical study.

Animals: 50 overweight dogs.

Procedures: The study consisted of 2 trials. During trial 1, 30 dogs were allocated to 3 groups (10 dogs/group) to be fed a dry maintenance dog food to maintain body weight (group 1) or a dry test food at the same amount on a mass (group 2) or energy (group 3) basis as group 1. During trial 2, each of 20 dogs was fed the test food and caloric intake was adjusted to maintain a weight loss rate of 1% to 2%/wk (weight loss phase). Next, each dog was fed the test food in an amount calculated to maintain the body weight achieved at the end of the weight loss phase (weight maintenance phase). Dogs were weighed and underwent dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry monthly. Metabolomic data were determined before (baseline) and after each phase.

Results: During trial 1, dogs in groups 2 and 3 lost significantly more weight than did those in group 1. During trial 2, dogs lost a significant amount of body weight and fat mass but retained lean body mass (LBM) during the weight loss phase and continued to lose body fat but gained LBM during the weight maintenance phase. Evaluation of metabolomic data suggested that fat metabolism and LBM retention were improved from baseline for dogs fed the test food.

Conclusions and clinical relevance: Results suggested that feeding overweight dogs the test food caused weight loss and improvements in body condition during the weight-maintenance phase, possibly because the food composition improved energy metabolism.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon / veterinary
  • Animal Feed*
  • Animals
  • Body Composition
  • Coconut Oil
  • Diet, Reducing / veterinary*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dog Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Male
  • Obesity, Morbid / diet therapy
  • Obesity, Morbid / veterinary*
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Gain


  • Plant Oils
  • Coconut Oil