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Trouble-shooting stalled weight loss

The occasional weight plateau is a normal part of dog dieting. Plateaus occur due to metabolic changes or fluctuations in calorie balance.

Reductions to your dog’s metabolic rate may occur with caloric restriction causing your dog’s weight to stabilize despite lowered food intake. If this stall in weight loss persists, weight loss can be stimulated by adjusting your dog’s daily calorie allocation.

N.B. Automated calorie adjustments based on your dog’s rate of weight loss are built into your portion plan. Please note these adjustments rely on you maintaining your dog’s fortnightly weight input.

Most cases of stalled weight loss are due to an excess calorie balance caused through increased calorie intake or reduced calorie expenditure.

Use the following checklist to identify whether a change in your dog’s calorie balance has occurred.

Stalled Weight Loss Checklist

  • Has there has been a reduction in your dog’s activity/ exercise output? If this is likely to be ongoing e.g. due to injury, please reach out through your coaching group so we can advise.
  • Have you changed foods during your dog’s diet?
    Remember to re-calculate portion size according to the calorie content of the new food. It can take several days to weeks for dogs to adjust to a new food source, during which time their metabolism and calorie balance can fluctuate.
  • Have you stopped measuring your dog’s meal portions?
    Pet parents are prone to over estimation when serving meals. Even if only by a small margin, an oversupply in calories can significantly add up over the course of a week or two, causing your dog’s weight loss to stall.
  • Has your dog found a new food source?
    For example, fruiting trees/ bin raiding/ other pet’s meals/ kitty litter trays!
  • Has someone else been feeding your dog additional treats? e.g. dog walker, doggy day-care, neighbors, visitors, family/children, partner.
  • Are you properly adhering to your dog’s treat allowance?
    Have you started feeding left-overs or sharing meals in addition to your dog’s daily treat allowance?
  • Have you changed treat type during your dog’s diet and not factored in the new calorie content?
    Treat portion sizes will vary according to individual treat calorie content. Only feed treats with an identified calorie count.
  • Have you introduced supplements or chews and not accounted for the additional calorie intake?
  • Are you feeding unaccountable treats i.e. treats with an unidentified or variable calorie content e.g. bones.
  • Are you topping your dog’s meals to make them more appetising (and forgetting to count the additional calories)?
    e.g. gravy, tinned tuna, oil, yogurt.
  • Have you allowed old habits to repeat?
    e.g. Are you letting your dog lick plates, food containers or clean up dropped food.

A stagnation in weight loss results is frustrating and can cause us to second guess our efforts. Get your dog back on track by investigating which factors are impacting your dog’s diet and then make immediate changes to address them. 

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