If treats are not included in the plan, they most likely will still be provided, but not accounted for, making appropriate
adjustments in caloric intake more difficult.
Incomplete and unbalanced treats should be limited to 10 percent of caloric intake to prevent deficiencies from developing.
Excellent low-calorie human foods that can be used as treats are baby carrots, air-popped popcorn and unflavored rice cakes.
Even high fat treats can be used, but careful instructions on the limited amount that can be fed must be given to the client
(this also allows you to educate the client on energy density differences between foodstuffs.)
Exclusively relying on calorie restriction may not be the best means of achieving weight loss. Caloric restriction, coupled
with exercise, has the benefit of increasing the patient's metabolic rate and assisting with lean body mass maintenance. In
addition, exercise provides an alternative method of reinforcing the human-animal bond that does not rely on treats or meal
Exercise can be instituted by simply increasing/creating play time(s) or taking the pet on walks.
Weight Maintenance Following Weight Loss
It is important that once a patient successfully completes a weight loss plan that they also successfully maintain their new
weight. Care should be taken when the patient is weaned onto a new diet and a new caloric intake.
Numerous weight management diets are available over-the-counter. These diets fall into two categories: "light", "lite" or
"low calorie" and "less calorie", "reduced calorie", "lean", "low fat", "less fat" or "reduced fat". Only the first group
of terms gives information on energy density. The other group of terms does not provide any insight on the energy density
of the diet.
Initially, feeding should start with a slow transition to the new "light" diet over five to seven days at the same number
of calories that the patient was on at the end of the weight loss plan. Slowly the patient's caloric intake is adjusted based
on weigh-ins until the patient has achieved weight stability.
Dr. Delaney is the principal consultant for Davis Veterinary Medical Consulting, P.C., which specializes in nutritional consulting
for the petfood industry. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and is a lecturer in clinical
nutrition at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis.
Disclosure: Owner of Consulting Prof. Corp.