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Weight Loss and Energy Gain for Old Dog

by Kevin
(San Diego, CA)

Hello! Meet Ollie, the old mutt, with an estimated age of 10-11 years old. He weighs 63 pounds and can stand to lose about 5-10 pounds.

He is a very low energy dog. Most mornings he does not want to go on his walks, and it's not until about 5 PM each day that he really wakes up and is interested in going out and exploring. I believe he has very low metabolism due to his inactivity.

I have tried multiple dog foods: Science Diet Adult Longevity, Hill Prescription J/D, Wellness Core Weight Management, and now he's eating Orijen Senior.

I only give him about 700 calories a day, and does not seem overly hungry, but as mentioned, he's also very inactive. I have considered feeding him more, which I think might increase his energy but also add to his weight.

It's kind of a Catch-22, he doesn't eat a whole lot because I want him to lose weight but I can't get him to exercise to get the weight to come off because he is always so tired.

He does have joint / arthritic issues, and for that he is on Dasuquin, fish oil, and Deramaxx. I feel that his inactivity is due more to his low energy levels than his arthritis.

The vet looked at all his blood levels, checked his thyroid, and everything seems to be fine there. Oh, also, he used to wag his tail all the time, but now he never does.

My question is, how I can get him to lose weight and increase energy so he can enjoy his remaining days?

Comments for Weight Loss and Energy Gain for Old Dog

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Aug 04, 2014
My Online Vet Response for: Weight Loss and Energy Gain for Old Dog
by: Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

August 4, 2014

Hi Kevin,
You are correct, it does look like Ollie could lose 10 lbs. If he is supposed to weigh about 50-53 lbs, then 700 calories is VERY restrictive. According to my chart, a 50 lb dog can have 800 calories for the day.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Diet--Feed the canned Orijen dog food, and feed Ollie 350-400 calories TWO meals daily. If the quantity is not very much, you can actually add in 1 cup of green beans, which only add 20 calories, to make up the difference. He is allowed one tartar chew treat after each meal. (and make sure the calories from the treat are included in his daily intake.)

2. Supplements--You mentioned that his blood work was normal, including the thyroid levels. I suggest you add in the glandular supplement called, Thytrophin. It is made by Standard Process. One tablet in his food TWO times daily. This product does NOT contain any thyroid hormone, it only provides the building blocks for support for the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone governs metabolism. He may also need Canine Whole Body support, also made by Standard Process. The dose is according to body weight and is listed on the label.

Both of these products should be available on

3. B-vitamin plus B-12 injections one time per week, for 3-6 weeks. This may help increase his energy.

4. X-rays of his spine/hips to rule out arthritis/bone spurs/calcium deposits, etc. Continue the Dasuquin and other supplements that you are currently supplying.

5. Acupuncture, or chiropractic treatments. Unless the x-rays show that chiropractic might be contra-indicated.

Click here to find a holistic veterinarian in your area. Another resource for vets knowledgeable in homeopathy is

6. Exercise-slow walks two times daily. Only for a short distance at first, but hopefully as he starts to lose a few pounds, he will gain more energy and stamina and will be able to go faster and have more stamina.

I am not sure if this lethargic behavior started after a vaccination or not. In any event, I do NOT advise any vaccinations for Ollie at all. A holistic veterinarian can write an exemption form for you.

Please keep us posted by coming back to this page and clicking the 'click here to add your own comments' link below.

Take care,
Dr. Carol Jean Tillman

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DISCLAIMER: The above should never replace the advice of your local veterinarian, as they have the ability to evaluate your dog in person.

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