1. How does the dog weight loss program work?
2. My dog has a health condition- can my dog participate?
As is the case with human diet programs, The K9 Weight Challenge recommends that all canine participants receive a health check before commencing their dog weight loss program. Restricted calorie diets are unsuitable for some patients with pre-existing health conditions. Our downloadable veterinary description of the program can be provided to your veterinarian for their perusal to determine whether your dog is safe to commence our dog weight loss program.
3. What age does my dog have to be, to participate in the dog weight loss program?
The K9 Weight Challenge is suitable for dogs aged over 1 year of age. (N.B. Giant breed dogs should be older than 18 months). So long as your dog is overweight and is otherwise healthy there is no maximum age limit.
4. How much exercise does the program require?
The K9 Weight Challenge primarily focuses on managing your dog’s caloric intake to promote a healthy weight. Our activity plans are supplementary to this. We have three activity plans to choose from depending on your dog’s age, breed, current fitness and mobility. The programs commence with 2 short activity sessions per day. These gradually increase in intensity to incorporate 2 x 30 minute sessions (of walking, off leash activity and play) per day.
5. Am I required to feed my dog a specified food?
The K9 Weight Challenge does not endorse any one product of dog food. However for best rates of success we encourage our canine participants to be fed a commercialized “diet or light food” or “weight loss” formulation for the entire program. Selection of a suitable diet food for your dog is addressed as part of the pre-challenge preparation.
6. My dog has a disability and cannot exercise – can he join the program?
Yes! Our program is suitable for all levels of mobility. Even if your dog is unable to participate in our activity schedule, canine weight loss can be managed through calorific restriction alone. This is particularly relevant for dogs awaiting surgery pending sufficient weight loss.
We have three activity programs available, suitable for varying breeds and levels of mobility and fitness.
7. Can I have multiple dogs under the same enrollment?
This program relies on accurately calculating the calorific intake for your dog on an individualized basis. When it comes to metabolism and calorific requirements, no two dogs are alike. Our statistics page is set up to record data for one dog only. Multiple statistics and multiple calorie plan pages will require additional enrollments. A 50% discounted rate is provided for additional dogs enrolled under the same owner. Please email us to secure this discount.
8. How much weight can I expect my dog to lose on your program?
The K9 Weight Challenge- dog weight loss program aims for canine participants to achieve 1-3 % body weight loss per week. This is in line with professional veterinary weight loss guidelines.
With strict adherence to our dog weight loss program the follow weight loss figures can be achieved over the course of 12 weeks:
- Starting weight of 50 kg (110 lb) – lose 5.7-15 kg (12.6-33 lb)
- Starting weight of 40 kg (88 lb) – lose 4.1-12.3 kg (9-27 lb)
- Starting weight of 30 kg (66 lb) – lose 3.5-9.2 kg (7.7-20 lb)
- Starting weight of 20 kg (44 lb) – lose 2.4-5.3 kg (5.3-11.7 lb)
- Starting weight of 10 kg (22 lb) – lose 1.3-4.4 kg (2.9-9.7 lb)
- Starting weight of 5 kg (11 lb) – lose 600 g-1.5 kg (1.3-3.3 lb)
9. What happens if my dog does not achieve his target weight during the program?
Depending on your dog’s starting weight and Body Condition Score, it may be unrealistic to achieve their healthy target weight within 12 weeks. For dogs in the morbidly obese and upper obese range it may take up to 6 months or more to achieve their healthy target weight. Your dog will however have started on their weight loss journey and you will have learnt the tools and techniques to continue keeping them on track to reach their healthy target weight.
Our dog weight loss programs teach you how to transition your dog to a suitable maintenance caloric intake once they achieve their target weight. For continued support, guidance and community, you may choose to re-enroll your dog in our ongoing membership option (coming soon).
10. What happens if my dog achieves his target weight before the end of the program?
If your dog is only mildly to moderately overweight, this scenario is possible.
At the K9 Weight Challenge all dogs receive individualized calorie plans which are adjusted on an as-needs basis. Once the healthy target weight is met, a maintenance calorie plan is formulated. This maintenance plan aims to keep your dog at a healthy weight without further weight loss. Your dog’s weight, measurements and statistics will continue to be uploaded until the end of the program and you will continue to receive educational and motivational healthy weight information.
11. How does the program conclude?
At the end of the 12 weeks participants receive a K9 Weight Challenge report card summarizing their weight loss journey.
An invitation to take out ongoing membership will be provided. This is especially valuable for owners whose dogs are yet to achieve their target weight and for owners who would like to receive ongoing support in maintaining their dog’s healthy weight.
12. What happens if I take up the continued membership option?
Many owners enjoy the continued support, motivation and comradery provided by the The K9 Weight Challenge community. This is especially the case for owners whose dogs start out in the obese weight ranges and who may not as yet attained their target weights. Your membership will provide you with ongoing support and calorie planning to help your dog attain their healthy target weight. The statistics from your dog’s first round are retained and built upon. Membership is provided on a month by month basis and can be cancelled any time.
13. What happens if I need to go away or on vacation during the program?
The entire program is accessible from your mobile phone, so if your dog is travelling with you, location should not be an issue. As long as you have sufficient “diet dog food” supplies the program can be successfully completed anywhere.
Should your dog need to go into kenneling or require the services of a pet sitter, we have a downloadable letter for your dog’s carer outlining your dog’s dietary and activity requirements as per the program.
14. Can I provide home cooked meals during the program?
Home cooked meals are acceptable providing you have a complete understanding of the calorie content of the food you prepare. The K9 Weight Challenge – dog weight loss program provides 4 easy diet recipes with suitable calorie and protein contents for dog weight loss purposes. To ensure you feed your dog nutritionally balanced home-prepared meals we recommend the addition of pet vitamin and mineral supplements to all recipes.
15. Can I restrict my dog’s regular dog food, instead of feeding a diet food?
This may be an option if your dog is only slightly overweight. (I.e. Body Condition Score of no greater than 6/9). As long as treats and extras are restricted, weight loss can be achieved by tweaking the quantity of your dog’s mainstay dog food.
However if your dog needs to lose greater than 10% of their starting weight, we strongly advise changing your dog onto a diet formula. This is to avoid nutrient deficiencies. Commercial dog foods contain their nutrients in ratio to their calorie component. So by cutting back on quantity and therefore the calorie content of your dog’s regular food, you will also be cutting back on vital nutrients (i.e. vitamins, minerals, amino acids and trace elements.) Dog diet food is nutrient enriched to ensure adequate nutrient intakes despite the lowered calorie content.
Significant reductions to your dog’s current food portion may also cause issues with increased hunger levels which may reduce compliance with your dog’s weight loss program.
If your dog needs to lose greater than 10% of their starting weight we highly recommend feeding a calorie restricted diet dog food for the duration of this 12 week dog weight loss program.