Formulation may play a significant role in deciding if an overweight pet feels full after eating weight-loss dog or cat food, veterinary scientist Alex Wilson, PhD, of the University of Liverpool, told Petfood Industry. Manufacturers can adjust the formulation of weight-loss pet foods using Wilson’s recently published research results.
“I think the main take-home message from the study is that a diet based on high fiber and high protein seems to have the best effect in limiting voluntary food intake in dogs and cats,” said Wilson, co-author of the study published in. “It is common for obese dogs and cats to become hungry during a weight loss regime, and this typically leads to increased ‘food-seeking’ behavior. This can be problematic for owners because they find it difficult to avoid giving extra treats and table scraps, and this can then derail the whole process.”
Weight-loss pet food study design
Wilson’s team compared two commercial weight-loss dog foods and two weight-control cat foods, all of which varied in protein, fat, fiber and energy content. The first dog food, Royal Canin Satiety Weight Management Canine, was higher in protein and fiber than the second, Hill’s Prescription Diet Canine Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution. One portion of the research examined how much of the foods the animals ate, referred to as voluntary food intake, another portion looked at palatability of those weight-control pet foods.
Dogs ate significantly less of the Royal Canin diet, by energy level, but the weight of food eaten was similar. There was no difference in the palatability results between the two diets.
For cats, the difference in energy intake between the two diets was smaller, although the cats did consume less of the first diet. The weight eaten was also similar.
The journal BMC Veterinary Research published the study “Comparison of voluntary food intake and palatability of commercial weight loss diets in healthy dogs and cats.”