The Revision Guide for Student Nurses (Part I)

Weight Reduction Programme - Practical Task


Obesity is a problem commonly encountered in veterinary practice. It is important to stress to clients that overweight pets tend to encounter more clinical problems than pets at their optimum weights. Obesity represents a serious risk factor to anaesthesia. It may be detrimental to the cardiac, respiratory and skeletal systems and is therefore a condition which should be resolved.

    1. Establish that the animal is obese. An obese patient is classified as such when its body weight exceeds the optimal weight by 15%.
    2. Advise the owner that a diet is definitely in the pet's best interest and will decrease the likelihood of related illness, in addition to promoting longevity.
    3. First it is necessary to work out the animal's RESTING ENERGY REQUIREMENT (RER). This is the energy required by an animal at rest in a warm environment in order to digest food and maintain body temperature.
      RER (Kcal) = 70 + (30 x Body Weight in Kg)
    4. Now calculate the METABOLIC ENERGY REQUIREMENT (MER). This is the daily energy intake required.
      Cats' MER = RER x 1.4
      Dogs' MER = RER x 2
    5. Next the daily energy intake required is calculated.
      Calories Required per Day = MER x 60 to 70%
    6. Having established the daily calorie requirement, obtain the energy density of the diet. This is frequently shown in Kilojoules (KJ); to convert calories into KJ multiply by 4.184.
    7. Now work out the daily food requirement.
      Daily Food Requirement = Daily Energy Intake divided by Energy Density.
    8. Finally, divide the daily food requirement into the desired number of feeds per day.

Helpful Hints For Pets On Diets

  • Proprietary diet foods contain more carbohydrate and less water; therefore the pet is more likely to feel satisfied.
  • Feed small frequent meals rather than one large meal; this keeps seratonin levels up and also prevents hunger.
  • The pet should be weighed fortnightly - ideally at the practice.
  • As with human diets - cut out snacks and increase exercise.

Diets for pets should be carried out under veterinary supervision.