Diet Pills for Dogs?

ask a vet, dog obesity, is my dog overweight, dog nutritionMost of us now consider pets part of the family and have accepted pets in dresses, winter booties, and many pet owners even home cook our pets’ diets, but has the latest drug from Pfizer crossed the line?

Slentrol is a diet pill for dogs that is now available for the bargain price of a couple bucks a day. It works by a couple ways: 1) reducing the amount of fat that the body can digest, and 2) affecting the cells in the dog’s small intestines to make the dog feel full before they normally would.

As a vet, I fully understand that the pet obesity epidemic is real and on the rise, and that there are sometimes medical causes of obesity that require intervention with a pill of some form, but in those instances, there are actual medical problems that result in obesity, not a too large dog measuring cup or days of endless inactivity spend curled up in front of the fire.

As humans, it takes self-restraint and will-power to lose weight.  Perhaps this pill’s entrance to the veterinary market is proof that it takes self-restraint to make your dog or cat lose weight as well.

I try to be very open-minded regarding new medications and new forms of therapy, of both western and eastern origin, but this “Slentrol” is really rubbing me the wrong way. I’ve yet to prescribe it for a patient, and none of my veterinarian friends have either.

I understand at least  on some level, human diet pills. When I was a freshman in college and eating cookie dough for breakfast and midnight snacks caught up with me, I purchased some Chinese herbal dieter’s tea. Wow, what a mistake! But the point? I was susceptible to wanting an easy solution.

Easy fix?  Yes, please!

As humans, it takes self-restraint and will-power to lose weight. But for pets? We control what goes in their mouths and for a large part, how active they are as well.  How simple is that?  Still, perhaps this pill’s entrance to the veterinary market is proof that it takes self-restraint to make your dog or cat lose weight as well.

ask a vet, overweight pet, dog health symptoms, dog illness

He loves you THIS much, so should he get THIS much food?

One thing I have definitely learned as a veterinarian, when you discuss a pet’s weight with their owner, you must be very cautious. Pet owners tend to get very defensive when the words “overweight” or “obese” are said in the exam room. As a very insightful pet owner explained it to me, people feed their pets as a token of their love, even if that means unhealthy fatty yet scrumptious treats. When it’s pointed out to them that they have let their pet become overweight and unhealthy as a result, it is painful to hear.

But someone must tell them, and that person is the vet. Perhaps with the emergence of doggy diet drugs, more and more people will be willing to accept their pet has a weight problem. While I am not a believer in treating everything with a pill, if it increases pet owners’ awareness that pet obesity is a problem, there’s a plus in my book.

Still, you won’t get a prescription from me.

If you have a question about your pet’s weight or feeding regimen, you can ask a vet to tailor a nutritional plan just for your pet.  You can even upload a current picture so we can evaluate a weight loss (or the occasional weight gain) plan.

Dr. Laci


Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM

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January 1, 2011 at 03:28

Great job! The Internet has revolutionized a patient’s ability to research his/her own health problems and independently discover the available options of treatment.

January 3, 2011 at 06:24

Diet fads are pretty pointless but if you really start focusing on a quality diet that will help you be healthier in general then you can expect to see significant results.

January 4, 2011 at 11:38

Agreed. Fads come and go because they don’t work or aren’t sustainable. Thanks for commenting!