Obesity in dogs is a common problem: up to 20% to 40% of dogs exceed their optimum weight by 15%. Obesity is more prevalent in dogs owned by overweight, middle-aged, or older owners. Obesity can aggravate or directly cause many medical conditions, including difficulties in ambulation, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus. The 3 most common ways to assess obesity include body weight, body condition scores, and body composition. Although there are sophisticated diagnostic tests (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry), monitoring of body weight and body condition scoring are most commonly used in practice. The first obstacle to weight management in dogs is often having the owner recognize and admit that the pet is overweight. The next step is to design a weight management program for dogs. Traditionally, this has been simple: increase exercise and decrease calories with the goal of losing 1% to 2% of body weight per week over a 12- to 18-week period. However, if weight loss is not noticeable, owners often become frustrated and may be unable to maintain the program for a variety of reasons, including worry about the dog "not eating" and guilt about the dog "being hungry" and "not liking the food." Control of appetite and food intake is complex and involves local tissue hormones and circulating hormones. Information on medical management of obesity stems from studies or drugs used in humans and is difficult to extrapolate to veterinary medicine. Dirlotapide, a microsomal triglyceride transport protein inhibitor, in conjunction with an appropriate weight loss diet and exercise, may increase the likelihood of successful treatment of obese dogs. Study by Pfizer LTD

COMMENTARY: Management of obesity in pets is complicated, not only from a physiological aspect, but also from a psychological one. It has been noted that many obese pets have obese owners, so even bringing up the subject of weight management may be difficult. Owners may also be easily discouraged and frustrated with efforts to reduce the weight of their pets. Having a product like dirlotapide may be helpful because owners can see success and may be more likely to comply with dietary restriction and increased exercise programs in the future for long term success.

Canine obesity-An overview. Gossellin L, Wren JA, Sunderland SJ. J VET PHARMACOL THER 30:1-10, 2007.