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I am not a veterinarian or nutritionist.  If you are concerned about your dog's health, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Studies Show that Prebiotics May Help Dogs Lose Weight
Julie Austin Photography

Two of my dogs are at a healthy weight. Rodrigo fluctuates between 64 and 65 pounds. Scout fluctuates between 82 and 83 pounds. They have a nice waist and tuck, they are very active, and it's easy to keep them at a healthy weight.

My girls, on the other hand, are complicated.

Sydney weighs 82 pounds – I want to get her down to 75 pounds. Zoey weighs 73 pounds – I want to get her down to 68 pounds. And this is just to start. I see progress. Thanks to the exercise, I can see some muscle definition building, I can see a waist appearing, and I'm slowly seeing the tuck returning. But I do not see weight loss.

So I'm starting to wonder if I'm doing something wrong with their diet.

Proteins I'm Feeding My Dogs

My dogs eat a variety of proteins and currently, the following are on the menu.  I've been feeding my girls more tripe because I thought it was a low-calorie food; after looking it up, I found that my assumption is correct.  The following calories are taken from the USDA database, the SELFNutritionalData website (for the green tripe), and the Darwin's Pet website (for the lamb):

My dogs were eating a diet high in duck, but that changed when I found a quality source for quail (slightly lower in calories) and rabbit.  I also stocked up on green tripe last year and have another order coming in next month.  So it's not the meat.

But, to be honest, do the calories in meat count?  From what I've read, protein calories break down into amino acids, not energy.

Vegetables I Feed to My Dogs

I suspect that my dependence on grain and starch base mixes contributed to my dogs' weight gain.  I've since stopped adding starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes, squash, etc.) to my dogs' meals.  And I now ferment the vegetables that I add to their diet, which produces a natural source of cancer-fighting antioxidants, nutrients, and probiotics.

Does Fat Increase Metabolism

I recently started increasing the amount of fat in my dogs' diet by adding grass-fed butter and coconut oil to their meals because I learned that feeding our dogs the right fat makes their system burn fat.  Go figure.

  • raw eggs
  • raw sardines
  • chia seeds
  • organic, virgin coconut oil
  • organic, extra virgin olive oil
  • raw goats milk and kefir
  • cheese (I feed my dogs the cheese treats from Answers Pet Food)

We're told that we need to eat few calories (diet) while burning more calories (exercise) to lose weight – but this isn't working for a lot of people so it shouldn't be a surprise that it won't work for some dogs.

But why is that?

It's because the calories we eat have different effects on the body; this is the same for dogs.  If we're eating a diet high in sugar and carbs, we're eating foods that are quickly converted to glucose.  When glucose hits the bloodstream, insulin is released, and it tells our body to do two things – convert some of the glucose to energy and store the rest as fat to use later.

However, when we consume fat, the body responds in a completely different way.

Eating a diet that is higher in fat causes our blood sugar to fall.  If the blood sugar falls enough, the hormone glucagon is released, and it tells the liver to release the stored glucose in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.  It also tells the cells to start burning stored fat for energy.  Groovy, right?

So, yes, fat does increase the metabolism, because eating the right fat causes the body to burn fat.

A Healthy Gut Promotes Weight Loss

I'm taking a lot of information from human health to explain how I'm going to help my girls lose weight.  Although dogs and humans aren't the same species, everything I'm learning and sharing applies to both humans and dogs.

The Journal of Gastroenterology has a 2017 clinical study that has explored the correlation between a healthy gut and weight loss in children.  In the study, one group was given a placebo, and another group was given a prebiotic (which is food for probiotics, which are the healthy bacteria in the gut).  They found that the group that received the placebo gained nearly triple the weight as the group that received a prebiotic.  And there is a gene that is blamed for a host of inflammation-associated diseases that they saw a decrease by 15% from the baseline in the Prebiotic group. However, it increased by 25% in the Placebo group.

In other words, the group that received a prebiotic not only lost weight, but they saw a decrease in inflammation-related diseases.

My Conclusion:  Adding a prebiotic, food for healthy gut bacteria, to our dogs' diet will improve their gut health, which will help them achieve and maintain and healthy weight while protecting them against inflammation and inflammation-related diseases.

In Clover OptaGest, digestive enzyme and prebiotic for dogs

Helping Dogs Maintain a Healthy Weight with OptaGest

For a long time, I avoided adding OptaGest to Rodrigo's diet because as a prebiotic, it's food for the bacteria in the gut.  For a long time, the bad bacteria seemed to be winning the war in Rodrigo's gut and I wasn't going to send it a buffet.  Now that I have his gut under control, thanks to a pancreas supplement, I have started adding OptaGest to his diet, and he's been doing great!

Rodrigo and Sydney enjoy 1/2 teaspoon of OptaGest in each meal daily.  Scout and Zoey get 1/4 teaspoon in each meal.  There's no need to let it sit on the food for 20 minutes before feeding the dogs.

I have also increased the amount of fat in their diet, feeding Sydney grass-fed butter and the other dogs enjoy coconut oil.  Because the boys don't need to lose weight, they get less fat than the girls.  My dogs also get raw sardines and fish oil (I alternate the two).

I weighed everyone this week:

  • Rodrigo – 65 pounds
  • Sydney – 82 pounds, goal is 75 pounds
  • Scout – 83 pounds
  • Zoey – 73 pounds, goal is 68 pounds

I'll report back in three months to let you know how this new experiment goes.

This is a sponsored post.  I have received In Clover Connectin and In Clover OptaGest for my dogs in exchange for helping spread the word about these supplements.  I have been adding OptaGest to my dogs' diet since 2014; my dogs began with In Clover Connectin shortly after that.  Today, both of these supplements are a daily part of my dogs' nutrition and health.  In Clover is generously providing Keep the Tail Wagging® readers 10% off their purchase of any In Clover supplements when using KTTW10 at check out when shopping at

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