It’s simply the simplest, most effective weight loss plan for pets ever conceived, that’s what.

Further to our post that suggested “All our Pets are Fat (well, almost all)” I thought I’d expand on the Green Bean Diet for dogs and cats and answer the how/when/why.

First, let’s talk about how to lose weight. Regardless of what kind of mammal you are, every one of us loses excess body fat by burning more calories than we take in, plain and simple. There is no magic diet, no magic supplement, no magic ingredient that will ever change that basic fact of biology.

In the case of dogs and cats, there really is no excuse for excessive weight, because we humans are completely in control of our pet’s diet. If we want our pets to lose weight, then, all we need to do is restrict their calorie intake.

Sounds simple, right?

Here are the three basic ways to help your pet consume fewer calories:

DIET OPTION 1: Feed less adult kibble. While this method looks attractive from a simplicity standpoint, what we often find is that feeding 1/3 less regular kibble leaves a hungry, grumpy mammal.

OPTION 2: Feed prescription diet food instead of adult kibble. Switching to a veterinary weight loss diet and feeding the same volume will lead to fewer calories consumed, because there are fewer calories in each kibble.

SIDE NOTE: What about OTC “light” or “ideal weight” diets? Every food sold over the counter in the United States must, by law, lead to the maintenance of your pet’s body weight, that’s why they’re all called maintenance diets. If your veterinarian helps your pet lose weight, you could then switch to an “ideal weight” diet at the END of the diet, to maintain your fat pet, at a skinny weight. For weight LOSS, though, you need a prescription diet from your vet.

OPTION 3: Replace a volume of kibble, with something else. What we find, is that reducing the portion of your pet’s primary diet and replacing that lost portion with something else that has fewer calories and more fiber, leads to rapid, sustainable weight loss in all species without excessive hunger. For whatever reason, the veterinary community has chosen low salt green beans as our diet supplement of choice, to replace that portion of your pet’s diet.

Calculating your pet’s weight loss calorie requirements

Let’s say you’re feeding your 10 pound pet one cup of food per day, and your pet is about 3 pounds overweight. Logically, if we were to feed your pet 2/3 of a cup of food per day, which is 33% fewer calories, one would expect your pet to lose 33% of its body mass, preferably in the form of those 3 pounds of excess fat. It’s a little more complicated than this, of course, but you get the idea.

So for most pets, what I tell people to do is feed 1/3 less regular kibble (or veterinary prescription diet food if you’re really committed to this), and replace that lost portion with something else.

For a 10 pound dog, you might find that a can of green beans split into two portions keeps your furry family member satisfied. A 40 pound dog might need two cans total per day.

Can you substitute other veggies instead of green beans?

Of course!

Pretty much any vegetable on the American Diabetes Association Non-starchy Vegetables List (except onions!) can be substituted. Whatever makes Fluffy or Fido feel full and happy is fine by me.

That’s about it! Feed less kibble, add veggies instead. Veggies as treats, veggies as snacks, veggies as primary ingredient in your pet’s ration.

Good luck helping your furry family members reach their ideal body weight!


This post, What is the Green Bean Diet for Dogs and Cats?, was written by Greg Magnusson, and originally posted on Leo's Pet Care. If you're reading this on a site other than Leo's Pet Care, it has been taken and used without permission.

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