Dog Weight Loss Study at Colorado State University Looking for Participants

overweight dog


The Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital is looking for overweight/obese dogs with no major health problems to participate in a clinical trial investigating  a new canine diet formulations. The new diet formulations in this study have been shown to have health benefits in mice and people, including changes in metabolism, intestinal health and preventing chronic diseases. These formulations are not currently available in commercial dog diets and may help promote weight loss in overweight dogs. The goal of this study is to evaluate the novel diet induced changes in metabolic parameters and to assess digestibility during weight loss.

There are certain criteria that are used to determine if dogs can qualify for this study. Dogs must be between 2 and 7 years old, weigh more than 22 lb, have a Body Condition Score (BCS) of at least 6 out of 9 (anything over ideal body conditions), and have relatively normal blood work. Additionally, dogs must not have dietary restrictions or gastrointestinal sensitivity, such as food allergies, or any other health problems requiring medication.

If enrolled, owners must be willing to exclusively feed the provided study diet over the 28 day period. This means no other dog food, treats, vitamins, or human food may be fed during this time. The kibble we provide can be used as a treat. The diets have been formulated to meet all of the dog’s nutritional requirements.

What will happen if my pet participates in this clinical trial?
Prior to the first day of the study, dogs will have a physical examination performed and blood collected to assist in determining eligibility. Once your dog has been approved, he/she will randomly assigned to one of three diets. On the first day of the study you will need to bring in a fecal and urine sample. The diet will be dispensed at that time and instructions will be given regarding how to switch your dog from their normal diet to the study diet. You will need to monitor your dog for changes in overall health, exercise, and character of feces and record this information on a daily basis. Dogs will be evaluated on a weekly basis over the 28 day study period to monitor body weight and/or have blood samples collected.

On days 14 to 18 of the study, all feces produced by your dog will need to be collected and stored in a freezer or brought to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital daily. You will be provided with appropriate containers, collection baggies, and a cool storage container if needed. After completion of the study, you will be given instructions on how to transition your dog back to its regular diet and information regarding the diet that may be used by your regular veterinarian to help your dog achieve his/her ideal weight.

Financial Incentives:
A $50.00 credit will be applied to the owner’s account that may be used for any services or products at CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. In addition, costs associated with the study and administration of the test diet will be paid for by the clinical trial. These costs include the cost of the dog food, the exam fee, blood work, and fecal and urine analysis.

For more information on the canine dietary intervention trial please contact:
Ginny Forster, Study Coordinator
email: [email protected]
Phone: (970) 297-4144
Dr. Elizabeth Ryan, Principal Investigator
email: [email protected]
Phone: (970) 297-5301

If you know anyone in the Colorado area or surrounding states that has a dog this study might help please share this article with them.

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  1. Anne Thomas says

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. I have a little Cocker Spaniel who I think is Anorexic. Is that study coming up anytime soon? lol

    • I thought Davinia was anorexic before Indiana come around. Davinia would just leave her food barely eaten. Within a week of Indiana arriving she ate her entire meal – unless it was a lamb based food then she still will not eat it. But she has a good appetite now.

  3. Interesting post. It looks like you need to be located close to CSU to participate in the study. A basenji is coming to be fostered at my house next week who is quite obese (she is coming from a hoarder situation), so I will definitely be implementing a fitness regimen!

    • Good luck getting the Basenji into tip top shape. I am sure with love fresh air and good food the pounds will start to melt right off.

  4. Sounds like a great program!

  5. Thank you once again for sharing this information.

    All too often many people neglect the real needs of their pets.

  6. Candace Mountain (@candacemountain) says

    Pet obesity is a real problem and people need to make sure their pets eat healthy so that they can enjoy a long and hopefully disease free life.

  7. This is so important! It really increases their health problems and reduces their life span. I hope they come up with some good solutions to the problem.

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