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Energy expenditure in dogs before and after body weight reduction


Regain of body weight (BW) after a successful BW reduction program is a common problem. It has been discussed whether or not the maintenance energy requirement changes with reduced BW in dogs.


The objective with this study was to investigate the impact of BW reduction and changes in body composition on the energy expenditure (EE) when measured under conditions corresponding to the basal metabolic rate (BMR).

Material and methods

The EE in five privately owned, overweight dogs was measured by indirect calorimetry. Two measurements per dog were performed under the same standardised conditions (i.e. fasted and resting state) at the start, and after completing a 12-week BW reduction program including exercise and dietary restriction. Additionally, measurements of body composition by Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) were conducted at the beginning and at the end of the BW reduction program.


The dogs lost 16% (SD ± 2.0) of their initial BW. Their fat mass was reduced (p<0.001), whereas fat free mass (FFM) remained unchanged. The EE decreased (p<0.001) with reduced BW from 4231 kJ/d at the start, to 3511 kJ/d at the end measurements. However, there was no effect of the BW reduction on the determined EE expressed in kJ/kg BW0.75/d, being 336 and 314 kJ/kg BW0.75/d at the start and end measurements, respectively.


The results suggest that the BMR does not change with reduced BW in overweight dogs as long as the FFM remains unchanged.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Caroline Larsson.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Larsson, C., Vitger, A., Jensen, R.B. et al. Energy expenditure in dogs before and after body weight reduction. Acta Vet Scand 57, O19 (2015).

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  • Body Weight
  • Energy Expenditure
  • Body Composition
  • Weight Reduction
  • Dietary Restriction