Some Diet Pet Foods are High in Calories, by Lee Pickett, VMD Is your pet overweight, and have weight management diets been ineffective? If so, you may be feeding a high-calorie diet food. That’s because products with names like “weight management” and “weight control” often are relatively high in calories. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulates pet foods and defines terms used on the labels. AAFCO requires dry cat foods labeled “light” (or “lite”) to contain no more than 3250 kilocalories (abbreviated kcal and referred to as “calories”) per kilogram (abbreviated kg, about 2.2 pounds) of pet food. Light canned foods may contain no more than 950 kcal/kg. Caloric density of light dry dog food is limited to 3100 kcal/kg, and of canned food, 900 kcal/kg. AAFCO also requires the manufacturer of a light food to report the calorie content on the label. Importantly, AAFCO has no requirements for foods with names like weight management or weight control. So these foods can – and generally do – have more calories than light foods. See www.hillspet.com/weight-management/calorie-comparison-chart.html for examples. So the next time you purchase pet food for your overweight pet, check food labels for calorie content and choose a diet that is truly light. If your pet still doesn’t lose weight, consult us about feeding schedules, prescription food even lower in calories than light food, and possible blood work to rule out hypothyroidism and other diseases that affect weight.