FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4) – Many people opt to lose weight for their New Year’s resolution, but what about dogs? An animal research center in Fort Collins wants to put overweight pups on a diet.

Hidden in a mound of fur is a dog named Nikita. The playful pup is mainly healthy except for one problem. The dog is estimated to be about 20 pounds overweight.

Nikita’s owners, Laura and Ian Chubb, brought their dog to Colorado State University’s Animal Cancer Center to participate in a doggie weight loss program.

“We know that dogs are being overfed and they’re not getting enough exercise,” Dr. Elizabeth Ryan with the CSU Animal Cancer Center said.

Ryan came up with the idea for the program. Dogs like Nikita are given a special diet dog food. Their owners then collect stool and urine samples from the pet. Those samples are examined in the lab.

“Our primary outcome is to determine whether these new diet formulations with different food components are digestible during the weight loss process and are safe for dogs,” Ryan said.

The program has so far been successful for Nikita.

“I think it’s a good diet. She did really well on it and she lost weight on it and is progressively losing more,” Laura Chubb said.

Back in the lab the diet dog food is closely calculated. It’s groundbreaking research going on in Colorado that could significantly change a dog’s life.

“We’re using novel plant-based protein sources and it could mean a lot for many different companies for sure,” Ryan said. “The ideal situation is that we’re not just reducing obesity and overweight dogs, but protecting against other diseases.”

Though she still has a few pounds to shed, Nikita seemed pretty happy at her most recent weigh in. As for the diet dog food, she didn’t seem to mind that either.

The Animal Cancer Center is looking for more dogs to participate in the weight loss study. The dogs must be between 2 to 7-years-old, weigh more than 22 pounds, but be in good health. Call (970) 297-4144 to for more information.


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