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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey forum,
My parents always had larger dogs and figured they are similar to smaller breeds. After being away from home for 5 years I return to see the small/mid size breed dog had become an obese one. He is at 36 pounds. For more than 2 months now I have cut his food portion drastically to even less than energy requirements - giving him only 1 1/4 cup of kibble. I give him (for the last 2 months) Chicken Soup for the dog lovers soul. I had him on the lighter formula but his stomach acted up with that. Switched to the normal one with just a low amount. Ironically he has gained weight rather than lost it even with going for walks. At this point his metabolism im sure is screwed up. Had him get tested for a thyroid issue and came negative with the vet saying urgent diet concern. He recommended as always - hills prescription diet r/d. I know how the Hills diet works with vets and the ingredient list is terrible. But at this point I am at a loss. Chicken Soup was even lower in calories than other ligher foods. The protein wasnt too high like others as well since he is in no way an active dog.

Does anyone on here have advice on what kibble I should give him or canned food? I am asking for kibble or canned because i am away from the house and its the parents who take care of him. Need something they dont need to worry about much. I mean at this point im at the 'oh might as well get hills diet.'

Again, not an active dog at all, weighs 36 pounds, and has been gaining weight for the last 2-3 months with 1 1/4 of chicken soup regular formula - which already has low protein and low calories and not that much fat and good fiber amount and is far less than what he should be getting. At a loss. He is 5 years old and a few months. With this breeds heart issues and ease of getting diabetes, i could really use the help.

Thanks
 

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California Natural makes a weight management kibble, and Canidae does too. Are either of those available anywhere near you? They both have store locaters on their web sites
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks. yea both are available. Looking at the nutritional info they seem similiar to chicken soup so thats good. Not too high in protein since he isnt active at his weight. Fat is low. However shouldnt fiber be higher for overweight dogs? Too much fiber I think affected him - as was the case with the Light forumla for chicken soup. Or could be some ingredient in there. But the California Natural are pretty fiber low as compared to Canidae. Also none of them have L-Carnitine that I see - might be missing it. Is this important for weight loss and energy conversion or is this a marketing ploy by chicken soup?

again thank you
 

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Actually higher protein foods work best for overweight dogs because they keep them fuller longer and help build and retain lean muscle mass.

How much are you feeding now?
What kind/ how much exercise does he get?
Any treats/people food besides regular food?

I had really good results with Wellness core reduced fat, its a bit pricy, but it works and once the dog has slimmed down, you can go to regular maintanance food.

If youre looking for something less expensive, try taste of the wild, it may take longer for the dog to lose weight, but with regular exercise routine and reduced portions, it'll work the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Oh so even if a dog isnt active, heavy protein is still good for them? I know it keeps them fuller but was told that if a dog is obese extra protein may prevent weightless. But this is from the vet who keeps promoting r/d kibble :eek:

prior to 2 months ago my parents would feed him 2 cans of cesars food on top of whatever amount of kibble they felt worked. Or they would give him 2 slices of chicken/turkey (fosterfarm cooked slices) and kibble with that. And that is just for the 4pm meal. At 9am they would give him two dog treats - a natural balance potato one and another for teeth cleaning. Basically they failed the dog and its sad.

For the last 2 + months I have had him on a small bag of chicken soup light and that made his stool runny and frequently occurring. I switched to the normal adult formula of it and give him that now. Even with the light the portion i give is 1 and 1/4 cup spread morning and afternoon. And yet he was 31 pounds or so before 4 months ago and now he is at 36 with no thyroid issue. So im at a loss. I mean the food amount i give him is far less than even the required energy level that his weight needs - though thats cause he is obese.

He gets walked 2 to 3 times a day but for no more than 20 minutes each walk. And a walk with him isnt a run at any means. Its a struggle to get him moving now and he tires often and needs to sit.

For treats I cut up the what was once used as breakfast - the natural balance treat - very small - im talking nickel size at this point. Though I am sure my parents still think thats 'cruel' and probably give him quarter size or larger of the treat behind my back.

So basically i need something that can help reduce his weight as quickly as possible but with good ingredients cause he has a history of a bloody stool or diarrhea - probably due to unhealthy eating lifestyle. Seems extra fiber might be another cause but not sure again.

Thanks
 

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I have a couple of wonders here.

I wonder if you are feeding a starvation amount so his body is conserving calories. Perhaps more food would be better.

I wonder if this is a people problem. The tiny amount of food seems cruel to your parents so they are sabotaging your efforts. Perhaps feeding a good quality canned food in small cans would seem like enough food to them. Canidae comes in small cans as does Innova, Nature's Variety and Wellness. You would need to transition it slowly and overfeeding could trigger tummy upset.

You could leave super low calorie treats for them to offer him like dehydrated lung. A whole ounce of raw lung is 24 calories, that would be quite a chunk of the dehydrated. The dehydrated chunk of beef lung sitting on my cutting board right would about 3 ounces raw [if I add the water back in]. Guess it is about 75 calories for that 1/2"x2"x5" chunk. Guessing your parents might think that a fifth of that would be a nice sized treat. Lots of dogs like to chew on carrots and they are pretty much just fun for dogs. NB roll is still 150 calories per inch of the 1 pound roll, quite a bit. Cut up his daily allotment and put the rest deep in the refrigerator. Cut very thin so the treat can appear larger.

I used to feed food puzzles whenever possible for my gulping dog and it makes sense for overweight dogs to work for their food too. It means they are on their feet and doing something fun instead of licking out a bowl. If you keep him on kibble I suggest using some sort of toy to feed him. I personally hate my buster cubes as they are noisy and hard to open and clean but have a number of other rubber hollow balls I can put treats in these days. I would buy an easy one just so your parents think he is eating fast enough so he won't starve and get a harder one if he takes to the idea. I also used to roll kibble down the hall, maybe just do that for part of the meal. Does have to be far or fast, just roll a bit so he gets to chase and kill his dinner, kibble by kibble.

Fats and protein sate a dog's appetite but we think a fat heavy meal doesn't look like enough food and we worry that it is bad for the dog. Carbs aren't as good for dogs but they add bulk and dogs love them. Also a bored dog is going to want to eat, make meal time last longer and engage him and he won't be looking for treats quite as much.

Or you could even feed him completely as treats. No food from a bowl, your parents could just treat away from a bowl with an allotted amount of kibble and bits of low cal treats.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I got to the 1 1/4 cup portion through the vet who says though it is below the recommended energy level, he is so obese that he needs to heavily cut down. Seems I might be getting a bunch of odd info from the vet - hills r/d, not much protein, super low food amounts.

Before food toys and rolling the food, since I am away most of the day, I just need a fat burning kibble plan so the parents can just let the dog be till I can give him longer walks at night or what not. Id prefer for the time being just kibble since with raw food or cooked id feel they would over feed again haha. Going with numbers might work best on them since they keep using a card of how they each had 6-7 dogs growing up (large breeds) and they know what to feed. Though seems they might be getting the point now.

I have been comparing the suggestions so far with Cali Natural Low Fat, Canidae Platinum, and Welless Core Reduced Fat. So just to confirm that my vet is misinformed or promoting heavily the hills r/d, its ok for obese dogs to have kibble that is protein heavy even if not active? Is there something like L-Carnitine (chicken soup) that is used to help reduce fat I should be looking for and comparing - or is that marketing? Is low fiber like in California Natural Low Fat the way to go for lowering fat or should I use more - or is there a reason they didnt use much fiber in it?

Thanks again. Looking to switch and put him on a new kibble plan (though other food options are best but for now kibble will need to do) right away since again, seems he is gaining weight even with not eating much at this point. And at 36 pounds for a 5+ year old cavalier, thats terrible considering they need to be between 15-20.
 

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Many I know have used a 10 calories/ per pound you want them to weigh. For my goldens, that would be 700 calories/ day. They've had good success and can supplement with some green beans to help add bulk and make them feel full. Personally, I would cut the food even more.
 

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I think the suggestion of a food puzzle is great. I've used this one before and I really like it because it's very simple Bob-a-Lot Dog Treat Puzzle Dog Products - GregRobert

Some puzzles can be pretty tough, and not all dogs are willing to work for their food or be able to figure them out, but this one is like a weeble-wobble with a hole the food comes out of. Very easy and fun.

From what I know you don't need to go low protein to lose weight. But I'm far from an expert on the subject of dog diets. I will say this, do your own research and don't just rely or believe what the vet says about food. Rarely does a week go by that I don't have at least one customer saying "My vet told me..." followed by some completely ridiculous statement. One of my favorites is the vet who said it's unhealthy for a dog to eat anything but kibble. I told the customer last I checked there were no kibble trees in nature and that dogs were around long before the invention of kibble.

I don't know how easy it is to find an animal nutritionist, but if there's one in your area I'd suggest spending the money on visits there instead of the vet. Or maybe look for a holistic vet? I've found they're at least a bit better about animal nutrition
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Ok so so far i am going with the Bob-o-lot toy feeder - seems easy enough so I don't need to monitor much.

Now it just comes down to the food questions regarding the kibble to put in. Ill look into a nutritionist for sure but for now I just want to at least see if switching the Chicken Soup kibble with something else for a month or less might help lower his weight with all else being constant + the dog toy. Him gaining weight with less food and a decent kibble is worrisome. Each of those three are different with fiber levels, protein levels and fat levels. I think for a true obese dog like the one I have wouldn't I need a moderate or high fiber intake and very low fat? And with the low fat, perhaps the higher protein might be ok than - though again maybe protein does NOT have anything to do with gaining weight as my vet might suggest and therefore more protein is always better.
 

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No, higher protein will not make him gain weight, if he's getting sufficient exercise. Does he like to swim? Swimming is great low impact exercise for heavy dogs since its easy on the joints.

I dont reccomend or particularly like "diet" foods because they are very grain heavy, which is actually counter productive to a dog trying to lose weight because it elevates insulin levels and basically sends the body into the conservation mode, slowing down the metabolism to save energy for basic needs.

I posted this a while back, but Uno put on 7 lbs while my parents were watching him, he would finish the cats food and get people food leftovers, I basically yelled at them and told them that they are killing my dog ( ok, I may have been a bit overdramatic, but it worked).
Here are the pics from before and after





I put him on wellness core reduced fat and he lost the weight in about a month. I also increased his exercise(biking and swimming).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wow drastic difference. Unfortunately no he isnt a water fan. More of a dont bother me im fat and sleeping fan - or is at this point sadly.

Which is my concern with the protein confusion from the vet and otherwise. Without activity - he gets id say 30 minutes to 40 minutes walking time - slow pace- each day - will a 30+ protein still be fine?

Of those three dog food types I noted from the suggestions, seems the only light formula that uses grain is California Natural - unless im missing it. The others use rice heavily for the added protein and fat. Also not the best but if he is gaining weight on chicken soup adult which isnt calorie heavy and only 1 1/4 cup a day, i think at this point he might have to go with a diet kibble. Seems less food of normal formulas arent working with his slow metabolism by now.
 

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I would increase the exercise to at least an hour each day, but watch his pace, make sure not to overexert him.

What is his ideal weight? I'm not familiar with small breeds, but I looked up online and it looks like for males it should be between 13-18 lbs, so say his ideal weight is 18 lbs, he should be eating a cup a day of Chicken soup or 3/4 cups (total) of Core RF a day. So you can still cut back, but grain free would be your best bet.

For snacks you can give him green beans.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Great thanks everyone for the help. Got to hit the thanks button on quite a few members haha.

With the WC light - the fat content, though lighter than normal formula, is still pretty high. And the fiber is really high as well. I think the high fiber might lead to his bloody stool problem again - think he has a mild form of colitis. Though might be with only poor quality fiber kibble. Is WC light targeted for weight loss using other ingredients as opposed to the others? Or is it for general weight loss but not as direct as those with a fat content of 8% or so - which i assume is for more obese - though could be wrong and might in fact not be needed to be cut as much.

Thats why i am at a loss. Some weight loss are very low fiber - though i thought fiber helps weight loss - just need to be cautious with colitis issues. And fat percentage should be less than 10 percent with caloric intake of 350 or less. Is WC light used more often for weight loss than Canidae Platinum - which seems to be in the middle of fiber, fat and caloric intake - though protein is mid/low with it.

Again, sorry if some of the questions repeat, just trying to get a broader understanding of dog nutrition so I can approach the vet next time with a better understanding.
 

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Well its up to you, WC worked really well for me (and few other people I know), I dont know much about Canidae Platinum other then its very grainy.

And I wouldnt bother asking the vet for advice, unless they are certified in nutrition (even so, I've seen many push inferior products), their sole focus is on masking the problem, not treating it and of course spending a fortune on prescription diets which are terrible.
 

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Something else I wanted to mention, if your dog has colitis, he would greatly benefit from probiotic/enzyme supplement, I really like Prozyme and I also add plain yogurt to the food for healthy bacteria.
You also want to keep in mind that grains are very difficult for dogs to digest, it seems that most dogs do better on potato/tapioca/pea with stomach issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Good catch. I fell for the marketing of Canidae Platinum thinking it was entirely grain free diet kibble. Its wheat free and corn free but has heavy grain. Only toss i have is with the fiber - which i guess that i can at least ask the vet on since its a mild colitis issue and not a nutrition issue.

Seems upon further review sites that Wellness Core RF is a great choice - though if cost is sky high, I can compare it with Canidae (or a similiar product ?) for best outcome with price in mind. So I can just double check with the vet on the fiber level and go with an option - unless there is something similar to ingredients and no grain that has less fiber but not too much less.

He has a mild form of colitis - which I think is why he had a bloody stoll with an 8 percent fiber intake with chicken soup light - though could be bad fiber that doesnt digest well.

Thanks for the probiotic/enzyme info. Will look at those too. When he gets a bloody stool my parents would just give him pills - name escapes me. So I guess grain free would be a safe bet just to be cautious.


As far as his cal intake now, one cup of chicken soup adult is 336 and he is given 1 1/4 - yet still gaining weight. Which is why I am baffled and trying to find something fast.
 

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Well, make sure your parents arent sneaking in food without your knowledge, trust me, I know how it is, they just cant resist those begging eyes.

Yes, the Core is expensive, in fact I wont be buying it after I'm done with this bag, they really raised their prices from last year. Up on the upside, you'll be feeding less of it then Chicken soup.
You can try Canidae grain free or Taste of the Wild both are pretty affordable (thought Totw is the least expensive).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My only concern with the grain free ones that are not low in fat is that he might be gaining weight as is the case now with the chicken soup small amount. I mean I could lower the mount even more and feed those but if there were some diet that was whole grain and reasonably priced or less than WC that would be perfect. Though the world and in this case dog kibble is not fair haha.
 
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