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Thread: How to get a dog to lose 20 pounds?

  1. #1
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    How to get a dog to lose 20 pounds?

    Sam is a 16 month old english lab. Sam is officially fat.

    He doesn't look fat:



    Ok, maybe he's a little round. Maybe.

    He's struggled with his weight since he was about 6 months old. He looks at food and gains. In December he was at the vet, weighed in at 75 pounds and the vet said probably needed to get about 5 pounds off of him. Ok. Cut back his food, cut back treats, made sure he gets a daily walk. I thought he was looking better.

    We go back today and he's gained 17 pounds...he's up to 92 pounds! He was supposed to lose 5!

    I'm at a loss. The vet said to switch him to diet doggy food. Great. Picked that up on the way home. I figue I can get an evening walk in while DH puts DS to sleep (DH is home to do this most nights). Obviously all treats have to go, though he doesn't get many. Vet wants him in once a month to weigh him and see what happens before we start looking for thyroid issues or other medical causes. He thinks he's probably too young for any of that to be an issue and really wants to try diet/exercise. He asked about his genetics and when he was at the breeder last month she wasn't surprised to see him a bit round. She thought he only needed to take off a few pounds. So I'm wondering if his family tree runs towards the rounder physique.

    I've never had a fat dog before. I had a rescue dog who was starved come to me, balloon up but then settle off at a normal weight. I just don't know what to do.

    Right now he gets a 2 mile walk a day. Obviously this is not enough. The vet said it is hard to say an exact distance - just to weigh him and see if it works and if not to adjust the next month.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Sorry, but IMO he's fat. I thought he was more like 12 years old rather than barely past puppy stage! I've had friends with labs and they all were prodigious eaters of all they could get their paws on. they even ate things that weren't food, like curtains and toys. Is it possible someone is slipping him goodies that you're not aware of?
    Just like people, eat less, exercise more. and if that doesn't work, check his labs for other issues.
    "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side saddle." Rita Mae Brown

  3. #3
    One of my friends had great success with adding some afternoon ball time for her dog. He loved it when she threw tennis balls for him. Maybe you and DS could do that during outdoor time.

  4. #4
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    How much are you feeding him? My vet says pet food manufacturers are notorious for way overstating their feeding guidelines. I would ask your vet how much you should be feeding rather than following the food labels.

  5. #5
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    I agree with making sure he isn't getting treats you're unaware of (how old is your DS, could he be sneaking things to the dog?) and adding play time. A walk is great but most labs I've had or known need far more than a 2 mile stroll. Do you have an area you can go to toss balls or frisbees? Any water you can get him swimming in? The lab my dad has currently gets 2x daily walks with ball and/or bumper throwing included in each walk plus occasional runs and play time in the yard most days. Heck, one lab we had growing up loved going for runs so much that he would go for 1 with each family member (4 of us) then be begging for more runs later. These labs are so fit you can see their ripped muscles move under their skin as they walk.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  6. #6
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    Labs do need exercise, some tend to be rounder, but they are also notorious for loving food. We have the sluggo/hugo problem with a Maine Coon cat and more walks wasn't an option there. We tried cutting back food until I felt we were hardly feeding her, but the thing that worked best was giving her more wet food. It's basically a lower carb, higher protein diet for her. My vet said she's heard of the same thing helping some pets.

    I agree that pet food manufacturers seem to grossly overstate what my pets need. Even so, I don't know that I could afford to feed my lab nothing but wet food, but read labels and make sure that the protein is the first ingredient in the food you give him -- wet or dry. And maybe you can do some wet and some dry.

    More exercise never hurt a lab -- mine loves to play ball -- she will fetch any tennis ball and toss it back to you.

  7. #7
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    One thing I've heard about is adding canned green beans to a decreased amount of food. I've tried shredded wheat on a golden with good success.
    Kay
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  8. #8
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    I've been tossing a handful of baby carrots in with a reduced portion of my heavier dog's kibble. Luckily he loves them and I've been able to substitute them for the 'cookies' they get too. He doesn't seem to mind that his sister gets a cookie and he gets a carrot.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. We did an evening walk yesterday - at a quicker pace than normal and did some chasing sticks in the yard.

    Quote Originally Posted by aggie94 View Post
    How much are you feeding him? My vet says pet food manufacturers are notorious for way overstating their feeding guidelines. I would ask your vet how much you should be feeding rather than following the food labels.
    We've discussed this as well because originally I was going by the guidelines on the bag. He's down to 2 cups a day - that just seems like so little.

    Last night I gave him his new diet food. He went over all happy for dinner, sniffed it and just looked at me. It was still there this morning. Maybe that's the reason the diet doggy food works.

  10. #10
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    Just remember: Dogs will eat when they're hungry. Cats will starve themselves to prove a point.

    Good luck. I'm glad shih tzus don't have this problem!
    Erin

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  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by ErinM View Post

    Good luck. I'm glad shih tzus don't have this problem!
    Ah, Erin. I guess you haven't seen me gripe about starving my shih tsu to pare 4 pounds off him. He's a little dog with a lab appetite!

    Christy - 2 cups a day seems a lot. Is he still on puppy food? (I also didn't think he was a puppy, but a much older dog).

    Good luck, My experience with dieting dogs is about as traumatic as a dieting human. The pouts, whines, and pathetic looks I received from Rufus during his diet were hard to take!
    Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyway.

  12. #12
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    There's only so much time in the day you can devote to exercising your dog and sounds like you're doing great getting him out for one good long walk/play a day but if his breed needs more is there anybody else you can enlist like kids in the neighborhood? Who could resist playing with a rambunctious, ball chasing puppy? Hopefully it's just the change in his food that prompted the WTF? look and once he starts eating it he'll adjust.
    Linda

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  13. #13
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    Hrm, is 2 cups a lot? My last dogs were a Great Dane and a St Bernard....Sam's food bowl still looks small to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by HejazSunKat View Post
    There's only so much time in the day you can devote to exercising your dog and sounds like you're doing great getting him out for one good long walk/play a day but if his breed needs more is there anybody else you can enlist like kids in the neighborhood? Who could resist playing with a rambunctious, ball chasing puppy? Hopefully it's just the change in his food that prompted the WTF? look and once he starts eating it he'll adjust.
    Well you'd think my husband who was the one who wanted the dog (and insisted on a puppy) would/could help. You know, since he's trying to lose weight too. Apparently that's not how things work. Last night I told him of my plan to add an evening walk after dinner - he thought that was a great thing for me to do.

    And the diet food is still there. LOL.

  14. #14
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    Motivation! Invite your dog to his high school reunion.
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  15. #15
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    My 55 lb lab will eat 1-1/2 cups when less active and 2 cups when active. She ate 2-1/2 to 3 cups as a puppy, but it scales back once they reach adult size. Also keep in mind that Sam's looking at a 25% weight loss, so that would be like a person weighing 150 lbs needing to lose 37. It is going to take some time and persistence to do it and to keep him healthy at the same time.

    BTW, my niece loves to visit my dogs, but one time the treat jar was full when she got here for a family dinner and empty when they left. I also had a sick dog, but it didn't last long. If you have a treat jar, you may need to keep it where adults can monitor it for a while.

  16. #16
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    This may be a stupid question, but did your vet recommend the diet food? We switched to diet food with our cat once, only to find out much later that most "diet" pet foods are a big sham. They often result in an increase in pounds b/c they use more filler than other foods. Our cat gained weight on the diet food, so we became much more knowledgeable about what is in pet foods and what dogs/cats actually need to be eating.

    Good luck!

  17. #17
    A couple of miles is maybe 40 minutes. Depending on the breed, that is not an awful lot.

    How old is your DS?

    If he is old enough, make some walk time for the whole family. A family walk is fantastic quality time.

    Also, more fetching time might be in order.

    Do you have a dog park you can take him to run around in? Playtime with other dogs is fabulous exercise.

  18. #18
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    Two cups a day seems reasonable for a dog that size. If anything, possibly a little low IMO, only because that's what we have our dog on and he is much smaller than Sam (Nacho is about 40 pounds).

  19. #19
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    The vet did say to get the diet food and said we were using a good brand. Hrm. May have to go read up on that issue a bit more.

    Yes, our walk is normally 40 minutes. Now that will be times two.

    We do have a great dog park about 15 minutes from us but there's only so much time in the day. Perhaps we can start doing that on the weekends. Or I can start doing that on the weekends when I have help with DS.

    DS just turned 4 (today!) so a walk with him AND Sam is a lesson in frustration and very slow wandering.

  20. #20
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    If your vet recommended the food, then that's a good sign. I'm pretty sure when we switched to diet food we were just ignorant shoppers in the store and thought "diet food...that's what we need!" and jumped on the bandwagon without much thought. The goofy thing is that I'd never ever do that with people food. I find pet food labels really cryptic to read.

  21. #21
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    So the dog park is a 15 minute walk from you? I would say walk to the dog park, throw the ball for 10 minutes, walk home. That 10 minutes of ball throwing there would be far more intense than just walking and probably help him quite a bit. Even if you only did that on one of your walks each day or even every other day.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  22. #22
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    Christy, I sent you a pm.

    Laurie

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robyn1007 View Post
    So the dog park is a 15 minute walk from you? I would say walk to the dog park, throw the ball for 10 minutes, walk home. That 10 minutes of ball throwing there would be far more intense than just walking and probably help him quite a bit. Even if you only did that on one of your walks each day or even every other day.
    Nope, 15 minute drive.

  24. #24
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    I didn't read all the post so sorry if this has been discussed but I would suggest a lazerpointer. They'll chase that dot all over the house and it's easier than finding an hour for an additional walk. Good luck!
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  25. #25
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    Last night I gave him his new diet food. He went over all happy for dinner, sniffed it and just looked at me. It was still there this morning. Maybe that's the reason the diet doggy food works. [/QUOTE]

    Could you mix the diet food in with his reguar food? Might be worth a shot (although a colleague said her dog could eat around peas mixed in with his food).

  26. #26
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    A sure winner-- the Green Bean diet. It has worked wonders for our chubby collie girl. Mix green beans in with the food--any kind--I prefer unsalted. This is to replace some of the bulk of the dry food--cheap--easy to do and our dogs gobble it up.Fills them up not out.

  27. #27
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    I had to do the same thing with our old dog. I also bought the diet dog food and after a bit she got use to it. You are on the right track, MORE exercise...kind of like us humans you can not beat burning more calories then we take in. I had to double up her walks and play time and at least 1 nice thing was I really started to enjoy our numerous walks and I lost a couple of unwanted pounds along the way as well

    Kim
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  28. #28
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    It's really too bad you don't live closer to me as I'd love a running buddy and I could take him.

    Seeing that you're 15 minutes from a dog park reminds me of what a different world the Boulder area is. I pass 2 dog parks on my way to/from work every day and have another within 2 miles of my home.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chefzhat View Post
    Ah, Erin. I guess you haven't seen me gripe about starving my shih tsu to pare 4 pounds off him. He's a little dog with a lab appetite!

    Christy - 2 cups a day seems a lot. Is he still on puppy food? (I also didn't think he was a puppy, but a much older dog).

    Good luck, My experience with dieting dogs is about as traumatic as a dieting human. The pouts, whines, and pathetic looks I received from Rufus during his diet were hard to take!
    Hmm....I think I might remember something to this effect. OK, I change my statement to "MY shih tzu..."

    Another idea might be to look into some doggie day care, they might be able to give him the exercise he needs. Or may find someone like Robyn who would love to run with a dog but can't do so for whatever reason (I'm thinking maybe a college kid away from home/their dog) or something like that.
    Erin

    "Eating peanut butter is a sacred act, not to be defiled by pork or its substitutes."

    -generic


    New favorite bumper sticker: "Go Green. Recycle Yourself. Become an Organ and Tissue Donor."

  30. #30
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    Erin, I like the bumper sticker in your signature! I got a reuseable bag at the Donor Dash with the Recycle Yourself Be An Organ & Tissue Donor line on it.


    "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" ~ George Bernard Shaw


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