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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone! This is only my second thread ever on this website...

So at my dad's house we have 2 cairn terriers and a yorkie poo. One of the Cairn Terriers, Kyro, is overweight. How overweight? No idea. Cuz I'm only 16 and therefore irrelevant with the dogs' overall health and well being even though I'm the only one that's trying to make a difference in their lives. :crazy:

Now that I got that off my chest...

Yes I realize I could do the whole weigh myself, then pick him up, weight the both of us, subtract his weight, that whole thing. But that's the thing, he's that overweight. Yes, I can probably still lift him, I'm pretty strong myself but he growls like he's in pain. I tried lifting him to get in the bathtub recently and he bit me and left a mark for a few days. :hand:

What I do right now is take him for a walk every morning (more like noonish cuz I'm out of school right now and I sleep in cuz I can :rockon:). I only started 3 days ago and I walk probably around a mile. I think he enjoys it. Just since I've started walking him he seems happier, he follows me around, and he doesn't seem intent on getting in trouble. (My step-mom brought home the yorkie poo 2ish years into having the Cairn Terriers. Kyro and him don't get along, marking their territory in the house, nobody cares enough to discipline them and I never catch them in time :nono:)

He eats around a cup of dry dog food in the morning (my stepmom feeds them before she leaves for work). I don't know how nutritious the food is, we keep the dog food in a big container and I'm never with them when they bring home a new bag, I assume its just the cheapest they can find.

Other than that, yeah they're in their kennels a lot, as much as I complain about it. Kyro is the only overweight one. The other two are pushing it as far as I can tell but not overweight.

I plan on keeping up with the walks. They are enjoyable for me as well. I'm just dreading when school starts and the walks get moved to 6am. :sleep:

Is there anything else I can do? Yes I've only started the walks 3 days ago, I'm not expecting any immediate weight loss although there is a change in behavior, for the better.

As a vegan I am aware about nutrition and I know at least for humans it's 80% about diet and 20% about exercise when it comes to weight loss but I don't have the whole diet part in my control. If it was, personally I would make homemade dog food, but being vegan, the dog food would also have to be vegan (which I have researched and know it to be quite successful). My parent's already hate my diet decision. If I brought the dogs into it I think I would be disowned. :frusty:

Anyways, back to the topic at hand, is there any way to help Kyro lose some weight besides diet wise, or any slightly cheap diet changes I could make? I love my baby, even if he's a family dog, he's always been my favorite and I've always been his. I don't want him to have anything less than the best, even if it's not in my control, I'm willing to try.

And now, just because DogForums has it and Fishlore Forums don't....

:llama:

teehee, we need to get this back at Fishlore.

Anyway, any help is appreciated.
 

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Most dogs do not fare well on a vegan diet, as they are carnivores. But good on you for taking charge of his health!

Consistent exercise and less food are the only things that will really help manage his weight, so it looks like you're off to a good start :) Keep the walks short, but frequent since you don't want to stress his joints too much (they have enough stress from the weight!).

Starting off by finding out what he's being fed, and looking up how much he should be fed at his IDEAL weight and feeding him that amount, along with the walks, will probably result in weight loss :) It will probably take a while though.
 

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Good on you for taking the initiative.

First step is to find out the food the dogs are currently eating as it'll go a long way in determining whether its junk or quality (in terms of product).

Second, if the food is a "junk" quality, perhaps suggest to your parents a better brand. There are TONS of foods out there that are great quality and don't necessarily have to cost a lot. Let us know some pet stores around you (as many will be able to point out the brands they carry).

Third, if your parents are unable/unwilling to change foods, you may suggest cutting back on the portion sizes for a period of time. Nothing too substantial at once but gradually until you see a positive change. So if they're at 1 cup 2x/day now, you can move to 3/4 of a cup 2x/day, etc.

Fourth, keep the walks up. Start where you're at and you'll likely find their duration increasing over time.

Regardless diets will take time. Keep us posted :)
 

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If the family won't do anything, I don't expect any improvement :/. What do you think they ARE willing to do?

A higher-protein food could help. Even just a better-quality food, so he can eat less to get the same amount of nutrition. His food will need to be carefully measured and strictly controlled (any treats/scraps must be included in daily calorie count, that amount of dog food subtracted from total). Getting him moving is good for him in general but won't do much for his weight without a reduction in his food intake.
 

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It's not hard to get a healthy dog to lose weight (thyroid issues can make weight loss impossible), but you have be in control of their diet. I feed my dog a little over a cup a day, and he is significantly bigger than a cairn terrier. Admittedly, I'm feeding grain free, high protein food, so I will feed less volume, but that still seems like way too much to me.

As to the vegan thing . . . if you want to be vegan and have pets, have pets that aren't carnivores. It isn't fair to force a carnivore to subsist on a vegan diet. Can dogs survive on a vegan diet? Some of them, sure. Dogs are survivors, they can make it through almost anything. It's still not fair.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Second, if the food is a "junk" quality, perhaps suggest to your parents a better brand. There are TONS of foods out there that are great quality and don't necessarily have to cost a lot. Let us know some pet stores around you (as many will be able to point out the brands they carry).
The pet stores near me are Petco and Petsmart. Although I'm almost positive my parents get the food from Menard's or Sam's Club.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As to the vegan thing . . . if you want to be vegan and have pets, have pets that aren't carnivores. It isn't fair to force a carnivore to subsist on a vegan diet. Can dogs survive on a vegan diet? Some of them, sure. Dogs are survivors, they can make it through almost anything. It's still not fair.
There's no chance that my parents will let me switch the dogs to a vegan diet. And honestly I don't think I could keep up making any dog food homemade. I didn't ask for this commitment. My dad came home with these 2 dogs one day saying they're our new family dogs and I'm trying to make the best of it because nobody else cares enough. I don't plan on owning any non-vegan pets when I get older, if any pets at all.
 

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I just found the dog food bag. It's Master Paws Original Formula from Menards.
I haven't even heard of Menards of that brand of food. After trying to find an ingredient list on their website and coming up empty (same with reviews on sites), I can't imagine it being anything other than a low quality food.

http://www.menards.com/main/pet-wildlife/dog-pet-supplies/dog-food/masterpaws-original-formula-for-all-size-dogs/p-1945902-c-8314.htm

If your parents are open to another food let us know and we can suggest some. Petsmart sells many brands that will likely be a huge step up from the current food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven't even heard of Menards of that brand of food. After trying to find an ingredient list on their website and coming up empty (same with reviews on sites), I can't imagine it being anything other than a low quality food.

http://www.menards.com/main/pet-wildlife/dog-pet-supplies/dog-food/masterpaws-original-formula-for-all-size-dogs/p-1945902-c-8314.htm

If your parents are open to another food let us know and we can suggest some. Petsmart sells many brands that will likely be a huge step up from the current food.
I asked my dad about how much it costs, what brand it was, etc. He just said $20-40, whatever's the cheapest. It's a big bag, maybe around 50 lbs. So anything around that price range (it was probably closer to the $20 end.) and I think they would consider the switch.
 

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I asked my dad about how much it costs, what brand it was, etc. He just said $20-40, whatever's the cheapest. It's a big bag, maybe around 50 lbs. So anything around that price range (it was probably closer to the $20 end.) and I think they would consider the switch.
$20 for 50 lbs of food pretty much limits you to bad food. But spending a little bit more opens up some more options that are decent. From Menards, I'd probably go with Diamond Naturals chicken and rice which should run about $30 for 40 lbs. From Tractor Supply, I have bought SportMix Wholesome for $28 for 40 lbs and I think the quality is quite good (and the company more reputable than Diamond brands).

But regardless of the food, portion control is the key while slowly increasing exercise. If he's so heavy that you can barely lift him to measure his weight on a scale (that's how I weighed my smaller dog and she's over 60 lbs.....), he is probably SEVERELY overweight since a Cairn Terrier should be around 14-15 lbs maybe even up to 20 lbs if the dog is oversized in height but I'd guessing you could lift 20 lbs just fine. So it is possible that he is growling out of pain when you try to lift him because his joints have been taking a beating carrying around the extra weight. So for walking, start with level ground and try to keep him walking in grass or dirt mostly to limit the impact on his joints (asphalt is better than concrete, but dirt or grass is best). Then gradually take longer walks and add in some small hills.
 

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Does he only eat once a day, or is he fed a cup twice a day? Either way, that could be too much food. My dog weighs 18 lbs, which would be on the heavy end for a Cairn terrier, and he gets a good amount of exercise, and he only gets 1/2 cup a day total. He eats a high quality food, which generally means they need less of it, but cutting back on the food might be a way to start. Can you find on the bag the kcals/cup? That would give you more information so you could figure out how many calories he needs v. how much he's getting.

With regards to being crated a lot, my dog isn't crated a lot (sometimes when we go out), and he spends most of his day sleeping anyway.

I'm vegan as well, but my animals are not, so they all eat meat based food. My dog is very fit and healthy on an appropriate amount of high quality meat based dog food, and I wouldn't mess with that.

Definitely keep walking him! It can only help, physically and mentally!
 

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A cup of food sounds like a lot but it depends on what the food is. Dixie is a Cairn mix but at 13 lbs is about right for a Cairn. She only eats 1/2 cup of food per day divided into two meals. A better quality food can mean feeding less. Her food is more expensive per bag but a 4lb bag lasts a month. Her favorite snack/treat is carrots. A bag of carrots isn't too expensive and is low in calories. If cutting back his food leaves him hungry you might try adding some carrots or green beans as treats they will help fill him up without filling him out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
$20 for 50 lbs of food pretty much limits you to bad food. But spending a little bit more opens up some more options that are decent. From Menards, I'd probably go with Diamond Naturals chicken and rice which should run about $30 for 40 lbs. From Tractor Supply, I have bought SportMix Wholesome for $28 for 40 lbs and I think the quality is quite good (and the company more reputable than Diamond brands).

But regardless of the food, portion control is the key while slowly increasing exercise. If he's so heavy that you can barely lift him to measure his weight on a scale (that's how I weighed my smaller dog and she's over 60 lbs.....), he is probably SEVERELY overweight since a Cairn Terrier should be around 14-15 lbs maybe even up to 20 lbs if the dog is oversized in height but I'd guessing you could lift 20 lbs just fine. So it is possible that he is growling out of pain when you try to lift him because his joints have been taking a beating carrying around the extra weight. So for walking, start with level ground and try to keep him walking in grass or dirt mostly to limit the impact on his joints (asphalt is better than concrete, but dirt or grass is best). Then gradually take longer walks and add in some small hills.
I agree with the portion control. My stepmom just fills the bowls to the brim, and they're around 1 cup when full. I'll talk to her about that. Maybe get a scoop that's only 3/4 cup or 1/2.
The walk we go on has some hills but I can definitely find a different route. Thanks for the advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Does he only eat once a day, or is he fed a cup twice a day? Either way, that could be too much food. My dog weighs 18 lbs, which would be on the heavy end for a Cairn terrier, and he gets a good amount of exercise, and he only gets 1/2 cup a day total. He eats a high quality food, which generally means they need less of it, but cutting back on the food might be a way to start. Can you find on the bag the kcals/cup? That would give you more information so you could figure out how many calories he needs v. how much he's getting.

With regards to being crated a lot, my dog isn't crated a lot (sometimes when we go out), and he spends most of his day sleeping anyway.

I'm vegan as well, but my animals are not, so they all eat meat based food. My dog is very fit and healthy on an appropriate amount of high quality meat based dog food, and I wouldn't mess with that.

Definitely keep walking him! It can only help, physically and mentally!
The chart on the bag is pretty useless. For his ideal weight it just says 1/2 to 1 and 1/2 cups. Which is a pretty big range. He is just fed in the morning. Is 2 meals a day better? And if I were to change the amount should I do it gradually or just all at once? And would half a cup be the best for him?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Another thing to look out for is treats! Especially for such a small dog, treats can quickly add up- especially if they're the table-scrap variety.
I personally don't give table scraps, as much as they beg for it. And their faces are so hypnotizing! But I'm not too sure about my step mom. Shes the spoiling type..

We do however give them baby carrots as treats occasionally.
 

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The chart on the bag is pretty useless. For his ideal weight it just says 1/2 to 1 and 1/2 cups. Which is a pretty big range. He is just fed in the morning. Is 2 meals a day better? And if I were to change the amount should I do it gradually or just all at once? And would half a cup be the best for him?
For adult dogs, either 1 or 2 meals per day is fine. Many people like to feed 2 meals because some dogs get hunger-vomits if their stomach is empty for too long like it can be on only 1 meal.
Cutting down on high calorie treats and table scraps is going to be important. Healthy treats like carrots and green beans or even something like a homemade chicken broth popsicle to chew on outside.

For a relatively inactive dog, especially if he is neutered, the lowest end of the suggested feeding scale is usually enough. If he's getting 1 cup total per day now and is overweight, I would cut him back to 3/4 cup for a few weeks and then back to 1/2 cup and stay with that. You don't need a scale to tell if he is losing weight, just run your hands over his sides and over his back and feel his body condition now and then check for changes weekly or so.

 

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This May I adopted a dog from the local SPCA that was morbidly obese. She's since lost 20 lb in the past 3.5 months and is feeling SO much better! It's really, really worth it to try and get that weight off the poor dog. It really was as simple as switching her to a higher quality food, feeding less of it (with very few treats), and getting outside for some exercise. That's it. She's on a food that about $60 for a 26 lb bag, but that lasts about three months when she's not overfed! A lot of people think buying better food is so expensive, but when they can get nutrients from a good quality food you don't have to feed a lot.

Not to mention the amounts on the bags are wrong anyways, and clearly this little guy should be eating a lot less if he's obese on this amount. You should get measuring cups and work on slowly decreasing the amount he's getting per day. For dogs a really big part of weight loss is portion control. Exercise helps and certainly builds muscle, but initially an obese dog can't get out to exercise for more than 15 minutes anyways. I'd go out for a few short walks as well, as brisk as you can be without it being too much for him. If you are increasing exercise I'd recommend a joint supplement if that's something you're willing to spend money on, since exercise can be tough on an overweight dog's joints.
 

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Our last cairn was on the smaller side, lean, and weighed around 16lbs, whilst our current one is much taller, lean, and around 20lbs. I know a number of people with cairns that weigh up to 24lbs and are definitely not overweight, but it does depend on the build. I would be less concerned by the actual weight and focus more on body condition. Both our dogs were / are fed around 1 cup of food /day (split over two meals) including treats but they were / are very active (14yr old would do 4-5 miles most days).
How old is Kyro? If he's experiencing joint pain because of the excess weight you need to be very careful about the amount of exercise he has and increase the distance very slowly. You might also want to consider joint supplements.
Is it also possible that he's eating some of the other dogs' food which is why he's gained more than the others?
 
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