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I have a Manchester Terrier/Chihuahua mix. She is a spayed female and I believe she is overweight. She is 1'3 long from nose to butt and 1'9 from feet to back. She weighs about 23-25 pounds. How can I get her to lose weight? We have 3 dogs and she is a low-activity dog but will perform physical activities if taken out to do so. Our other two dogs are free-fed from a large bowl and I've been thinking about discouraging Gigi from eating from this bowl and instead having her eat from a smaller bowl with a measured amount each day. What exercise should I maintain for Gigi? Distance? Activity? Time? She does have the ability to run alongside a bike going slow for 2 miles. She can do about anything. I would take her to a dog park but our town doesn't have one. Oh, and what amount of food should I feed her per day? I feed Adult Purina
 

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Purina's not a good food, you should switch to something better. dogfoodadvisor.com is a good place to start.

You need to stop free feeding your dogs altogether. It's not good for them. You have no control over weight, nor are you likely to be immediately aware of appetite changes, which is huge, because appetite changes are often the only symptom of serious disease.

So stop free feeding and start putting food in a bowl, putting it down and taking it up in 15 minutes. Whatever the dogs don't eat, they don't eat. They'll catch on. When you feed your dogs, be aware that the amount on the bag is way too high. A working border collie would need that many calories, not a lazy housepet. The amount recommended for my dog is 2-3 Cups. I feed less than a cup a day. So you should start at half the amount on the bag and just keep careful track of everyone's body condition. If they get too thin, feed more.

Here's a chart to determine body condition:

 

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I know Purina is not good. You don't need to tell me that because I already know. My parents lack money right now and I'm working on a job so I can pa for better food. I am also aware that free-feeding is bad. But thanks anyway you only succeeded in telling me something I already know. You told me what I could feed but not exercise. Can you help me there?
 

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I know Purina is not good. You don't need to tell me that because I already know. My parents lack money right now and I'm working on a job so I can pa for better food. I am also aware that free-feeding is bad. But thanks anyway you only succeeded in telling me something I already know. You told me what I could feed but not exercise. Can you help me there?
Unfortunately, I don't know what everyone knows, so I put in everything.

Food restriction is far more effective for weight loss than exercise. Exercise is important to overall health, but not really for weight loss. And, if your dog is obese or morbidly obese (see chart above) I'd be hesitant to introduce new exercise without clearing it with a vet first. If your dog isn't that overweight, walking, fetch, flirt pole, swimming and just general playing are all good exercises.

You have to keep in mind that fat is far worse for dogs than humans. Humans really can be "fit and fat". Dogs can't. Extra weight can take 2 years off a dog's life, and cause serious joint damage and organ damage.
 

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2 miles of running beside a bike every day is, in my view, a decent amount of exercise.

Like Amaryllis said, even if you "discourage" Gigi from eating out of the big bowl of food (how do you plan to do that?), you're going to have a hard time limiting her food intake with other free-feeding dogs around because that food will be there anytime she gets hungry. And she WILL get hungry - it's the only way she'll lose any weight. If you can put the large bowl of food in a place where the other dogs can reach but Gigi can't access it, that's great and feeding Gigi separately might work. But feeding all three of the dogs separately from their own bowls WILL work.

As for the amount... I would take the recommended amount of food on the bag for the weight that you want her to be and give her half to three-quarters of that. The recommended feeding guidelines on dog food bags are usually lead to overfeeding. I'd start at the higher amount and decrease it by a little bit if I didn't see any results within a month or so.
 
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