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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a dog who needs to lose about 15-20 lbs.

I have her on 4health dog food and right now she's been getting 2 cups a day, weighing 72lbs. She SHOULD be about 55 from what I have read and can just based on her build. I think 2 cups was too much so I just recently dropped it down to 1.5 cups (3/4 morning and night) with very few treats..and almost ALL treats being baby carrots or frozen blueberries. She occasionally gets a 5 calorie mini milk bone.

Does 1.5 cups still sound like too much? She's not very active, sleeps most of the day..and she does not have any health issues.

I've never tried to get a dog to lose weight before...about how long should it take before we notice a change in weight/appearance?


ETA: She's 10.5 years old. Forgot to mention that before, just that she was "senior" but that could be a wide range!
 

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I'm not sure if that's the right amount of food or not, but it's a good start. If she isn't losing enough in a couple months you could lower it further but I think it's good to lower it slowly anyway. If she is physically able you could also try taking her on more frequent walks (for an older dog going on longer walks might wear her out, especially since she is overweight). For reference, my 20 pound dog eats around 1 cup a day, sometimes less, of a food that's a bit more calorie dense (Taste of the Wild) but she is pretty active. A dog that sleeps all day would need significantly fewer calories than one that's always running about.

I think you're on the right track as far as feeding. Good luck, you're really going to improve her quality of life by getting that weight off of her. You might actually find that she becomes more active as she gets into better shape. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not sure if that's the right amount of food or not, but it's a good start. If she isn't losing enough in a couple months you could lower it further but I think it's good to lower it slowly anyway. If she is physically able you could also try taking her on more frequent walks (for an older dog going on longer walks might wear her out, especially since she is overweight). For reference, my 20 pound dog eats around 1 cup a day, sometimes less, of a food that's a bit more calorie dense (Taste of the Wild) but she is pretty active. A dog that sleeps all day would need significantly fewer calories than one that's always running about.

I think you're on the right track as far as feeding. Good luck, you're really going to improve her quality of life by getting that weight off of her. You might actually find that she becomes more active as she gets into better shape. :)
I'll try adding in two 15 minute walks a day and see if that helps. I work at home so even though I am home I'm working, but I do have two breaks so I'll try bringing her out during those breaks. She's definitely willing to walk, and she's also willing to play if we get out a rope or something for tug of war...it's just that she's also quite content to lay on the couch or her dog bed and snooze the day away as well.
 

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Really it depends on a lot of factors. The dogs metabolism, how active they are, how old they are, what they are eating, etc.

I adopted my boy almost 2 years ago and he was 50# on his new pet vet exam. The info I got from the shelter said he was getting 1.5cups of dry with a spoon of wet food on top twice a day. So I started feeding him 1.5 cups of kibble twice a day and he was getting a lot more exercise with me than he was at the shelter. Within about 4-6 months (estimated don't remember how long off the top of my head) he'd gotten up to 57.5# at the vet called him fat and told me I was feeding him too much.

So I cut him back to 1 cup twice a day and added 4-5 baby carrots with his kibble to help fill him up because he was NOT happy about less food. He would go scratch and push around the bin that held his kibble begging for more, the addition of the carrots stopped that behavior. That was good enough for him to start shedding the extra weight and he's still at 1 cup twice a day without the carrot filler and maintaining a nice 50# weight still (just dropped by the vet to get a weight on him over the weekend).

He's always been a pretty active boy so I didn't change anything activity wise but if your girl isn't very active you might was to get her more active to help shed some of those pounds. Carrots and green beans make a really good low calorie filler to help the dogs feel full with less food and drop extra weight.
 

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I'll try adding in two 15 minute walks a day and see if that helps. I work at home so even though I am home I'm working, but I do have two breaks so I'll try bringing her out during those breaks. She's definitely willing to walk, and she's also willing to play if we get out a rope or something for tug of war...it's just that she's also quite content to lay on the couch or her dog bed and snooze the day away as well.
Do you mean adding two ADDITIONAL walks or just starting to take her on two 15 min walks a day? EVERY dog should get walked everyday, ideally a minimum of 30 minutes a day. If she isn't getting any walks right now that's probably a big part of being overweight.
 

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Cutting back to 1.5 cups sounds about right.

It took Max a year to get to good body condition, he got fat as a 7 year old and the pudge came off when he was 9. Really hard work for both of us. If you feed too little the body will just go into starvation mode for one thing! He finally was in good condition after I was able to free fed him lean whole prey.

Try feeding her with food puzzles or make part of the meal treats for fabulous behaviors like puppy pushups [sitdownstand] so she stays on her feet longer.

More protein would be fine although the food she is on has a good amount. You might make your own low fat jerky, use bully sticks and cow ears as chews and the like. On a day she gets a chew you could cut back the evening meal a bit to keep calories per day level.

If she is sleeping a lot she might be in pain or just not feeling well. When is the last time she has had a checkup with blood work? Is she on any joint supplements?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Right now she goes on walks in the morning only, so I'll add in two extra. I'd say her morning walks are approximately 30 minutes, there's some days that might be less, depending on if the kids make the bus in the morning or if I have to drive them into school.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
She had bloodwork done last year, it was all fine and they said other than being overweight she was healthy. She at that time had a few teeth removed, and she was sedated for that and after that her joints seemed a bit stiff so we got her an orthopedic bed and put her on joint supplements, arhogen tabs ..she's always slept this much though. This is her usual day:

In the morning she's more active..(8am) gets her breakfast, her walk and then lays down on her bed (at about 9am..this is when I start work). Sometimes she'll also play a bit with the puppy first (and lays down at 10am) She gets up to get some water, go out to the backyard to pee/poop and bark at the neighbors (about 12pm) and then lays back down for another nap. Then in the afternoon she sits in front of the glass door and barks at the mail man and the neighborhood kids as they get off the various school buses. (1pm for the mailman and 2:30-4pm to watch the school buses) When the kids get home (4pm) she's a bit more active and follows them around a bit and then she gets her dinner (5pm), goes back outside, does her business and barks at the neighbors a bit more. She'll come back in and lay down while the kids do homework/play games. Sometimes we have soccer and from what I can see she just sits on the chair and watches for us to come back during that time. Then in the evening about the time the kids go to bed (8-8:30) she gets a burst of energy and runs around the house with the other two dogs. She tires out well before they do (about 9pm) and will lay back down and sleeps for most of the rest of the evening until about 11pm. Then she gets up, goes outside again and sniffs around and then comes in and plays lightly with us before she finally turns in for bed around midnight, which is when we do.

I don't think she'd do well with food puzzles, I think she'd likely just leave it and not eat..not sure she'd really "get it" but I will try her with a treat ball.

I'll definitely try feeding part of the meal by having her do some sit stand, etc. She likes doing things like that so I think that would be good for her.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Really it depends on a lot of factors. The dogs metabolism, how active they are, how old they are, what they are eating, etc.

I adopted my boy almost 2 years ago and he was 50# on his new pet vet exam. The info I got from the shelter said he was getting 1.5cups of dry with a spoon of wet food on top twice a day. So I started feeding him 1.5 cups of kibble twice a day and he was getting a lot more exercise with me than he was at the shelter. Within about 4-6 months (estimated don't remember how long off the top of my head) he'd gotten up to 57.5# at the vet called him fat and told me I was feeding him too much.

So I cut him back to 1 cup twice a day and added 4-5 baby carrots with his kibble to help fill him up because he was NOT happy about less food. He would go scratch and push around the bin that held his kibble begging for more, the addition of the carrots stopped that behavior. That was good enough for him to start shedding the extra weight and he's still at 1 cup twice a day without the carrot filler and maintaining a nice 50# weight still (just dropped by the vet to get a weight on him over the weekend).

He's always been a pretty active boy so I didn't change anything activity wise but if your girl isn't very active you might was to get her more active to help shed some of those pounds. Carrots and green beans make a really good low calorie filler to help the dogs feel full with less food and drop extra weight.
She used to beg for more food when we had her on Purina Dog Chow. I now know that's because that food is junk and she probably needed to eat so much just to feel satisfied. With the new food she'll eat it if it's there but she doesn't ever really beg for food as if she's starving. She used to go and bang her bowl around to let me know she wanted more food but now she waits patiently for whenever meal time is.

Seems that what she really needs is more activity...and well, I could use more too. I've always been hesitant to walk her too much since she is overweight and because she has had joint pain in the past..but I guess as long as we take it slow and steady and build up the time gradually it'll be best for her in the long run.
 

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The daily routine you posted actually sounds pretty good but those extra little walks shouldn't hurt, a gradual cut back on the food should be good enough. Give it a month of two to see how she's doing and MAYBE cut back a little more if she isn't really loosing any weight but hopefully she will be. Good luck.
 
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