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I have a 4 year old male blue merle bobtail Aussie named Ace. I have had him since he was 3 months old. I saved him from being euthanized and he has grown to be my little buddy. The first couple years I had him I tried hard to keep him active and taught him tricks etc..I understand he is a high energy breed and living in an apartment was not the ideal scenario for him so I tried to do everything I could to ensure he was getting what he needed. Over the last 2 years though he has gained alot of weight. I was home less and less due to work (it is hard supporting yourself!!!) but it got to the point where he only got 2 short walks a day (horrible I know but it was all I could do) and now he weighs in at 80 pounds. He is no where near as energetic as he used to be which I know would be difficult for an obese dog. Now for the reason I am here...I recently moved back to the country because I realized working all day just to survive in a city was not good for me or my dogs. Now that i'm back and I want to focus on getting Ace back where he needs to be, back to the bright and energetic dog he once was but I need help. I have a few changes in mind that I would like to implement soon and I will be taking him to the vet next week to check his health and get clearance for the changes...change in diet, exercise etc.. but I would like opinions and advice from any fellow Aussie owner out there on what could be wrong with him and what steps I could take to help get him healthy again...I don't want to just run him...that doesn't seem fun for either of us. I would like more of a variety for an exercise regime. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I miss my lively little bubba. I want to teach him frisbee and obstacle courses.

Health concerns I've noticed that could be part of the issue:
He pants excessively...always has but I thought it was just nervousness...he did bond with me very tightly, he follows me everywhere I go and always has to be at my feet.
He is always thirsty. He tries to drink water all the time...even if it's out of a puddle.
He is very overweight.
Now according to my research this could be diabetes or a thyroid condition so I intend to get him tested next week.
I have also noticed that he has allergies...he sneezes all the time and has dandruff, seems to have a bit of a runny nose too. I guess I am throwing all this out there in hope someone has gone through the same thing and can ease my mind a bit...I have a hard time taking one vet's opinion so I would like to have opinions on you guys here that have went through similar issues. I realize that a good amount of this could be my fault and that I should have addressed these issues earlier but life has not been very kind to me and I don't take care of myself the way I should either...this move was made so I could take care of me and my dogs better. Life is just too damn short to keep ignoring our health and happiness and I want us all to be together for as long as possible. So, to all you owners out there...please help. We both need it.

Thanks.
 

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Get a complete blood workup including thyroid T-4 test.

For weight loss, use a high quality food (preferably grain free) and substitute 1/4 of the food with canned low sodium green beans. It'll help him feel full without the calories.

If you can have your dog swim as exercise, it's easiest on the joints. But don't overdo it. Also be aware that dogs can overheat when swimming.
 

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I have no where to take him to swim in this area right now. I live in the country and most of the ponds are super low and algae infested because of the drought. As for the food...I am putting him on Nutro's Natural Choice Grain Free food next week and will supplement with green beans and see how that goes. I will also tell the vet next week to make sure Ace gets that complete blood workup and T-4 test as well. Thank you very much for your advice. Do you have any suggestions on anything else besides swimming I can do to help get some weight off him? I was thinking about setting up so agility poles and short jumps and a tunnel...minor agility stuff to get him moving...is that a good idea or a bad one because of his excessive weight?
 

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Definitely get tests for thyroid, (I would insist on a full panel, not just a T4) Cushings and Diabetes. Chances are, though, your dog has been taking in more calories than he's been able to burn. I've also had success (on a 90-lb Aussie I got into rescue) with green beans, though I used frozen, not canned. But remember it's not a suppliment - it is a substitution for some of his food. Don't put him on a crash diet or crash exercise program. He didn't gain this weight in a week, and it's going to take some time to get him back to fit.
 

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Unfortunately I have no suggestions for the immediate future other than lots of short walks will be as beneficial as few long ones. Because of his extra weight, jumps might be tough on his joints. But agility would be good exercise if you vet clears him for it.
 

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I wouldn't jump him, but extra walking would be good. More frequent short brisk walks are better than less long ones. When they get tired muscles, and still go, the tendons and ligaments can give out and you end up with torn acls, etc.
If you have a jacuuzzi tub, filling that, and supporting their body so they tread water can help.
 
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