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Dog food: Natural Balance Low Calorie, 1/2 cup twice a day
Dogs: 9 yo Toy Poodle (no medical issues), 10 yo Shih Tzu mix (arthritis, hypothyroidism, knees slip in and out of place, .3 Levothyroxin twice a day)

This post is specifically about my 10 yo mix. We just recently moved and I found a FABULOUS vet who really wants to get the weight off of my dog and get her thyroid under control. This was not the case where I moved from. Anyway, the vet doesn't want me to walk my dog until we can get some weight off of her as she thinks walking her will only cause more unnecessary pain b/c of my dog's knees. The vet wants me to put my dog on Science Diet R/D, but from what I'm reading I do NOT want to do this. She says that using this food will get some pounds off of her rather quickly, but I don't like some of the ingredients and I definitely don't like what I'm reading online about deaths linked to this food. (By the way, we aren't switching her food until we get her most recent thyroid test back from MSU.)

My question is: Is anyone on here in a similar situation and know of a good holistic food I can feed that will get the pounds off instead of Science Diet R/D? I know there are no foods out there to control hypothyroidism in dogs, but I really just don't know where to begin looking.
 

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I don't have much experience with hypothyroidism in dogs but I found this old thread that might be of help with answers:
Best Dog Food for Hypothyroidism? And arthritis?

General consensus in that thread is that hypothyroidism doesn't require a special diet. Did he say why he recommends her on that food? Just to lose weight fast?

The arthritis may be helped with a grain free food and joint supplements (usually contain chondroitin, MSM, and Glucosamine). If I were you, I would pick a food from this list: Five Sar Dog Foods - Dog Food Advisor and just watch her calorie intake. Another tip is to decrease her food by a small amount for one of her meals and just add some frozen french cut green beans. The green beans act as a filler (empty calories basically) and make her feel more full while ultimately getting less calories.

As far as the exercise, what about swimming? Does she swim? Swimming is excellent for losing weight because it doesn't stress the joints nearly as much as walking. You can try to find someone in your area who does hydrotherapy for dogs. Or, look it up and learn how to do it and try to get her to swim a couple times during the week. I would consult your vet about this stuff too though. Keep in mind, vets don't necessarily know a lot about nutrition (as you may have noticed, kudos to you for doing your own research!) but they should still be consulted when it comes to large changes in lifestyle/diet.
 

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When I was trying to get the weight off Susie, I was in at the Vet and they said they had some food that would definitely make her lose weight. It was very expensive but I thought okay even though I did not like the ingredients, I thought I would try it. I fed exactly what they recommended and in a month, she gained a pound and was scratching all the time.

I just put her back on her regular food and cut way back on what she was getting. She is still overweight and I have had her thyroid checked twice but may take her in again to make sure it is not the problem as I should not have to feed her so little.
 

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I would be looking for a food that was higher protein and lower fat. When Max was over weight he ended up only losing half the weight and the other half of that extra weight turned to muscle on a low fat high protein raw diet. I read that something like Wellness Core Reduced Fat works well for many dogs. It has only 10% fat, is 33% protein and is 360 calories per cup so you can feed a decent amount of kibble.

Strong muscle helps support damaged joints. Max didn't exercise any more than he did before and he grew huge leg muscles once he was getting the protein he apparently needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I don't have much experience with hypothyroidism in dogs but I found this old thread that might be of help with answers:
Best Dog Food for Hypothyroidism? And arthritis?

General consensus in that thread is that hypothyroidism doesn't require a special diet. Did he say why he recommends her on that food? Just to lose weight fast?

The arthritis may be helped with a grain free food and joint supplements (usually contain chondroitin, MSM, and Glucosamine). If I were you, I would pick a food from this list: Five Sar Dog Foods - Dog Food Advisor and just watch her calorie intake. Another tip is to decrease her food by a small amount for one of her meals and just add some frozen french cut green beans. The green beans act as a filler (empty calories basically) and make her feel more full while ultimately getting less calories.

As far as the exercise, what about swimming? Does she swim? Swimming is excellent for losing weight because it doesn't stress the joints nearly as much as walking. You can try to find someone in your area who does hydrotherapy for dogs. Or, look it up and learn how to do it and try to get her to swim a couple times during the week. I would consult your vet about this stuff too though. Keep in mind, vets don't necessarily know a lot about nutrition (as you may have noticed, kudos to you for doing your own research!) but they should still be consulted when it comes to large changes in lifestyle/diet.
Like I said, I know there is no diet out there specifically for hypothyroidism. My issue is I've been feeding my dogs a holistic food since I got them and would like to continue. Yes, her main goal is to get my dog to lose weight pretty quickly. As for feeding her less, I feel guilty (maybe I shouldn't?) for feeding her less than a cup a day. Any less than that and it just seems like she would be starving.

As for swimming, I would LOVE to do this with her, but all she does is freak out when she gets in water that's too deep. If her feet can't touch the ground, we have an issue. I was thinking of buying a pool for our backyard this summer and just getting her used to it. There are some things she has learned she just has to suck up and adapt to, lol.
 

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I would be looking for a food that was higher protein and lower fat. When Max was over weight he ended up only losing half the weight and the other half of that extra weight turned to muscle on a low fat high protein raw diet. I read that something like Wellness Core Reduced Fat works well for many dogs. It has only 10% fat, is 33% protein and is 360 calories per cup so you can feed a decent amount of kibble.

Strong muscle helps support damaged joints. Max didn't exercise any more than he did before and he grew huge leg muscles once he was getting the protein he apparently needed.
I will definitely look into this food. Thank you!
 

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How big is the mix (weight now vs what you want the weight to be)?

I don't feel guilty at all my 13 lb JratT only get 1/4c per feeding twice a day. She'll woof it down in just a few seconds and is looking for more. If she gets lots of rich treats or scraps that day, no dog food. It's really simple. She too has hypothyroidism (.1 mg Levothyroxin twice daily) and I very carefully watch her intake because I don't want her more than a few ounces over her ideal. She is fit, trim, and healthy as a horse!

Dogs are mostly opportunistic eaters, if the foods there they are going to eat, whether they need it or not b/c food may not be there tomorrow or the day after, it's the way they are hardwired.

It's so much easier to control intake than to waste money on 'diet food'. When "calories in < calories out" weight loss occurs. Why 1c of food with fillers when you could just feed 1/2c of food that is nutritious, no fillers, and all the ingredients you approve of?

**I'll add we feed TOTW here, rotating between all flavors (high protein/fat during the summer when we are out and about more High Prarie/Wetlands, the lower calorie varieties Pacific/Lamb over the winter months when we're more sedentary).** Pebbles, 6 yr 13 lbs get 1/2 cup per day, Myleigh ~1.5 yrs 8 lbs gets a cup a day plus satin balls**

You have to tailor your feeding program to each dog individually.
 

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I used Wellness Reduced Fat Core for awhile and it was ok. It was expensive though and after doing even more research I found out that what I really wanted was a food that was less in carbs. A good weight loss food, imo, is a high protein, low fat, low carb diet. Then just cut the number of calories by decreasing amount of food, just a little bit in the beginning. If she acts hungry, use green beans as a "filler".

For the swimming, have you tried getting her a doggy life vest? Sometimes that added security can help dogs who are unsure about it. If she is small enough you could even fill up the bathtub with very lukewarm water and try getting her accustomed to that.
 

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How big is the mix (weight now vs what you want the weight to be)?

I don't feel guilty at all my 13 lb JratT only get 1/4c per feeding twice a day. She'll woof it down in just a few seconds and is looking for more. If she gets lots of rich treats or scraps that day, no dog food. It's really simple. She too has hypothyroidism (.1 mg Levothyroxin twice daily) and I very carefully watch her intake because I don't want her more than a few ounces over her ideal. She is fit, trim, and healthy as a horse!

Dogs are mostly opportunistic eaters, if the foods there they are going to eat, whether they need it or not b/c food may not be there tomorrow or the day after, it's the way they are hardwired.

It's so much easier to control intake than to waste money on 'diet food'. When "calories in < calories out" weight loss occurs. Why 1c of food with fillers when you could just feed 1/2c of food that is nutritious, no fillers, and all the ingredients you approve of?

**I'll add we feed TOTW here, rotating between all flavors (high protein/fat during the summer when we are out and about more High Prarie/Wetlands, the lower calorie varieties Pacific/Lamb over the winter months when we're more sedentary).** Pebbles, 6 yr 13 lbs get 1/2 cup per day, Myleigh ~1.5 yrs 8 lbs gets a cup a day plus satin balls**

You have to tailor your feeding program to each dog individually.
She is 34 lbs now. She was around 20 lbs when I adopted her.
 

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I used Wellness Reduced Fat Core for awhile and it was ok. It was expensive though and after doing even more research I found out that what I really wanted was a food that was less in carbs. A good weight loss food, imo, is a high protein, low fat, low carb diet. Then just cut the number of calories by decreasing amount of food, just a little bit in the beginning. If she acts hungry, use green beans as a "filler".

For the swimming, have you tried getting her a doggy life vest? Sometimes that added security can help dogs who are unsure about it. If she is small enough you could even fill up the bathtub with very lukewarm water and try getting her accustomed to that.
I haven't tried a life vest. That's a good idea though! Unfortunately, she's too big to swim in the bathtub. That's how I was trying to get her to swim before. She will just stand there with the water up to her chin looking freaked out instead of paddling.
 

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I read that something like Wellness Core Reduced Fat works well for many dogs.
Exactly what I was going to suggest. For the OP, we adopted a morbidly obese sheltie a few years ago. She had, among other things, hypothyroidism, arthritis, hip dysplasia and bladder stones. I have never read anything about a special diet for hypothyroidism, she took half a pill twice a day, that was that.
I had read that grainfree food is best for a dog with joint issues, since Katie was so huge, I wanted a food to help her lose weight and hopefully help with the arthritis. Wellness Core reduced fat did the trick. I went by the guidelines of what she should weigh, not how much she did weigh. Also, she got salmon oil which is good for joints too. Give your dog a good joint supplement. My holistic vet had my girl on human glucosamine/msm. She weighed 30lbs at the time and she got one 500mg.
 

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I fostered my MIL's 7 year old cockapoo, and she was morbidly obese. She weighed 28.2 pounds when I got her, and her vet said she should weigh 14-15 pounds :mad:. My MIL had basically worked on feeding the poor dog almost to death. Family members had warned her for years about this, but their advice fell on totally deaf ears. Rosie looked like a swollen tick when I got her - bleech!

I put her on Wellness Core Reduced Fat (rates 5 stars on dogfoodanalysis.com, and is grain free). The key is to feed the dog what she SHOULD weigh, not what she weighs now. I fed Rosie 1/4 c. twice a day, and at the evening meal, I added a couple of heaping tbsp. of no-salt green beans and about 3-4 baby carrots to make her feel full (fiber helps). Also, mix in just a little water - this is important for kibble, esp. grain free. Otherwise, it's like a person eating freeze dried food w/out reconstituting it. Without the water added, a dog feels dehydrated, b/c its body is having to hydrate the kibble.

Rosie went from panting just standing there, to being able to go on short walks within a month, and eventually loving to play fetch and going on 3 mile walks. You shouldn't make a dog lose weight too fast - it's not healthy. Rosie took from last February until July to lose 1/2 her body weight, and that was plenty fast, IMO. Since your dog has luxating patellas (so does my dog Potsie), it's crucial to have them on the slim side to avoid extra stress on the joints. Potsie has orders from my vet to stay at 13 pounds or less, and he weighs 12.8 pounds; not an ounce more! He has grade 4 luxating patellas, and I give him Cosequin DS daily. So far, so good! He doesn't even skip while running (a sign of pain).

Once Rosie had completed "Beth's Spa Treatment" as the rest of the family called it - lol, we found her a WONDERFUL forever home.

It can be done - IGNORE the pitiful looks that you WILL get! No treats (or only low cal ones, ex: baby carrots or small slices of apple). You say your dog won't eat such things? Wait until she's "starving"! Rosie went 3 days w/out eating anything when we first got her (she was used to lots of people food and tons of garbage treats 24/7), then all of a sudden, anything we gave her was INHALED! :hungry:
 

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I fostered my MIL's 7 year old cockapoo, and she was morbidly obese. She weighed 28.2 pounds when I got her, and her vet said she should weigh 14-15 pounds :mad:. My MIL had basically worked on feeding the poor dog almost to death. Family members had warned her for years about this, but their advice fell on totally deaf ears. Rosie looked like a swollen tick when I got her - bleech!

I put her on Wellness Core Reduced Fat (rates 5 stars on dogfoodanalysis.com, and is grain free). The key is to feed the dog what she SHOULD weigh, not what she weighs now. I fed Rosie 1/4 c. twice a day, and at the evening meal, I added a couple of heaping tbsp. of no-salt green beans and about 3-4 baby carrots to make her feel full (fiber helps). Also, mix in just a little water - this is important for kibble, esp. grain free. Otherwise, it's like a person eating freeze dried food w/out reconstituting it. Without the water added, a dog feels dehydrated, b/c its body is having to hydrate the kibble.

Rosie went from panting just standing there, to being able to go on short walks within a month, and eventually loving to play fetch and going on 3 mile walks. You shouldn't make a dog lose weight too fast - it's not healthy. Rosie took from last February until July to lose 1/2 her body weight, and that was plenty fast, IMO. Since your dog has luxating patellas (so does my dog Potsie), it's crucial to have them on the slim side to avoid extra stress on the joints. Potsie has orders from my vet to stay at 13 pounds or less, and he weighs 12.8 pounds; not an ounce more! He has grade 4 luxating patellas, and I give him Cosequin DS daily. So far, so good! He doesn't even skip while running (a sign of pain).

Once Rosie had completed "Beth's Spa Treatment" as the rest of the family called it - lol, we found her a WONDERFUL forever home.

It can be done - IGNORE the pitiful looks that you WILL get! No treats (or only low cal ones, ex: baby carrots or small slices of apple). You say your dog won't eat such things? Wait until she's "starving"! Rosie went 3 days w/out eating anything when we first got her (she was used to lots of people food and tons of garbage treats 24/7), then all of a sudden, anything we gave her was INHALED! :hungry:
Ahhh...see, when I was feeding Nutro Weight Maintenance I was feeding her the weight loss guideline for what she weighed at that time, not what she should weigh. No wonder she didn't lose weight! I also give my dog Cosequin DS and BOY does she love it. Her Levothyroxin dosage is .3 2x a day. Since taking the Cosequin DS and getting weekly shots of Adequan, she's going up and down stairs again. We don't let her use any stairs other than the ones to go in and out the back door to use the bathroom and that's only 2 steps. With me being 7, almost 8, months pregnant, I can no longer pick her up to bring her inside!

I will definitely get this food and talk to the vet about how much my dog should weigh. I don't expect her to lose weight too fast. I would be extremely happy if she can lose 1/2 her body weight in 6 months like your Potsie. Thank you for the feeding recommendation. I'm sure if the only thing left in her bowl is carrots and green beans, she'll eat it. She's highly food motivated (obviously!)
 
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