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Discussion Starter #1
We inherited or Golden Retriever from my parents, she's a pure blood, not mixed so I know she's prone to weight gain just because of her breed. But she was free fed when my parents had her and fed her beneful and she was overweight when we got her.

We have had her about a year and a half and she's always been a BIG dog. Well yesterday she had her regular grooming appointment and instead of her usual trim we decided to get her shaved for the summer. So she will be more comfortable. Well..... WOW, her long hair sure hid a lot of her fluff.....

This recall came at a good time (if I'm allowed to say that) because otherwise I don't think I would have been doing the research on dog food that I have been lately.


We are currently using TOTW High Prairie and Wetlands along with Blue Buffalo Life Protection Chicken and Brown Rice for the kibble in her rotation. I read where rotation of proteins is important. She also gets some TOTW or BB homestyle canned. Her food is measured/weighed I was giving her 520 calories per meal. Before her grooming appointment I did reduced that a tad to an even 500 calories per meal. Using the dog food calculator on Dog Food Advisor for an 80 lb overweight dog. She should drop a good 20+ pounds! I think she has packed on a few pounds since we switched her from Beneful to TOTW a few months ago. She doesn't normally get treats during the day, maybe an odd one here and there but it's not a daily thing.

Last night I started reading up on this page.
http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/best-dog-foods/weight-loss-dog-foods/#fnref-3046-2

Are reduced fat or light food options a good idea for a dog?

I was thinking of switching her to this kibble.....

Wellness Core Grain Free Reduced Fat Kibble
33% Protein
10% Fat Min ~ 12% Fat Max

Then using the canned Merrick and Wellness options on that link as well since they have a lower fat than other options. Most are 3% fat while a few are 4% fat. Just because she prefers to have a mixture of wet and dry with water added. I'll be using 1/3 of the can of canned with the difference in the calories in kibble. All foods weighed out since I use a scale for my home business and my own dieting needs it's always out.

I was thinking of switching to Earthborn Holistic Grain Free, until I realized how chubby she was and realized that has 15/18% Fat and the two TOTW kibbles were currently using has 18% fat. So since she gained weight after we switched, maybe she would be better off with a lower fat, high protein, grain free kibble instead.


I do have enough kibble for maybe 3-4 weeks left yet. Should I switch her over to a lower fat kibble sooner than getting to the end of the bag? I wouldn't waste the kibble I have but instead would give it to my brother for his two dogs. They feed iams but I have mentioned 4health and TOTW to my SIL and I think (hope) she has switched to the one or the other because she was questioning me after that first conversation.

Just before the second Diamond plant recall I had purchased more TOTW and I bought a bag of the 4Health Large breed to rotate. But I have taken them back and replaced it with a bag of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe. That has 15% fat.


So when trying to slim a dog down, what's the best way to do it. We do a mile and a half walk daily. (working up to increasing as my health allows) But how should we alter her food? Is 500 calories per meal too much or not enough? Does the fat of the dog food make a difference? Grain Free or non-grain free options? That's another reason why I was thinking of going with the Wellness Core because it's a grain free version.

Does anyone have any experience with slimming an overweight dog?
 

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I have heard that Wellness CORE low-fat is the best diet food, because it's not as high in carbs as most others. But basically, she needs less food. I found the calorie counter on dogfoodadvisor to be very high. . .my dogs aren't even fat and they eat WAY less than they recommend for overweight dogs (which is the smallest amount). So just cut her food back gradually until you find an amount that makes her lose a small amount of weight weekly. Then stick with it. If she acts like she's starving, fill up her tummy with green beans or carrots or another low-calorie veggie.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the help Willowy! I didn't realize that their calculator ran on the high side. Which will help for my other pudgy couch potato dog! I'll try cutting back on her calories a little more and I think I'll give the Wellness Core reduced fat a try. It certainly won't hurt! Given she's such a big dog it will be a little hard to weigh her, but I might see if I can pop by the vet office every couple of weeks just to have her stand on their scale. She doesn't act hungry until it's meal time (imagine that), but she does like veggies when they are offered.
 

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My golden is an "easy keeper" too and has been on a diet for the last 6 weeks. Fortunately, he only needed to lose about 5-7 lbs, which he has successfully done on regular kibble, just by decreasing the amount. :D

If he needed to lose as much as 20 lbs, I would absolutely try the Core. I have heard many say they have had great results using Core for weight loss and maintaining good body weight, as well.

Also, you may want to consider adding some toppers like salmon or sardines or even boiled chicken in lieu of canned once in a while. Lower in fat, but still good protein. Green beans (No salt--frozen or canned) also add bulk without calories, as well.

Good luck! :)
 

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Another vote for Core reduced fat, along with no-salt green beans and baby carrots. I got my MIL's dog to lose 1/2 her body weight using this method. I fed her what she should have weighed, not what she did weigh. She went from 28.2 lb. to 14.5 lb. between Feb. and the end of July of 2011. Check with your vet to see what your dog's ideal weight should be. Toss the dog biscuits. Give her baby carrots instead; apple slices, too, if you're having an apple. At first, she may turn up her nose at them, but hunger does wonders for a picky dog!
 

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My experience with over weight dogs is to increase exercise along with lowering food amount and food type. A core or weight management is the starting point in witch everyone else has talked about, so I won't go any further. I always increase exercise. As it is hot where I am currently at, we are playing in the water. My dog LOVEs to swim as will a Retriever. If the dog plays with tennis balls, throw them in the water. They were bread for this kind of play. It is great exercise without putting extra stress on the body and joints. If you don't have any water to use, then tennis balls to retrieve.

On a different note...I don't recommend shaving Retrievers, you destroy there natural ability deal with the heat. At least that is what a hunting dog trainer told me.
 

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I'd worry more about the amount of food than the kind.

Also, consider that increasing activity level while she's still overweight can strain the joints. I'd work up to more exercise as the weight comes off, but not before.
 

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I decided to give the dogfoodadvisor calculator a whirl just to see how accurate it was. It suggested I feed 1.5-2x more than I was feeding of Gally's previous food and I would say he was at a healthy weight when I fed it. Even though he's a very active dog I think he'd be overweight in no time if I fed what that calculator suggested.
 

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I agree with slowly increasing excercise - you don't want to stress their joints or their heart. My MIL's dog that I mentioned earlier, panted just existing, when we first got her. We first walked her around the yard, then around the block, then further, as she was comfortably able, up to 3 miles at a time, eventually. She also learned to LOVE fetch after she'd shed a lot of her weight. She was definitely a brand new dog!
 

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On another forum, a member adopted a dog that was easily 30+ lbs overweight. They managed to slim him down from 112lbs (he went into a rescue weighing 140lbs but lost 28lbs before adoption) to mid-70's using increased exercise and reduced food and I think they fed him Wellness Core Reduced Fat but I'm not sure. He was also on thyroid medication for most of the weight loss period because his obesity contributed to thyroid issues but he was weaned off it when he started getting close to his goal weight.
 

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We adopted an elderly, obese dog and used Wellness Core reduced fat to help her lose half of her weight.
 

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i think sometimes we think too hard about these things.

More excersize. And by excersize i mean on leash every day. If they are WAY overweight, obviously just a long walk each day is sufficient until they lose some pounds. Otherwise they'll hurt their joints.
My dogs pull me on my bike every other day and get at least one long walk a day. If i could rollerblade i would do that also.
Then look at the feeding guide and feed your dog however much it says to feed for the weight you WANT them to be. Not the weight that they are currently at.

That's all you really need to do. it will take time, but it will work.
 

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CORE reduced fat is excellent for weight loss. I personally think CORE in general is better suited to the average dog than foods like evo orijen, etc. All the ratios are just right.

You said your dog weighs 80 lbs, is that her weight now or what her ideal weight would be?. Feeding amounts should be based on your dogs ideal weight. Personally my dog(who gains weight really easily) eats half the amount the bag reccomends for his weight. You shouldn't always go strictly by bag reccomendations, adjust according to what works for your dog.

And of course exercise is extremely important as well for good muscle tone, otherwise you'll end up with a skinny-fat dog(dog that's technically slim but has a mainly fatty body with no muscle tone). If your dog is super-overweight I'd start light and gradually add on.
 

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If protein doesn't go along with that exercise then strong muscle isn't going to be built. Agree about feeding higher protein food!

A very simple way to increase exercise may be to feed in a food puzzle. Max can empty some kinds sitting but usually they get batted around and the tail is going a mile a minute. Tail wagging ought to burn some calories, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
While Ella is a golden retriever and traditionally a hunting dog, she was a farm dog until my parents couldn't care for her because of my mom's cancer treatments. So we took her. They are a very needy breed and she wasn't happy being in the garage or outside with the large kennel attached to the house. So she came indoors with our other two. Now she's happy as a clam being an indoor dog playing with the other two. Although I swear she thinks she's a 10 pound dog..... So in the summer she's inside where there is central air and in the winter she's inside where there is heat. She does really well as an inside dog! So she really doesn't need to worry about a natural ability to deal with the heat. Since we have had her shaved I have also noticed she isn't panting all the time either! She looks like she feels better without all that hair on her as well. So maybe that's true for a hunting dog that isn't treated as an indoor dog.

I do weigh her food out in grams on a digital scale so I'm making sure I don't over feed. I use the kcal per kilogram info put out by the manufacture. Since there are 1000 grams in a kilo it makes it easy to figure out. For example the Wellness Core grain free Reduced Fat kibble contains 3,250 kcal per kilogram. So that means there are 3.25 kcal per gram of food. So if her kibble portion of her calories is 385 kcal then divide that by 3.25 so she gets 118 grams of kibble. It's easier to weigh in grams than ounces because there are 28 grams to the single ounce. I've been doing this for some time without a lot of success on the TOTW. I'm thinking because of it's higher fat content.

80 pounds is the ideal weight that I'm using not her current weight. I'm going to drop her calories down to 450 kcal per meal (I was giving 500 kcal per meal) and then offer some green beans with her meal. I don't ever use canned veggies only fresh or frozen. We don't offer a lot of non-veggie treats during the day. Because were trying to eat more fruit and veggies ourselves so if were snacking then they might be offered veggie which they do love. Is dropping it 100 cal per day (not including the cal of the added veggies) enough? Or should I drop it more?

I did package up the TOTW food we were using to take over to my brothers house for their dogs. It has 18% fat and I couldn't see finishing it up just because I bought it when Ella really doesn't need it. At least it won't go to waste. So were using the BB Wilderness chicken right now until my Core arrives. It's high protein, grain free food. I ordered it so hopefully it will be here by the end of the week.

We walk most days of the week. Weather pending or if my pain level is too high we might skip a night. But we walk 1.4 miles or a tad shorter if my other dog starts balking at the walk. Then we cut it a couple of blocks short but not much. So doesn't look strained at walking that distance. I'd like to increase the length as her weight drops and my health allows it.
 

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If you find it difficult to go on a long walk there are other things you could do for her.
You can teach her to walk on a treadmill. Get a chuck-it (easier on the arm) and have her play fetch. Put her food in a puzzle toy so she has to work for it.

Best of luck :)
 

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Start with your plan of cutting 100 calories a day. Weigh her weekly. . .you should see a small loss every week if she's on the right amount. If you don't see any loss, cut back a bit more, and so on.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks I'll do that. Start with the 100 cal/day and see where it gets us. I don't want to cut back too much and starve her either, so it's a matter of trial and error and seeing what works I guess.



Here's another question. I'm kinda a juicer. Kinda being I don't get into it hard core, but I do enjoy juicing some fruits and veggies. Actually my kids really love my apple carrot juice. I go by weight and use 1/2 the carrots that I do apples. But this morning I made some and cored the apples first and cut the ends off the carrots. I juiced the cores first so they would be at the bottom of the pulp bucket and then juiced the apples followed by the carrots. So instead of giving the dogs thawed frozen green beans with their breakfast I used the carrot pulp with a little bit of the apple pulp. Would that be okay to do since it's for adding in some low calorie vegetable bulk to fill them up? They did eat it up just fine with their kibble and canned food and of course I added in plenty of water to the mix. I thought if that would work it would be a good way to use up some of that leftover veggie pulp. And it's finely ground up the way they suggest feeding veggies dog dogs if it's added to dog food for digestion. Where snacks it's not an issue, they eat it for enjoyment.
 

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I love that idea. Start with a little and watch. Both apples and carrots are sweet so she ought to love it but it could cause stool issues I suppose.

Has she had a thyroid test? You really aren't giving her much for her weight and low thyroid is very common in GR.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I guess a little more mess to clean up wouldn't be the end of the world if it helps add some bulk without the calories.

No i haven't had her thyroid tested. I'll give the vet a call to see what she thinks and get her in and have that done.



Thanks for all the help, this is new to me and so I'm learning!!!
 
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