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Discussion Starter #1
thin.jpg fat.jpg fat1.jpg fat2.jpg

I know there's been a lot of talk already about this, but am looking for specific advice.

I think Jewel is overweight. I think she could lose 8-10 pounds. We feed her Nature's Domain from Costco. The Salmon and sweet potato version (336kcal/cup). We feed her twice a day for a total of 2.5 cups. She currently weighs 60 pounds. She was 40 pounds when she was rescued. I think she should be in the 50 pound range. She doesn't get treats. She gets about 60-90 minutes of on leash walking a day and 90 minutes of off leash hiking a day. I can't seem to get her to lose weight. I am toying with switching to feeding raw. Also, trying to hike with some weight on her. How do you guys with conditioned dogs get that muscle tone? Is it from tug/flirt pole etc?

Here are some pics. The first one is from when she was first rescued and under weight.
The others are her fat pics.
 

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You can certainly switch to raw, but I would try a higher quality kibble first if you're more comfortable feeding kibble. You could also reduce her current intake of kibble and add some bulk back with green beans to keep her full. I would usually say more exercise, but she's getting quite a bit of that already. Adding in some flirt pole work could help with muscle and conditioning, but a few short sessions isn't going to burn that many more calories (especially compared to the normal exercise she gets).

And my secret to a thin and conditioned dog is keeping him intact. Not helpful, I know! But I honestly don't do much more than a normal amount of walking/running, and feed him a ridiculous amount of calories, and he only gains muscle, not fat. Just goes to show it's so dog dependent.
 

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Simply feeding from a food puzzle toy or training with dinner adds 1/2 hour of exercise daily. Could try that. I suspect that eating hard to eat whole prey is why Max lost his pudge after a year of limited success in losing weight on raw food. Eating for an hour or more and wrestling with a meal that weighs a couple of pounds has to be more exercise than crunching up a bit of this and a bit of that the way he usually is fed. Even though Ginger ate her fill of whole prey chicken twice one month she lost a good amount of weight. I am a bit concerned this month though, she ate the whole chicken this time! A 16 pound dog eating a 2-3 pound bird in one go? Wow.

Agree. try a food with more protein in it. You could simply take away 100-200 calories of the kibble and substitute the equivalent in leaner meat/egg/fish to up the protein a little. Take away 1/3 cup of kibble and feed an egg some days maybe. Ideally I would want her to be eating 1.5x her ideal weight in grams of protein, about 75 grams a day. Right now she is getting more like 60. Just cutting back on the Costco stuff would limit her protein to 48 grams for 2 cups of food, not so good for maintaining strong muscle.

One reason Max's weight got out of hand [went from 33 to 44 pound in 6 months] was his fluff, even when he had a table top back and felt like a stuffed sausage the poor guy looked exactly the same. I wouldn't say she is heavy unless I had my hands on her. I want to easily feel the bony bits but not see any but the last couple of ribs. Some dogs have prominent hip bones when at a good weight as well. Ginger looks great with a very taut belly and nice tuck but when I put my hands on her I can feel her chest point and ribs but there is quite the roll behind her front legs and some padding over her shoulders and hips still. It has been 6 months and looks to be another couple of months, we will get there yet.

Raw can be extremely fatty. I kept Max on skinned chicken, beef round rather than chuck and pork loin/trimmed shoulder rather than ribs.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys, I like the idea of limiting her kibble and adding more protein. She currently eats her kibble out of a treat ball (orange one where the kibble come out one hole). She's really good at it though and so it only take her 10 minutes per meal. I think I will cut down the kibble and add some extra protein and/or veggies.

Does anyone have any exercise idea other than walking/running? I was thinking about adding a weight pack. Lately she's been a bit lazy on our hikes, if we don't run into other dogs, and spends a lot of time sniffing, etc and not running. I have been trying to let her fall behind a bit so that when I call her, she has to sprint quite a distance to catch up to me and is panting by the time she gets here.

Maybe she needs more play dates so she's sprinting the whole time?

This may be a gross/dumb question, but she has been eating a lot of dog poop on the trails before I can catch her. Can this cause weight gain?
 

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Being on the move for up to 3 hours a day should be plenty of exercise to keep her weight down. Other types of exercise can help build muscle, but I don't think you *need* to get her sprinting to the point of being super tired all the time. Couldn't hurt, but them I'm wary of over-exercising dogs and creating one that can just go and go forever, because my lifestyle can't always support that.

I agree that she could use more protein. Is the food grain free? Cutting down the level of carbs would help too. Personally I would switch kibble first, but adding addition protein in the form of meat or eggs is a good start.
 

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Yes it is grain free. I think I will start adding more protein to this kibble and then look at switching once this bag is done and/or go raw. I love the look of these gorgeous conditioned dogs. I wonder if it's realistic for a pet to look closer to that. Although as long as she's healthy, I don't care. She's just young and I want to give her the best life possible. Plus I'm athletic so want to keep her in tip top shape so she can continuously keep up with me. I honestly didn't think a dog getting as much exercise as her could ever get fat. It was probably all of the treats/peanut butter/etc we gave her when we first got her.

At one point, she was getting 4 cups of kibble a day, plus a kong stuffed with peanut butter, plus 2 milk bones, plus other treats. Lesson learned!

She's actually really good at not getting/expecting exercise. When we go away and my friend dog sits, she doesn't give her as much exercise and Jewel is content as long as she's getting attention.
 

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I think a lot of really conditioned dogs aren't fixed, which does make a difference. Watson is solid muscle and only gets ~60min of walking a day (I'm walking, he's usually trotting).

I went to a seminar by a show handler and he puts dogs on the treadmill for ~15min a day, at the fastest speed where they can still trot (he builds them up to this, of course). His dogs are beautifully conditioned. It doesn't necessarily take *more* exercise, just the right exercise. Trotting next to a bike is fantastic for conditioning and lots of people do that instead of a treadmill.
 

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I think a lot of really conditioned dogs aren't fixed, which does make a difference. Watson is solid muscle and only gets ~60min of walking a day (I'm walking, he's usually trotting).

I went to a seminar by a show handler and he puts dogs on the treadmill for ~15min a day, at the fastest speed where they can still trot (he builds them up to this, of course). His dogs are beautifully conditioned. It doesn't necessarily take *more* exercise, just the right exercise. Trotting next to a bike is fantastic for conditioning and lots of people do that instead of a treadmill.
Interesting so sprinting or running can be enough to build muscle? We were jogging about 5 k every day in the warmer non-icey weather. I wonder if that's part of the reason she is gaining now. We also love biking. I see a very fit dog in the summer especially since I am training for a 1/2 marathon. I'm assuming protein will be even more important once we up her exercise. Thanks so much for the info. I am new at all of this!
 

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Interesting so sprinting or running can be enough to build muscle? We were jogging about 5 k every day in the warmer non-icey weather. I wonder if that's part of the reason she is gaining now. We also love biking. I see a very fit dog in the summer especially since I am training for a 1/2 marathon. I'm assuming protein will be even more important once we up her exercise. Thanks so much for the info. I am new at all of this!
Yeah, traditionally show people, who want a well conditioned dog with nicely toned muscles (not necessarily bulk muscles though) do a lot of road work with bikes or golf carts, and use treadmills. It's that long strided trot that builds the correct muscles. I'm sure people in different sports would do something different (if they wanted functional muscles for sprinting, or jumping, etc), but that's kind of the basics of a conditioning program.
 

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Can you arrange to go on off-leash walks with another dog? Maybe not every day, but a few times a week? If you don't have any friends already that would fit the bill, maybe check Meetup.com for dog-based groups. There is like, a dozen here in Edmonton so I imagine there would be a few in Ottawa as well. Was she getting the 5k jog in addition to the 2-3 hours of walking/hiking? Because that would definitely do it!

I think it is normal for dogs (and people) to put on some weight in the winter. While you'll have to work to take the extra weight of this year, now you'll be prepared for next year and can just decrease her food intake a bit when the cold weather hits.
 

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Can you arrange to go on off-leash walks with another dog? Maybe not every day, but a few times a week? If you don't have any friends already that would fit the bill, maybe check Meetup.com for dog-based groups. There is like, a dozen here in Edmonton so I imagine there would be a few in Ottawa as well. Was she getting the 5k jog in addition to the 2-3 hours of walking/hiking? Because that would definitely do it!

I think it is normal for dogs (and people) to put on some weight in the winter. While you'll have to work to take the extra weight of this year, now you'll be prepared for next year and can just decrease her food intake a bit when the cold weather hits.
Thanks Gingerkid. No the 5k jog replaced her current 90 minute hike. She was getting about 90 minutes on leash walking and a 40 minute jog. We do hike off leash with other dogs at least 3 times a week. I think this helps a lot.
 

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How do you guys with conditioned dogs get that muscle tone? Is it from tug/flirt pole etc?
I wouldn't call my dogs conditioned, since they haven't been put through any sort of keep, but simple handwalking is what works best for us.

I love the look of these gorgeous conditioned dogs. I wonder if it's realistic for a pet to look closer to that.
When you say conditioned dogs, what breed(s) are you admiring? Every dog won't carry muscle the same. What's realistic for, say an American Bulldog, whose muscles are generally bulkier, isn't realistic/achievable for a Saluki, whose muscles are flat.
 

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For exercise, I take my dogs to the park and there's a few gentle hills, so we walk up and down the hills for close to an hour. I've noticed that Esme, who was always a little chubby as she got older, is losing the pounds now and Zoe's developing lean muscles too. Maybe if there's a hilly park or hiking trail near you, you can add that to your routine?

Biking and the flirt pole should probably help too.
 

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I would also suggest switching kibbles to something higher grade. I haven't decided what kibble I'm getting next just yet but I know it's gonna be good. Prolly Nature's Variety. Merlin is also getting raw supplements which might be a good option for you. I currently give Merlin chicken necks, slightly freezer burned chicken breasts (got it for free!), and pork neck bones with meat every other night or so.

I also agree with Elrohwen. Getting her into that trot is the best conditioning for most dogs. That trot is the dog version of the wolf's go-for-miles-all-muscles-activated trot. In the winter it can be hard because running and biking is no good with the ice. Deoending on your snow situation, maybe try snow shoeing or skijoring? A couple doggy play dates a week never hurt anyone. Bae and Peoper kept each other conditioned easily.

Hope that helps!
 

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thanks guys! I've been admiring some of the pit and rotties that have been posted on here lately. I love when you can see some muscle definition. I'm going to up her protein and get her trotting more. I shall keep you posted. Tainted, you Avatar pic is exactly the type of body I admire!
 

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When I fed Victor grain free food to Zoey she slimmed down with just the food - it was 33% protein, 16% fat and I think 38% carbs. She went from a lower protein, higher carb food to a higher protein, lower carb food and without changing anything else she seemed to slim down. As others have said, I would change the food if you think your dog needs to slim down.
 

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My dog isn't truly conditioned,but I do keep him at a more athletic build. (some pics he looks more muscular then others,depends how he's flexing them)
I feed him Pro plan(sport) nothing special,sometimes with a little bit of raw meat or quality canned food.

Flirt pole,frisbee,and weight pulling helps I think.
 

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A vet once told me Kit had the muscle mass of a pit bull - LOL. Her muscles (and mine) come from climbing mountains and playing sports:

 
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