doggy diet ...... opinions please?

animallover32December 28, 2011

Ok so it's me again :)

I took my 2 babies to the vet today, and was told that my Chihuahua was over weight and to put him on a diet. Ok, no problem. I asked the vet how much to feed, if there was a food preference for the diet etc etc. I was surprised to hear what he said about how to feed him. Or should I say, NOT feed him..... I free feed my pups. It of course allows them to come and go and eat only when they feel like it. He suggested that I not feed them ( I say them 'cause if one's on a diet the other is too) for a minumum of 2 days, then measure 4 ounces of food for each twice a day....

My thing is, why would I starve my dogs for any amount of time in order to place them on diets? Does anyone have a better suggestion as to how to start them on a diet without starving them?

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I have no idea why your vet would recommend an extended fast. Did you ask him? Personally, the longest I have ever fasted an animal is 24 hrs to give the gut a rest in the case of unresolving diarrhea. Your vet's recommendation, however, makes no sense to me at all.

I see no reason why you couldn't just gradually reduce the amount you're feeding your overweight dog in order to take off the extra weight. You will, however, have to quit free-feeding and feed portioned, scheduled meals, instead. You may also need to feed your dogs in separate rooms behind closed doors in order to prevent the chi from stealing the other dog's food.

It's really not at all difficult to switch from free-feeding to scheduled feeding - esp. if you're feeding food that the dogs actually want to eat. When I switched my dogs from free-feeding to scheduled meals, my only problem was with Tasha, and that was only because she was never excited about eating kibble to begin with. She would pick at it throughout the day while being free-fed and was disinclined to eat the full portion in a single sitting when I switched to scheduled meals. I fixed that problem by upgrading to a Raw Prey Model Diet. Now that I'm feeding her food that she actually wants to eat, her meal is gone in two minutes or less. I expect she would eat a canned commercial dog food with similar speed.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 9:28PM
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I didn't think to ask him why it would be such an extended period of time. I have decided to stop free feeding though, and give them each 8 ounces of food in the morning and another 8 ounces in the evenning. I tried it when we got home because they had not eaten before we went in. They didn't eat all of it, so I am wondering if I should just give 4 ounces instead. He also didn't give me any idea what dog food to feed them, so I am sticking to what I have them on until I can learn something better that I can give them and they will like. My little girl doesn't eat very much at one time, she has an overbite and her jaws don't line up properly but it doesn't seem to hurt her any.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 9:42PM
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You're feeding a chi 16 oz of food a day???? Is that dry weight (16 oz = 1 lb) or liquid volume (16 oz = 2 cups)? Either way, that's a HUGE volume of food for a chi! Frankly, I'm surprised your vet would recommend 8 oz/day. That still seems like way too much for a chi.

I have a 25 lb mutt (Havanese mix) who gets 8 oz (.5 lb) of Raw Prey Model a day, a 45 lb Australian Shepherd (herding breed) who gets 10 oz of RPM daily, and a 50 lb herder mix who gets 18 oz of RPM daily. If I were feeding canned commercial food, they'd be getting similar amounts.

If I were you, I'd cut back that food pronto before your little chubby one gets diabetes or any of the other obesity-related disorders.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2011 at 11:28PM
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I agree, way way too much food. Free feeding may seem like the humane thing to do because as humans, we have access to food like that and know to stop when we're full. Dogs don't. They will eat and eat and eat.

If you're not going to follow a vets care instructions than what's the use of even going? Ideally you and your Vet should be working as a team to keep your animals healthy and safe. You need to feel comfortable with the treatment plans and question parts that don't make sense to you. There is usually a compromise somewhere that will work for both sides. And lastly if you don't feel the Vet you are currently using is a good fit, than find one who is.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 9:11AM
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My 100 lb lab needed to lose 15 pounds & my vet suggested switching to a dog food
for less active/overweight dogs.
Additionally I cut back on the amount(previously had been 8 oz 2x day) to 6 oz 2x day.
We added another daily walk and she lost the weight,slow & steady(and so did we).
Calorie reduction & exercise works.
My current 2 Labs get 8 oz food 2x day, but they are very active.
They are both in the 65-68lb range. So far, so good with them.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 11:10AM
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lukkiirish: Its not that I don't want to follow the vets advice. My pup has gotten quite chunky, I just assumed it was from having him fixed. But it seems extreme to me that the vet would recommend not feeding him for a minimum of 2 days. I do like the vet I take them to, if there is some sort of procedure done, he always calls the day after to make sure my pups are healing properly and are not experiencing any side effects. I don't know any people docs that do that!
And I did call the vet back this morning with follow up questions, I was told that he suggested 2 days to ensure that by the time the scheduled feeding started, Bud would be hungry enough to eat all that was given him, and he recommended a mix of dry and wet food, I've never heard of the brand, apparently its something sold out of the vets office.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 11:19AM
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Laurif: I put 8 ounces in their food bowls and picked up what they didn't eat. When I feed them again I am just going to give them what they had left from this morning. My chi has always been a chow hound, and eats like he's starving all the time, so it was surprising that he didn't eat everything. Usually I just fill the bowls as needed, when needed.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 12:16PM
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My feeding routine is to find the basic minimum amount for each dog. That is done over several months by observing their condition/weight. And, I only feed once a day(in the afternoon/evening.

Then, I add incremental amounts determined by their activity each day. When the grandkids visit and play with the dogs, the dogs get more food that day because they expended more energy.

I feed a mix of dry and canned, keeping the dry amount the same and adding canned as necessary.

That allows me to monitor their weight daily and it is easy and almost painless to make adjustments.

Oh, I also purposely vary the feeding time, from 4PM to 8PM, since we cannot always be home the same time every day. I have a very dominant male dog who always 'orders' me to feed when he gets hungry. I never---never---feed on his command---always telling him No and to go lay down. Maybe 15 minutes later---or an hour becomes feeding time.

Dogs in the wild are always a little hungry and often go a day or more without food. So, their systems are programmed to not eat at regular times.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 1:33PM
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I also feed only once a day, and I closely monitor my dogs (and cats) weights and physical conditions. With the dogs, I eyeball their weights, but with the cats, I weigh them every two weeks on a digital baby scale and chart their weights on my computer. I then make minor food portion adjustments, as necessary, to maintain optimal weights.

From what I understand, toy dog breeds are prone to hypoglycemia, so I would not withhold food from them or feed them less than twice a day. I've never taken care of a toy dog breed, however, so I'm not certain that my information is correct regarding hypoglycemia. It's something that would be worth discussing with your vet.


    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 2:03PM
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Feed your animal less to lose weight. Do not cut food for 2 days.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 7:55PM
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I'm glad you called and asked and I'm glad you have a Vet you like because that can be a challenge at times. I have several animals including birds and often question the plan my vet wants to use. I can understand why you would feel hesitant to wait 2 days to feed it and based on your Vets response, I wouldn't be so worried about shortening the 2 day fast if he was acting hungry. I would however be reluctant about changing the amounts or types of food the Vet is recommending even if it seems like it wouldn't be enough for the dog. Since I'm not a fan of soft food, I would also ask the Vet if and why that's really necessary. Soft food is usually only used for certain situations so I would want to understand the means to his madness better.

In your original post, you didn't say how much exercise your pup is getting but you asked for suggestions so I'll throw this out there. I have a 5 month old Lab puppy and I worry about her weight for a number of reasons. To ensure she gets ample exercise, I take her to doggy day care 2-3 times a week and it really helps to keep her toned and healthy. The one I take her to has 4 yards and they separates the dogs by size and personality. It also has camcorders so I can see her playing anytime I want. The cost is usually minimal but the benefits are substantial. Not only does it help your dog get the exercise he/she needs, it is also a great tool for socializing them. My girl comes home worn out and is so much calmer than she was before she started going. She quickly stopped the puppy biting and no longer has an interest in rough playing with our elderly cat. And she hasn't destroyed one thing in our house which for a Lab is really amazing. I've provided a link to the facility we take our girl to. It's a franchise so maybe there is one near you, if not I'm sure there are others equally as good. If you go to you can see if there is a facility near you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Camp Bow Wow

    Bookmark   December 29, 2011 at 8:13PM
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Laurief: I went back and read what I posted about the food. I was thinking a daily total of 8 ounces but instead I said 8 ounces each feeding. I mistyped.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 10:39PM
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