GO!

Small Dog Diet Help?

Small dogs have big personality! This is the place to talk up your favorite small breeds, ask questions, and share tips and stories. Be sure to visit our Small Dog Breeds area for profiles of all your favorite small dog breeds, featured articles, and more!

  
Laika

Ninja Kisser
 
 
Barked: Sun Oct 6, '13 4:38pm PST 
My dog is the first I've ever had under 60 pounds, so when I first got her I made the mistake of not giving her size specific treats. That being said, she got a little chubby. She's a Boston Terrier/Chihuahua Mix and my vet told me to get her to about 14 pounds. She was 19 when that was suggested, and is currently at 16.

We've started running twice a day(probably only a mile total per run) and close to her top speed as my other dog(some kind of pointer/vizsla/lab mix) runs with us and can go much faster(although I act as mediator to keep the little one from getting dragged).

Background information established:
I'm having problems figuring out how much to feed her now via online nutrition calculators. She is technically still overweight, but her activity level has increased, so when I calculate it which level do I use?

Edited by author Sun Oct 6, '13 5:04pm PST

[notify]
Ginger

Ready Set GO!
 
 
Barked: Mon Oct 7, '13 9:52am PST 
Just feed about 10-20% less of what you feed and at the end of the month evaluate her condition. My vet office lets the dogs come in and use the scale when I like, ask yours. If you reduce food too much then either the dog could go into starvation mode where she lives on air yet doesn't lose weight or she could possibly have trouble with hunger, bile vomits or even hypoglycemia. So if she was getting 1/2 cup of food and half a string cheese stick a day then feed 7 tablespoons of food and 3/8 of a string cheese stick to start out. Remember chews count. A bully stick from Red Barn has 19 calories per inch for instance so if she really goes to town on one take away that amount in that evening's dinner. Wouldn't be much, maybe 3-4 kibble are 19 calories but every calorie matters!

Better to feed a higher protein food so she can build strong muscle than a high carb food if possible. Use her food for treats or substitute treat calories for kibble calories. That works great but be sure you are using quality treats. I use cheese, egg omelet, cooked meat at the moment but something like Ziwi Peak's dehydrated raw works great. Meaty treats like chicken breast and dried lamb or beef lung are very lean and low in calories. I weigh out the food the dogs get and with the tiny amount of kibble a small dog gets that might be more accurate than a measuring cup. Artie was fed kibble and he got 100 grams of kibble a day for instance.

Ginger came here at 19.5 pounds very plump. Look at her page for progress photos. Last weigh in she was 18.25 pounds and nearly there. Once at her ideal weight she may or may not be less than 18 pounds as muscle weighs more than fat volume wise. Since it wasn't my doing that got her plump I didn't know if I was reducing her feed or not and started her at the amount of food for the weight I guessed she ought to be, 15 pounds. When she started her diet I couldn't feel any ribs although she had a good looking tuck. After a month I could feel the lower part of her ribs. After 2 months I could feel her ribs, chest bone and her flank folds were there. Now her flank folds don't seem to be fatty and her abdominal folds are less fatty but the skin over her hips and shoulders still seems a bit thick aka fatty. My favorite thing is her fur over the ribs flips up due to the walking harness so she looks plumper than she really is!

I had to put Max on a diet and it took a whole year for him to get into shape. Doing much better with Ginger, she is nearly there after only 3 months. This isn't easy, the tiny amount of food either dog gets sure doesn't seem like enough!
[notify]
Laika

Ninja Kisser
 
 
Barked: Tue Oct 8, '13 7:29am PST 
Thank you for your advice! Laika was doing well, she lost the first 3 pounds in just a few months but I feel like we've hit a plateau...or she might even be gaining weight. I've had to start separating her from my other dog during feedings because Cairo is starting to let Laika steal some of her food.
[notify]

Ginger

Ready Set GO!
 
 
Barked: Wed Oct 9, '13 8:51pm PST 
I thought Ginger was doing great but the scale showed only a .25 pound loss last month. Since I am evaluating her condition constantly I know she is continuing to improve in condition whether the scale shows a loss or not. So this next week I am hoping for at least another .25 pounds less of Ginger but even if she hasn't lost weight I know she is in better shape.

It took a year for Max to get back into shape after he added extra 11 pounds to his healthy 33 pounds. First part was easy but that last bit never was lost. He traded it in for muscle apparently as I could feel all the bony parts just fine and he no longer had a table top back, felt like a stuffed sausage and was much stronger.

So don't just look at the scale. From the side look for a nice tuck [my dogs never lost the tuck though], from the top look for a waist and then put your hands on. I want to feel the ribs, backbone, hips, shoulder points, chest point easily but only see a shadow of the last couple ribs. Some dogs are at a good weight when there is a dip between the hip bones but most dogs are better if that area is level. If the skin is thick then it may be a layer of fat, Ginger still has thick skin over her shoulders and hips. Ginger doesn't know it I hope but when I am giving scritches that is what I am doing.

Maybe you do need to cut back on the food a bit more. Better to cut back a little as you reach a plateau than all at once anyway.
[notify]
Laika

Ninja Kisser
 
 
Barked: Thu Oct 10, '13 7:53am PST 
Thank you again for all of your help.
In your opinion, do you think using a slow feeder bowl with her will help? She pretty much inhales her food, so I feel like she never feels completely full and finds food elsewhere.

I'm also a little worried because she has a lot of loose skin. I'm not sure if I cut down on her food intake too quickly or too much, or if that's natural and it will eventually tighten back up as more muscle fills in or she continues to lose weight.

I will say, I can feel her ribs again(just barely) and she's starting to get her tuck back. Most of the weight is in little fat pockets on her sides just behind her ribs before her pelvic bone, closer to her back legs. I'm not sure what the technical name for that area is.

Edited by author Thu Oct 10, '13 8:00am PST

[notify]
Ginger

Ready Set GO!
 
 
Barked: Thu Oct 10, '13 2:08pm PST 
I would be going one step further and feeding her from some sort of food puzzle if possible. Takes longer to eat, she might be on her feet moving around and she has to work out what to do to get that food. Dampen kibble, stuff into a kong and freeze or kibble inside a dry milk or water bottle are things you likely can do today. I used to just roll kibble down the hall to get hunted down and eaten. I wish I had an excuse to buy the kong wobbler as it is easy to clean and fill. None of the food puzzles I have are easy to clean or fill and I hate that. It is supposed to be one of the easier puzzles but I am not looking to frustrate the dog, just make eating last longer and be a bit more fun. I think it is too large to get lost under furniture too. That is super great for the sofa having a dog scratching to get to the food toy!

No idea if the skin will tighten up or not. Max is too fuzzy to tell much but I don't think he has any except on his neck but might have them anyway as an age related change. Sassy was never overweight and when she aged developed folds of skin there. Ginger's skin isn't in folds but I can pinch it all over which is a good thing. Fat skin is hard to pinch and dog skin is not attached to the muscle and should be loose fitting.

Ginger still has saddlebags on the sides of her ribcage though I can feel ribs through them. Interesting how dogs hide extra weight in different spots like that. Max's last fat reserve was thick skin over his shoulders.
[notify]
Laika

Ninja Kisser
 
 
Barked: Fri Oct 11, '13 3:14pm PST 
I've already tried regular Kongs she vacuums everything out of hers and then tries to steal my other dog's. I hadn't thought about food puzzles, but I was considering getting her the slow feed mat that's designed to look like blades of grass, where she would kind of have to forage for her food. Right now, I've just been hand feeding her to get her to slow down. I'll definitely look into the Kong Wobbler though, I've always overlooked it for some reason.

Again, thank you so much!
[notify]