We have a yellow lab/golden retriever mix. She’s a rescue and is about a year and half old. We’ve had her for about 5 months. She was underweight when we first got her (just under 50 lbs.). Now she’s just under 75! I was a little worried about the weight gain so took her to see our vet. The vet felt her food was too high in fat. It’s 18% fat. We’ve been feeding her grain free because we felt it was healthier. Our last dog (a golden) had terrible problems with grains.
So here’s the problem. Try to find a grain free (or even WITH grain) that is much lower than 18% fat.
Does anybody have any suggestions? What is considered “normal” ratios for dogs? Currently she’s eating Nutrisource Grain Free Chicken. Other than being about 5-7 lbs overweight she is very healthy, beautiful, active and strong.
Hi Tracey, have you looked at the Wellness kibbles, they have their “Complete health”range, their “Core” grainfree range & their “Simple” limited Ingredient range, here’s a link so you can have a look at them all, the fat% is under Guaranteed Analysis http://wellnesspetfood.com/dog-wellness.aspx the Core grainfree fat % is around 16% the Core does have a Grainfree reduced fat at 10% fat but the fiber is 12% a bit high but the Complete Health Large breed is around 11%fat not grainfree & the Simple Grainfree Salmon & Potatos is around 12% fat & the Simple has a grainfree Healthy Weight that is 8-9% fat & the fiber is only 6% I hope this helps.. I like their Simple range the best…
Not all fats are unhealthy and contribute to weight loss. It’s very important to have a variety of healthy fats in the diet. For example, coconut oil is high in medium chain triglycerides, fatty acids that actually boost metabolism and promote weight loss. Other fats contain DHA and are critical for brain function.
A healthy weight loss food should be high in quality protein and have plenty of healthy fats.
Keep your pup moving and reduce his portion size. Feed him for what he should weigh and not for what he currently weighs.
Some excellent foods for weight loss are Orijen Senior which has 38% protein and 15% fat, Go! Fit and Free Senior has 32% protein and 14% fat, Wellness Core Reduced Fat has 33% protein and 10% fat and Nature’s Variety Instinct Healthy Weight Chicken has 32% protein and Salmon has 34% protein, and both have 12% fat.
Wellness CORE does have a reduced fat food. It even rates highly. Really for weight loss though, all you need is to reduce feeding and increase exercise. My 60 lb lab mix is eating just 1 1/4 cups of EVO right now, and even that is a bit much for her (she’s 11, and very lazy).
She’s not eating much currently; the vet said we were potentially under feeding her but the dog food calculator says we are spot on? 2 cups per day (1 cup in the AM, 1 cup in the PM). She should weigh in around 65 lbs but she’s almost 75. Her activity level is average (running around in back yard and at least one daily walk). I will definitely look into the brands recommended here. Our vet really felt it was the fat content so if we reduce that and she’s still gaining we’ll need to look at other potential causes.
Thanks for the great and super quick responses! Much appreciated!
Well if you’re under feeding, than I’m flat out starving my dogs (just saying lol). The only reason you should be concerned with under feeding is if your dog is too thin. My 60 lb dog eats 1 1/4 cups a day, and my 130 pounder eats about 2 1/2. I actually aim to feed my lab mix as little as possible because she had a hard time stomaching too much food at once. A low fat food may or may not be appropriate for all dogs, so just watch her weight and do some experimenting.
I just looked at the Nutrisource website. It states that the grain free chicken has 477 calories a cup. Also that it has 18% fat and 28% protein. I think it has higher calories than the average kibble. But two cups still doesn’t seem like it should cause weight gain for a large dog. Are you or someone in the household feeding extra treats? I feed my two lab mixes grain free Victor. It has about 400 calories a cup. The protein is 33% and the fat is 16%. Maybe this could be an option for you?
I wouldn’t just go by her weight alone. Check out her “body condition score” and adjust her intake to keep her at a good body condition. There are many variables that affect weight – breed, genetics, muscle mass, activity level…a dog can be heavy and have a great body condition.
One of the rescue vets I deal with only grades by body condition now.
Thanks for the info! I checked her score and would say she is overweight (between a 6 and a 7). Her belly is still tucked but I can’t see her “waist”. I’d like to nip that in the bud if I can. I’m going to check out the brands recommended. A locally owned store carries many of the “non big box brands” and they are always happy to give samples.
As far as treats we have the Grandma Lucy’s (little treats that look like Teddy Grahams). She gets anywhere from 5-10 per day (10 if my boys are around). Most days I give her a little slice of an apple but no skin – she struggles with the skin but LOVES apples.
Thanks again for the help!
I would also like to know how much fat is too much for my dogs. Some people have told me 18% is okay, some say 16% is better and some say 10% or lower is okay too. My dogs are healthy, one is 26 lbs, but should be about 24, the other is 73 and at an ideal weight. Is there any reason why they can’t have 18%. They are not overly active and I would say more sedentary than anything, but more active during the summer. Also, a protein question. Someone recently told me a dog needs 1 gram of protein for every pound they weigh. Is this true? Thank you 🙂
I feed my three toy dogs commercial raw diets. Very high protein, moderate fat and low carbs. My dogs weight 7 lbs., 6 lbs., and 5 lbs. If anything, I have problems keeping weight on them. They range in age from 5 years old to 15 years old. So to the question of what is the right amount of fat or protein, I don’t believe it’s a question that anyone other than the dog guardian can answer. Every dog is different. Every dog assimilates ingredients and levels differently. Protein in foods I feed my three little girls can range up to 54%, fat can at times hover around 36 – 38 %. I believe someone mentioned that it’s the quality of fats in a diet, not the actual percentage in the food. Same holds true for protein. Low carbs as I feed grain, potato, soy, etc. free. The only treats they get are organic small pieces of fruits or veggies.
No, I think whoever told you that a dog needs 1 gram of protein for every lb they weigh is incorrect. We would have an awful lot of emaciated dogs running around. Maybe someone with a better grasp on how many grams of protein to feed per pound will add some info.
I feed each of my dogs between 2 to 2.5% of their body weight per day. I use a kitchen scale and I feed them twice a day.
Hope something I’ve added helps.
Thanks for the input! I give my lab 1.5 to 2 cups per day and my Cocker Spaniel 3/4-1 cup per day, depending on what extras they get. I have switched to veggies and fruits for treats along with maybe some chicken breast pieces or I make sweet potato chips and liver treats with nothing added. I don’t have a dehydrator, but I put the oven on 200 and let it be for a couple of hours. A pound of liver costs me $4.99 and the sweet potato maybe $1.69. I break them up into small pieces so it lasts a very long time and you can freeze the liver treats too. Dog treats in the store are overpriced and overrated I think 🙂
Right now they are getting Earthborn Holistic grain-free Great Plains which has 34% protein and 18% fat, so I was a little concerned that the fat was too high. I rotate my food also, but usually it’s been around 15-16% and less around 26% protein. I feed pretty much grain-free now and don’t have to feed as much as it is more calorie dense for the most part.
Hi Chuckles. I don’t have a dehydrator either and also just use my oven. I have a double wall oven so it’s not a big deal that one is being used to dehydrate. I not only think that dog treats in stores are overpriced and overrated, but also full of a lot of garbage. My motto is that if I or my husband won’t eat it then we don’t feed it to our dogs. It’s a pretty simple philosophy that we have here at home in regards to treats. There are just so many healthy foods (hopefully) that we have at home, why not just feed the dogs those. Anytime I’m having a fruits I share with the girls. This way I also know exactly what they are eating. I also don’t feed them anything that has ingredients that I can’t pronounce and haven’t got a clue what they are.
I agree with much of what Betsy mentioned. One of the main reasons for dogs (& people) gaining weight is carbs & sugar. Fat isn’t the culprit. I have proven this for myself by going on a very low carb & sugar diet & eating just about all the fat I wanted. Result: in about 2 weeks I had lost over 5 lbs.
This is the same with dogs. Read the labels & look for items that contain carbs such as grains, fruits & vegetables containing sugar, etc. Sugar turns into body fat & carbs turn into sugar. Fat that is eaten rarely turns into body fat.
So get your dog off those “low fat” foods & replace them with high contents of real meat, fish, chicken, & organ parts, such as liver, hearts, gizzards, etc. Also be careful with those fruits & vegetables. Look them up to see what their sugar & carb content is & go with the lowest items.
Protein is just as important as fat. It will give a sense of fulness that lasts throughout the day, where sugar & carbs are digested very quickly causing hunger to return soon. Protein is very important in building body & muscle mass instead of fat. Your dog will loose the fat & replace it with a more solid & healthy body.
Thank goodness Chris knew what I meant!
I should clarify that in my July 23 post, I said: “Not all fats are unhealthy and contribute to weight loss.”
What I meant was that not all fats are unhealthy and contribute to weight gain!
To answer your question about protein…. I don’t have a reference right off hand but I have seen it reported as a quick “down and dirty” estimation to use 1 gram/lb for dogs and 2 grams/lb for cats. This provides a lot more protein than NRC nutrient recommended allowance.
For example my Lab weighs 68 lbs. NRC min requirement for protein is 2.62 x body weight in kg to the 3/4 power. For my 68 lb lab that calculated out to 34 grams of protein. NRC min req assumes a really high digestibility and an ideal amino acid profile.
The NRC recommended allowance is 3.28 X body weight in kg to the 3/4 power. For my Lab that calculates out to ~43 grams protein.
Diets formulated for dogs whose medical needs require no excess protein over metabolic needs are formulated close to these levels.
But for a dog without restrictions protein is usually fed at higher levels and by using the 1 gram/lb “rule” at 68 grams protein you can see that this is more than adequate assuming a decent digestibility and AA profile. Dogs etc don’t have a protein requirement so much as they have amino acid requirements.
In regards to fat, this is really dog to dog variable. My labs have always been “easy keepers” meaning a few calories goes a long way. I tend to stick with fat levels around 10-12 % allowing them to eat a larger volume of food. Also of the three macronutrients, protein carb and fat, fat is the most efficiently retained by the body as fat. Calories though are key for body condition as excess calories from any source result in fat storage.
Thank you Chris and Aimee for the clarifications and information!
Aimee, to followup, do you mind telling me what you feed your lab? I’d like to give more volume also with about the same amount of fat for both my lab and cocker spaniel. They currently get food that is varies from 400 to 521 calories/cup (Evo weight management I was trying has the 521 calories, 15% fat).
There has been so much concentration of the Fat content, but have you looked to see how much protein content there is and how much “carbs” are in the food your feeding. Excess carbs like potatoes, rice, barley, oats will put on weight. Low fat foods general increase carbs. Like someone said some fats are essential it’s the egg yolks and the white fats, even liver (a small amount is good for them, but I give chic livers) is high in fat but other fats like fish fats are quality fats. Having proteins in their diet is extremely important to as a canine. I read too that grams of fat for every 1,000 calories is a better gage of how much fat in their diet their getting.
- This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Dee D.
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