Eats Little Food, Gains Lots Weight!

Dog Food Advisor Forums Diet and Health Eats Little Food, Gains Lots Weight!

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  • #49658 Report Abuse
    Eric H

    Hello – Long time lurker to this fantastic site and forum members, finally time to post and ask for input!

    Our 10 second intros:
    The Pooch: “Otis,” 25+lb, 7yr old happy active male neutered mini-Schnoodle (14.5″ withers) unfortunately with severe pancreas issues and epilepsy (controlled by daily phenobarbital).

    The current food: 1/2c x 2 per day = 1 cup / day of Hills I/D GI Restore – the ONLY food we have found, after trying MANY options including raw and alternative pancreas-safe home-brews, which doesn’t send him to the hospital for 24-48hrs at $500+ a crack. Ouch. We actually thought he would die before we found something he could eat. This is the *only* food so far which has kept him out of the hospital >1yr and counting! [knock on wood]. Note this is about HALF his recommended amount, as we were previously already trying to keep his weight down – it isn’t working!

    The current treats: Carrots and Cauliflower (can’t eat fat, remember?), Watermelon, dried sweet-potato/yam slices. He gets his pill (twice a day) in a small cube of cooked sweet potato which works out to 1 full sweet potato per week. That’s about it.

    Ok. So.
    The reason for interrupting you all!
    He is currently a little pork-chop pushing 26 lbs and should be closer to 20-25ish despite eating the above “low fat” diet (so he doesn’t die from pancreatitis) and ZERO extras other than a large contingent of veggies and his beloved sweet-potato. Then I lurk on this site to try to figure out why he is still gaining so much weight… CARBS + SUGARS!? Oh fer cryin out loud! Carrots, one of his favourites, high in carbs. Who knew.

    So the question is: What the heck do I feed the poor guy so he doesn’t die from either pancreatitis or complications of being overweight!

    The current plan: Get a list of low-carb low-sugar veggies and try to stay low on both for his “treats,” as the food itself “ain’t broke so don’t touch it,” as any guesswork in that department could have serious complications.


    #49666 Report Abuse

    Hello, and Welcome Eric! 😀 For treats, You could use dehydrated meats-fat free. Or you could buy a dehydrator and make your own jerky treats, and save a lot of $$$. That’s my two cents. Hope it helps. 😀

    #49668 Report Abuse

    What kind of daily exercise does he get? It could just be that he, just like you and I, need more exercise daily than what we are getting.

    The treats really don’t seems like much but they can add up quickly before you know it, you’ve given them a lot of extras. Remember he’s very little so he shouldn’t get but a few treats a day. Here’s another way to trick him into thinking he’s getting lots of treats, cut them into smaller pieces. My dog thinks she’s getting lots of treat and they are the size of a pea each time…HEEHEE! 🙂

    #49670 Report Abuse

    Unfortunately the two treats that it seems your giving him the most are carrots and sweet potatoes. Both high in sugar and carbs. How many meals a day are you feeding and are you feeding too much. Don’t go buy the bag or canned directions, that’s just a starting point.

    Is she getting enough exercise? Are you giving too many treats during the day? How large are the treats you’re giving her at a time or throughout the day? As you know already I’m sure, the only real diet is less food (portion control) and more movement. It works for us and it works for them. Eat Less, Move More. It’s truly the only thing that consistently works.

    Some lower carb/sugar fruits and veggies include: watermelon, cucumbers, arugula, cantaloupe, broccoli rage, string beans, celery, green,red and yellow peppers, radishes. That’s just a small list. Have you gone on google and typed in fruits and veggies low in sugars and carbs? You’ll get more to add to her treat list.

    #49671 Report Abuse

    Hi Eric, Your lucky that ur boy is keeping on his weight, my boy has Pancreatitis IBD & Skin Allergies, I’m having trouble keeping on his weight, 1 month he’ll start to look all muscle & nice & solid then this month I can see his spine when he’s curled up sleeping & bottom of his ribs when walking, I dont know about ur boy but my Patch can’t eat Jerky meats, thats how he started to get ill with his Pancreatitis, I’ll tell you what Patch eats as treats, a little thin slice of banana mashed up but banana is a high carb fruit, Rice Cake biscuits, I break one rice cake into a quarter then break little bits off the 1/4 biscuit & he thinks that he’s getting alot but really he isn’t, his kibble I use that as a treat, he has tuna in spring water drained & add a little of boiled pumkin & mash all together for breakfast Watermelon in summer & thats about it….We do walk alot Patch goes on about 4 walks a day, up the shops, dog park, beach… I think thats why he’s having trouble keeping on the weight… too much walking, but our walks are only 15min long maybe 20mins, all up its about 1 hour walking a day & no fat in his diet only whats in his kibble, also Patch has trouble with proteins meats he seem to have his pain after he ate his boiled chicken, so I changed to tuna, I use to mix a boiled egg with his tuna & pumkin but he had pain I’d say the egg yolk too high in fat, also just reduce his kibble, take out about 8 kibbles from his bowl, then you can use those kibbles as treats thru the day, walk him & the weight will come off, & try pumkin instead of sweet potato, I cant give Patch Potato he gets a rash on his stomach then has diarrhea….

    #49675 Report Abuse

    I can’t see how dried jerky meat could cause Pancreatitis. There’s only 0.4 grams of fat in 5 slices of dried beef.

    #49676 Report Abuse

    Wow Labs. You and I seem to be on the same page of late. Dried jerky meat absolutely cannot cause Pancreatitis. Seriously? As Judge Judy would say……RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!
    On a completely different subject, the girls had their first meal of Victor’s Grain Free (Yukon–the only one that Katie can eat). Other than Katie having a gurgling stomach all seems well. I’m going to try feeding that in the a.m. and raw for their p.m. meals. It would be so great if they can actually eat a dry food. I haven’t gone anywhere since I put the dogs on raw food 2 1/2 years ago. I’ve become a slave to my girls. Not that I wasn’t before, but at least my husband or dog sitters or kennels would feed kibble, they won’t do raw. Truthfully, I wouldn’t trust them anyway. It would really be nice not to be a slave to their meal times. I’ll let you know how it goes on the Victor site.

    #49684 Report Abuse

    Labs & Dori, I dont think it was the amount of fat in the jerky, it was cause jerkys are hard & dont digest real good, Patch doesnt chew liver jerky & would just gulp them, then the jerky just sat in his stomach & was the final straw that put him in hospital..VET SAID NO MORE LIVER jerky…also gives him bad diarrhea…. Its was not RIDICULOUS Dori, my dog was in hospital for 2 days…. also I said MY boy can’t eat jerky I don’t see anything wrong with that comment, there was no need to be sarcastic Dori..

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Susan.
    #49685 Report Abuse

    Sue66b. It is ridiculous to say that liver jerky causes pancreatitis. That Patch has other medical and health issues and that the jerky added to it is a different story. Your vet may have very well told you no more liver jerky for Patch, but not because liver jerky causes pancreatitis otherwise there would be thousands of dogs, if not more, with pancreatitis because they eat liver jerky which is not so. You have to qualify when you’re posting that this was the story for your dog due to other medical issues. I’m sorry that your dog was in the hospital for two days. I once had a dog that was in the hospital for 10 days because she grabbed an entire package of hot dogs off the kitchen counter and ate them all including the packaging. I would not tell people not to eat hot dogs because it will cause pancreatitis. That would be ridiculous. Most dogs are fine with liver jerky, some, not so much!!

    • This reply was modified 6 years, 5 months ago by Dori.
    #49688 Report Abuse

    DORI, You should read posts properly & re-read my post… I said that (my Patch cant eat jerky meats)…. I never told Eric NOT TO FEED his dog Jerky READ THE POST PROPERLY…I’m sure Eric would know what his dog can eat & not eat after having a dog with Pancreatitis….

    #49689 Report Abuse

    Hi Dori and LabsRawsome,

    Experimentally compounds that mimic the hormone CCK result in pancreatitis. In these studies high amounts are given. The most potent dietary stimulation of CCK is fat. Protein though also stimulates CCK release.

    From the table in Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition 2012 on foods to avoid with chronic pancreatitis “Dry meat treats ( jerky)” The text also cautions against feeding diets very high in protein to patients with a history of pancreatitis.

    Hope this helps explain why Patch doesn’t do well with jerky treats.

    #49690 Report Abuse

    Hi Eric,

    I nearly lost a dog to pancreatitis. Scary stuff. Glad you found a diet that is working for your boy. Take a good diet history of everything your guy eats. Calories from “treats” shouldn’t be more than 10 % total diet calories. Trim back if they exceed this. Excess calories lead to weight gain. Research doesn’t support that the common belief that carbs and sugar cause weight gain in the absence of excess calories.

    #49693 Report Abuse

    THANK-YOU Aimee, my vet did exlpained why Patch cant have liver treats, but I was so stressed at the time & cant remember that day too well, yes Patch can’t have a high protein diet either..Aimee what are you feeding ur dog that has Pancreatitis, I’m running out of foods to try for breakfast…I thought I had found the Tuna & pumkin for his breakfast, he’s been on the tuna since June & was doing real well but now he’s having his pain again & whinging after his breakfast these last 2 weeks…if I give him his kibble for breakfast or boiled chicken breast & pumkin he has his pain, I dont know what to give for breakfast no more, Maybe Patch just cant eat breakfast, he seems fine after eating kibble for lunch & dinner…I was going to try Rolled oats..Vet did want me to try Prednisone but I’ve been trying everthing possible before I try him on the Steriods.. Patch also has bad stomach reflux & acid always burping after eating & I thought the steroids will make things worse….Ive read on the Yahoo group “Dogpancreatitis” a few dogs are doing really well on the Vet prescription diet Royal Canin Low Fat kibble as the fat% is 7%….. Patch is on Vet Diet Eukanuba Intestinal its 10% fat & about 1 month ago I started introducing the Wellness Simple Duck & Oatmeal kibble the fat is 11.98%, I’m adding 1/2 the Simple & 1/2 the Intestinal for lunch & dinner at the moment, maybe that has started Patches pain again…. I dont know no more…its an awful disease…
    Eric if your reading, did you ever give Otis any cooked meats, I read that the raw didnt work, my vet said NO RAW, thats was 1 thing I can remember Lol….I mite look up the Hills I/d GI restore, I bet we dont have that one in Australia alot of the Hills foods were cut back

    #49695 Report Abuse

    Hi aimee

    You wrote:

    “Experimentally compounds that mimic the hormone CCK result in pancreatitis. In these studies high amounts are given.”

    From the book you referenced: “Applied Veterinary Clinical Nutrition 2012”. Caps added by me:


    The book says they used CCK ANALOGS, NOT CCK and that HYPERSTIMULATION was induced. This is different than the CCK released during a high protein and/or high fat meal eaten by a dog! And the book also says “THE IMPORTANCE OF THESE MECHANISMS IN SPONTANEOUS DISEASE IS UNKNOWN.” So the book admits that they don’t know the importance of their findings for dogs who get pancreatitis in the real world and not from hyperstimulation of the pancreas with CCK analogs in the lab!

    You also wrote:

    “The most potent dietary stimulation of CCK is fat. Protein though also stimulates CCK release.”

    What the book actually says is: (caps added by me)

    In dogs, fatty acids (Sun et al. 1992), amino acids, and peptides stimulate CCK release, BUT INTACT PROTEINS DO NOT (Meyer and Kelly 1976).

    What are the intact proteins the book references? Are they the proteins in a raw or lightly cooked fresh homemade diet of lean meats, poultry and fish?

    #49700 Report Abuse

    Hi sue66b,

    My dog who almost died from pancreatitis was fed Iams/Eukaneuba restricted fat.

    #49701 Report Abuse
    Eric H

    Wow! Vigorous conversation!
    I must say, I am never surprised by how passionate pet lovers are about their information and beliefs; I know we ALL strive to do the best we can for our beloved animals and any suggestion by anyone that we might not be doing it “perfectly” can be difficult to digest (pun-in-context intended…) I am confident we are all doing the best we can, which should always include being receptive to the input of others – not as insult or criticism, but as another option we may choose to consider and discard or adopt as we feel appropriate.

    So having said that, thank you for the raft of input!!
    LabsRawesome – Dehydrated fat free meats – I will look into that some more. You prompted some pretty animated discussion on that topic, I will check it out and see if it could apply to Otis.
    somebodysme – Otis gets the following exercise: 1h walk/day, plus combination of some or all of: extended backyard ball chasing (loves chasing/returning a ball), repeated toy chasing inside including up/down stairs at times. He always seems satisfied and tired at the end of any of these, so we are hopeful he is getting enough of a total workout on a daily/weekly basis. Smaller treats is another option – at the moment he gets enough to let him chew for a few minutes (iei 1 baby carrot, 1 small flower stalk of cauliflower). Very food motivated, and would eat treats continuously until he passed out I think, regardless of size! ha.
    Dori – High Carbs, yes we had no idea of the sugar/carb contents of *veggies* (foreign concept, thinking veggies were harmless as many human diet plans allow “unlimited fruits / veggies”. “oosp.” We got a USDA list of some 1,000 different foods, catalogued them by Sugar, Cal, and Fat and found a new short-list of options which include many of what you suggested, thanks! We will start by substituting his sweet potato with turnip for example and cutting back on carrots (still good for teeth…just less of them). Otis gets strictly 2 small formal meals per day, total 1cup per day + treats.
    sue66b – Pancreatitis, IBD, and skin issues? Ouch! Poor guy. Our Otis had significant skin issues also (like crutsy awful human eczema patches) but disappeared when we switched foods! Very rare small flare-ups (likely from external contact sources) are treated with some polysporin ointment for 1 or 2 days and it goes away. Banana and rice cakes! Bananas might work but sugar is higher than the short-list I will be trying for now (12.2g/100g USDA), might try use banana as an occasional option. Tuna might be another option – I only scanned veggies and fruit, so I don’t have the tuna numbers, I will look that up, thanks!
    aimee – Yes, we really thought we’d lose him before we found a safe diet…it was a pretty stressful time back then!! Your history suggestion is good, I think we’ll try to take note of just how many “treats” he is getting compared to 10% intake – when they are small bites you forget what they add up to over the day.

    Thanks everyone for their contributions and continued pet-passion!

    #49702 Report Abuse

    Hi USA Dog Treats,

    I paraphrased a proposed mechanism. I think we can agree that the cause of pancreatitis is not well understood. And yes it is the fatty acids, peptides and AA which come from the digestion of intact protein and fats that stimulate CCK.

    I don’t see it as incorrect to have said “Protein though also stimulates CCK release.” as protein is the source of AA and peptides. The author also wrote “protein” in place of AA and peptides. (caps added by me) “PROTEIN is the second most important nutrient in STIMULATING CCK, so VERY HIGH PROTEIN DIETS SHOULD ALSO BE AVOIDED especially in the feline patient”

    To further quote ” Some commercial treats can be very high in fat and protein, especially the meaty ones and should be avoided.” and again in the summary in regards to chronic pancreatitis “Very high levels of dietary protein should also be avoided.”

    The exact mechanism of pancreatitis isn’t known which is why I wouldn’t say fat causes pancreatitis or that protein causes pancreatitis. The point of my post was currently it is being recommended to avoid both high fat and high protein in dogs with recurrent problems.

    To see which intact proteins were tested you’d have to go back to the original research. For myself it isn’t that important to know as it doesn’t change the recommendation to avoid “Dry meat treats (jerky)” in dogs with chronic pancreatitis.

    #49736 Report Abuse

    High Eric

    I’m so sorry that Otis is having these issues.

    Some of the risk factors for canine pancreatitis are:

    Obesity – This is the one you have the most control over. For now I would stick with the 1 cup / day of Hills I/D GI Restore. I would cut out all the treats except the sweet potato you use to give Otis his pills. This will cut some calories from his diet and he may start to lose a little weight. Try to stick with this diet for 8 weeks or so unless any issues develop.

    Phenobarbital and Potassium Bromide – Both of these are drugs are used to treat canine epilepsy. I know that Otis is on phenobarbital for his epilepsy. This could be a factor in his pancreatitis. Did your Vet ever discuss this with you? Which came first the epilepsy or the pancreatitis? Either way you should talk to a Vet about the issue of pancreatitis and phenobarbital.

    I wish Otis and you the best of luck and I hope Otis has many happy days ahead of him!!!

    #49743 Report Abuse
    Eric H

    Hi USA_Dog_Treats – thank you for your concern; as we know owning a pet is rarely all Sweetness and Light, right? 🙂

    Otis has always struggled a little with his weight – we had another, his older companion, and she was always quite svelte, but our poor little pork-chop Otis, he’s a bit of a victim to his food-motivated personality it seems. I agree with your approach – we will be sticking with the food level and managing the treat level for now, see if that helps. For the treats we DO give, we have made changes to low-carb low-sugar veggie options like turnip instead of sweet potato as well.

    The phenobarb – yes, it sucks I know. Regrettably we are in Canada and apparently we don’t have the same options as south of the border. The epilepsy and pancreas occurred almost simultaneously, if you can imagine – seizure one week, pancreas the next. It was a tough month for everyone!! So we are satisfied the pheno didn’t trigger the pancreas, although may now make it a little more sensitive. Regrettably Otis doesn’t have the benefit of a spectacular gene pool as his older companion did when she was around! Our Vet is quite fantastic, we went through a couple before finding her, and she is simply amazing, so we trust her and she seems committed to Otis’ health. She did mention that phenobarb isn’t her favourite but we didn’t have a lot of options and is monitoring his liver as a result.

    Many happy days indeed – let’s hope!

    #49744 Report Abuse

    Nice post Eric. You sound like a great dog dad! : )

    #49751 Report Abuse

    Eric-seizure meds can cause weight gain. Our doxie is on phenobarb(and she had a bout of pancreatitis BEFORE the phenol, lol) Since the PB, she has gotten a touch pudgy as well.

    #49791 Report Abuse
    Eric H

    Aw, that’s very sweet, thank you 4FootedFoodie! (Great name…)
    I try.
    : )

    #49792 Report Abuse
    Eric H

    Hi Melissaandcrew – you found Pb can cause weight gain also, hunh? I often find real-life experience can be far more thorough than the standard documentation of the same event – in this case, Pb documentation suggests increased hunger but not weight gain (although one obviously could lead to the other… ha) but if you saw it first hand, that would seem to match my experience as well. Hm. Well hopefully trimming some of the carbs and sugar will help, we’ll see!

    Thanks for the note!

    #49851 Report Abuse

    Eric-yes, its not just a result of increased appetite. Gina eats the same amount of food as before, and yet has gained. We will not cut here food back any further as she seriously eats a very small amount. Oh, and she eats low carb foods and raw, and it still occurred. Interesting enough, after the small weight gain, she has not gained anything additional..

    #49861 Report Abuse
    Eric H

    Interesting…! Exactly what is happening to Otis – he is already down to about 50% of the recommended calorie intake and still gained weight. I say “gained” because I’m now wondering from your own observation, if he just gained and stopped or is still gaining… hmmm… he has bloodwork (for the pheno) coming up, so we will check his weight and see.

    Interesting observation.
    And very cute dog name – Gina.

    #49948 Report Abuse

    Definitely check his weight. Her total weight gain was less then a lb but her body shape changed. She LOOKS like she gained several lbs but the scale doesnt lie. She was increased from 1/2 of a quarter grain twice a day to one full tablet twice a day just under a myth ago because her first reading said the blood level was low and she still seizures. She also takes zonisimide twice a day. With her, the pills can not be late or she will have a seizure. Good luck on level draws for you and Otis (Love that name..we lost our Otis a year ago) We repeat in 2 wks.

    #77185 Report Abuse

    Although new information is coming out all the time, I have not been able to find medical resources that suggest a lowering of protein for pancreatitis. I’m not seeing it in the research I pulled up either.

    “This enzyme stimulation leads to the need to differentiate among diets based on fat content. When minimal pancreatic exocrine stimulation is desired, patients should receive fat-controlled diets (e.g., clear liquid, low-fat full liquid, low-fat regular, very low-fat regular, and no-fat regular). The amount of protein given (10–40% of the total calories) has not been associated with a significant difference in pancreatic enzyme secretion.”

    In fact this study suggests, in people at least, that protein should be increased due to poor digestion. “These changes in amino acid release and metabolism have led to the belief that branched-chain amino acid and glutamine-enriched amino acid solutions might be
    of particular benefit in patients with pancreatitis. Although this idea makes sense from a physiological standpoint, controlled, clinical trials are still needed to confirm this theory. In general, at least 1.5 g/kg/day of protein are required to improve nitrogen balance. However, it is difficult to improve nitrogen balance to the point of normalization in these patients, with even more protein likely indicated if pancreatitis is combined with sepsis or
    other complications”

    #77192 Report Abuse

    I just now realized this thread is a year old. I guess I assumed it was current when Bobby Dog linked to it on the review side.

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