I have a 7 year old Lab that loves food and never seems to be satisfied; thus, she struggles with her weight. She has weighed around 82 pounds until I recently switched her from Natural Balance Ultra to Orijen Adult because I felt it had much better ingredients. Since switching 2 months ago, she has gone from 82 pounds to 90 pounds. Yikes! I would like to see her lose weight.
Does the high Protein content in Orijen cause weight gain? Anyone have any suggestions for a premium dogwood with the same great ingredients that won’t cause weight gain?
I adore her and want her to live a long healthy life so would appreciate constructive comments and suggestions.
High calories cause weight gain, which usually means that fat is the problem, not protein, since fat has more than double the calories of protein or carbs. You should measure out the amount of food that she needs and probably give a lower calorie food.
I second the Nut!
Are you feeding controlled portions? It looks like Orijen has about 478 kcals per cup. Using the calculator on the review side, if she was a bit heavy at 82 pounds, you’d feed her just under 2.21 cups of Orijen daily, assuming she got no other treats at all. Does that sound at all close to what she was getting?
Some foods that I think are great quality (quality proteins) and lower fat are Wellness Core Reduced Fat, Go! Senior and Orijen Senior. Maybe one of those foods would work for her.
Also take into account the possibility she gained some muscle mass on a higher protein food. My dogs are heavier than others of the same size or larger. My 22 lb pug looks like an 18 lb foster. My personal dogs gained weight on an increased protein diet. Another thing, the NB Ultra foods only have 350-400 calories per cup versus 478 per cup of Orijen so if you’re feeding the same amount of Orijen as you were with NB, then you’re feeding more calories. Look up “Body Condition Score” and see where she fits on the scale.
My dog, Leo, was like yours–begging for more food. He went from 62 lbs. down to 50 lbs.over the course of a year on a grain-free dry food. Here are my 4 tips for dog weight loss:
1. Feed the calories for your dog’s ideal weight, not her current weight: Leo gets 725 calories per day, including treats, and has gotten that amount since he hit 62 lbs.. Use The Dog Food Calculator on this site’s home page to figure out you dog’s caloric needs, entering an estimated ideal weight in pounds from your vet or from a time before your dog was overweight, and for activity level, select “overweight.” Leo’s food is 500 calories per cup, and I feed him 1 and 1/3 cups per day, for 650 calories from a high protein dog food. I leave 75 calories for other food, and because the grain-free food I use is so nutritious, I am confident he is well-nourished with the small quantity. Leo gets 2 meals of 2/3 cups, measured with a measuring cup (never eye-ball the quantity.)
2. Pump up the volume with warm water: Use a big, flat-bottom bowl to spread the kibble out, and add enough warm water to just cover the kibble, letting it steep on the counter for a minute or two.. Some kibble swells to make it more filling, and even if your part kibble doesn’t swell much, you are making a tasty broth to drink without adding calories. The water makes the meal take longer to eat, and tricks Leo into drinking extra water, which is necessary for weight loss. My dog goes crazy fpr the aroma while it steeps. Many vets recommend canned dog food for weight loss for exactly these benefits I provide by adding warm water to dry food. My way is much less expensive.
3. Feed green beans liberally with every meal. You can use frozen or salt-free canned (never give salted canned vegetables to a dog.) Of all the vegetables, green beans have an extremely low caloric density but, when cooked (canned green beans are pre-cooked and can be fed directly,) they are appealing to dogs. My dog won’t eat cabbage, lettuce, or celery, but he loves green beans. He gets 1/2 cup at each meal, stirred into the steeped kibble. This adds about 20 calories per meal, but he feels very satisfied with each meal, gets plenty of fiber for bowel regularity, and thinks I am preparing something special for him at each meal. He watches each step, and if I leave the kitchen while the kibble is steeping, he barks and cries as if to say, “you are forgetting to finish cooking my dinner!” If he starts begging before I put the green beans in, I show him the bowl and say, “Don’t you want green beans?” He barks and cries until I add the green beans! If I run out of green beans, he looks so disappointed. When I get back from the store, he goes to his bowl and waits just to get his half cup of green beans by itself.
4. Give very small treats. Except for 2 regular Greenies per week (90 calories each,) Leo gets tiny treats for going potty the right way or listening well. They are about 1/2 the size of the tip of my pinky finger. Most dogs will enjoy one treat three times more than they enjoy three treats all at once. Liver biscotti treats are Leo’s favorite tiny treat. Zuke’s mini naturals are also a convenient size. You could chop up human cold cuts or pepperoni and keep them as treats in the refrigerator. If your dog loves to chew for a long time, antlers are great because only a small amount is ingested or digested at a time, and your dog will burn calories by chewing. Elk antlers seem to be a good size and wear down just fast enough for Leo to get flavor and satisfaction from his efforts. Marrow bones from cattle are similarly good chews for dogs, but bully sticks, pig’s ears, raw hide, and the like present a choking hazard, can cause bowel blockages, have empty calories, and often contain chemicals. By the way, my dog loves his Greenies so much that they serve as his emergency recall reward. For the emergency recall reward, don’t worry about calories!
I so appreciate all of the responses to my post. Great comments and suggestions. I decided to call Chewy.com and also discuss it with them this morning. They are so impressive! Last week I had placed my first order with them when I ordered more Orijen Adult dogfood. I explained to them the concerns I have and asked if I could exchange the Orijen Adult dogfood that I had just received for Orijen Senior dogfood. To my surprise they told me they would credit my account and I could place a separate order for what I wanted. They suggested I donate the Orijen Adult food to a local dog shelter! Wow was I impressed! They now have a customer for life. What a great company.
I was measuring her food but just need to cut back on the amount. I love the suggestion of using warm water to make a broth to pump up the volume, etc. Can’t wait to implement these changes and hopefully see her lose weight
Thank you all for comments! I am new to dogadvisor and am thankful for finding others who love their dogs like I do.
people say their dogs are not satisfied or are hungry; I don’t understand that but that’s okay….I want to point out that if a dog is overweight, it is the humans fault. We feed them, they don’t feed themselves.
Chewy’s has a lot of customers for life from DFA because of their great customer service and their love of dogs.
InkedMarie–You are very right that dog obesity is a human-mad problem, not a dog problem. Humans with overweight dogs may project their own feelings about weight loss and portion control to their dogs, and the consequences can be serious. Dogs will almost always have room for any treat or larger serving of food a human offers, and dogs quickly learn who and how to ask for treats and table food, not because they are hungry, but because that is what dogs have done since ancient times. However, I think there is such a thing as a dog who is fed correctly but is still hungry. Here’s why:
My Leo lived in a no-kill shelter for 21 months and was fed a 1 star dog food the whole time. Because it was not nutrient-dense, he got 4 cups per day of food per the manufacturer’s guidelines. When I transitioned him to 1 and 1/3 cups per day on a 5-star food, split into 2 meals, my dog inhaled his 2/3 cup serving of kibble in literally 6 seconds. Immediately afterwards, he would put his paws on the sealed dog food bag and–I swear this is true– he would cry, swat the dog food bag with his paws, try in vain to open the bag, and cry some more. I ignored him and told myself, “In 30 minutes he will know he’s full.” Alas, Leo would camp out next to his bowl, and if you walked by the room, he would bark once, wait for you to look at him, and then lick the empty food bowl and look at you again. Even after obedience school, when we established that he was not the boss of humans, he still continued these behaviors. I didn’t give in, but other humans in the home must have because he got fat and I ran out of food too soon. It was embarrassing to be told to feed Leo less at the vet, only to find that he had gained weight at every subsequent visit. I was also concerned that he was at risk for bloat–a medical emergency typically striking barrel-chested dogs– from eating in 6 seconds. Even though he isn’t barrel chested, my vet was alarmed by a video of Leo “Hoovering” his food. I got a sectional flat-bottom bowl designed to slow him down, and I added warm water to further slow him down per a customer suggestion in a review of the bowl. He was not only much slower, he also reduced his antics. I have been in Weight Watchers, and I was told it was important to drink plenty of water to feel full with meals and to metabolize fat. Maybe the water helped Leo’s hunger.
At Weight Watchers, I also learned to load up on very low calorie, high fiber foods before a restaurant meal or party to prevent over-indulging. By adding green beans to Leo’s “soup,” his antics completely stopped. When the antics stopped, the human conspirators stopped cheating, and Leo lost 12 pounds. He is now a muscular dog with a physique that makes my vet very happy. I share this success story because the solution was very simple, cost-effective and safe. Even if dog hunger is only a human projection, the water and green beans make the owner feel like they are feeding a more satisfying meal to their furchild, and they will be less often taken in by those sad brown eyes.
Leo knew what starvation is and was afraid of it happening again. This is common with rescue dogs. They don’t know when they will see the next meal, so they have some psycological issues with food. You handled that really well!!
Jenny, I completely understand about your Leo. Glad you have him & that he’s okay. Your situation is different, IMO, than giving a dog dessert & saying dogs need to be full.
A really great book I read: “The Truth about DOGS” by Stephen Budiansky-the entire first chapter is about how dogs are manipulative to get what they want. It was humorous, and also totally true. Dogs aren’t great at self regulation, and will beg if they think they can eat again.
It’s one fun thing about training labs in my opinion-they are ALWAYS willing to take more food, and certainly don’t need much else for motivation
It seems I was misunderstood by some. I have not given her more food, people food or desserts- only what was stated on the bag for the suggested daily amount. In fact when I reduced the amount her vet said I wasn’t feeding her enough. What I did not consider was that with a premium dogfood she may not need as much as stated on the bag so I plan on giving her the amount for her desired weight and implementing some of the positive suggestions give to me by Jenny.
The amount on the bag is definitely only a suggestion and should be adjusted according to the individual dog’s body condition. I can’t imagine where your vet’s head must have been to tell you you aren’t feeding an overweight dog enough. Just like people, some dogs have a very slow metabolism, some have very fast, and some are everywhere in between. A chart can’t address all those differences. It’s all trial and error. Good luck on finding the perfect amount to feed your pup.
I’m glad you got some good suggestions from Jenny. My previous dog was overweight and I wish I knew then what I know now. With my current dogs, I go mostly by calories, not the feeding recommendations on the bag. I never realized how much difference there could be in calories between different Kibbles. I try to use kibble that is 400 calories or less a cup so I can add different toppers to their meals and still be able to give them a decent amount of kibble to satisfy them. I used the dog food calculator on this site to find a starting point. I subtract calories to account for the “treats” they are fed throughout the day. I have two male labs that are right around 80 lbs. One is a tiny bit thick and the other is very lean at this weight. I feed mostly Victor grain free joint health kibble and add a different protein rich topper to every meal. I wish you luck. I know it is tough to keep our labbies lean. They are eating machines!
I think the high protein food should be feed in smaller amounts because it takes less then the other food. Check the feeding instructions to concur.
Hi Julie-I feed my dogs Orijen Adult 2x per week. One of my dogs was overweight on a Blue Buffalo kibble, but since switching her to raw and Orijen she has lost almost 10% of her prior weight. I agree with BC that the amount on the bag is a suggestion. If you can feel your dog’s ribs that’s good so adjust accordingly. Can you provide more activity to lose weight? I found that helped with my dog, but our second pup helps with the activity.
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