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Discussion Starter #1
My dog cookie has had a lot of weight problems, and has put on a bit of weight over the years. Shes supposed to be a chihuahua poodle, but the vet thinks she's a chihuahua terrier.

I don't know if it's genetic, or if she's had a ton of food, but going for walks is really difficult because here in Utah it can sometimes reach 110 degrees F, and you shouldn't be walking your dog in that heat.

We've cut down on giving her any snacks, we've given her less food for her meals, and everything, but nothing seems to be working.

Does anybody have any guidance to help with her? Thanks.
 

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Exercise can be more challenging when its hot outside. During the summer, I usually walk Samantha around 6:30am before it gets too hot, and before the sun has super heated the pavement, which gets way too hot for her to safely walk on. Also there are diet foods available, we get some Rx food from our Vet, as Samantha tends to put too much weight on too. I really try to control her weight, usually can by cutting portions, and watching how many treats she gets during the day. Its not a battle you only fight once, its constant and ongoing. Since we want to keep Samantha around for Fifty years or so, (I wish) Allowing her to become overweight is hard on her organs, and skeletal structure. I always have the diet food on hand, as a fall back, if I feel like I'm losing control of her weight. I will mix the diet food with her regular food, the proportions change as her weight does.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Diet food doesn't work for her, it does virtually nothing. I'm scared she'll get heart disease or have other problems, but she just can't lose weight.
 

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Not sure why the diet food has no effect, what I feed Samantha is very very high fiber, so it virtually puts her bowel action in high gear. You might have to work with your Vet and a nutritionist to get her weight under control, at least long enough to learn how to manage it yourself. Your Vet should perhaps do a workup to be sure there is nothing medically going on to cause the weight gain, which can happen. Its something you really can't ignore.
 

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How much are you feeding her?
How many snacks are you giving her? Snacks include things like bully sticks.
What brand is the food and snacks?
How much exercise is she getting?

You don't need diet food, it's a gimmick. You need to feed a food with the least amount of fillers you can afford to feed. Once you have the food read the feeding guidelines, then feed slightly less then the amount recommended for your dogs ideal weight. So if your dog should weight 10 lbs, and the bag says feed 1/2 to 2/3 cups of food for a dog between 5 to 10 lbs feed him 1/2 cup.

With treats read the calorie count on the treat bag and if they do not list the calorie count do not buy the treats. Some of those treats are 35 cal or more. Look for treats that are no more then 6 calories, and pay close attention to how many treats the dog gets. My boy gets no more then 16 calories worth of treats a day. Give things like bully sticks very sparingly, and make sure to cut back on his food for the day when he gets one.

Up the exercise, you can do so throughout the day, it doesn't have to be one long exercise session.

Those are the things I had to do to get my boy to lose weight. At his heaviest he weighed over 11 lbs, and now he weights 8.6 and looks great, basically he lost over 20% of his body weight.
 

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There are metabolic diets that make getting a pet dog and cat to lose weight a bit faster and more easily. But if you want to get her to lose weight on your current diet, that can be done, too. You first need to find out how much, exactly, she is eating in a 24 hour period (BEFORE diet). Then, once you either figure that out to the gram (or fraction of an ounce), or at least average what she ingests over a 5 day period so you can figure out the daily intake, THEN get out the calculator and offer 20% less over a 24 hour period. Keep this up for a month. Reweigh. Then if she has gained weight, take away another 20%. If she has stayed the say, take away another 10%. If she has little weight, keep it up. If she has lost a lot of weight (over 5% of her body weight) you need to add a tiny bit of food back into her diet. Every dog is different and results will vary, but eventually if you keep this up, weighing monthly and doing the math, you WILL get results (dogs cannot maintain weight on decreased calories if decreased enough). Note: this diet will NOT work if you keep giving ANY treats. Treats should consist of tiny articles of food that make up the current diet, but that do not exceed the daily limits of what she should be on per your calculations. Note 2: your goal is NOT to make her lose weight rapidly... slow weight loss is far less stressful on the body. Note 3: no matter how slowly you do this, her body will eventually notice its losing weight and she will act like she is starving (and, in reality, her fat cells will be literally starving)... just have to get over that... eventually her system will adjust to losing weight and she may be less frantic.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I feed her and her brother half a cup each meal, and give her very tiny snacks of maybe a tiny piece of a chip I broke off for her. I don't really give her dog treats, since she doesn't really like them or how big they are.
They are fed Eukanuba brand dog food.
I don't give them treats.
Her exercise is extremely lacking, but it is impossible to take your dogs for walks because it's so hot, especially since she has black fur she tends to heat up way faster.

I don't even manage their food, my mom does. I guess I should ask her about their food and look up their food brand. I'd like to get her more exercise, but I just can't. It gets hot so fast that by it hits around 9 you start sweating a gallon. I have sleeping problems, so I can't wake up at 6 in the morning and take them for a walk. How conflicting.
 

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If your dog's caloric needs are greater than her caloric intake, she will lose weight. Whether you achieve that by decreasing her calories taken in (reducing her food proportions, feeding lower calorie food, etc), or by increasing her exercise to increase her calorie usage is up to you. My dog is normally quite active, and requires a significant amount of food for his size due to that. There have been times that I have had to restrict his activity level due to injury, and in order to maintain his weight at an appropriate level, I also had to restrict his calorie intake. Sure, I could let him eat the same amount as when he's running/walking 20+ miles a week (he loves food, so I'm sure he would like that!), but he would get fat pretty fast, which would be bad for him. But you CAN control a dog's weight merely by controlling their feeding proportions, even if they are not getting adequate exercise (though healthier to exercise as well).

If you are unable to walk her in the morning, can you walk her at night? During the warmer months, the only thing my dog does during the day is swim- playing ball, walking, biking, etc waits until after dark when it's cooler. If it's a dry climate where you live, a cooling vest (or simply wetting the dog prior to exercise, particularly areas of exposed skin) may be helpful for when it's merely warm. They don't work well in humid climates because they rely on evaporation to cause cooling. You could get a kiddie pool and have her walk in it for exercise, just be careful not to overdo it, as even walking through water can be hard work. Swimming is also good exercise if you have someplace where she can.

You could also exercise her indoors where it's cool. My dog plays ball inside on hot days, or I'll use targeting games to make him go from one end of the house to the other (this also works to exercise my parents' dog who doesn't like toys) so he gets sufficient exercise. You could hide or just scatter her food throughout the house to encourage her to move around more.

How many meals are they getting a day? If feeding more than once, you may be giving too much. Your bag of food should say how many calories per cup. Here is a rough calculator for dog caloric needs: https://vet.osu.edu/vmc/companion/our-services/nutrition-support-service/basic-calorie-calculator . Or you could ask your vet at her next visit about the appropriate caloric intake, and also ask what her ideal weight should be so you can keep track of your progress. As a general guideline, a small to medium dog is usually close to their ideal weight around a year of age, barring any sort of medical issues/neglect at that time. If you decide not to feed based on her caloric needs, and go off the bag recommendations, remember to feed based on her ideal weight, and also take into account that she is sedentary, so will need less food than the young, active, intact dog that the bag instructions are usually meant for.
 

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I agree with busannie, can't you exercise her indoors? Throwing a toy up and down a hallway is more exercise than nothing.
 

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Check with your vet before doing anything drastic and make sure it's not the dog's thyroid causing problems.

You might look into getting a doggy sized tread mill, (buy one or make one) so your dog can walk inside your (hopefully air conditioned) home. On YouTube there are several videos on how to build your own simple dog treadmill and on how to train your dog to use one. If you own a treadmill for humans already, you can train your dog to walk on it.

As someone earlier said, 'calories in, calories out'. Also, it's not healthy to get to them to lose weight fast, so give it some weeks before panicking that the dog isn't losing weight...a 1 lb drop in weight shouldn't come off in a week. For a dog of your mix, it might be safer to see like 1/4 of a pound a week...but you seriously need to ask your vet's advice on that so you won't harm your dog with too fast of a weight loss. Also, as some said, I don't think you need to put a dog on special diet dog food... just reduce what they eat a little bit and try to play with them a little more or walk them.

Also, I think a lot of people don't realize how much dog food can swell in the belly, so what looks to you (the general 'you') like a tiny amount, when feeding them correct amounts, it does fill the dog up.

Btw, I had a cat who got a little chunky, I was free feeding her...just dumping food in her bowl and letting her eat what she wanted, which was probably about 1 1/2 cups a day. Once I saw she was getting quite plump, I read the side of the bag and decided she was a medium sized cat and I fed her what the bag said to feed a 10 to 13 pound cat, which was 3/4 to 1 cup a day.

At the time I started, she was probably around 17 pounds. I fed her 1 cup a day to start out, to see if that would make her lose weight and if not, then I could always reduce it down to 3/4 cups. It took about 8 months but she lost 4 pounds with no 'starving' her of a good meal, no special diet cat food, and as for exercise, as she lost weight, she became more playful and active without any encouragment on my part, so that helped the process along. There were times, I even wanted to stop her 3am 'Zoomies' through the house, but I didn't ... I could tell she was having fun.

Stormy
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I could try throwing a ball or something down the hallway, since it's pretty long. Her brother shows way more interest in that, and she is one lazy dog. She likes tennis balls, just not running after them! I'll see if I can find anything she'll like.
 
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