I got a beautiful, sleek girl several months ago. I've already caused 5+ lbs or so of weight gain. How much weight by week or month should I attempt? I'm thinking that I shouldn't use human weight loss goals.
Dogs, like people, all metabolize at different rates. The recommended quantities on dog food bags, are only suggestions. In our case Samantha can only have about half of the recommended quantities, or she gains weight very quickly. Fortunately she like carrots, and apple for treats.
I always hate to get into this but I really should not even have a dog - very hard to properly support on disability. However we love her, etc and vice-versa. She's a pit mix. I know how hard it is to find a good home to any breed of this sort. Dog fighting is a big thing here in Savannah. I'm working on funding for basic needs. That being said, my guess is that she initially weighed 25-30 lbs. I believe that she's about 5 lbs over that now. She's about 1-yr-old(+/-).
More: Only moderately active and VERY full of energy. I usually take her on a long walk in the morning and then a lot of outdoor tennis ball fetching in the afternoon. As far as where I got her - no help there. I answered a Craigslist add. She showed up with the dog. She said she had forgotten the documentation and needed to get it from her car. I never saw her again.
Ideally, they should lose about 1% of their body weight per week.
To really go about it the right way you should know what she currently weighs, and also, measure how much food she is currently eating (cup should = 8 oz cup). Then, you can make adjustments from there based on your goal. Ideally, if she's been to a vet, they should be able to tell you what her ideal weight should be, and you can tailor her feeding portions to get to that. If not, you'll just have to eyeball her and see how she looks as you approach your goal weight, making adjustments as you go. You really NEED to be able to weigh her though to know if you're making progress, and how/if you need to adjust her feeding schedule (losing too fast? not losing? 1% of 25 lbs is only 4 ounces a week, it will be hard to see that with the naked eye). Many vets will let you weigh a dog on their scales, or if you have a scale at home, you can weigh yourself, then yourself with her, and subtract to get her weight.
I would probably start by doing twice daily feedings, then reduce her food at one meal or the other by 1/4 each week if there is no weight loss. So, if you are currently feeding 2 cups per day, that would be 1 cup in AM, 1 in PM. Then reduce one feeding by 1/4, so that'd be 3/4 cup AM, 1 cup PM. If still no weight loss in a week, then decrease the other feeding by 1/4, so then it would be 3/4 cup AM, 3/4 cup PM. And so on. If she seems hungry, you can mix in some unsalted green beans or other fibrous veggie to help make her feel more full. As you get near her goal weight, you should begin to increase the portions again, until her weight is stable.
One piece of unsolicited but hopefully helpful advice- you mentioned trying to get her basic needs taken care of with limited funds- if she hasn't yet been vaccinated and altered, many shelters offer reduced cost or even free vaccines and spaying for pit bulls and pit mixes. You can probably call any local shelter and have them refer you to help in your area, or just search for "low cost vaccines", "low cost spay", or the like in your area. If money is tight, you want to cross as many expensive medical emergencies off the list as possible, and parvovirus and pyometra (uterine infection) are two big ones that are much cheaper and easier to prevent than to treat. I've found that having money doesn't make people a good dog owner, I've seen people well below the poverty level who go out of their way to make sure their animals get what they need, and also seen people get in their $70,000 vehicle and drive away with their dying dog because they don't want to spend the money- most people fall somewhere in between, and economic class doesn't even begin to tell what sort of dog owner they are