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Discussion Starter #1
I finally got my little guy to eat regularly. It took nearly a year. But he's gaining weight and I'm not sure what's causing it or how to cut back without sacrificing nutrition. This is what I feed daily:

1 Primal Nugget - anywhere from 43-50 calories depending upon protein mixed with:
1 ounce of broiled thigh and boiled breast with some boiled breast water (about 8oz) mixed in to a 3 pound batch. I collect the thigh drippings by adding water to the bottom of the pan, mostly defat, and freeze into ice cubes. This liquid is used to hydrate the primal nugget. I've roughly calculated this at about 40 calories, since it's half thigh and half breast. I'm not sure what a tablespoon of that liquid would be.

20 Instinct raw meals mixers (this is a new product) - 50 calories (I actually weighed them in grams to make sure I only gave him the equivalent of 1 primal nugget). We give him a few around lunch time, add a few to his dinner, and he eats about 10 or so of them before bed as his bedtime snack on which he insists.

Previously he would get his full compliment of food for the day, PLUS at bedtime, we would give him about 10 instinct mixers, which were the only things he ate reliably since we brought him home. So technically, by replacing the mixers with the raw meals we have cut back his food intake for the day.

We give him 2 mini milkbones (5 calories each) and about 1 tsp of plain yogurt every day.

That's it, so even cutting back calories he's still not losing weight. After dinner, since it is less food than he was getting before, he asks for more food after about 2 hours.

I'm thinking he's a night eater. He really doesn't want anything until around 2 or 3pm and we use the meal mixers as training treats just to get something into him during the day. We feed him dinner around 4:30pm.

In total, he's getting 150-160 calories a day, which is what the vet calculated he should have. He currently weighs 9.7 pounds and the vet says she wants to drop down into the 8s, which IS where he should be.

I'm thinking the chicken might be the issue. I cook about 45 days worth at a time and just did. But when I'm out, I'm thinking of increasing the breast to more than 50%. If I don't put people food in his meal he won't eat.

I'm also considering putting those Instinct Raw meal mixers out and see if he will free feed. When I saw they came out with them I was thrilled that I could give him something he's always eaten and was a complete meal. Will eating at night cause weight gain since he's not active when digesting?
 

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Not what you were asking, but please be careful with the Instinct raw brand. Their kibble with raw bits mixed in made my dogs poop liquid everywhere. I think we got a bad bag.

Anyways, counting calories is only part of the equation. He’ll lose weight with counting calories, but it will be slow. Like, snail-meets-grass-growing-slow. If you want it to come off faster, then he needs to get active, if he isn’t already. The difference in calories burned should be more than what he eats, which is probably why your vet recommended the amount he did. For example, my terrier was a couple pounds overweight a while back:
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She ran around for a little bit outside every day in our fenced yard, but it wasn’t enough, even with restricting her diet. Then we started walking her a mile+ every day, and now she’s at a perfect weight, and much happier, too:
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This is why I think fenced yards don’t necessarily mean that a dog is going to burn off all their energy, but that’s another topic.

As for eating at night, it’s fine if he eats a full meal, especially if that’s the only time he eats well. I don’t think there should be too much of a difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. He's been eating the Instinct raw mixers as a snack since we brought him home. It's the only thing he eats reliably, but they're not complete meals. I had hoped they would come out with a balance meal version and they just did. He now gets those instead of the mixers.

It is so hot outside we really can't take him out for very long. We measure his walks by feet - when we do get him out, it's in the morning or evening. We let him run around our large yard a few times a week. He won't even do a 1 mile walk. he starts biting on the leash to go home :)

I am monitoring his weight more carefully and are thinking of ways to have him run through the house. Unfortunately, we have either hardwood or tile on the first floor and he doesn't run well there. We are thinking of buying and putting runners down so he can run more, at least when it's too hot or cold for him to go out.

I suspected night eating wasn't doing it. He gained the weight when he was getting his 150-160 calories a day PLUS the mixers at bedtime.

Thank you again.
 

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I agree with the exercise bit. Maybe if you tried bringing some new high value treats like Ziwi Peak (which you can cut into smaller pieces) he’d be more motivated to walk for longer when it’s not so hot outside... You could swap out some of the Instinct ones so that you maintain the same number of calories.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you can believe it, in my quest to find something he'd eat, I tried Ziwi Peak. He snorted and walked backwards. :) :) :) But I get what you're saying. I'll bring dehydrated apples with me, which are his high value treats.
 

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Mine eat 1/4 cup of Health Extension Little bites White fish and Buffalo kibble a day 110 calories, a less than 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter 12 calories. A cookie 5 cal and a salmon treat 5 cal.
Mine are couch potatoes, sometimes they get a little more like after grooming treats. Once a week they get a cod skin.
I don't feed chicken, beef or lamb, so many foods didn't agree with Pia causing her gastric upset from belching, belly pain to diarrhea. I tried all kind of food, but this kibble agrees with her.
Pia is 8 1/2 pounds and Leonard is 6 1/2 pounds, I keep thinking I have to adjust Leonard intake but he is more active than Pia
 

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Poppy is currently on 300-320 kcals a day. Her ideal weight is around 4.25 kilos/9-9.5 lbs, but she is well above that at the moment because of steroids - her vet says extra weight at the moment is a good sign, given her health problems, and not to attempt to diet her. She walks on average 2 miles or so every day, rather slowly, and pootles around outside as well, so does get some exercise. Sophy, who weighs rather less, is more active and on around 280-300 kcals. Activity is key, I think - we are lucky to live in a cool climate, but there is a lot you can do indoors with non slip runners and non slip stairs.
 
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Lol, you're making me do math! My boys are bigger than Gilligan but their diets have similarities so here goes.

I'll use Remo, my currently 12.5 lb'er as the example.

I'm feeding Purina Pro Plan Small Breed Shredded Savor kibble (chicken is the protein).
1 cup is 393 kcal and at his current weight, the recommended serving size is 1 cup.
The range is 3lbs-12lbs, 1/2 to 1 cup.
He gets 1/4 cup twice a day always as a base food. So, half the bag recommendation.
That leaves nearly 200 kcals each day for bonus items.
1st bonus item is pan cooked, no seasoning, no oil, just dry pan cooked chicken (most days it's chicken).
I take a medium human bite size portion and shred it over his kibble for breakfast.
I also add about a teaspoon of minimally seasoned jasmine rice (leftover from one of our meals).
(Neo also gets the Instinct toppers, 5-6 on his brekkie, fyi. Remo says no thanks to them.)
I add just enough liquid (usually water) to slosh up a bit of au jus.

Dinner is the same except the bonus protein is whatever we had for dinner, all minimally seasoned), and a bite size portion of whatever veggies we had, and no Instinct toppers for Neo.

Treats are minimal thru the day, except another larger bite size portion of protein, pulled off into tiny bits, as rewards for doing their tricks after breakfast.

For a while, both of them were picking up just a bit of additional weight, so I just cut back slightly on the portion size of every bit.
The 1/4 cup kibble became a 1/4 cup scant.
The medium size protein bite shrank just a bit.
The rice portion shrank a bit
Etc...
Nothing in their diet changed except the portion size and that only by a small bit, every bit.

It took a few weeks, but they're now both down about 1/2 lb. I just adjust up or down as they need.

Physical exercise is moderate.
We have a fenced yard so there's a bit of running around chasing each other, balls, or other fauna for maybe 5-10 minutes each morning.
We take a walk around the neighborhood nearly every day, usually just under a mile.
When I'm walking them, it's a scratch and sniff extravaganza, with yards of steady walking in between sniffs and squirts. When DH is along, it's a bit more purposeful but he's getting past the idea that he must lead every step and the pup is to march to his drummer.

I remember some tips from my early days on PF to keep a dog moving and interested on walks. They both involve having a type of treat in hand.
One is simply to have a high value treat closed in a free hand, which is held near Pup's nose while walking. These get administered periodically.
The other was for a different purpose, but is still valid in these circumstances. If he doesn't like peanut butter tho, it's a non-starter.
The trick is to take a wooden spoon and daub it with the PB then let that spoon dangle from your hand while walking, to keep Pup moving forward.

Maybe there'll be something useful in all that?
 
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That's a very low calorie target, even for his goal weight. But if increased daily exercise isn't a realistic option, I'd probably steer clear of the thigh meat and drippings altogether. Even with the defatting process, you could easily push him up and over his calories without even realizing. There's not a lot of wiggle room with those numbers.

You could also remove the thigh skin and just boil the thigh meat along with the breast. (I'm assuming the breast is skinless.)

The other thing that could easily be pushing him over his calories is the dried apple. That's a lot of sugar. I'm not suggesting cutting out his favourite treat, but it would be very easy to inadvertently overdo. Maybe try fresh finely diced apple instead? Would be better for his teeth, too.

And P.S. If you can, let him run daily in your yard rather than weekly. :) Get a flirt pole and head outside in the cooler morning or evening hours. This will have so many benefits beyond weight management.

To help encourage him to walk, why not seek out some nice shady trails? Let him sniff and noodle about on a long leash, and he'll rack up the steps in no time.
 

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Beckie is about 7 1/2 to 8 lbs and I have her on 170 calories per day. This calorie counting is new for me; I had to start when I started feeding raw. I had her on 210 calories for a while but she was getting fat. I think about 170 calories per day is her sweet spot.

Beckie is very energetic, but she burns calories mainly in the backyard, playing with Merlin for 5 minutes 3-4 times a day. When I’m able to walk her, I do. But in winter we can’t it’s too cold. So basically, what I’m trying to say is 170 calories seems to suit a moderately active 7-8 lbs dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Mine eat 1/4 cup of Health Extension Little bites White fish and Buffalo kibble a day 110 calories, a less than 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter 12 calories. A cookie 5 cal and a salmon treat 5 cal.
Mine are couch potatoes, sometimes they get a little more like after grooming treats. Once a week they get a cod skin.
I don't feed chicken, beef or lamb, so many foods didn't agree with Pia causing her gastric upset from belching, belly pain to diarrhea. I tried all kind of food, but this kibble agrees with her.
Pia is 8 1/2 pounds and Leonard is 6 1/2 pounds, I keep thinking I have to adjust Leonard intake but he is more active than Pia
Wow... I thought your bunch was smaller. Gilligan probably should be 8 1/2 pounds. Pia is not still hungry after getting 132 calories a day? I used several calculators and while some had me feeding him over 200 calories a day, most came it at around 140-170 calories, which is what I've been trying to do.

On your suggestion I tried the Health extension and he refused it. I suspect that the chicken portion of his meal is what is causing the weight gain, or lack of weight loss. I already cut back at least 20 calories a day. At night he keeps asking me for "snacks" which is actually now complete dog food.

On my next cook, which will be 45 days from now, I'm going to skew the thigh/breast mixture to be more breast. If I don't give him people food he simply will not eat unless he is starved. I've tried a few times. As soon as he gets enough food, he'll stop eating it again.

So Gilligan's cousin, Leonard, is not gaining weight on the same number of calories as Pia?

thank you for your insight. I do appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's a very low calorie target, even for his goal weight. But if increased daily exercise isn't a realistic option, I'd probably steer clear of the thigh meat and drippings altogether. Even with the defatting process, you could easily push him up and over his calories without even realizing. There's not a lot of wiggle room with those numbers.

You could also remove the thigh skin and just boil the thigh meat along with the breast. (I'm assuming the breast is skinless.)

The other thing that could easily be pushing him over his calories is the dried apple. That's a lot of sugar. I'm not suggesting cutting out his favourite treat, but it would be very easy to inadvertently overdo. Maybe try fresh finely diced apple instead? Would be better for his teeth, too.

And P.S. If you can, let him run daily in your yard rather than weekly. :) Get a flirt pole and head outside in the cooler morning or evening hours. This will have so many benefits beyond weight management.

To help encourage him to walk, why not seek out some nice shady trails? Let him sniff and noodle about on a long leash, and he'll rack up the steps in no time.
We are trying to give him a bit more exercise, but lately, even in the morning, it's too hot for him to be outside very long. Then we have the hawk problem and we both have to be outside with him, with one of us steps away and the other looking up. I'm going to try doing it after dark if it cools down (haha this week, it's 85 overnight).

The breast is skinless and with no fat. I broil the thighs with skin and bone and remove them before chopping them up. I add the water the breast boiled in to the chopped up thigh and breast to add moister. We then sit down with the resulting meat mixture and weigh it to 1 ounce - including that approx 8 oz of water I added. That was a cut back from giving 1 oz of pure meat.

I do think the dehydrated may have something to do with it, but the bag says each full piece is about 3-5 calories and we never give him a full piece thoughout the day. We cut back one mini milk bone (5 calories) and I'm trying to slowly drop down one raw meal mixer. But I hate to remove the part of his diet that is the complete & balanced meal. He no longer gets ANY of the old instinct toppers I used to give as a bedtime snack.

I guess I have to be patient AND vigilant about what we put in his mouth each day. They're all so little that it is really easy to give 5 or 10 calories with just a few bites.

Thank you.
 

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I have had pups that ask for snacks, mmm Beatrice. I opt for veggies instead of cookies or meat. I had one poodle, who had a rough go before I got her a mini poodle she weighed 22 pounds and I got her down to 15 pounds, you have to be patient and firm.
My chi mix is very finicky, she will turn her nose up at food. I do try to mix it up but right now she eats just two foods a kibble and fresh pet alternating only because she is 15 yrs old. She will skip two or 3 meals in a row, she weighs the same as Lenny, I am not being mean I am just not catering to her whim. I only alternated in fresh pet when Gracie started skipping 3 days of meals, now it's only a few meals. usually I'll just feed her the same food later on. A healthy dog will not starve itself.
Gracie now doesn't skip meals like she used too.
 

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Then we have the hawk problem and we both have to be outside with him, with one of us steps away and the other looking up. I'm going to try doing it after dark if it cools down (haha this week, it's 85 overnight).
Ack! Brutal temps! I'd probably just be sprawled out on the cool floor.

As for the hawk problem, I can relate. We live in an area that's got loads of active predators—land and sky—and we used to have a mini. But dogs get very little exercise when left to their own devices in the yard anyway, so that's another reason to stick close.

Honestly, 15 minutes of flirt pole or follow the leader, even divided up into 5 minute chunks, would probably produce results. That's part of the joy of having a pup with short legs. :)

And introducing that extra bit of exercise will be so much more pleasurable for you (and him) than counting calories.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have had pups that ask for snacks, mmm Beatrice. I opt for veggies instead of cookies or meat. I had one poodle, who had a rough go before I got her a mini poodle she weighed 22 pounds and I got her down to 15 pounds, you have to be patient and firm.
My chi mix is very finicky, she will turn her nose up at food. I do try to mix it up but right now she eats just two foods a kibble and fresh pet alternating only because she is 15 yrs old. She will skip two or 3 meals in a row, she weighs the same as Lenny, I am not being mean I am just not catering to her whim. I only alternated in fresh pet when Gracie started skipping 3 days of meals, now it's only a few meals. usually I'll just feed her the same food later on. A healthy dog will not starve itself.
Gracie now doesn't skip meals like she used too.
We give him the Instinct raw meals as a snack and we removed it from his daily food allotment. His dinner is smaller to make up for the snacks. He asks for more about 4 hours after hes' eaten. He's either still hungry or looking for attention. Ditto for at bedtime. But he finally is realizing when we say "all gone" he's not getting more, and last night, he only got a 3 extra pieces before bed.

This is why I think he's a late day/night eater. Unless we play/train him before noon and get some food into him that way, he won't eat anything until around 2pm. Then he still wants dinner at 4:30-5pm, and continues to ask until bed. :) I did try letting him go without and he would wolf down his entire day's worth of food at bedtime. That can't be good for him. But at least he's eating, which is a major improvement than what it was. I have picked up his food if he refuses it and not given it back until he starts barking at me :) So he does know he better eat :)

Ah, the joys of a fussy puppy :)
 

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Ack! Brutal temps! I'd probably just be sprawled out on the cool floor.

As for the hawk problem, I can relate. We live in an area that's got loads of active predators—land and sky—and we used to have a mini. But dogs get very little exercise when left to their own devices in the yard anyway, so that's another reason to stick close.

Honestly, 15 minutes of flirt pole or follow the leader, even divided up into 5 minute chunks, would probably produce results. That's part of the joy of having a pup with short legs. :)

And introducing that extra bit of exercise will be so much more pleasurable for you (and him) than counting calories.
We are trying. At a minimum, we have him run up and down the stairs in the house several times :) We do take him for short walks in the morning and at night, and bring him in the backyard, which he loves, a few times a week. He just gets so hot even at those hours. We are lookinig at buying a long runner for our hallway so he has better traction for running indoors.

We also added about a teaspoon of mashed up green beans mixed into his dinner to help him feel a bit fuller with very low calories.

Thank you!
 
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