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My dogs are too fat; want to improve diet

  1. #1

    My dogs are too fat; want to improve diet

    I have two dachshunds and a terrier mix—an abandoned angel I took in last March. She was emaciated when she found me, but sh is not any more!

    None of us are very active during winter. The dachshunds don't enjoy being out as much as I wish. One of them doesn't want to be outside at all, except to relieve herself.

    I'd like to improve their diet with the goal of maintaining a healthy weight.

    We mix small breed Kibbles & Bits (which I am certain is trash) with a more more expensive small breed dry food (all I remember is anchovy flavored) we get at a specialty shop.

    I'm thinking we should substitute the trash feed for something higher in protein that will help them stay lean.

    Obviously, I'm no expert. I need basic advice, and a recommendation for a good dry food.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Do you have any natural pet stores near you this would be the best place to go for help in finding the right food for your dogs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Hi Cinnamon- Don't know if this will be relevant at your place but part of my learning process was figuring out that my two spayed females need much less kibble than my two intact males. In the hot season here, which is the least active season for them, the females need only 1/3 of the kibble that the males receive. Otherwise they get chubby. I should explain that in addition to the kibble, they also receive some meat at each meal- liver, fish, or chicken- and they all receive the same portion of that. Everyone also receives the same amount of vegetables and low fat milk. But I really needed to cut back on the kibble for the spayed females when they started getting heavy. I was surprised how much I had to cut back.

    Check out this guy exercising in the pool- so cute! Does anyone really pronounce Dachshund that way? Haha.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    I would eliminate the Kibbles and Bits completely, from what I recall it is high in carbohydrates and even has sugars in it, also things like corn and "meals" as first ingredient instead of chicken, lamb, etc. Also has harmful chemical preservatives. I don't have small breeds and the only time I used "weight management" for my dog was for my older Standard Schnauzer who was suffering with hip and arthritis problems, so I switched to senior formula.

    This food is expensive, but just use it as a guideline to suggest the type of food you should be looking at, pay attention to the ingredients, fat content, etc.

    Make sure you don't feed any table scraps, cheese, sweets, etc. Buy some fresh carrots, preferably organic, slice them into tiny pieces and put them in a Tupperware in the fridge. Give something like that as a treat for them, healthy and no fat calories.

    Today's the first day of spring, so maybe the outdoor walks can be more often and more enjoyable. Even indoors, you can roll a ball down the hallway or across the room and get some exercise in. I agree with Dog Force about giving some kind of quality low fat beef, chicken or fish, home prepared with no seasonings or fat to feed as a supplemental treat.

    Good luck, glad to see you're trying to make their diets better, they'll feel better, love you for it, and you can feel good that you made a difference. They rely on you to keep them feeling good and healthy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    New Hampshire
    The only way to loose the weight is less calories and more exercise. Feed them a senior food and mix fresh or frozen (not canned) green beans with the food. I feed raw but as a guideline the rule of thumb is 2% of body weight. Give them 2% of their body weight and as much green beans as you can get them to eat. A whole cup of beans has only 34 calories in it. The weight will come off slower than it went on but it will happen. But you must be consistent. If you think they are hungry feed them twice a day, the beans will keep them feeling fuller longer. Also give them a good quality grain free food. Orajin is the best of the best followed by Fromm. Nothing by purina is any good, they use rendered meat. Diamond Co. has a lot of recalls and their food isn't great either. You need to go to a high end pet food store to get good food. Anything you can buy in a grocery or department store is NOT good food
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Orijen is popular (probably aided by heavy marketing), but it gave my dogs diarrhea. Also it includes a large number of obscure herbal ingredients that personally I believe are just included to look trendy for marketing. Herbs are powerful substances and should not be thrown into dog food lightly any more than one would throw a bunch of medicines into dog food.

    If I'm not mistaken, didn't some Kirkland (house brand) kibble from Costco get good reviews for its ingredients? Alpha, did you say you used Kirkland for a while? Maybe I'm thinking of someone else who mentioned Kirkland.
    Last edited by Dog Force One; 03-20-2017 at 10:05 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Quote Originally Posted by Dog Force One View Post
    Orajin is popular (probably aided by heavy marketing), but it gave my dogs diarrhea. Also it includes a large number of obscure herbal ingredients that personally I believe are just included to look trendy for marketing. Herbs are powerful substances and should not be thrown into dog food lightly any more than one would throw a bunch of medicines into dog food.

    If I'm not mistaken, didn't some Kirkland (house brand) kibble from Costco get good reviews for its ingredients? Alpha, did you say you used Kirkland for a while? Maybe I'm thinking of someone else who mentioned Kirkland.
    I buy the freeze dried Orijen treats sometimes for my cat, but I always give the dog a few too. Very pricey but they love it, I don't know if I'd want to pay Orijen prices though for daily feedings, never did check out their ingredients.

    DF, I have been using the Kirkland dry food for years now with no problems and it's priced very reasonably compared to some other name brands. I never bought small breed kibble there though, or weight maintenance formulas, if they even have them. I didn't copy the rating, but it showed 5 stars....

    Mar. 20, 2017

    Kirkland Dog Food Reviews

    Top 5 Ingredients*
    1. Chicken
    2. Chicken meal
    3. Whole grain brown rice
    4. Cracked pearled barley
    5. Chicken fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and vitamin e)
    Artificial Ingredients No
    Contains By-products No
    Price Range $$
    *Kirkland Signature Super Premium Adult Dog Chicken, Rice & Vegetable Formula was selected as the recipe for this ingredient list

    • animal proteins
    • brown rice
    • fruits
    • vegetables

    • brewers rice

    Our Analysis

    Kirkland is Costco’s signature brand of dog food. This is a shame because you cannot buy this excellent product anywhere else. Kirkland Dog Food receives a high grade for its quality ingredients at a price that every one can afford.

    All of the Kirkland dog food formulas are appropriate nutrition for dogs of all life stages and with various maintenance needs. The formulas each have a number of components in common, including animal protein. The chief source of protein in these formulas is meat, either in the form of fresh meat or meat and poultry meal, which contains much more heavily concentrated protein.

    Another prominent ingredient is brown rice, which is an easily digested complex carbohydrate and an appropriate ingredient for most dogs, although it can sometimes prove problematic in dogs with digestive issues. Barley is also included as a complex carbohydrate and is a good addition for blood glucose stability in dogs with trouble maintaining their own insulin levels.

    Kirkland does not include probiotics in their formulas, but they do include brewer’s yeast, which is good for immune support in dogs that are not allergic to it. Overall this food is a higher-than-average quality premium food that is appropriate for most dogs, but may not be appropriate for dogs with sensitive digestive systems because of the inclusion of rice, barley and yeast.

    Kirkland is a higher quality dog food than most of the supermarket brands and can definitely hold its own against some of the “higher-end” foods. This is an excellent choice for dog owners — even if you are not on a fixed budget.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Cool! If I lived near a Costco or were within their website delivery range, I would definitely try that.

    It looks like the "Healthy Weight" product didn't get good reviews from the limited reviews that came in to their website. But all the other versions seem to have good reviews:

    Really, the whole idea of a "weight loss formula" sounds kind of dubious. It doesn't seem like a dog should need special food to lose weight any more than an overweight person needs special food to lose weight. Rather I would give them a normal balanced diet- just a reduced amount. Just my personal thinking.
    Last edited by Dog Force One; 03-21-2017 at 12:29 AM.

  9. #9
    I probably meant an overall change in diet that lead to weight loss, rather than some magic bullet. I can't afford to feed them boiled chicken and rice every day, so I'm looking for what is best and within my budget. I like the green bean and carrots suggestions. Will work to convince my wife to stop buying Kibbles & Bits.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    New Hampshire
    a senior good quality kibble and the green beans, carrots are ok but have a lot of carbs which they don't need. Peas is another high carb veggie, just go with the green beans Mash up the green beans in a blender or food processor, make it like a paste and mix it with the dry food, that way they can't pick them out. The beans will keep them feeling fuller with less dry food. And of course increase their exercise
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Kibbles and Bits is really unhealthy.

    Ingredients: Corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat, animal fat (BHA used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, water sufficient for processing, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, caramel color, peas, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), choline chloride, calcium sulfate, wheat flour, carrots, green beans, titanium dioxide (color), yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, BHA (used as a preservative), blue 1, dl-methionine
    Fiber (estimated dry matter content) = 4.9%

    Red items indicate controversial ingredients

    Estimated Nutrient Content
    Method Protein Fat Carbs
    Guaranteed Analysis 19% 12% NA
    Dry Matter Basis 23% 15% 54%
    Calorie Weighted Basis 21% 31% 48%
    Calorie Weighted BasisProteinFatCarbs
    Nutrient Type % Composition
    Protein 21
    Fat 31
    Carbs 48

    The first ingredient in this dog food is corn. Corn is an inexpensive and controversial cereal grain. And aside from its energy content, this grain is of only modest nutritional value to a dog.
    For this reason, we do not consider corn a preferred component in any dog food.

    The second ingredient is soybean meal, a by-product of soybean oil production more commonly found in farm animal feeds.
    Although soybean meal contains 48% protein, this ingredient would be expected to have a lower biological value than meat.

    And less costly plant-based products like this can notably boost the total protein reported on the label — a factor that must be considered when judging the actual meat content of this dog food.
    The third ingredient includes beef and bone meal, a dry rendered product from (beef) tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents”.1

    Beef and bone meal may have a lower biological value than most other meat meals.

    Scientists believe this decreased protein quality may be due to the ingredient’s higher ash and lower essential amino acid content.2
    On the brighter side, beef and bone meals are meat concentrates and contain nearly 300% more protein than fresh meat.
    In any case, beef and bone meal is not considered a better quality dog food ingredient.

    The fourth ingredient is wheat. Wheat is another cereal grain and subject to the same issues as corn (previously discussed).
    The fifth ingredient is animal fat. Animal fat is a generic by-product of rendering, the same high-temperature process used to make meat meals.

    Since there’s no mention of a specific animal, this item could come from almost anywhere: roadkill, spoiled supermarket meat, dead, diseased or dying cattle — even euthanized pets.
    For this reason, we do not consider generic animal fat a quality ingredient.

    What’s worse, this fat is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.

    The sixth ingredient is corn syrup. Corn syrup is a glucose-rich, high-calorie item of questionable nutritional value to a dog.

    The seventh ingredient includes wheat middlings, commonly known as “wheat mill run”. Though it may sound wholesome, wheat mill run is actually an inexpensive by-product of cereal grain processing.

    Unfortunately, the variations in nutrient content found in wheat middlings can be a critical issue in determining their suitability for use in any dog food — or even livestock feeds.3
    In reality, wheat middlings are nothing more than milling dust and floor sweepings — and an ingredient more typically associated with lower quality pet foods.
    The eighth ingredient is water, which adds nothing but moisture to this food. Water is a routine finding in most canned dog foods.
    The ninth ingredient is animal digest. Animal digest is a chemically hydrolyzed mixture of animal by-products that is typically sprayed onto the surface of a dry kibble to improve its taste.
    From here, the list goes on to include a number of other items.

    But to be realistic, ingredients located this far down the list (other than nutritional supplements) are not likely to affect the overall rating of this product.

    With seven notable exceptions
    First, this product contains the controversial food moisturizer, propylene glycol. Propylene glycol has been banned by the FDA for use in making cat food.
    However, it can still be found in some commercial dog foods.
    Next, we’re always disappointed to find artificial coloring in any pet food. That’s because coloring is used to make the product more appealing to humans — not your dog. After all, do you really think your dog cares what color his food is?

    This includes titanium dioxide, a white coloring agent. Although most claim the pigment to be a safe food additive, one international agency4 has classified titanium dioxide as a “Group 2B carcinogen” possibly linked to cancer in humans.

    This recipe also contains caramel, a natural coloring agent made by caramelizing carbohydrates. It’s used by pet food manufacturers to impart a golden brown tint to the finished product.
    However, the concentrated version of this ingredient commonly known as caramel coloring has been more recently considered controversial and found to cause cancer in laboratory animals.5
    In addition, we find peas. Peas are a quality source of carbohydrates. And like all legumes, they’re rich in natural fiber.

    However, peas contain about 25% protein, a factor that must be considered when judging the meat content of this dog food.
    Next, we find no mention of probiotics, friendly bacteria applied to the surface of the kibble after processing to help with digestion.
    We also note that the minerals listed here do not appear to be chelated. And that can make them more difficult to absorb. Non-chelated minerals are usually associated with lower quality dog foods.
    And lastly, this food is preserved with BHA, a suspected cancer-causing agent.

    Kibbles ‘n Bits Dog Food

    The Bottom Line

    Judging by its ingredients alone, Kibbles ‘n Bits Dog Food looks like a below-average dry product.

    But ingredient quality by itself cannot tell the whole story. We still need to estimate the product’s meat content before determining a final rating.
    The dashboard displays a dry matter protein reading of 23%, a fat level of 15% and estimated carbohydrates of about 54%.
    As a group, the brand features an average protein content of 24% and a mean fat level of 12%. Together, these figures suggest a carbohydrate content of 56% for the overall product line.
    And a fat-to-protein ratio of about 48%.

    Below-average protein. Below-average fat. And above-average carbs when compared to a typical dry dog food.
    When you consider the protein-boosting effect of the soybean meal and peas, this looks like the profile of a dry product containing a limited amount of meat.

    Bottom line?

    Kibbles ‘n Bits is a plant-based dry dog food using a limited amount of beef-and-bone meal or meat-and-bone meal as its main sources of animal protein, thus earning the brand 1 star.

    Not recommended.

    Please note certain recipes are sometimes given a higher or lower rating based upon our estimate of their total meat content and (when appropriate) their fat-to-protein ratios.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Kibbles and Bits yeah dump it!!! A lot of people have had trouble feeding Orijen to smaller breeds , it is too rich and when they got the plant in Kentucky I think they said is wehn everything changed in Origen It isn't the same as the Canadian plant. . But Nulo is a good product so at Pet People and Pet Smart only it has a 5 star rating. Pricing isn't all that bad Compared to. Also I did research on Zignature.. is good also. And their salt (sodium) levels are in the safe zones. And they both are Family owned.
    That video of this poor dog is pitiful. It is so disgusting the owners let her get like this sheer abuse. Killing her slowly. Shame on people when they get so stupid when they see their pets getting so heavy. She can't even lay her head down. But I have seen this video before and I am glad she is loosing weight at least.

  13. #13
    My dogs aren't that fat; they're just not lean. I want them lean and healthy.

    I was already fairly certain that Kibbles & Bits is crap. I'm not needing a lot of convincing on that end. What affordable dry food to replace it with is more the question. I'm glad we have the smaller specialty store nearby.

    Thanks again for all those replies. It's such a help!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    New Hampshire
    whatever you decide to go with mix it slowly with the old food, if you don't you'll have stomach upsets and loose stools. Mix like a handful of the new food with the old increasing the amount of new food until its all new food
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  15. #15
    It's very tempting to give dogs more than they need as a misguided gesture of love. Also dogs are the kings of manipulation. Even when they are full, they will beg for treats as if they were starving. The right quantity of a balanced diet combined with more activity is the best plan to get them lean quick. Our chap got a little chubby, when we underestimated how many treats he was getting from extended friends and family. Once we factored that into his daily intake, he dropped the weight a couple of hundred grams a week until he was back to peak condition.

    The advice to introduce new diets gradually is good. Otherwise be ready for an uncomfortable flatulent dog with runny poops.

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