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24 April 2009


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Original Lori

Thanks Christie--us first time dog moms/pet parents/dependant havers/owners/operators need reassurance sometimes. :O)

Christie Keith

Vickie, I'm a big believer in "don't fix what's not broken," but there is no evidence to support adding veggies and fiber to canine diets makes them feel more satisfied. Satiety comes from fat and protein, not fiber.

What adding filler and bulk to a bowl does is make US think we're giving the dog more food. What I suspect is simply that you were more aware and slightly reduced his intake and perhaps gave him a little more exercise, and then you felt better about it because you were adding the grated carrot and thought it made him feel more full.

On the other hand, every dog is an individual, and perhaps it worked for him. Very glad you came up with a fix that worked for you!

Christie Keith

It's normal and healthy for dogs to self-regulate. But it's unusual for Labs and Lab mixes, LOL. So yay!!! Just watch him, you're doing great.


You've left out what we found to be the magic secret: Keep the dog out of the cat box.

I love my dog, but dogs are sometimes really disgusting :P.

Original Lori

Christie--(This is going to sound like a stupid question)Is it typical for a dog to refuse the food in its dish simply because he's not hungry? So far my dog, Kasey, who is some sort of lab mix, still has a nice tuck at the waist and etc. I'm more worried about the opposite problem because sometimes he just seems to want to skip a meal. (He's fed at noon and at 6) When he was a puppy the vet said that he would regulate his intake based on how much exercise he was getting. I still worry though, and wonder if I should be doing something differently.

Vickie Carr


My GSD gained a significant amount of weight about the time my 2 children were toddlers...the combination of less walks from me and food at mouth level provided by the kids is what put it on.

What took it off was I grated a carrot into his meals, morning and night. It gave him satisfying bulk without the calories.

Ingrid King

I would love to see a similar post on weight loss for cats - it seems to be an even bigger challenge for cats, since simply counting calories doesn't work for them, you also have to look at cutting out carbs as much as possible.

Nancy J. Silberstein


My big orange cat was over-weight, per the vet, but only eating two small cans of wet food a day. The vet said not to cut back on his food, but to increase his exercise. Razor and I now kill kibble twice a day. I throw a piece of kibble and he chases it and eats it. The caloric value of a dozen pieces of (small) kibble a day must be less than the calories burned chasing it, knocking it out of the air, digging it out from behind furniture.

Before he would chase it, however, I had to teach him what throwing was. I got him to eat it out of my hand, then I dropped one on the floor, then I tossed it farther and farther. He now anticipates like a retriever.

Besides the exercise I think the playing has made him less bored and happy to be killing things. (Hey, he's a cat. They're killers.) njs

3rd Lori

You should try getting some of these people to go to the vet! :(

I already pay for my 3 and one or two others occasionally. There's nothing worse than a middle-aged Chihuahua that looks like an overstuffed bratwurst on toothpicks!

3rd Lori

Oh, Thanks for the help. :) I really do appreciate it. :)

Christie Keith

I'm not a therapist, LOL. I can't figure out half of what *I* do, let alone other people, so I just put the info out there and let people do with it what they will.

Christie Keith

Whatever you feed, you need to calculate the caloric needs of the dog in question, then get the calories of the food from the company or its website (since it's not given on the label the way it is in human food), and then feed accordingly. That's true across the board for all foods, commercial or homemade.

The steps I give in this post are the same regardless: First, to the vet. If the dog is very overweight, reduce the calories in stages. Monitor weight weekly. Consider a formula labeled for "active weight loss" if simple portion control of a regular food isn't working, and go back to the vet if the dog isn't losing weight on his properly-calculated calorie level.

Vickie Carr


Thanks for the feedback...you are probably right, we were much more aware of portion control once we recognized there was a problem.


Christie, I know current nutritional wisdom agrees with you about fat and protein leading to weight loss, but my three "rat" study disagrees. One "rat" lived with a nutritionist who insisted on the fat/protein theory. Couldn't peel the weight off. Said dog came to live with me for three weeks and all I did was calculate calories and added in pumpkin and/or green beans. Voila, weight loss. Same with the two air ferns who live with me. One tanks up on nuts every fall. Reduce his calories and add in the veggies for bulk and he loses it again in about 3 months.

One of my neighbors uses carrots to keep her Goldens trim. It works.

Christie Keith

Deanna... have you done it WITHOUT the added bulk?

Since dogs have no dietary requirement for carbohydrate, and all it provides is energy (calories), why not just leave it out?

I don't think what you're saying and I'm saying are any different, other than for that issue. I believe that the simple portion control you instituted would have taken care of it. The fiber is for us, so we don't' feel like we're starving our dogs. Or maybe to make eating take longer, to psych them out. If so, fine. But it really doesn't increase satiety in the brain.

Christie Keith

Ingrid, you're right -- cats are very different. I will plan a cat weight loss post, too!

3rd Lori

So, now I'm confused a bit. I understand the part about not adding green beans, etc. I've heard that anecdotally, but I can't say it makes any sense at all. My 3 Goldens have never been overweight and completely self-regulating until death at 12 and 13 for the first 2. The eat about 1/2 as much in the hot weather than in the winter. (I live in a cold climate.) They have all been intact males. (I don't breed, no oops litters, just prefer their temperament and feel it is safer, healthwise.) My Lab mix, a neutered dog, is also self-regulating. My current Golden is not even a big exerciser or eater & he is my thinnest dog.

This question comes up all the time with my friends who own pets. I even pay for some of them to feed better quality food. I understand that so-called weight reduction food is basically useless. Would a high protein or grain-free food be appropriate in an otherwise healthy, younger obese dog. What about raw? I feed my dogs Calif. Naturals Lamb & Rice due to wheat allergies plus 1/4 lb raw weight cooked hamburger (human grade) with the grease drained off twice a day. Plus I give all protein treats -- dehydrated liver, etc., and cut them into smaller pieces.

I feel a little guilty because I don't feed raw. But I don't want to drive all over the place & use up a lot of gas.

3rd Lori

Well, I am a retired therapist, LOL. I just care about their dogs!


I thought I was the crazy one! (ok, I am, but this ain't why.) My bulldog free-fed and wasn't fat. My Boston was free-feeding before we got our Frenchie and he's downright finicky. But our Frenchie will eat till he pops if allowed and is ALWAYS STARVING.(So he tells me.)He's also too "fluffy" and craps 3-4x/day (less on raw). People kept saying, he's a puppy, don't starve him! but I sensed we were headed to the "big boy" dept. To the vet we go before "fluffy" becomes very obese.

Doug Dovers

Dogs have not evolved to eat carbs. what does a wolf eat?

I would like your comments.

My eating habits have completely changed since reading Gary Taubes' books. If you vet him you will see that he has a very high credibility. All science, not anecdotal views, which contradict much of the common wisdom you espouse.


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