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Hi all, first time GSD owner. We rescued a 6 year old female with early onset arthritis in her rear right hip. When we rescued her she was 104 pounds. The vet advised me that she should be approximately 90 lbs.

So we cut back on her food. We went from feeding her 5 cups a day (that was my bad, I read the bag and believed it for the first week) to 3 cups a day to now 2 cups a day. We cut out treats, training treats unless we are actively training her, and meat scraps.

We feed her twice a day- 1 cup of wellness complete health in the morning and another cup in the evening. We give her a hip/joint supplement gummy (FERA Pet glucosamine) at each feeding. Well, not surprisingly, she is constantly hungry. But the problem is she's now 107 pounds.

She's been a casual poop eater since we got her. After research/lurking, I honestly thought it was due to the fact she was a rescue and had been returned twice. I told my vet about it and he tested for parasites (test was negative). We hoped that as she got more comfortable with us that it would stop. It has not. She's probably starving, right?

We do exercise her. She gets approx. 1 mile a day during the week and then dog park plus 1 mile on weekends.

I have an appointment to see the vet about her thyroid levels since last time I was in she's border line for possibly requiring medication.

In the end, my question is, am I starving my sweet girl? How much should I be feeding a light-moderately active 6 year old GSD who needs to drop some weight without having her eat poop?

Thank you so much for any feed back and suggestions.
 

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I don’t know why no one answered you yet. Maybe they missed seeing it. My last dog was a male, 85-90 lbs who ate four cups of kibble a day. My male now is in the 75 lb range, 3 years old, high drive but moderately active and was getting 4 cups of kibble until I switched to raw. So even looking at the difference in kcal/ kg, 2 C seems awfully low unless she is getting a lot of treats. Poop eating could be a habit, not due to hunger.
 

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I thought you could find it helpful to compare what I do with my dog to what you do with yours. My 5 year old male is 27.5 inches tall, weighs 99lbs and gets 4 measured cups of kibble each night. I give him treats through the day, and a kangaroo tendon each night for a bedtime snack. He gets walked 2.3 to 2.5 miles each morning and we have multiple short frisbee sessions through the day. He is at optimal weight for his build and height.

In my opinion, I wouldn't feed less than 3 cups a day. You could add grated carrot to her food to increase its bulk. My dog is on medication. I keep a daily diary of his meds, and I record what he weighs each month. The diary has been very helpful.
 

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I would definitely go with a low calorie food so you can up the quantity while reducing calories.

You said you rescued this dog. Is it safe to assume then that she is spayed? That can lower her metabolism by 20% or more. Dog food nutrients are based on a per cup basis so if you had to reduce her food by 20% to account for spaying, then you are also reducing her nutrient intake by 20%. The problem with that is that her nutrient intake was not reduced when she was spayed, only her caloric requirements was reduced. Find a good low calorie food for her. Add some things like a can of French cut green beans or cooked carrots. Maybe she will even chew on raw carrots or celery for a treat or to amuse herself.

And when you say that she gets walked one mile a day, is that leashed walking? Leashed walking is exercise for you, not her. Either way, a mile is not very much for dogs like these even with joint problems. Does she swim? Is there a lake or river where you can take her?
 

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It could be calorie intake and activity level related. Any idea what body condition score she has? That may also impact everyone feeding suggestions.

Doing the blood work sounds like it could be a good idea since she was borderline previously just to help lessen suspicion on that end. Along that line just to decrease likelihood of common health things, do you know what method your veterinarian used to check for parasites? Fecal flotation, centrifugal fecal flotation, fecal pcr, .... A general fecal float is commonly used because it’s quick and frequently effective, but it does not always catch parasites. Even if she is on a monthly preventative if she is in an infected area she could be reinvesting herself or could have a tapeworm which many of the usual preventatives don’t treat.
 
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