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Hi everyone,
I was looking at some old pics of Willow before I adopted her, and she looked so....fat! Not fat, really, but certainly bigger than she is now. I even looked at some pics from the first week I had her and even then she looked bigger.

The last time I weighed her, she was about 61 pounds. When I adopted her, she was 67. She did go through some stuff in the past few months--a heat cycle, then a spay, then about a week of bad diarrhea. I'm feeding the recommended amount from her dog food bag (it's Canidae grain free salmon, 2-3 cups for dogs 50-70 pounds, so I give Willow about 2.5 cups per day plus various treats). I think I'm going to start switching her to Purina One SmartBlend Lamb and Rice after getting some advice that she may not need grain free and there's no point in feeding grain free if she's not grain intolerant (plus it's cheaper...the previous owners had her on grain free so that's why I was doing it).

Her trainer thinks she could stand to lose even more weight. I'm kinda skeptical; she has a GSD of her own and my impression when I saw that dog was that he seemed awfully skinny.

I guess there's a chance she was overweight with her previous owner. I have no idea how much food or exercise she got there. I try to take Willow on twice daily walks/runs plus playing in the yard so I feel like she's getting good exercise with me. But...I just don't know! I can only see her ribs from certain angles, and I can see them when she's really getting some good sniffing on. You can kinda see them in the below photo (we're watching MeatEater--and she looooooves Steve Rinella lol). Her poops are pretty big and sometimes mushy.

FWIW, she does want food ALL THE TIME and gets really excited about feeding time but I figure that's a normal dog thing.

Any advice on how to determine an appropriate weight for a dog?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Oops sorry, wonder if this post would be better in "basic care" or "diet and nutrition"..... sorry about that.
 

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It's fine, I don't think anyone pays attention to the categories here when looking for new threads, they just click the Active Topics button. She looks pretty good to me, lean but all muscle. Sure maybe a pound or two, but I wouldn't "try" to put that on her. She has been through a lot which can cause weight fluctuation, she will put it back on if it's meant to be. They can gain or lose weight very fast, just like humans. She's looking good BTW, I don't think I have seen a picture until now. Very unique coloring.
 

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It's fine, I don't think anyone pays attention to the categories here when looking for new threads, they just click the Active Topics button.
We moderators appreciate it when members select the most appropriate forum category to post their topics, regardless of how they, or most members, typically view the board. When we come across threads in the wrong area, we have to either move them ourselves, or if it's not in one of our own forums, we'll do a notification and have another moderator move it. I'm sure some people do go to a particular area if they're looking for specific information, so having everything in the right place makes it easier for your thread to help someone else who may have a similar question.

Banzai555, if you think you may have posted a thread in the wrong area, you can just do a moderator notification and ask to have it moved. Notifications go to all admins and the moderator/s for that specific subforum. I've already done a notification on this thread so you don't need to do another. :)
 

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It's fine, I don't think anyone pays attention to the categories here when looking for new threads, they just click the Active Topics button. She looks pretty good to me, lean but all muscle. Sure maybe a pound or two, but I wouldn't "try" to put that on her. She has been through a lot which can cause weight fluctuation, she will put it back on if it's meant to be. They can gain or lose weight very fast, just like humans. She's looking good BTW, I don't think I have seen a picture until now. Very unique coloring.
Thanks! Yes, she's purdy....and knows it. :) I haven't weighed her since she was a couple days better from her diarrhea so she might be a little more now. She has soooooo much skin/fur on her neck and like nowhere else, it looks funny to me sometimes.
 

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We moderators appreciate it when members select the most appropriate forum category to post their topics, regardless of how they, or most members, typically view the board. When we come across threads in the wrong area, we have to either move them ourselves, or if it's not in one of our own forums, we'll do a notification and have another moderator move it. I'm sure some people do go to a particular area if they're looking for specific information, so having everything in the right place makes it easier for your thread to help someone else who may have a similar question.

Banzai555, if you think you may have posted a thread in the wrong area, you can just do a moderator notification and ask to have it moved. Notifications go to all admins and the moderator/s for that specific subforum. I've already done a notification on this thread so you don't need to do another. :)
Thank you. Yeah I think since this category was one of the first ones I posted in, it automatically comes up whenever I start to navigate to the forum and sometimes I forget to go to the right one before I click "submit new thread".
 

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I go by feel more than by looks. Of course, I've had nothing but longcoats for awhile now, and it's much harder to tell simply by looking at my dogs. You should be able to see a tuck up at the abdomen when viewed from the side, and a nip at the waist when viewed from above. And if you run your hand down her side you should be able to easily feel her ribs but she shouldn't feel bony. With a short, tight coat you should see the last rib or two. With longer and thicker coats, you may not see any ribs, even if you can feel them.

When switching between foods, I look at the kcals per cup of the old food multiplied by the number of cups a day you're feeding, and then determine what quantity of the new food is about the same amount of kcals. If you're trying to reduce weight cut that back slightly, if you want some weight gain, increase it slightly, and do frequent rib checks to make sure you're on track.
 

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If she is getting more exercise with you than she did before and is getting a good amount of food for her weight, her weight will stabilize itself. Getting spayed can slow the metabolism so she might need less food and more exercise. I tend to keep my dogs on the lean side, but both were about five pounds overweight. Then one got a form of IBS and the other had emergency surgery and I was very relieved they started out overweight. While getting treated, they each lost five pounds. If they had not been overweight, they would have been too thin. Although getting sick like that is unusual.
 

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We moderators appreciate it when members select the most appropriate forum category to post their topics, regardless of how they, or most members, typically view the board. When we come across threads in the wrong area, we have to either move them ourselves, or if it's not in one of our own forums, we'll do a notification and have another moderator move it. I'm sure some people do go to a particular area if they're looking for specific information, so having everything in the right place makes it easier for your thread to help someone else who may have a similar question.



Banzai555, if you think you may have posted a thread in the wrong area, you can just do a moderator notification and ask to have it moved. Notifications go to all admins and the moderator/s for that specific subforum. I've already done a notification on this thread so you don't need to do another. :)


I wasn’t suggesting it didn’t matter where she posted it. I was letting her know people would see it and comment most likely because they use the active topic button. Most topics can easily go into many places, because as I have said before, there are WAY to many forums here and the traffic of 10 new posts a day don’t support it. Just sayin.
 

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I think she looks great. If that were my dog I would not want her to lose more weight. Some people keep their dogs very thin and while I'm sure that's fine for their health, I don't personally like it AND I don't like the way the dogs can act about food when they are so lean.

For instance, my own dog would sometimes eat junk in the woods and make himself sick if he felt too hungry and it was much easier to keep him from doing that if I just kept him not quite so lean and hungry.

I know a person who keeps her competition dog SUPER lean and it increases his food drive which he uses for training. I am perfectly content with my dogs being a little more content and less hungry. They are not overweight. Your dog certainly isn't.
 

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For instance, my own dog would sometimes eat junk in the woods and make himself sick if he felt too hungry and it was much easier to keep him from doing that if I just kept him not quite so lean and hungry.

I know a person who keeps her competition dog SUPER lean and it increases his food drive which he uses for training. I am perfectly content with my dogs being a little more content and less hungry. They are not overweight. Your dog certainly isn't.
Yeah she does have a propensity to eat like...anything she finds. Sticks, tree bark, cat poop (though thankfully she seems to stay away from dog poop), grass...even caught her eating some dirt the other day. I wondered if that was because I wasn't feeding her enough, or if it's just a product of her anxiety/energy (she is slightly anxious in general)--like she has to do something with her mouth whenever she's feeling anxious/excited/stressed.
 

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And weight can fluctuate based on fitness level and muscle in active dogs-- at least it does with mine. When we are actively training for tracking or dock diving sometimes he kind of turns into a beast. I had him in the vet one time and was shocked to see he weighed 90lb that day when I thought he was looking ribby. The vet said yeah but look at the muscles on him. I've had him in the high 80s and thought he looked chubby and cut his food back before too....so for him it kind of depends on if he's hitting the gym hard or not lol

I do change his food based on what he's doing to keep him healthy. Sometimes he needs more, sometimes less. When we are breaking in snowshoe trails and he's plowing through chest high snow he'll get ribby in a hurry so I feed him a little more, but if I fed him that same amount in summer when the trails are easy and we aren't tracking, he'd be fat
 

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It's perfectly ok to see a dog's ribs; it's never ok to see a dog's backbone.

I wouldn't like to see her lose any further weight and maybe even put on five pounds, but candidly, i think she looks awesome.
 

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Yeah she does have a propensity to eat like...anything she finds. Sticks, tree bark, cat poop (though thankfully she seems to stay away from dog poop), grass...even caught her eating some dirt the other day. I wondered if that was because I wasn't feeding her enough, or if it's just a product of her anxiety/energy (she is slightly anxious in general)--like she has to do something with her mouth whenever she's feeling anxious/excited/stressed.
Also do check the calorie content on the kibbles if you change, because calorie per cup in one is not always the same as the other. If I were you and she likes to eat crap off the ground that isn't great for her, maybe just keep weighing her regularly to be sure she is holding steady and not still losing because if she is still losing that hunger might make her want to eat more stuff off the ground. Unhealthy cycle, if you know what I mean.

If she's healthy weight and holding steady and she really loves food, then work on teaching leave it for reward to try and stop her from eating stuff although that's not always the easiest thing so be patient with her and yourself
 

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I think she is too thin. If she gets sick again, she won't have much left too fight it with. Being underweight is also linked to bloat.

Her metabolism will be be slowing down soon due to the spay. What I would look for in a new food is one that has fewer calories per cup so that you won't have to reduce quantity too much once her hormones stabilize at a reduced rate of metabolism. If her stool is still a bit mushy, also look for a food lower in fiber.
 

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I think she is too thin. If she gets sick again, she won't have much left too fight it with. Being underweight is also linked to bloat.

Her metabolism will be be slowing down soon due to the spay. What I would look for in a new food is one that has fewer calories per cup so that you won't have to reduce quantity too much once her hormones stabilize at a reduced rate of metabolism. If her stool is still a bit mushy, also look for a food lower in fiber.
How long does the slowing metabolism take? She was spayed about 5 weeks ago now.

Yeah if I switch to the Purina, it'll be a decrease in cal/cup and fiber. One thing I'm worried about though is that the Canidae has probiotics and the Purina doesn't. Guess Purina wants you to pay another $30/month for Fortiflora....:) That bout of diarrhea got me all worried about doing the best thing for Willow's guts.
 

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How long does the slowing metabolism take? She was spayed about 5 weeks ago now.

Yeah if I switch to the Purina, it'll be a decrease in cal/cup and fiber. One thing I'm worried about though is that the Canidae has probiotics and the Purina doesn't. Guess Purina wants you to pay another $30/month for Fortiflora....:) That bout of diarrhea got me all worried about doing the best thing for Willow's guts.
I could be wrong but I think that probiotics are essentially destroyed in the processing of kibble. I understand your concerns about probiotics but I think you are reading too much into it. I would opt for a lower fiber food, maybe 3-4%, and give that a go and see how she does before keeping her on Fortiflora. Fortiflora is good but sometimes it isn't the probiotic of choice either but that's another story.

I do not know how long it takes for the body to stabilize after removing certain hormones. I would think it starts immediately but I would not be surprised if it takes quite a bit of time to stabilize. Even then, I think the dog's body may change too over time as it works to adapt to the loss.
 

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You can add probiotics by giving a little goat milk kefir if she can tolerate it. If you are near a Trader Joe’s they sell it at a reasonable price.
 
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