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Raw question - how much?

May 11th, 2008, 04:17 PM
I have recently switched my dogs to raw. I did it for several reasons - the first and biggest reason being that Cooper, my oldest, is overweight and a picky eater. I have friends that feed raw and he stayed with them one night and gobbled up the resident dog's dinner. After hearing about that, I researched and decided that I am too lazy to go to the trouble of buying meats and grinding them and all that other stuff, so both my boys are eating Nature's Variety. We started out with the freeze-dried and it received a lukewarm reception, so we bought some of the frozen raw and it's been a hit. Cooper actually looks forward to being fed now whereas before, he was eating because I asked him to.

That being said, Cooper is almost twice what he should weigh. He's a chihuahua and he should be around 8 lbs - he tips the scale right now at 14.5. I have been trying to get weight off him since he was a puppy (he's 5 now) and nothing ever seems to work - he just puts on more and more weight regardless of what I feed him. He is checked regularly for thyroid and any other condition that would keep weight on him and so far, test have always come back with nothing. I am starting to get tired of vets giving me that look they give when you know they don't believe a word you say. When I say "I don't feed him anything other than XYZ," I can tell they're thinking "... and a cheeseburger."

I went to the Nature's Variety website and used their "how much to feed" feature to find out how much he needs to be fed in a day. When I put in the information for a 10 lb. "not active" dog, it says to feed him 3 oz. of the raw frozen per day (1.75-2% body weight). They say on the website to feed 1.5-2% body weight of raw per day. But using the standard raw feeder's 3% of body weight, I should feed 4.8 oz per day. That's a huge difference when you're feeding a chihuahua - I'm a bit confused now.

I understand that the Nature's Variety has all the fruits, veggies and oils pre-mixed in, so I know that the amounts to feed shouldn't be the same for the pre-mix vs. straight up raw. But 1.8 oz. is a HUGE difference and I want to make sure that Cooper's getting the food he needs without over or underfeeding him. Before, I could tell if he was hungry or not when he was eating foods he didn't really enjoy but with the NV, he's always wanting more because he loves it so much and I can't judge by just looking at him.

Is there anyone out there that can give me some guidance? All this math has my head spinning!

May 11th, 2008, 04:58 PM
Each dog is an individual, so whether you're calculating the amount yourself, or using the NV feeding guide, it's only a starting point. Some dog's eat 1.5% daily and maintain a perfect weight, my two need to eat closer to 3% (they're diet is about 50% NV frozen raw and 50% just straight DIY raw) and will start to loose weight quickly if fed less.

So, my point is start at 2%, for example, and adjust according to how your dog is doing.

Obviously you don't want your dog dropping weight too quickly, but my experience is that once I switched my dogs to raw food the perpetually chunky one (even with 5 miles a day of brisk walking and tiny amounts of kibble) leaned out with little effort and has stayed that way, and he's eating a lot everyday, as I mentioned above. Again though, every dog is an individual, so start in the middle, keep track of his weight and adjust accordingly.

May 12th, 2008, 01:54 AM
Thanks... I've tried not to confuse myself with this switch but it seems impossible. I guess I'll just stick with the 3 oz. and see what happens over the next few weeks. Trying to get weight off Cooper is seeming like it's impossible - every time I think he's lost, he ends up gaining. I feel like this guy most of the time -> :wall:

May 12th, 2008, 10:58 AM
I would believe that switching your dog to raw will begin the weight loss since your dog will no longer be getting all the filler food that kibble has. I give my dogs 2% of their body weight and I feed them a straight RMB diet, no veggies or fruit. Oxford, my older dog, used to be a little chubby before we switched to raw and now she's at a great weight. Our vet even complimented us on how low her weight it. Just check in a few weeks to see if your dog has lost any weight and of course incorporating some longer walks will help out too. We go on four 10 mins walks a day (it would be longer, but Oxford has HD) and it has definately helped keep their weight at a healthy level. Good luck! keep us informed!

June 7th, 2008, 08:11 PM
Well, it's been a while and a lot has happened since the switch.

I took the puppy in to see the vet and he was 7.4 lbs!! :yell: I almost fainted. He should be between 4-5 lbs, so I sat down with the vet and we chatted about what's going on with both my boys to make them resistant to weight loss and maintenance. She gave us some really good advice - she's a holistic vet and feeds raw to her pets - and I came home and immediately implemented her suggestions.

It's only been a few weeks since that visit and Henry (the pup) went in yesterday for some accupuncture (he really likes it - it's a reward for doing well at obedience school) and he had lost a little weight. The vet seemed to think he should have lost just a teensy bit more but overall, she was pleased.

Cooper has not been to the vet since the switch, so I'm not sure if he's lost weight or not. He seems to feel better and move a little faster than before and I think he's looking a little slimmer but it's hard to tell since he's so overweight. I'm feeding him 1.5% of his bodyweight and he gets no treats with the exception of a bully stick for about an hour a day. Everything seems to be going well.

Exercise is my big problem - I live in Texas where currently, it's 102 degrees. Cooper is prone to heat stroke and hypoglycemia ... this weather isn't good for him (or anyone, for that matter), so it's been a struggle to get him moving around. I work nights and have been trying to take him and the pup out for walks when I get home at 3am but even then, it's hot and humid and nasty. Not to mention, it's 3am and we shouldn't be out walking at that time anyway.

We seem to be showing some signs of improvement though - Henry's weight loss has given me hope that Cooper will finally be free of this extra weight once and for all very soon.

June 10th, 2008, 09:33 AM
I am glad you updated the thread and that you mention exercise because IMO, increasing activity level is far more important than how much you are feeding. I understand that it must be almost impossible to exercise your pups in such heat... I also used to have to wake up at 3am to take my dog for his 2hr walk before work so I feel your pain!

I know its hard with raw but try and give him his meals in a kong or use it as training treats. With prepackaged raw it should be easy enough to use a spoon to deliver the reward so you don't have to worry about using your hands. Even small traning sessions burn extra calories. Not to mention dogs appreciate/enjoy food more if they have to work for it.

You are lucky that you have smaller dogs and should be able to do a lot of exercise inside. Obviously walking or swimming is best with overweight dogs to reduce the risk of injury . But when you do get outside, make the walks count - try and do some hill work or walk in sand. You may have to take the dogs out seperately if one has a higher fitness level than the other. Walking isn't exercise for most dogs, unless they are older, unfit or have health issues so you may need to increase the pace to a trot quite quickly.
Indoors you can work on balance and core strength - a great exercise to try is getting your dog to go from a beg position to standing on his hind legs back to beg position (without their front paws touching the ground)... It takes a lot of core strength and will likely need some practice. Something that I also do is turn a steam pot upside down and have my dog balance on it with front paws, back paws and all four paws and have him circle around the pot while keeping 2 or 4 paws on the pot. It takes a lot of coordination, balance and strength (you will have to find something that is a little smaller for your dogs!).
If you have a long hallway, you can play fetch or work on restrained recalls. You can set up caveletti's or mini jumps but you need to be careful that you aren't stressing his body too much.
I also use bubbles and a "flirt/lure pole" (I acutally use the teasers for cats because my dog likes to chase it but not latch on) - just make sure you clear some furniture out of the way.
Silly tricks like spin, bow, crawl, digging and of course sitting pretty or up on the hind legs are all great ways to sneak in some stretches/exercise.

BTW - I feed my 60lbs dog about 1%-1.5% of his body weight because he could get chubby just by looking at food:laughing:. And that is with 4hrs of physical activity per day (he has bloodwork taken every 6 months because its hard to believe that he's normal:p)