Weight advise

We ran into our vet and I asked her how Sam looked since it had been a while. She felt him and said he looked a little overweight. She called it “winter pudge”. I was a bit surprised because I don’t think he looks or feels overweight. When I feel him under his fluff (and do the “knuckle test”), I can lightly feel his ribs.

We feed him Fromm Large Breed Puppy Gold, 3 cups per day (1.5 cups morning and at night), which is on the low end of the bag’s feeding recommendation for his weight range. We never free feed. We've done a lot of training over the past couple of months. We use Purebites Chicken (average 10-12 pieces per day) and small pieces of cheese for high reward. We've scaled back since seeing our vet.

He gets at least two hours of walks per day (an hour in the morning and an hour at night) plus some indoor and outdoor playtime in the yard. Some days he also has a playdate. 

I’ve attached some photos. He’ll be 14 months this week and weighs 67 pounds (his parents were around the same).




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  • I've never heard of the knuckle test, and it sounds a little confusing and complicated to me. With Poodles, we say, you should be able to easily feel their spines and ribs when you run your fingers over their backs and sides,  but you should not be able to see them. You also want to see a tuck-up from the side, which I definitely see in your first photo of Sam. When viewed from above, you should be able to see a defined waistline, as described in this chart (and there are similar charts all over the internet). https://caringvets.com/2018/01/is-my-dog-overweight/


    Is My Dog Overweight?
    "Is my dog overweight?" is a common question we hear at the animal hospital this time of year. When winter sets in, between the chaos of the holidays…
  • At 14 months, Sam shouldn't be on puppy food any more. Puppy food is always higher in fat and calories than the comparable adult food. I'd switch to the adult version.  He also doesn't really need a "large breed" formula. I know the bags say they are for dogs over 50 lbs, but that's marketing. "Large breed" formulas are designed for giant breeds, like Great Danes and Newfoundlands, who are going to go way over 100 lbs at maturity, and who don't reach skeletal maturity until well into their second year.
    His caloric intake from the amount of food your are giving him is fine, but of course I don;t know what else he gets in the way of treats, chews, etc.  
    Hopefully his playtime involves some off-leash running.
    I don't always agree with vets about everything, as you well know, lol, but most of them are pretty darned good at assessing body condition. So while it doesn't look or sound to me like Sam is overweight, you might want to keep an eye on it. 

    • Thanks so much, Karen. I knew you would provide the right guidance as always. It's hard to see his waistline from above because he has a lot of fluff. Is there a better way of assessing from above for poodles and doodle?

      I forgot to add that we've begun switching him to the Four Star Line, which I posted about last week. I was afraid of soft stool from previous experiences so we've been mixing it with the LBPF. This week, he'll be completely off of the LBPF. I was wondering if that line had anything to do with his recent "winter pudge". I believe he's stopped growing and has reached his adult size, so the extra fat in the food is probably adding unnessary weight. I'll see how it goes over the next month with the Four Star line as well as reducing treats. Though it's so hard taking training classes and at home sessions because all you do is shove food down their mouths. Maybe I should try canned string beans for training? I've heard that is a good healthy option, assuming he'll go for it. I'm sure he will.

      I'm also thinking of running with him. I'm not a huge cardio fan. I stick with full body work outs 4x a week, and his daily walks. But I have a friend who's an active runner. Our vet OKed the running as long as we start slow with the mileage.

      Thanks again, Karen. Happy 14th months to your guy.
  • Sam is switching from puppy food to the Fromm Four Star formulas, but most of those are very small too. :) 

  • We use his kibble once in a while for indoor training or in the backyard. Mostly for teaching tricks. For Sam, his kibble is not high reward enough for regular training in the real world (though he loves his food).

    • Most dogs are the same way. I know Jasper wouldn't give me the time of day if the reward was a piece of his kibble, lol. 

      • LOLL

      • Yeah for high reward treats we use these beef sticks cut into tiny pieces... they are very stinky and drive Riley nuts :p

  • Good point. Sam also needs high rewards.

    We're making the full switch this week to Four Star. Do you think I should substitute a portion for canned beans or am I not there yet? I don't think I am, but I always like to hear other's thoughts. 

    • I'd wait. For one thing, you want to see how he does with 100% of the new food alone. For another, I think you are more at the "watch" stage than the "do something about it" stage regarding Sam's weight. 
      When Jack's weight would start getting to the "iffy" point, my vet would usually tell me that he shouldn't gain any more, or something like "we want to make sure he doesn't get over X lbs" and then I knew it was time to reverse the trend, but not necessarily put him on a diet.

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