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Activities for an obese Shiba
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    My family is fostering a 65 pound shiba. She's a very big girl and quite uncomfortable and I feel really sorry for her. Does anyone have knowledge on the best way to trim this big girl? She's six years old.

    I've requested to get her thyroid levels checked. Meanwhile, I feed raw and have been giving her chicken, but she's only eaten .25 pound today. She ate about the same last night too. She's not acting hungry now and is probably still a little anxious, so I'm not too worried about her not eating. She also had a very small 6" bully stick and two dried gullet squares today. My plan is to feed her .75-1.5 pounds a day. Kaji gets .5-.75, so it is double what he eats but since it is all meat with no fillers, I feel she will drop pounds in spite of the amount I give her at first. Once she is comfortable, I plan to reduce the amount and reevaluate where she is in weight on a weekly basis. She really needs to lose the weight but I don't want to take it off too quickly.

    She spends most of the day laying down on the tile. Kaji tries to get her to play but she's not interested and growls when he comes close. She also growls at us when she doesn't want anyone near her- usually late at night. She is a bit aloof but might change as she warms up to us (we hope!). She does let me know when she needs to go outside, and also loves walks. She manages to get around the block so we go early in the morning before it gets hot, then again in the evening. My kids also take her down the street so she's getting at least three small walks in a day- well, for the one day we've had her. I usually take Kaji much further but I'm afraid of taking her too far in case she can't walk home. She's too heavy for me to carry, and honestly, she wobbles and I'm afraid her feet might be hurting her. If they aren't, they probably will soon if she doesn't lose the weight. I've been trying to get her to walk in the grass instead of the sidewalk too.

    Is there anything else I can and should do for her?
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Poor baby….bless you for helping her out. She probably is not going to be feeling well so being grumpy is to be expected. Once she feels better you may see a dramatic change in behavior as she is able to move more.

    Feeding small bits more often in a day will be helpful so she does not go into a glycemic meltdown with food reduction as her body tries to burn fat and adjust. I agree making her work for food should help get her moving more and hopefully burn some calories in the process. I would put her in an area that is cordoned off with baby gate and use buster cube or puzzle dispenser toys so that she has to investigate them and work through them. You could put a thick slurry in a kong too and chill and then take that out so she has to work at it. Take it slowly so you don't reduce too much too quick.

    Taking a good look at the thyroid numbers and the rest of her blood work to determine if she has diabetes will tell you how her body is holding up. Talk to your vet about follow up check ins for weight etc if you don't have a scale.

    Here's a link of tips from a reliable resource. http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/12_9/features/Canine-Weight-Loss-Advice_16158-1.html



    Good luck and keep us posted on her progress.
    Snf
    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2013-07-08 09:52:38
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2013-07-08 14:03:10
  • Green peas are another option for vegetable weight reduction diets.

    You might want to put her on a "senior " dog food diet. Usually the calorie content is less on senior dog foods.
    Post edited by sukoshi’s mom at 2013-07-08 16:11:07
  • ShibaLoveShibaLove
    Posts: 554
    Hello and welcome! It is very kind of you to take on such a challenge as a 65 lb foster! I found a similar thread that you might have some useful information http://www.shibainuforum.org/forum/discussion/5982#Item_37

    As for exercising, have you considered swimming? It can be used for therapy, weight loss, and in some cases just a fun activity for the dogs. I know a forum member posted a video of their shiba going to swimming lessons but I can's find it. I found some videos of shibas using hydrotherapy, one for an injured knee.


  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Thanks for the input! I've got a thyroid test scheduled for tomorrow at Banfield. She's got a wellness account so thyroid testing will only cost about $29. They told me all her other blood work came back normal when she was tested this past March.

    I've started giving her smaller amounts of raw chicken and turkey hearts several times a day. She's eaten about 1.5 lbs total today, which is good since yesterday she barely ate anything. I do believe raw is better than any diet food out there with just the right amount of protein and fat. I'll take a look at quinoa too, I've led a sheltered life and have never heard of it.

    The family that brought her to me said they were able to take off 10lbs over 3 months, when they had her before. But she gained it all back when they gave her back to the owner. I found out she was owned by a single person who didn't take her out much. And since her owner worked, I'm sure she was left alone a lot so she's not used to people coming by to pet her all day long. I'm really glad I got that info because it explains Sheba's behavior so well.

    I'm really excited because Sheba finally played a little with Kaji. It was so cute to see her running around the coffee table with Kaji. She was having a good time too. But it was too short because she got tired and went to lay down. At least we're making progress and any exercise is better than none! She also had a nice walk this evening. It was cooler than usual so she had a little bounce in her step a few minutes. She's coming up to me when I call her and allowing me to pet her more too, so I was able to clean off the crust from her eyes and give her a nice neck rub. I'll most likely take her out again since she didn't have a bm all day. I'm curious to see how her body handles the raw food.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I would love to do hydro therapy but we don't have a pool and I don't think my neighbors would appreciate me taking the dog there. My mom's dog did a water treadmill when she hurt her back and I believe PT sessions were about $65 each, which is way too expensive. I don't know if she even likes water either. My daughter took Kaji to Bull Creek this afternoon and wanted to take Sheba too, but I told her no until she got more comfortable with us. It was a nice cloudy day too, so it was perfect weather, so maybe next time.

    Shibamistress, I fed on the high end today because I didn't want her body to crash from not eating. Yesterday, she only ate about 1/4lb. The only poop I have seen from her (three times) was from kibble. Her last poop was yesterday evening. I'll aim for .75-1lb tomorrow. I'm hoping her thyroid levels are fine but if not, I'll have to pick your brain for a better feeding plan. She just doesn't eat much at one time. I believe she had 24 access to food before so she's a snacker. And she tends to lay in the entryway, which is the other side of the house from the kitchen. So she gets a little exercise every time I call her over.

    One other bit of info I have is she has seizures. I was told they may be related to her weight and could go away if she drops the weight. I don't know much about seizures so this is a bit scary to me.
    Post edited by amti at 2013-07-08 23:40:26
  • CrystalWolfCrystalWolf
    Posts: 235
    I'm so sorry to hear about your foster. What is her name? And good luck. Hope it isn't thyroid as well.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Her name is Sheba. :)

    I got the thyroid test results. Total T4- Result: 1.5 ug/db, range: 0.8-5.0. They told me they want her around 1.6-2.0. Sheba gets Levothyroxine 0.8 mg tablets twice a day now.

    They recommended one of their diet foods for her as well, but when we came back to get our results, much to my relief, they forgot to push the food on us. They supplied me with some reading literature and I'll will give it a read later today. We also have a follow up appt in a month.

    I think I will definitely cut down on her food and try to keep it under 1lb a day. She's had 1/4 lb raw chicken strips so far. I was going to feed her another 1/4 for lunch and then 1/2 for dinner, but I think I will ignore the lunch for now. If she looks hungry I'll give her a treat instead. I usually treat gullet strips or bully sticks. I'm hoping the cartilage from the gullet strips is good for her joints.
    Post edited by amti at 2013-07-09 14:24:15
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I'll look into the calorie content of bully sticks and gullet strips. Gullet strips are the esophagus of a cow. I figured they were natural and dried (not fried) so they were healthier. They are both from best bully sticks. We have beef hooves laying around the house, but Sheba hasn't shown any interest in them. I'm also making my own freeze dried treats using diced turkey/beef hearts and gizzards. They are about 1/4" cubes. I'll look into the calorie content of those as well. I'm wondering how much of her weight was put on by bad food and a constant supply of it. If that was the case, then would it be that crucial to give her low cal food, or if I just limited what she ate and gave her good nutritional items, if she would lose weight naturally with exercise?

    Why is chicken not a good source for losing weight? Fish isn't really a recommended or necessary diet for raw prey model, which I feed to my other pets. It is good to give once in a while but on a daily basis. I believe it is nutritionally lacking in nutrients compared to red meats. I am starting out with chicken because Sheba has not had raw and it is usually the first meat to give. After her bowel movements are normal, then I can add in another meat, and then organs. I feed my cats twice a day and the dogs get one meal a day, but also a treat or two during the daytime.

    I didn't put up photos originally because they made me feel bad. I do have photos so I'll put them on pb later tonight and post them. She looks like she's a red husky in them because she's so big, esp next to Kaji, who is a little tall for a shiba. I've got to take the kids out for a walk after posting this.

    What are the reasons for not treating the low-normal? I was tempted to ask if I could try to lower her weight for a month before giving her pills to see if there would be a change, but didn't. I'm not a fan of medication that isn't necessary.

    Curlytails - I specifically asked if I could give the pill with food and they said yes. Sadly, she just ate her first tablet with her dinner. Do you give yours solo or do you stuff in a treat? The tablets are really small so they will be easy to hide in something, but when you say no food, are small treats okay or does that mean I have to place it down her throat? I crossing my fingers you say treats are okay.

    Today, Sheba had 1/4 lb chicken strips in the morning, 1 turkey heart as an after walk treat (they are frozen so they help cool her off and help clean her teeth), then 1/2 lb chicken strips with a drumstick for dinner. Probably around .85 of a pound total. We skipped lunch because she was pooped after the trip to Petsmart and my daughter and I left for a few hours. I would like to feed her in the morning still until she loses a little weight and then try one meal a day. I'm not sure though... I'm really sorry I keep changing our feeding schedule. I'm trying to see if she's hungry (she'll let me know) and also trying to keep her energy level up. This is all so new to me and you all have been a great help! Thank you!!!

    She's been on 2 walks today and an hour trip to Petsmart. I'll take her on her evening walk soon. I've also been walking down the street (just about 2 houses) and back around midnight, so she can relieve herself before bedtime. She's refusing to go potty in the back and won't even go down the deck stairs now. They are a little steep so I think it puts more pressure on her ankles so I'm not pushing her to go down. We have chickens down there too, so I'm a bit surprised the chickens aren't an incentive to go.

    Kaji's asking about his walk, so I'll post photos later...
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Post edited by amti at 2013-07-10 04:20:03
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    I did find out some info on bully sticks. Here is the breakdown: PROTEIN:80-85% and FAT:1-2%. CALORIES in a bully stick are 29 per inch. So they are high in calories but low in fat. The one I gave her is super thin, so it probably has 15 calories per inch, which still is about 90 calories for a 6 incher. I couldn't find too much info on the gullet strips though.

    Here is something interesting I read on a site that recommends Dr. Dobbs: When testing thyroid levels after your dog is on thyroid supplementation, it is important to draw blood 4-6 hours after the supplement is given. Another site mentioned not to give within 30 minutes of a calcium rich meal as well (for us would be the bones) because it interferes with the absorption of the medication. Of course, Sheba had a small amount of chicken bones with her meal tonight.

    For those of you dealing with hypothyroidism, are you counting calories? If so, how many would you suggest for Sheba?

    Shibamistress, we had her tested around 11:45am. When I tried to take her for her evening walk, she went out the door, stopped at the sidewalk and refused to go further. I took her back inside, where she was more than happy to stay. My daughter had taken her to the mail box an hour prior, which is about 4 houses down the street (community mail box) so Sheba must have thought that walk was fine enough. So she never got her evening walk.
    Post edited by amti at 2013-07-10 04:18:07
  • brscrnsbrscrns
    Posts: 447
    Sheba looks like a very happy dog despite her weight. I hope you have good luck with her situation.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • curlytailscurlytails
    Posts: 2779
    Post edited by curlytails at 2013-07-10 14:12:19
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Shibamistress, I had a choice of appointment times and just picked 11:30 at random because I knew my college child would be up and go with me. That time had nothing to do with the vets, just pure luck on my part. I really see the need to read up and educate myself on matters more than relying on others (vets) for all info. I calculated 880 calories or so for a 50lb dog.

    I didn't take Sheba out for her midnight potty and so Kaji woke me up at 5:30 this morning to let me know Sheba had to go. She was standing at the door waiting. Then Sheba barking at the door woke me up at 7:30. This time she did not go potty but started eating greens outside. So I took her inside and gave her med in a small cube of turkey heart successfully. I fed her 1/4lb chicken after our walk around 8:30 and she laid down in her usual spot to sleep.

    I tried raw carrots and Sheba looked at me like I was an alien. Kaji doesn't eat them either -tried several times in the past and no-go all the way. She sniffed the beef hoof but decided either it was too much work or it belonged to Kaji. What other low calorie foods can I try with her? Green beans, peas were mentioned... how about fruit? I have blueberries, mango, bananas, apples, plums, and grape tomatoes (not grapes) on hand. I need some fillers for her because she gets hungry around 4pm. The chicken fills her up and keeps her happy for a good 7 hours. I usually feed dinner around 7-8pm before our walk, so she needs a good snack in between meals. Can I stick with turkey hearts? One heart = 32 calories, Fat: 1.3g, Carbs: 0.1g, Protein: 4.6g and is the size of an egg. I guess I'm looking for things I already have around the house because I have a good 30lbs of turkey hearts in my freezer still!
  • AvehAveh
    Posts: 110
    You could always try boiling the veggies in some meat broth. Whenever I make any kind of broth-type soup (pork ribs, beef bones, chicken etc) I will scoop a few spoonfuls over Haku's kibble and he loooves it. I believe the smell is more enticing than the taste, as Haku will eat most vegetables if they've been boiled in a meat broth. Maybe boil peas with some meat, then take the peas out and mash them up?
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
  • lindsaytlindsayt
    Posts: 4786
  • CrystalWolfCrystalWolf
    Posts: 235
    I don't know if grape tomatoes are any diff but I hear tomatoes are poisenious for dogs. Riku won't eat raw carrots either but he does like broccli and apples, haven't tried bananas cause I don't eat them.
  • @amti - you may also want to try the veggies frozen. Neither of mine like vegetables raw or cooked, but they both seem to enjoy frozen peas and frozen edamame (especially the former). I'm guessing it's a mixture of the sweetness and texture that they find appealing. Also, a good, low calorie, but still appealing treat is plain, unseasoned nori.
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1269
    Hi, thanks for fostering and sharing the pictures first of all. She has a sweet look.
    I don't know anything about thyroid problems I'm afraid but I can understand the difficulties in trying to feed her edibles out of the ordinary. Juni wouldn't touch half of it...
    As far as I know, grapes are toxic to dogs, bananas are not very low calory and some of the other suggestions are very sugary. Blueberries are healthy (even Juni eats them, but only when she gets to pick them herself straight from the bush).
    Why not try some whole grain variety of rice or similar to keep her feeling full longer.
    On chicken the fat contents vary, if you feed the breast fillet there's not much fat. Also I assume she does still need some healthy fats in her like from fatty fish.
    Once you get to know her better and she has started walking a bit more and lost a little I would try and take her places, like some nature trails. If the place is new and exciting she might be more keen on walking longer. One or two longer walks a week I think could make a difference in her metabolism.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2013-07-11 01:26:55
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Thanks everyone. One of the concerns about feeding a lot of different things mentioned in various places are the sugar and carbs, which when losing weight probably isn't ideal. I get different responses from different folks (I also asked on some raw feeding sites), which is expected and what makes this all confusing is that we as humans really don't know the best method of weight loss for a dog like Sheba. One part of me wants to try everything but the other says to keep her on a strict raw diet because that is how the I feed my other animals and it is simple. There is hardly any sugar and carbs in raw and although there is fat, it is digested differently when raw in dogs and is needed in their diet. That said, I do remove the skin on the chicken (for Sheba) and the big fatty deposits (for all my pets), if any so I guess I am a bit skeptical on just how much fat is good for them.

    I have been getting nutritional breakdown from this site for the raw foods and creating a spreadsheet for my own use. I think they have it for all foods too:
    http://www.myfitnesspal.com/food/search

    I found out that 1 chicken leg bone with skin removed=Calories: 93.6, Fat: 3g, Carbs: 0g, Protein: 15.7g. Sheba ate 1/2 the leg or 1/4lb, so she's only consumed about 50 calories for dinner plus the egg which is another 70. That's pretty low in calories to me. It doesn't include the amount of bone she got from the meal though, and that's probably high in calories too but rich in calcium, which she needs. She only ate half the bone, which is really how much I should be feeding her but her poop was fine.

    Sheba had her first poop from raw since being with me this evening. It was really good and so much smaller than the two scoops she's given me the first two days we had her (she was already off kibble). This makes me realize that she was probably eating a lot more than she should of been eating. I realize talking about poop is gross but with raw fed pets, it is how you judge how well the dog is adjusting to a meat and you can alter the bone content as needed. The fact that it was really good means I can introduce another meat, which I will in a few days.

    Sheba is warming up to us all now and showing us her personality. I took her out on the late night walk to the mail box, and when I was checking the mail, she had crawled into another dog's poop. Yep, she did it! I had to give her a bath and she was amazingly good. No shiba screams or nipping, so she's gotten to the point where she is trusting me enough to know I won't hurt her. I think she enjoyed it a little too because when I had the water on her tummy and rubbed her, she was very quiet. Another sign we're moving in the right direction is she's sleeping on the carpet near my desk right now. I can hear her snoring. :) Up to this time, she was sleeping only in the entryway, away from my sight and all the action in the house. Now she's right in the middle of the living room. She's no longer growling at any of us when we drop by to pet her randomly throughout the day either. She lets us rub her belly and when she has enough, she walks away.
    Post edited by amti at 2013-07-11 03:44:36
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    @amti, sorry if this has been addressed already in the thread, while I was skimming it stuck out to me that you are probably overfeeding raw in regards to lbs/day if using a prey model. I got the impression you are feeding with treats upwards to probably a lb per day.

    It is my understanding that with the prey model, based on her being less active and needing to lose weight, you probably should be feeding only about 2-2.5% of her ideal adult body weight. Keep in mind the calculation to give you a starting point on the raw prey model, to my understanding, is based on ideal adult weight, not current weight.

    Even if we presume her ideal weight is closer to 30 lbs instead of closer to standard, she probably should only be eating at most .75lbs/day or about 12 oz and reduced if feeding treats or other things.

    Again, it was just something that stuck out to me as I was skimming the thread and I am sorry if you have already addressed the quantity of raw you are feeding or if you have decided to switch to a different raw feeding model rather than the raw prey model.

  • @saya - quinoa can also be found at trader joes. You should be able to find it in a regular supermarket as well in the health section most likely. If not there, it will be stuck with where they keep rice.

    @amti - I'm assuming that site calculates by weight? One thing to be aware of is that the source for your raw can make a difference. Chicken raised in a factory farm environment is going to be much fattier than a free range organic chicken. A pastured chicken (which I only ever see when you buy from the farmers directly, or very rarely some specialty butchers) will be even leaner because they get more exercise, and are fed significantly smaller amounts of commercial feed (which are themselves full of fillers).

    [edited for typos and grammar]
    Post edited by violet_in_seville at 2013-07-12 10:18:41
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    I wasn't sure if this article was bets put here or another thread, but I thought it a good read related to dogs and weight ... http://www.whole-dog-journal.com/issues/9_8/features/Overweight_Dogs_15832-1.html?s=FB071113
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    Edit: was on a different train of thought.
    Post edited by knnwang at 2013-07-12 09:51:10
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    My apologies...

    Edit: per request. To stay on topic.
    Post edited by knnwang at 2013-07-12 10:03:14
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8589
    Post edited by sunyata at 2013-07-12 08:42:50
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    Post edited by amti at 2013-07-14 02:12:45
  • redcattooredcattoo
    Posts: 1960
    That is a great picture of all three of them. It sounds like you are on the right track in regards to the food intake for weight loss. Hope all goes well as you work through the paw issue too. I am sure her body may detox a bit too as it purges itself of any bad foods she used to eat and sheds some weight.
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    She's soo cute - love that last pic with her buds....Hope everything works out with her health and please keep posting on her progress :)
  • shibamistressshibamistress
    Posts: 5171
    Post edited by shibamistress at 2013-07-19 21:45:03
  • Koji's momKoji's mom
    Posts: 632
    I'm no expert, and this is not scientific...but Koji was packing on a few extra pounds and I became more strict with his portions...

    I feed him just under somewhere between 3/4 cup to 90% of a cup total per day..pkg says 1 full cup is 423cal..(so guessing 400 ish?)

    I feed him less if he gets treats in class or a bully stick...which is most days...

    He has lost weight with this amount...He was always hovering around 26 pounds and looked "thick"...he now looks very fit and as said elsewhere he blew his coat and I can see how thin he really is now...I haven't weighed him but I know he lost weight...

    I overheard someone in the showing world describing a handler/breeder? who feeds his Shiba's a "spam can" full of kibble a day...(Spam is big here :) and some thought that was a little extreme and some did not...

    I think 1,000 is a lot! I know 1200 cal is "dieting" for 120 lb female human..I'd go with the 400's maybe 500...because he's larger...do you know what his ideal weight is for his frame?

    I wonder how OP is doing???

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