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SophieLightyear
21st February 2011, 10:38 AM
Well i just got a shock. I've just dropped Benji off at the vets to get neutered and when they weighed him he was over 12kg! I couldn't believe it, we joke and call him fat boy but he's never looked that over weight. I was just wondering if anyone has any diet tips. We've already decided to cut back on hit treats and other things but we don't know if there is any more to help. He's taken for two walks a day for at least 20 minutes each time.

Kate H
21st February 2011, 11:50 AM
It is quite tricky to keep an eye on weight by look and feel alone. I take mine into the vets at least every 2 weeks to check their weight on the scales in the waiting room, and if they go more than half a kilogram over 9kg then it's diet for them (Aled's on a more or less perpetual diet, as he just has to look at food to put on weight!).

Tips for losing weight:

Don't crash diet, take it off gently and steadily. A good average weight for a Cavalier is about 9kg, but dogs vary on what is the right weight for them - you'll probably think he looks too thin when he's the right weight!
Burns High Oats food is great for reducing weight, because it's low calory - use it until he's the target weight, then put him back on a smaller amount of his usual food. It's not meant to be used all the time, except with older dogs who can't exercise much.
Reduce his daily intake to what probably seems to you a minute amount (Aled has about 50g a day and is very fit) and bulk it out with raw vegetables, so that he doesn't feel hungry. Use vegetables for treats as well.
Up his exercise - 20 minutes twice a day is OK as maintenance for a dog without a weight problem, but to get weight off, he needs more - especially running off lead if possible (running burns off fat, road walking builds up muscle). My two normally have about an hour every afternoon - sometimes about 20 minutes street walking to and from the park and then 20 minutes tearing around off-lead; other times I take a bus to a local country park (I don't have a car) and give them 45 minutes of running around. When possible I also give them 20 minutes round the houses in the morning.
Hope that helps - I think we need to have a network of Cavalier WeightWatchers Clubs! I sometimes worry that my older dog, Oliver (nearly 10) is too thin, as I struggle to keep him from slipping below 9kg, but my vet just says cheerfully 'It's so nice to see a thin Cavalier!'

Kate, Oliver and Aled

allie
21st February 2011, 02:11 PM
My female Cav is around 8kg and I never thought overweight but I was in vets last week to collect tablets and looked at their chart - it said male & female should be 6kg - NO WAY! Finn, my wee old man, was skin and bone when he arrived but is now getting nice & porky :-p

A few years back I brought two of my German Shepherds to vets for vacinations; he weighed them and said "excellent - nice and slim" and my chest puffed up, all proud. Next day I brought the parrot to his vet for check-up and he said "wow, he's really piling on the weight" :-p Smacked back down to earth again!

meljoy
22nd February 2011, 03:45 PM
Hi when Leo had his check up last year he weighed in at a whooping 13kg:yikes

I decided to drastically change that. I changed his diet to "Healthy Paws Holistic diet". Treats are no longer dentastix and similar but carrot sticks and rice cakes. I upt his exercise to between 1-2hrs a day.

He had his check up just last week and he now weighs 10.1kg :jmp:

The vet was delighted stating he's now "Perfect"

It's hard but as I said to the children if we dont do something we're shortnening his life. We think of that when the biscuit tin is out and he's there dribbling on everyone.

*Pauline*
22nd February 2011, 04:27 PM
Well done Mel, William, Leo's dad, was a big boy. My Dylan (Leo's half brother to those who didn't know) takes after his mum, he's 7.6 kilos.

Tania
22nd February 2011, 04:29 PM
I followed pretty much the suggestions Kate has made except we opted for total natural feeding. We chose this because commercial food did not agree with Molly and we found she would look at a biscuit and she would gain weight. Unfortunately she is not a very active dog, so increasing her exercise was not an option as she would just sit and refuse to go any further.

So for example, I give all three, raw carrot, brocolie stalks, blue berries, all those kind of things to keep it interesting.

Don't forget Ruperts Fund Recipe, there are lots of ideas and advice for natural treats and feeding.
http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5018/5467962175_d80edd7a93_m.jpghttp://farm6.static.flickr.com/5136/5468557730_b6b91f2fb2_m.jpg

Love my Cavaliers
22nd February 2011, 04:31 PM
My vet's rule of thumb for reducing weight is to reduce their total food intake by 1/3. It has always worked for my dogs. You just have to stay firm and resist those big brown eyes.

Karlin
22nd February 2011, 06:18 PM
A third is a good amount–but it's always important to check with your vet to make sure this isn't too large or even to small an amount for a dog that is really being overfed! When I first had Lily and she was grossly overweight I reduced her food by about a third compared to the other dogs of similar size. It took a while for her to do much voluntary exercise as she was so fat, but she got plenty of brisk walks. When she came down in weight all she wanted to do was run and run and run when off lead in the park! :lol:

Dentastix are really high in calories –I was discussing this with one of my vets a few months ago. He was really shocked to see the calorie value on the packet. I was noting that it suggests giving one a day–if I did that I would have to reduce their food intake by a third or a half. I give them these now and then as an occasional treat, but I give them lower calorie natural treats like dried sinew and tripe and pizzle (bully) sticks. Pigs ears are also extremely high in calories and should only ever be a very occasional treat, especially a whole ear which will have probably double the recommended total calories for a day for a dog the size of a cavalier!! :eek:

The commercial retailers really encourage pet owners to overfeed. The recommended amounts on many dog food bags are way over what I would ever give the dogs. If you take those large amounts of food and add in all the treats most people will hand the dog during the day from leftovers through to dog biscuits and dental chews etc., it's easy to see how they can become overweight once you think about it.

A lot of people feel that if a dog is still asking for food and is still hungry, that they are underfed and still need to be given more! That may be true for some dogs, but Cavaliers, like labradors and some other breeds, have a genetic obesity problem and don't seem to have a switch that tells them they are full. If my dogs had access to a bag of dog food they would eat until they were footballs. Leo twice chewed his way into the bottom of the food bag when I had the food In the hall and under vet well advice, I had to watch them really closely for several hours because he was so bloated. :eek: They are little stinkers when it comes to food.

meljoy
22nd February 2011, 08:36 PM
Well done Mel, William, Leo's dad, was a big boy. My Dylan (Leo's half brother to those who didn't know) takes after his mum, he's 7.6 kilos.

Thanks Pauline,

Ive seen photo's of William but never saw him. Leo obviously takes after his Dad, he's very broad across the shoulders and seems taller than other cavs we meet.
Vet said his weight is now spot on so now we just have to make sure it doesnt creep up again.

Mindysmom
23rd February 2011, 12:53 AM
Max's weight crept up last winter without me realizing it. He was up to 10 kg. It took someone else pointing it out to me for me to realize I couldn't feel his ribs without pressing HARD. I reduced his food slowly and as spring came we naturally got more exercise. The only way I got the last bit off though was to start home cooking for one of his meals because I just couldn't imagine giving him any less to eat. He is also one that seems to look at a kibble and gain weight. He is now a nice 8.3 kilos which seems to be a good weight for him - he is quite tall. I feed him about 1/2 of what is recommended on the bag.

Rylie gets about the same right now - during the spring and summer when he would run for 1 to 2 hours a day he was getting twice as much as Max even though he only weighed just over 6 kilos and we had a hard time keeping him up to that. He has gained a bit over the winter and now weights 6.5 kg which I think is probably a better weight for him although I wouldn't want him too much heavier. He's shorter than Max - being pretty much breed standard height.

I reduced both their food for the winter as we aren't as active, relying mainly on daily walks when it isn't too cold and I do weigh them both regularly to make sure their weight is staying stable.

SophieLightyear
23rd February 2011, 06:13 PM
Thanks for all the tips. He went back to the vets today for a post op check up and Colin, our vet, didn't seem to have too many worries about his weight as Benji is such a hyper dog. So hopefully with a good diet and uping his exercise he'll be down to a suitable weight in no time. :)