Feeding a high oats diet

Hello, I’m new here! :slight_smile:

I need a bit of advice. I have a lovely 12 month neutered lab retriever and a bit of digestive problems… :slight_smile: When he was much younger, we fed him fairly good quality canned food - Natures Menu and Lily’s Kitchen - which he loved (well, he loves everything!), but gave him loose stools… we switched him to Arden Grange Puppy (ok, not the best) and his stools firmed up. After neutering him (still wondering if it was the right thing to do, but my wife is a staunch advocate), he started putting weight on… so, I switched him to Burns Weight Control+. Again, not the best, but I didn’t know that at the time. He really likes it and he has lost the right amount of weight and his stools are fantastic (not surprising given the high fibre content).

Now, I would like to introduce a bit more of protein into his diet… the content of Burns Weight Control is Oats 55%, Brown Rice 18%, Chicken Meal 17%, Peas, Chicken Oil, Seaweed, Vitamins & Minerals… I’ve tried a few samples of Akela 80-20 (75% old food, 25% new food) and he just gets a very upset stomach. It just doesn’t agree with it. I had some Arden Grange Light lying around (given in the same proportion) and he still gets the runs… I know you are supposed to stick with it for a few days and I would like to feed him Akela in some quantities, but I’m getting nowhere… my question is: should I just carrying on with Burns Weight Control? I’m worried he is not getting the right diet with 58% of oats content, 18% brown rice and only 17% chicken… any suggestions on how to proceed? Thank you very much and sorry for the “book”… :slight_smile:

Hello and welcome to the forum. Burns weight control does have a lot of carbohydrate in it but on the plus side it would go some way to satisfying a dog’s appetite. Labradors are notorious for their healthy appetite and that’s probably why so many of them become overweight. I came across an article on this very subject just the other day - Why are so many Labradors fat?

It sounds as if your dog is doing OK on the Burns and you have tried other things without success so it may be best to leave well alone for now. As you pointed out, the protein level is low and I would be looking to add some lean protein to the food to top it up. This can be achieved by reducing the kibble and topping up with a good quality wet food or giving him something home cooked such as steamed fish, chicken or similar. If you give the latter you probably would not need to reduce the kibble by much as it is lean protein so shouldn’t have too many calories.

I’ve been thinking about this and as your Labrador has now achieved the target weight, as you say it might be better to change him to a diet with a higher protein/fat content. These are both low in his current food. Light or weight control versions can be used for maintenance but usually it is best to change to a normal food if possible. As I mentioned, you can use the top up method if you wish but if you want to try something different then please let me know and I will look in the Dog Food Directory.

In this situation I would imagine that a small step up in protein/fat might be useful rather than jumping to a product with high levels and risk upsetting his digestion. Maybe 26% protein and 12% fat (or thereabouts) might be a helpful. Burns have a helpful customer support so perhaps you could telephone them? I remember once using a low fat version of a dog food and I mixed it with the same type of food but the adult variety. This worked quite well - it raised the protein and fat but not by too much so the dog didn’t gain weight again. Burns would be able to advise and maybe you could have a chat about moving him onto the new one slowly by mixing weight control and adult versions.

thank you very much for taking time to reply… what you say makes sense… at the moment, I’m sprinkling a bit of Akela on his Burns and no adverse reactions on the second day… :slight_smile: I think I went a bit heavy with it the first day - I’m not used to such high protein content and neither he is! I also think a 80:20 diet is too extreme for him and I’m sure he would put weight back on on the long run. I’ve done a bit of research and, although it has a fair amount of brown rice in it (at least it’s slow releasing), I’ve ordered a sample of Guru Surf & Turf, which contains roughly the percentages you indicate… as you say, a weight control product is not sustainable on the long term. I will start gradually and see how he reacts to it. I haven’t got it yet! If he puts weight on, I might have to mix it with Burns 50%-50%… thanks again. I’ll keep you posted!

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I think you are probably right about the 80:20, especially in view of your Lab’s weight problem. I was going to suggest a trial of cold pressed but deleted it because I didn’t want to confuse the issue. I think that the protein and fat content should be just right and this type of food is known to be useful for dogs with digestive issues.

Cold pressed is quite different to kibble so it pays to do some reading up first. We have a thread on cold pressed foods here. One of the things that you will notice is that the amount needed is quite a bit less than ordinary food. This is because it is heavier than kibble. I suspect that some people have problems with it because they just give the same amount as the dog had with it’s previous food. It is really important to weigh the cold pressed, at least until you have got used to it. Guru has lots of information on the website and on the back of the packet. Would suggest you try the 5kg first to see if it suits. Remember that you want to give between 1% and 1.2% of the dog’s ideal weight. If you do transition your dog onto Guru, you may also notice that his poos will become smaller and quite firm.

If he is a greedy dog (and most Labs are), it will be gone with a few seconds. A plastic slow feeder might help, as would softening the food with warm water. Guru give a long transition period of up to two weeks although it does vary and some dogs will not require that long to switch. If he is grumbling about the amount, the addition of a few suitable cooked vegetables might help with appetite but not add calories.

If you do decide to use cold pressed food, I hope that your dog does well on it and I would be interested to hear how you get on.

thanks for the link, Dottie… I’ve done some research on cold pressed food already and I’m aware you have to feed them less… that might be a challenge, although adding water sounds like a good idea. He has very good stools on Burns, although quite big, given the high fibre content… :slight_smile: to be honest, he is very happy on it, but he definitely needs more protein… he also has a slow feeder… he’s a lab retriever, so not 100% lab, but still quite greedy… a bit of a shock, since my previous dog was a springador… but he didn’t behave like a lab at all… I’ll keep you posted!

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Thank you. I would be interested to hear how you get on so look forward to hearing from you. Yes, Labs are a challenge with their voracious appetites. I think that you possibly have to learn to ignore those pleading eyes. FWIW I’ve found that good quality, lean protein seems to help with weight control. Good luck.

thank you… I can give you a little update… I’ve been using the Guru sample (Surf & Turf), introducing it gradually, with no adverse effect. He loves it and his stools seem to be fine… so, I purchased a bigger bag! My aim at the moment is to use a 50-50 approach… and see how it goes… we’ll keep you posted!

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That is good news. I do hope that the change goes well. I have mentioned this before, but you can add lean protein if you wish although it isn’t really necessary. I gather that other users do a similar thing, hence the new(ish) addition to the Gentle range of Gentle Pure. It’s good that you are introducing the Guru gradually.

Update! I’ve successfully mixed the two now, 50-50… stools are fine and he seems to have a bit more energy… all in all very happy!


Thank you so much for coming back to your thread - I really appreciate feedback. This is good news indeed and I hope that he continues to do well on the new food. Hopefully he will soon be on it completely. It is amazing that you have already noticed a change in his energy level. Once he is only on cold pressed food and has been for a month or two you might see more changes e.g. improvement in coat.

No problem… :slight_smile: he seems to prefer Guru’s Surf & Turf in “solid” state… he wolfs down his food with gusto, but then he was never a fussy eater… :wink:

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Thank you, from me for the update also. I am glad the changes seem to be suiting well.

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