food advice please

Hi, I would welcome any advice from anyone. My Lab Mica is 7 and has recently been spayed. The vet said to keep a close eye on her weight now she has had the procedure, although all her adult life I have struggled with her weight. She is currently on Simpsons senior/light and is on the lowest of the RDA. I initially chose this food for Marley my cocker who was nearly 12 and as it was the senoir/light decided Mica could also maybe benefit from it. Sadly, I lost my Marley on Wednesday to prostate cancer, so have decided to pick a food specific for Mica now. Her weight is currently 25.5kg and, as she is a small lab the vet said has a target weight of about 22kg. I did ask the vet for advice but was only advised to feed the 2 foods they stock which is Hills and Royal Canin. My younger 2 dogs are on simpsons 80/20 fish and doing very well on it (although my youngest still has itching issues but thats another thread!)
I have searched the forums and read the threads i have found and also used the search tool for the foods. I seem to be finding that all those that have a lower fat content also have a high carb content, but surely carbs are as bad? I have to confess the more i read the more i am confusing myself so have decided to write my first post and ask for advice and suggestions :slight_smile:
To add, Mica has never been a very active dog, she has along with my other 2 dogs, 2 walks a day but whereas they runa bout and are very active she rarely breaks into more than a trot. Treat wise she has the dried fish cubes but only a couple a day, and raw veg. Thank you in advance.

Hello and welcome to the forum. I understand your confusion about controlling weight because I have had this with my dogs for some time. At the moment they seem OK but it is always work in progress. I can only tell you of the experiences with my dogs:

  • Food that was high in fat and carbs seemed to be problematic. Lower fat products, even with a high carb level seemed better.
  • I was once told by an adviser that dieting dogs need a higher protein and lower fat. Low fat food (circa 10% to 12%) topped up with lean meat e.g. chicken and steamed fish to raise the protein helped. Substituting one meal with home cooked food i.e. lean meat/fish or scrambled egg, adding sweet potato/vegetables worked well.
  • Raw complete food got some weight off but the amount needs to be carefully weighed. The best one for mine (for weight control) was Natures Menu Country Hunter nuggets, presumably because the fat is lower than some of the others.
  • Continually cutting down their food until they were on quite small quantities did not really help. Maybe the body goes into starvation mode but that’s just conjecture.
  • Accurately weighing food and splitting into three meals is helpful.
  • Body condition scoring is useful but regular weighing of the dog is necessary.
  • Whatever food I use, I always have to keep it at the bottom end of the RDA.

If you would like help in using the Dog Food Directory to source a different product, please post back and one of us will assist. Hope that you manage to get your dog’s weigh under control.

Hello and welcome to the forum. So sorry to hear about Marley.
RE Mica, Dottie has already given you lots of helpful tips. My dogs weight tends to creep up when we overdo the treats but it sounds like Mica is having healthy treats anyway. I found that my dog lost weight when she was fed natures menu nuggets for a time. In fact I had to change because I found it hard to keep her weight from being too low. She did produce large stools on that food which was full of undigested peas so it could be that the roughage content was a factor.
Generally her weight is stable. She will put on some in winter which I think is due to less exercise but it tends to drop off as soon as we are getting out more. Usually just reducing treats works well so I haven’t given much thought to a food for weight loss.

Hi & welcome - sorry to learn of recent loss.

Re the Lab. I have one (working line castrated 4 year old male).

I personally (although he is weighed occasionally) assess by condition. Labs vary in size & shape significantly but a body condition chart can be viewed if you click here

Some vets are happy to sell foods at a profit to them. I would rather feed Simpsons 80/20 than the two products mentioned (in abscence of a diagnosed condition genuinely requiring a specific diet) .You can read re prescription diet products if you click here.

I can make negligible adjustments easily by increasing exercise &/or reducing food over a short duration. I energetically walked my Lab 3 hours off lead yesterday, swimming running & retrieving for majority of that (many other Labs & other similar size working breeds seen plodding alongside owners & looking relatively bored). You mention a reluctance to trot. I advise decent food, (starting at lower RDA levels) & a progressed increase in interesting exercise. I wouldn’t waste money paying for vet approved food or for a qualified vet to tell me my dog is 500g overweight

Carbs & Fat each do different jobs (In very basic terms Carbs give dogs off the mark energy but fat gives endurance energy). An otherwise healthy well exercised dog shouldn’t be fat unless you are overfeeding (in abscence of a medical issue). I am assuming your bitch doesnt have any other issues that would make her sensibly hold back a little. Mine is currently on Akela 80/20 fish kibble (Relatively low carbs, highish protein, fat a bit above average) Its an acceptable graIn free food & I am happy enough feeding it for now. Simpsons 80/20 Fish has decent Omega3:6 ratio Click here for Omega 3:6 ratio article & closely considered by me also. If your other dogs get on with it (& it is genuinely appropriate to exercise output), then no reason why all can’t eat this (in abscence of evidence to the contrary). I try to avoid high levels of simple carbs for health reasons (you can check my post history for more info) .

No idea if your Lab is show or working type, (the differences can be significant). My response would be easier seeing your dog or a recent pic. I don’t consider 22.5 kg as Lab entry weight for “fat club” & wouldn’t worry too much re her size. May check if anyone else at home is feeding her tit bits.

Mindful my post is a bit blunt but genuinely trying to help.

Good Luck

Thank you for your replies and condolences its much appreciated.

Dottie - Thank you for your help. I think I will keep trying to tweek the directory to try and locate some food alternatives. Ideally I would like a complete, low fat food, with no red ingredients and not too much if any grain. I will not worry too much about the carbs as fat does seem to be the key. I have started to weigh Mica weekly due to keeping an eye on Marley when previously it was monthly; never any weight gain but no loss despite lower quantities. I will definitely start to weigh food for each meal from now on.
Tiny Planets - Thank you I will look at natures menu nuggets. Its only been the last few years I have changed their treats to purely natural ones once I became more aware of health implications. Ironically though my 3 rescue dogs I had years ago ate whatever had no health issues and lived to 17/18 years old!

Coaster - Thank you for your reply; very informative and i will read the links you have given and also your posting history. Mica is definitely over weight on the body condition chart on checking. I agree regards the vet pushing those two brands of food hence why I dismissed them immediately. I did consider putting her on the simpsons 80/20 but thought the fat content would be too high.
I think you have misread my post, her weight is 25.5 kg and the vet is saying he thinks she needs to lose about 3kg to get to 22. I am not going to be hung up on target weight specifics; thats the vet’s opinion, but i do know she needs to lose weight and would rather go on how she appears than weight. You are completely right with regards to the walking and exercise thank you; I have been allowing her to plod about and sniff as that is what she likes to do. I will start to try an encourage her to be more active on a walk and try and find something to engage her once she is off her restricted led walking post op. Lastly she is from working breed. I will try and attach a photograph :slight_smile:

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As you are going to look at raw, I should mention that Nutriment light and low purine seemed to get some weight off. However, having checked their website I cannot find the 500g cartons that I used. I am wondering if they have re jigged the range. If interested, perhaps it would be best to give them a call. Remember that you want to give 2% of the body weight that you want your dog to be, not what he is now so in your dog’s case it would 440g per day because your vet has suggested 22kg as being a good weight. The cold pressed foods meet your criteria of no red ingredients and low in fat (usually around 10%/11%) but most contain brown rice. Of course Coaster is right about exercise. I really wish that I could manage 3 hours exercise with the dogs but sadly, I’m getting on a bit for that. :frowning: My elderly 13 year old would probably think so too! LOL

Darby …Looks like I did misread your post…Sorry :slight_smile:

That said 3kg weight loss isn’t a huge target…Amazing what can be done when daily exercise & feeding ammounts are a little more focused. I was fortunate to have 3 weeks off with my dog last summer & with great results later confirmed on scales by vet (when seen for unconnected matter) . My threads on Carbs & Omega ratios (with links) aren’t preaching but worth a read. I find it interesting that so many folk report long life in dogs whomhave had minimal detary fuss…Perhaps variation is key but it makes me wonder re processed foods, innoculations & wormers etc.

My Lab is relatively light at 26kg - I would put his even smaller mother at around 22kg…Having a tennis ball obsession helps mine keep in shape but he is not immune from weight gain.

I would also echo the Nutriment recomendation - Have fed this before to second dog here. About as good as raw complete gets in my view plus great customer service from knowledgable dedicated staff.

Dottie - I dont sprint for 3 hours btw. …I confess I have also on rarer occasions stood at waters edge &/or sat on a bench using the ball chucker :slight_smile:

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