Overwelmed with dog food info

Hi everyone new to the forum & looking for advice if possible.

I had our 2 yr old terrier/chihuahua cross rescue dog on a grain free high meat content (56%) pet shop own brand kibble but after a 1kg weight gain our Vets nutritionist advised switching to Hills Vet Essentials for Neutured Dogs which we did. He wasn’t overfed on the kibble weight gain was due to treats etc. I had read that grain free was best but Vet said grains were important from a satiety point of view. As we had loads of pet shop brand left we mixed it with the Hills to use it up feeding him 50grams a day now increased to 80grams when just feeding Hills alone. I throw a tiny bit of cooked chicken into the morning feed and some wet food into the evening feed. The ingredients in Hills after the meat content (chicken 12% & turkey meal, total poultry 18%) are wheat, maize, pea bran meal, maize gluten meal, animal fat (don’t know what animal), digest? and cellulose.

I tried to research this product but didn’t get very far plus I have read that the above ingredients are controversial. I feel perhaps I should change the food, Acana Light & Fit grain free was suggested to me or else maybe go back to the pet shop own brand. I must add that the Hills is exclusively sold in Vet practices. I understand grains would fill him up for longer but are they bad for him in the long run especially as listed so high up in the ingredients. He seems to still be hungry, goes around licking the kitchen floor, but not sure if that’s the case or if he is just a dog that would keep eating even if he wasn’t hungry!. I would appreciate any feedback and thanks for reading.

Hello and welcome to the forum. It sounds as if your original choice of food was the better one. You have identified the reason why your dog is putting on weight so that’s a good start. If he was doing well on the high meat content, grain free food then it makes sense to to go back to it. When dieting a dog, I find that it is important to weigh the food accurately. If the dog is weighed weekly it is easy to see whether he is losing weight and if not, reduce the amount by 10%. It’s not unusual to have to feed less of some of the higher quality foods and the amount needed does not always reflect the recommended daily allowance.

Re the treats - you can take some of the kibble out of the daily allowance to give as treats. There are low calorie treats such as sea jerky. Dehydrated chicken strips might also be useful. Be sparing with your treats and don’t feed the dog from the table. If he is a scrounger, put him in another room while you eat and then you won’t be tempted to feed him.

Re grain free food being better than grain containing ones - it depends on the ingredients. Some grain free foods rely on white potato and pea flour for the starch which is necessary to form the biscuit. Some grains are useful nutritionally, particularly brown rice. The other thing to consider is the question of quantity. The better products contain more meat, vegetables and botanicals and less starch.

Hunger - some dogs are naturally greedy and we often mistake this for hunger. It can be a behaviour problem more than hunger and the fact that your dog is used to treats seems to confirm this. You need to be firmer with him. Check his weight weekly until he gets to the right level and have a look on YouTube for videos about body condition scoring. This is a really useful way of assessing the dog’s healthy weight. Weigh his daily allowance of food and put one or two acceptable treats in a pot. He gets nothing else but you may need to get the family on board with this because it’s no use you sticking to the rules if someone else is continuing to feed the dog. Cooked, mashed suitable vegetables can help to bulk up the food a little and they have nutritional value but don’t pick the starchy vegetables.

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Hi Dottie thanks for replying. I have decided to go back to the original dog food and will also look into the treats you suggested plus I think the cooked vegetables is a great idea. Thanks again for all the information.

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