Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Portion Control

Plump sausages with faces

When Mushroom first came to live with us, she was so skinny you could count her ribs. I checked last week, and I have no idea where her ribs are anymore. It looks like we've been overfeeding the dogs. Oops.

Here are the things we've tried to prevent the dogs from becoming overweight, in chronological order:
  1. Swapping treats for carrots - this worked for Badger, but Mushroom refuses to eat carrots, so we went back to training treats
  2. Breaking training treats in half
  3. Using a mixture of treats and kibble for training
  4. Finally, using only kibble as treats (with some exceptions)

So far, so food good. (This was an actual typo.) What we forgot to keep in mind was the amount of kibble we were feeding them through training and meals. It turned out that we were feeding a lot more kibble during training than we'd originally thought - and we were neglecting to decrease the amount we fed during meals, resulting in overfeeding. For example, during our one hour walk this evening, I managed to feed Mushroom half a cup of kibble. She normally gets fed 3/4 of a cup twice a day, so I had to decrease her dinner to a quarter cup.

Right now, we measure the amount of kibble we put in their treat bags (we use plastic ziploc bags), and then we estimate how much we've fed the dogs through training by looking at how much is left in the bags afterward. Then we decrease their meals by the amount that they've already eaten. Theoretically this should work, so hopefully we'll start seeing results (and waists) by next week.

What's your trick for keeping your dog at a healthy weight?


  1. Trinity does it on her own. She wont eat her dinner fast or all at once. She's also a spoiled brat and will get bored of the food quickly. I get the 'how come i cant eat what your eating?' look from her a lot. lol!

    1. Badger does the "how come I can't drink what you're drinking". Like a true teenager, he's always begging for a sip of my beer.

  2. I'm bad at it, because I always feed G part of my dinner ... ultimately, it just comes down to a lot of walking and exercise to keep those pesky pounds from piling up!

    1. Ironically, walking them makes me feed them *more*. I'm always shoving kibble in their mouths to prevent them from reacting to other dogs, people, cars, birds, or basically anything. Luckily, leash reactivity is one of the things we'll be working on with our trainer, so hopefully walks will become more pleasant in the near future.

  3. Schultz loves to eat healthy treats, he's always begging for my carrots and broccoli and spinach. Tess is a bit of a snob and prefers cheese or hotdogs but she can also control her meal time and only eat til she is full, which Schultz most certainly is not capable of :) They are both getting a smidge chunky so I am trying to cut meal time a bit