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I can’t remember who told me to add green beans to Sydney’s meals to help her lose weight. I’m certain that it was someone in one of the Facebook raw feeding groups. Sometimes when I post our dogs’ meals, people ask about the green beans. I explain and move on, but today, I’m going to share more about what I’m doing and why, because I think it can help others.
My Dog is Fat, Not Big Boned
I didn’t realize Sydney was fat at first. I took a co-worker bluntly saying “wow, Sydney is fat, you know that’s not healthy, right?” And one of my best friends saying “Kimberly, Sydney is fat,” in a gentle tone like she was telling me that my eye make-up was too heavy.
I started looking at pictures of her and realize, wow, she is fat. She’s not big boned. She’s not part bully so meant to be that big. She’s not going through a transition phase.
My dog is fat.
Losing Weight through Exercise and Diet
I got Sydney’s weight down by cutting back on her meals and walking her daily. It took no time. Then one day she was playing in the yard we heard a yelp, and she wasn’t putting weight on her rear, left leg. I took her to the vet a few days later, when it became obvious that this wasn’t something minor and we were told that she had a partial cruciate tear.
By then, Sydney was a raw fed dog and it didn’t occur to me to cut back on her meals (yes, I was a moron) and she slowly gained a lot of weight (10 pounds) while resting her back leg.
Partial Cruciate Ligament Tear in Dogs
The cruciate ligament is located in the knee, where it helps to stabilize the joint. Injury to the ligament leads to instability in the knee joint. This triggers pain, swelling, and limping. Injury to the cruciate ligament usually is caused by trauma to the knee.
Injury to the cruciate ligament may lead to partial or complete disruption (tearing) of the ligament. Partial cruciate ligament tears sometimes heal with activity restriction. Complete tears of the cruciate ligament usually require surgical correction. Partial tears often progress to complete tears. Both types of cruciate ligament injury may lead to arthritis and chronic limping later in life.
Sydney’s cruciate tear did heal and she was great. She could walk 2-3 miles. But she reinjured the area twice in the last five months. Currently, she’s being treated with acupuncture (once a month), low exercise, and diet to lose weight.
Losing Weight When a Dog is Injured
Sydney’s cruciate tear added a challenge to helping her lose weight. Her leg couldn’t support her additional weight and her right leg, which was compensating, was too weighed down by those extra pounds.
When we got the go ahead, I started walking with Sydney around our property. We live on five acres and the grass and slight hills makes a great light workout for my dog. I’ve also cut back on her meals and that’s where the green beans come into the equation.
Green Beans are Helping My Dog Lose Weight
Sydney eats between 12.8-13.0 ounces of food per meal. I try to make 3.0 of that meal green beans. I feed her canned, frozen, and fresh green beans (not at the same time). It helps her feel fuller and provides good fiber to her diet.
Canned Green Beans
This is less ideal, because of the sodium, but most convenient, affordable, and easy to store and feed to Sydney. I buy low sodium canned green beans by the case from my grocery store. The tellers probably think I love green beans; I can’t remember the last time I had a green bean.
I pour 3.0 ounces into Sydney’s dish (I use a kitchen scale), cut them in half with a spoon, then add her raw food and supplements and mix it all together.
Frozen Green Beans
I thaw them out and feed them to Sydney just like the canned. The only bummer about frozen is sometimes I lack freezer space. The bonus of the frozen green beans is that they are often on sale at my store for 10 for $1. I've gotten creative with freezer space.
Fresh Green Beans
This is ideal, but the most expensive. I buy organic fresh green beans from a local farmer’s market. I prefer organic because I want to avoid chemicals in my dogs’ diet where I can. Sometimes I blanch them (boil them quickly in hot water) to make it easier to cut into smaller pieces. But mostly, I just break them up and put them in a storage container in the fridge until ready to add to Sydney’s meals.
The bummer about fresh is that they’re more expensive and the fridge life is short, so I have to be careful about how much I buy to avoid wasting them. Because of this, I've started shopping for them at weekend farmer's markets and I also grow my own.
Fermented Green Beans
Fermented green beans not only help my dog feel more full, they also add a natural source of probiotics, which help to improve the gut biome in Sydney's digestive system. Having a healthy gut helps her digest food more efficiently, helping her lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.
Other Benefits of Green Beans for Dogs
The bonus of the green bean diet is that I can add them to Rodrigo’s dish too. He’s my hungry boy and always willing to eat more food. The problem is that he’s not really hungry, he just likes to eat. Too much food with lead to diarrhea as his body is forced to process and push the waste out. And that means that he’s not absorbing the nutrients he needs, and that’s not good.
So I add green beans to his food to help him feel full. This also keeps him from sniffing around his siblings' dishes to take a bite (or six) of their food.
Why Green Beans are Good for Dogs (and Humans)
Green beans are an excellent source of vitamin K. They are a very good source of manganese, vitamin C, dietary fiber, folate, and vitamin B2. In addition, green beans are a good source of copper, vitamin B1, chromium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, choline, vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids), niacin, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E. Green beans have also been shown to contain valuable amounts of the mineral silicon, and in a form that makes it easier for us to absorb this bone-supportive and connective tissue-supportive nutrient. Green beans have also been shown to contain valuable amounts of the mineral silicon, and in a form that makes it easier for us to absorb this bone-supportive and connective tissue-supportive nutrient.t makes it easier for us to absorb this bone-supportive and connective tissue-supportive nutrient.
Supplements that Help with Weight Loss
I’m also adding the following three supplements to our dogs’ meals five days a week to help with metabolism, thyroid, and digestive health; one is specifically for Sydney.
- Life Line organic ocean kelp –add 1 teaspoon to two to three meals per week
- Olewo carrots – add 1 tablespoon to two to three meals per week
I have found that having a scale on hand for the dogs helps me better track each of my dog's weight to keep them on track. The W.C. Redmon Pet Scale is lightweight and big enough for my dogs (65-85 pounds) to sit or stand on. My only critique is that if your dog doesn't remain still, the weight is still an estimate, however, for me, this is better than not knowing or driving to the vet's office to use their scale.