Random Question Wednesday is a feature in my Facebook group, the Raw Feeder's “Kicked Out” Club. Because the group guidelines state that we discuss raw feeding (and raw adjacent) topics only, Wednesday is a day when the floor is opened to everything.
We get some great questions, and I want to share them with Keep the Tail Wagging readers to help out others with similar questions. Because the rest of October is dedicated to helping dogs lose weight, today I'm going to be answering common questions I get about Sydney and her weight.
Why Is Sydney Overweight?
Yes, Sydney is a raw fed dog, and she doesn't eat kibble. Over the years several things have contributed to her weight including:
- a thyroid condition diagnosed by her veterinarian
- joint issues that reduce her mobility and activity
- overfeeding by yours truly – me – as well as feeding foods that cause weight gain
The year following my choice to make my DIY base mixes that don't include grains or starchy foods, Sydney lost 10 pounds. I think her weight loss can be attributed to the removal of a key component of my dogs' raw food diet as well as reducing portion sizes and increasing activity.
Ultimately, I blame my ignorance for her weight gain and credit her weight loss to supportive veterinarians and learning more about canine health and the ingredients I add to her meals.
Have You Tried a Weight Loss Supplement for Dogs?
Yes, I have tried a few natural supplements that claim to help dogs lose weight and never saw a change in her diet. I won't list the supplements because Sydney's lack of success on the supplements may have been due to her thyroid condition or her joint health.
I've learned not to depend on supplements to help my dog lose weight. Personally, when I need to lose weight, I cut back on portion sizes and calories while increasing my exercise. The same is working for Sydney. There isn't a shortcut to weight loss.
What Joint Supplements Work for Sydney?
Sydney and Rodrigo were diagnosed with joint issues when they were young, and I'm not sure if this is due to when they were spayed/neutered (at 6 months), their diet of large breed kibble, or the annual vaccinations. Regardless, their joint health has been something I treat by adding the following to their diet.
Foods that Support Joint Health
I add the following foods to my dogs' diet to support joint health…
- Duck feet
- Beef trachea
- Bone broth
- Emu cartilage
Supplements that Support Joint Health
- Canine System Saver – at least 4 days a week
- In Clover Connectin – I give these as treats each morning, 5 days a week
- Golden paste
- CBD oil – when Sydney or Rodrigo overdo it and for anxiety in the dogs
This year, I began regularly adding milk thistle by Herbsmith to Sydney's diet which was recommended by her veterinarian, who practices Chinese medicine. She shared that liver and joint health are tied together.
Do You Give Sydney Green Lipped Mussel Powder?
Not really. I mostly have GLM on hand for Scout and Rodrigo because sometimes they overdo it when we're outside and at the end of the day they are achy; adding 1 tbsp of green lipped mussel powder to their meals for 2-3 days helps.
Want another experience with GLM? Check out this post by Cathy of Groovy Goldendoodles.
Do You Give Sydney Coconut Oil?
I add coconut oil when I'm making golden paste along with bone broth (this is Dr. Judy Morgan's recipe). Because she gets coconut oil in her golden paste, I don't add more because although it has properties that help dogs lose weight, I've seen dogs gain weight when fed too much coconut oil. I've already overfed my dog, so I don't want to risk undoing our hard work.
I am open to changing my mind, however, I'm going to need more information, including exactly how much and how often she should have coconut oil outside of the golden paste, which she gets 2x a day (I use a regular spoon, so I'm not sure the exact amount), 5 days a week.
What is Sydney's Exercise Routine?
To be honest, she didn't have one until recently. I would walk around with her outside, but I was so afraid of reinjury, which has happened many times in the past, that I never pushed her. I had an impromptu session with Ronny LeJeune of Perfectly Rawesome who gave me a few tips that have helped ease my fears and I'm happy to say that it's working and Sydney is doing great and loves walking with me.
Currently, Sydney and I are walking 30 minutes daily (at least 5 days a week) at a slow pace to avoid stressing her joints. We live on 5 acres with hills so Sydney is walking on flat surfaces and then up and down hills and it's been a great work out for her. I can see her mobility improving, and she's starting to doing a brief jog on a brief portion of her walks.
This weekend, we'll be stepping it up because Ronny wants to see Sydney doing a 1-mile walk; we've been doing 1/2 mile for the past two weeks. We're going to start visiting our favorite walking spots in the evening, before mealtime, to get our walk in.
It's important to walk before she eats to get activate those fat burning “muscles.”
What Breed is Sydney?
Sydney and Rodrigo, who are littermates, are Great Pyrenees Mix. Sydney is 50/50 Great Pyrenees – Italian Greyhound. Rodrigo is 80/20 Border Collie – Great Pyrenees.
What is Sydney's Goal Weight?
Sydney weighed in at 75 pounds this weekend, and my goal is for her to weigh 69-70 pounds, which was advised by her veterinarians.
The Great Pyrenees weighs between 85 pounds and up according to the AKC. While she is deep-chested and seems big when you look at her straight on, her body can't hold that much weight.
The Italian Greyhound weighs between 7-14 pounds according to the AKC. I had no idea Italian Greyhounds were so small. I imagined 35-45 pounds. I thought the ones I saw were puppies!!!
If I took an average of the two breeds, Sydney should weigh 50 pounds, and that's SO not happening with my girl. I'm going to stick with the goal weight of 69-70 pounds, and if she still needs to lose weight, we'll keep at it.