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Messages - Love my lab

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Yes I am happy so far as changes made have been very gradual. By that I mean I didn't just swop her immediately to a different food and less of it. I mixed the two foods (old and new) in different proportions for a while , before getting her on to only the low fat one. Then started reducing the portion size bit by bit to the size recommended by MW which was at the lower end of the guide on the packet for the size she needs to be.  I'm using the MW Tracker Mix now (yes it was Farmers before) and now giving her 300g per day split into two meals. This is how MW advised to introduce it in our email exchange. (NB the email from MW came from a different nutrition adviser, not Mark).

Only one person still gives her lots of treats but fortunately she doesn't see them too regularly! I control the rest which she gets for reward based training. People will give her the odd biscuit but it's way less often than before.

Not really much increase in retrieving. We tried to increase the time with the ball on our walks but she just lost interest.  She'd rather be sniffing and generally bouncing around. She only seems to enjoy the ball when there are other dogs involved in the game.  We do play with other dogs a couple of days a week but not every day.

Her kong fillings are healthier now, that's the other change.

The vet said to expect it to take a long time. He also said that food adjustments are made very gradually so that she hardly notices the difference. She's not an obese dog, just a bit overweight, which I guess is why both I and the vet don't feel the need to 'crash diet' her, but we do want her to lose this bit of weight sensibly while she's still young and active.

Apart from what the scales show her waist is looking more defined now so I'm happy it's going in the right direction.

Just a quick update for all those who helped me out with their advice. Half a kilo has gone. Vet says that's steady progress as it does take time. I went for switching to the low fat MW food and fewer treats, reduced gradually. Seems to be working. Thanks to all for your support. We'll carry on working towards the ultimate goal!

Thanks, Meg, very interesting. 

Hi Meg.  She is more 'working' but she has been spayed.  I think you might be right though, I probably don't need to put her on a big strict diet, just go gradual and see what effect it has.  Small changes might well do the trick.

I didn't change her diet after she was spayed so thinking about it, that may well be what has happened.

That's a really good point.  We do practise rewarding when we see good behaviours.  That's the basis of the training we have done since she was tiny. Although it has got less and less as she has got older.  She's a pretty good girl.  Those rewards tend to be what's easily to hand which might be a biscuit, or bits of cheese or sausage, or commercial dog treats. Or, yes, our leftovers!  If I make sure that those things are simply not available in the house and replace with single bits of kibble or carrot or apple then both I and others will only be able to reward with less fatty things. I can definitely think of one family member who is partial to giving more than one reward at a time!!  I will have a friendly chat with them.

I'm now also thinking about kong fillings.  We do give her filled Kongs  - e.g. if we leave her alone, a long car journey, if we have people over for a meal.  Similarly I ought to change what I fill them with for still tasty but lower fat stuff. Will do a bit of web surfing for ideas.

You're right, it's not like she's HUGE. Don't want to get things out of proportion, just want her to be healthy and get the most enjoyment out of her life. 

Thanks I will contact Mark.  I am not fiercely loyal to the brand.  I honestly thought I would have to change to something specifically branded diet or weight loss but when I learned there was a low fat option within the current range that might do the trick it seemed a sensible option.  I am very open to any other suggestions. My priority is that it must be a nutritious, I don't want to feed her anything that might end up causing any alternative health issues.

I agree it is the diet that is the issue. I have obviously been too free with the treats and food portions. I roughly measured the right amount according to the packet for her actual weight but apparently it's better to serve up the right amount for the weight you want her to be, so I was overdoing it a little bit.  Plus treats. On her walks she is mostly off lead, some running, some meandering and sniffing, some fetch with a ball.  She also runs around like a mad thing with another young lab a couple of times a week.  We are lucky enough to live within ten minutes walk of a park and some fields, and sometimes we drive out to some woods.  I think that side of things is fine. In terms of the actual figures, she was weighed in at 30.5 kgs at the vets and the recommendation is that we get her down to 27kg.   Just like in humans I expect a slow and steady approach would be best for long term weight loss success,  making healthier choices and gradually reducing the volume, weighing/measuring accurately, and maintaining her exercise levels. 

I'm so pleased to have all these helpful and supportive responses.  Thanks everyone!

Brilliant, thanks.  Hadn't tried that filter.

Thanks so much Dottie and Red Akita! Great comments.

I am currently feeding the Farmers Mix from Millies Wolfheart. Just checked their website and the 'crude fat and oils' in that one total 16% so I will definitely contact them about a lower fat alternative from their range.  My girl does seem to enjoy their products, she has tried a few of their different flavours and almost all went down very well. (Even the one she was less keen on got eaten up, just a little more slowly than others, typical Lab!).  I also put a tablespoon of their wet food in with her kibble every other meal so it's not too dry.  I could stop that or take out an equivalent amount of kibble to compensate.  I used weighing scales at the start of buying this food to see how many 'scoops' a meal should equate to but I will now go back to using the digital scales as scoops can be less accurate, I agree. 

We do still do training so I had thought for that about swapping the high value meat/processed treats for apple and carrot, but I'm interested in your idea of baking my own which would be tastier/more motivating for her.  Thanks for that tip I'm going to look up the recipes now. I do already reduce meal sizes on days we do training and I will ensure that continues, a little more accurately though.

She gets a decent amount of exercise, about 2-3 hours off lead walking and some ball play per day. Which makes me think it's food changes primarily that will have the greatest effect.

Happy to receive any more tips from anyone and I'll keep you posted on our journey ahead!

Hi everyone, very happy to have found this site! Would be grateful to hear if anyone has any experience or recommendations on brands of diet dog food.  I currently feed kibble - Millie's Wolfheart.  My gorgeous girl, a two year old Labrador, is starting to pile on the pounds so the Vet has suggested trying to lose about three kilos by switching to a diet brand (and cutting down the treats of course!).  Any advice very welcome as there seem to be many brands I could choose from. Thank you so much in advance.

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