BigBadPibbul wrote:Diet dog food, I'm not a fan, I'd never used it prior to this. I decided to try it out when the vet suggested it because I figured any extra help to get her trimmed back down was extra help and certainly couldn't hurt.
The Iams diet dog food is a weight loss food because it's low fat--nothing more special than that. Obviously all a reduction in fat means is that there are fewer calories per cup than in an equal serving of regular dog food. Fat always seems to be the component in food that gets demonized and avoided over protein and carbs simply because it's got more calories per gram than the other two, but people forget that fat is a great source of energy and fats are vital and necessary for our bodies to function properly. IMO, "reduced fat" stuff is just as much of a gimmick for dogs as it is for people, if not more so. Pet food companies feel they can charge a premium for diet foods even though there isn't anything particularly special about them. The bottom line is that many consumers are willing to pay a premium price just for the sake of convenience. These diets appear to exist mostly so owners don't have to change the serving size that they feed to their dogs (either because they feel guilty about having to feed less, or because it's convenient).
I know you're not that type of owner, so if you opt to go back to what she was eating before, all you need to do is compare calories and figure out how much you need to feed (by weight) of Chino's regular food to equal a serving of the diet food, and switch back to that. You could even pour the appropriate serving of her regular food into whatever you use to portion out her food and mark a line on the container so you don't have to weigh it out every time. You'll save money because the bag of food will go further than the diet food, and Chino will get to have yummier, higher quality meals.
I'm assuming that you're feeding Iams ProActive Health Large breed a day, which contains 313 kcal/cup, and that translates to about 40 calories an ounce. I'm going to pretend that you feed a 1.5 cups a day (12 ounces, 480 calories) and another ounce of chicken breast (for a total of 526 calories, assuming the chicken is cooked. Cooked chicken is 46 cal/oz, raw chicken is 31 cal/oz), and that you've decided that you want to feed a premium food like Nature's Variety Prairie Salmon formula, which contains 420 kcal/cup, or 52.5 kcal/oz. I'm no math whiz, but according to my calculations, you'd be feeding 9 ounces of Nature's Variety and 1 ounce of chicken breast to come in at slightly less than the caloric content of the weight loss kibble (518 cal). Obviously, adjust these calculations based on the actual amount you're feeding. Weigh out a day's portion of the diet kibble as well as treats, calculate the calories per ounce of each and then go from there when figuring out her day's allotment of the regular food and treats. Per MissKiwi's suggestion in your other thread, if Chino's weight loss has slowed down dramatically, or has stopped altogether, you can try factoring in a further 10% reduction in the amount you feed and doing so every two weeks until she resumes losing weight (with the Nature's Variety plus chicken breast scenario, a 10% reduction would be down to 471 calories, or 8.1 ounces of kibble plus another ounce of chicken breast given as treats).
By switching to a regular dog food that isn't charging you premiums based on the weight loss gimmick, you can feed her a better kibble. I agree with BA that it's a good idea to portion out meals and treats for the whole day just so you can be sure that you're not feeding too many calories and impeding her weight loss accidentally.
I'm not too sure how well Chino would do with the work to eat toys, she gets bored of most things really quickly, she'll go and bring back a ball a couple of times then lay down and look at you like you've lost your mind if you try to get her to bring it back one more time. It's worth a try though.
If she's at all food motivated, trust me, she'll enjoy the tug-a-jug, especially if she's hungry enough.
I got one for Lucy this week and despite the fact that the first time I offered it to her she seemed to lose interest in it before she'd finished getting all of the food out, the second time I gave it to her she played with it enthusiastically and kept at it until every kibble had been removed. I'm thinking now that the first session wore her brain out since it was her first encounter with a work-to-eat toy.
Hunger has a way of inspiring intense interest in dogs, so I bet she'll go for it, especially if you make it a fun game and encourage her when you introduce it to her. She will be able to smell the kibble inside and hear it as well, and she will have to work for every single piece, which is exactly what she needs.
Again, good luck to you and Chino. Keep us posted on her progress, and let us know what she thinks of the tug-a-jug (if you end up getting one).