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Widget & The Battle of the Bulge

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Some of you may already know Widget, my 'little' Maltese pictured below. At his annual vet check on Monday, we learned that Widget isn't quite as little as he once was. He has gained 2lbs since his visit last year. Two lbs may not sound like a lot, except that Widget only weighed 4.5lbs to start with. Thus 2lbs is almost 1/2 his body weight. That's like a human putting on 50 to 100 lbs.

The vet said no more than 2 treats a day. (I've been guilty of giving him too many treats. Bribes and 'thank you' gifts for doing what he's supposed to do. Widget is a rule breaker. Treats help to encourage better cooperation. Then there were the extra treats he guilted me out of with that 'you love the cats more than me' face. And so on and so on.

So, now poor Widget is on a diet. No more tastes of the cat's (dry) food and only 2 treats a day max. He's not that fond of his dog food, currently Taste of the Wild grain free, so as he's probably not going to eat too much of that, he's allowed to eat what he wants of his dog food.

It's going to be tough - for him AND for me - but I'm determined to follow his Drs recommendations and help him get back his boyish, 4.5lb figure.

Edited to add that I started this thread (1) to journal our progress and (2) to share our situation with you and hear any thoughts and ideas you would like to share. Edited a 2nd time to fix some typos.

This message was edited Jul 11, 2012 4:20 PM

This message was edited Jul 11, 2012 4:22 PM

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Today I got out the kitchen sheers & cut Widget's 2 treats (for the day) into numerous, very small pieces which I then placed into a small, zip lock bag. This made it easier to stick to the 2 treat rule and still have something however small to give him during some of those times when he has come to expect a treat. I don't want him to feel too deprived or to think I suddenly don't love him anymore. Dieting is hard enough when you understand the reason. In his case, he has no idea why I've suddenly stopped giving him the things to which he had become accustomed.

By cutting his 2 treats into smaller pieces, I can at least give him a number of tiny treats right now to try to buffer the pain of getting started on his new diet. It actually did help today to make things easier for both of us. As time goes on I'll work on slowly decreasing the number of times per day he gets a treat, working towards a goal of giving him 1 to 2 whole or half treats daily (same amount just not cut into so many tiny pieces).

He ate maybe 1/4 cup of his dry dog food today - his choice as to qty. Right now he's lying around looking pitiful and giving me his 'no body loves me anymore' face.

Edited for typo - again.

This message was edited Jul 11, 2012 4:24 PM

Madison, AL

Dream - cutting up the treats is a great idea! For animals (dogs especially) love is expressed by food - that is why training goes so much better with food rewards (even tiny liver ones) than just with verbal approval. An animal does not really understand human's psychological need for approval - but they understand a piece of liver quite well. Our human preoccupation with weight control (a relatively new phenomenon in the world's history - starvation has been the norm for most of history) just does not compute for a dog. If the weight is actually causing health issues (like heart, breathing, exercise, etc.), it obviously must be adjusted. But you are so right to do it gradually. Our dogs do not get a sense of satisfaction at depriving themselves of what they like (humans feel quite virtuous when dieting at first). They just think something has gone wrong with their world and can actually get depressed over it. Good luck with this new program . He is so tiny that even a slight increase in exercise would also help. You have so much experience with animals that it will probably be harder on you than on him. Also maybe he has actually found a way (not intentional on his part, of course) of getting your attention back on him and off those dratted cats!

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

be strong! he'll adjust, but you're right, it's hard. It was so much fun to give our kitty treats... he doesn't like canned cat food or any other human food, but he'd do darn near anything for a squirt of cheese whiz. Now he gets small measured amounts of kibble morning & evening, and that's about it. And he's still a big cat, but his weight is right (or at least close) for his size.

Hang in there, Widget!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

ROTF, stillwood,

Love that last line - 'dratted cats' - Widget would get a kick out of that one. It's true, actually. I have been a bit more focused on him since the start of this diet thing.

Because he is so tiny, the effect of just about everything is magnified. Right now he isn't experiencing any health problems - yet, but his Dr is very concerned that those extra pounds could in time result in a host of problems from diabetes to heart disease, collapsed trachea, joint damage, etc, etc. Any way you look at it I need to adjust MY behavior; otherwise, he might even gain additional weight. He's 7 or 8 now. (I forget exactly.) Approaching middle age either way. No longer able to eat like a puppy.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Thank you, critter,

It is difficult, but I'm determined to do what's best for him. Cutting the treats up to make more pieces has actually made it easier, at least for me. At least I have a tiny something to give him when he looks especially deprived.

Glad to hear that you were successful in getting your cat back down to fighting weight. I have one cat that begs (& begs & begs) for treats and will eat 1/2 the bag if I let him. Last night I was thinking this is a good time to cut down on his treats, too. I have this tendency to want to spoil them all.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

It was lots more fun to spoil Eliot, too... But we also want to give him the best chance of being here with Joyanna through high school... so when the vet said put away the treats, we did. We now give him his favorite kibble (which isn't the dental diet stuff he's stuck with at meals) as a treat, but just one or two pieces at a time. He could lose a pound or so still... he's a little over 18 pounds, but at 16 1/2 he'd be downright "trim," so he's doing fine, but it would sure be more fun for all of us if we could reward him with cheeze whiz!

We made changes gradually for Eliot, too... no reason for him to think his world is suddenly in turmoil... Fortunately, he's devoted enough to his humans that extra scritches & belly rubs helped make up for the sudden dearth of cheeze whiz.

Those big eyes and pitiful mews or whines are hard to resist, though, aren't they?

Loudonville , OH(Zone 5b)

I don't remember if you ever mentioned if Widget likes carrots or not. I found that several of my dogs liked vegetables especially carrots. Good low calories treats!

Lyndonville, NY


I can so understand poor Widgets dilemma...I have the same problem!

I had tried Izzy on the Taste of Wild Grain free....she (who eats everything including socks) refused it. BUT I switched her to Blue Wilderness grainfree.
Same goodness....and she likes it!!!

I also put the cats on the feline version, so far so good!

Good luck with the "two treats" a day. Does Widget like carrot sticks? That is what I switched Izzy too....and since the rabbit gets one, she thinks is is great.

Debbie

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

I have been working on getting weight of my food stealing, begging pig of a dog. He has lost over 20 pounds, still could loose a few more.
First I laid the law down to my DM who I found out was feeding him the leftovers out of the ice box. I also get tiny treats.
With the vets help I put him on the doggie Diet drug that suppresses their appetite. In his case it only suppressed his appetite for dog food any thing else he would still eat.
I cut the amount of food he get in half and tried to increase the amount of thing to keep him busy.

I also found he loves the Freeze Dried Beans that I get from Oh! Nuts a one pound bag is a lot of treats and I can give all I want to him.
http://www.ohnuts.com/searchResults.cfm?criteria=green+bean+chips

northeast, IL(Zone 5a)

I have a friend who mixes green beans in with his dogs food to help bulk it up without the extra calories. That way they still eat the same quantity, so they aren't feeling deprived. He was able to get them back in "show weight" fairly easily, and the dogs love the beans!

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Andre does not like the canned ones but he loves the dried one

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

We got through our 1st 'diet' day much, much better than expected - pretty good actually. There was one humorous part last AM when Widget came in from his morning walk and received only a tiny 1/2in or less sliver cut from his usual treat. After waiting a few minutes for his REAL treat (which never came) and after lying around for a minute or two giving me the sad face, he promptly gave up on me, stuck his head under the corner of his dog bed and emerged with a treat, a variety he didn't like as much as his usual treats and which he had apparently 'buried' there for just such a moment. I had to laugh, and for his thrift and preparation, I let him have that one 'on the house' (didn't subtract it from his daily 2 treats) this time.

Later when he wasn't in the room, I checked under his bed to make sure he didn't have a whole stash under there. I only found one of his favorite 'bones' and a rawhide stick. Can't be sure the little guy doesn't have treats stashed elsewhere though. I had forgotten about this tendency. His predecessor used to 'bury' things all around the house, including under sofa cushions. Widget is too small to access sofa cushions, but there must be a million other hiding places around here for an enterprising canine.

I gave him 1/2 cup of his dry dog food plus those 2 treats (treats marketed/sized for 'toy' dogs) and nothing else. He didn't quite finish the dog food, so I think we are doing well.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Green beans are great--my late Sheltie was on seizure drugs that made him really hungry, but he couldn't afford to gain weight so I would add a bunch of green beans to his food dish and that seemed to really help, at least he didn't go around looking at me like he was about to starve to death anymore.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

You're off to a great start! Keep resisting those big brown eyes... Even with kids it's hard to stick with "I'm being mean for your own good" stuff, and it's harder with pets since you can't explain!

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

If you have never owned a toy sized dog (under 10lbs), you probably can't begin to imagine some of the ramifications of his small size - and remember, Widget's normal weight is 4.5-5lbs, so he weighs only 1/2 the max size of a 'toy' dog. He is so small that one of my cats used to chase him around the yard. Seriously. I once caught myself in the front yard telling the cat to leave the dog alone, something you probably don't hear often.

It's hard to think in terms of Widget's size, and the photo doesn't include anything for size comparison. For starters, Widget is smaller than a small, adult female cat. If you have a Cocker Spaniel, for instance, you may think of that as a small dog, but just to put things into perspective, on average it would take 7 Widgets to equal a single Cocker Spaniel. In the cover photo, what you are looking at is a LOT of hair and something comparable to a good size rat. Sometimes I call him 'rat dog' when I'm teasing him. ;-)

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Friends have had dogs that small, so I understand some of the concerns... I've never even had a cat whose weight was (or "should be) anywhere near 10 pounds, LOL.

Nice that the "problem" for Widget is the treats and not his regular food... it was really hard to switch from giving Eliot free access to food to giving him 2 little scoops each day. Blake always self-regulated his intake, so he'd just get a cup of food in his dish in the morning... when he could see the bottom of the bowl, he'd make those last kibbles "last," just like a kid getting down to the last few jelly beans in an easter basket!

Lyndonville, NY


He is probably the size of our Jersey Wooly rabbit, who is still a baby, but maybe 2 lbs of fur and fluff.

Widget is totally adorable, regardless of size!

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

SHould have said "good" or "helpful" rather than "Nice" above... nothing about weight issues is ever "nice!" :-)

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Thanks, critter,

Having the cats around eating their yummy cat food doesn't help either. When you get right down to it, it was when the cats came into the picture that Widget began to gain weight, something which really escalated over this past year. (No, I don't plan to get rid of the cats, just explaining.) As soon as the cats arrived, Widget decided that their food smelled a LOT better than his. He started begging for their food, giving me the 'you love them more than me' face, and even plotting ways to get into their food - and he managed the latter a time or two despite my best efforts at keeping it out of his reach.

About a year ago, my efforts to resolve some of the cats' issues, made matters worse still. Cocoa, who was raised completely feral and w/o any human contact until he was a good sized kitten, had learned to come into the house and was comfortable everywhere except the master suite, which being cave-like continued to frightened Cocoa despite all my best efforts. Instead of coming into the MBR to sleep with us, Cocoa would lie on the floor just outside the MBR to sleep.

As a last resort in my effort to help Cocoa get over his fear of the MBR, about a year ago I started 'treat therapy'. I put a bag of Temptations cat treats on the night stand, brought Cocoa onto the bed, and gave him 1. He would eat it and leave the room, after I repeated this for a week or so, Cocoa learned to enjoy coming to the bed for a tasty treat. It worked so well that Cocoa now spends a lot of time in the MBR and even sleeps in there.

Unfortunately, watching me give treats to Cocoa only made Widget all the more sure I like the cats better than him. In an effort to be even handed, soon I was giving Widget a number of treats while I was working on 'training' Cocoa. In time I even started giving Widget some of Cocoa's treats. This is how things really got out of hand this last year.

I thought it would be very difficult to get through the evening, when Cocoa often joins us in the bed wanting a treat, and do so w/o caving in to Widget's desire for treats. Oddly enough, it wasn't anywhere near as difficult as I thought it would be. Cutting Widget's treats into small pieces helped, and I did take this opportunity to cut back on Cocoa's treats, too, since he is now over his fear of the bedroom; but there was more to it than that. Something else changed. I found that as soon as I changed (mentally), as soon as I made up my mind that under no circumstances was I going to give Widget a bunch of treats, Widget changed too, instantly. He didn't even bother giving me the sad faces anymore. He just ate his dog food and took a nap. I'm starting to think this may be a lesson (for me) in how our beliefs and behavior truly do influence theirs.

BTW, that cheese wiz gave me a good laugh. It's a funny image. As part of my ongoing attempt to make friends with my other cat Kitty, I give her some alone time and a private treat every 3 or 4 days. Sometimes that treat is 1/2 slice cheese, that gooey, American, s/w cheese. I tear it into tiny pieces and hand feed her. It seems to be helping substantially to win her trust and overcome some of her jealousy toward Cocoa. I must say, though, I hadn't considered cheese wiz - and I'm not going to now either as I don't want to have to wean her off of it.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Our vet uses cheeze whiz as a treat/reward/bribe... squirts a little line of it right on the shiny exam table. :-) It's probably not much different than the cheese you use, just easier to store and easier to give in small quantities. I think we were fine when he'd just get a half-inch squirt to lick off my finger once or twice a day, but then people discovered he'd take it straight from the can, and sometimes I think he stayed up on his hind legs with his mouth open until it was as full as he could manage. (I remember saying "Good grief, his eyes are popping, I think that's enough!!")

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi slvrwilo,

Widget LOVES vegetables, everything except carrots. He hates carrots. If he accidentally gets on in his mouth, he will spit it back out. Dogs are supposed to like carrots, so I realize he is the exception. He loves broccoli, raw or cooked, and will eat all he can get. He also loves cabbage, green beans, and even collard greens and is learning to enjoy cauliflower.

I asked the vet about giving him vegetables right now while he's trying to loose weight. She said, 'yes' to all of the super low cal veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, collards, cabbage, but she specifically said NOT to give him any carrots right now - and she repeated that 3 times, so it was clearly important to her. I have had vets recommend carrots for a snack in the past, for dogs that were not overweight.

Since I, too, have been on quite a few diets, I understand her reaction to carrots. When referring to foods as low cal or high cal, all things are relative. While carrots are very low cal when compared with many human snacks, they are actually higher in calories, carbs, and sugars than the other vegetables mentioned. Even many human [reducing] diets restrict green peas and carrots to 1/2 cup a day (or something like that), while allowing unlimited amounts of the other veggies. Also, diabetics must limit carrots (and peas) but not so much the other veggies. But the effect of a carrot or two on a human weighing 100lbs and up is much different than that on a 5lb dog.

Widget's very small size and correspondingly low energy needs no doubt play a part in this, too. Because carrots do have more calories, carbs, and sugars than the 'free' veggies, even a few baby carrots could make a difference with such a tiny guy like Widget. With a larger dog, a few pieces of carrot might not matter.

Widget also LOVES baked potato and sweet potato. We don't have them frequently, but when I have one, I often cook a small one for him, a practice I started so I could eat mine in peace. At the time it seemed a harmless thing, since he didn't have a weight issue then and since both vegetables have lots of nutrients. As you might expect, she said, "No" to the baked potato altogether. She did say he could have a very small piece of sweet potato on rare occasion as a replacement for one of his 2 treats - but not frequently. I'm not sure why she allowed a small bit of sw pot sometimes but no carrots at all, unless she allowed the sw pot because of its high nutrient content.

I'm embarrassed to admit that for years now I've been giving him an entire small to medium potato or sweet potato - and believe it or not he can actually pack away the whole thing and beg for more. He is going to be unhappy the next time I serve either of these 2 spuds. When he smells them in the microwave, he expects to get one, too. It will be an adjustment for sure.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

ROTFLMHO at the image of the cat on his hind legs getting his mouth filled with cheese wiz! OMG, that would make an adorable line drawing or cartoon image.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

critter,

You just gave me an idea.

Widget is afraid to ride in the car (result of being flown here, alone, in the cargo hole of a plane at 2mo) and he doesn't like the vet's office either. By the time he gets there he's already in a panic state from fearing the car will take off and fly every second of the ride over. Then strangers start prodding him, so he never gets a chance to calm down - plus he has to fear the ride back.

He is completely unafraid of the normal things like Tstorms and fireworks, just cars. Monday, after all the discussions around fireworks and fearful dogs, I asked the vet for something to calm Widget for his occasional car rides. I did this mainly because all the talk of fireworks reminded me that here on the Atlantic coast we sometimes have to make a mad dash out of town in front of an approaching hurricane, and I would hate to have to do it with an hysterical, yelping dog in tow. The vet gave him valium to take only for car rides, not daily.

I'm going to buy a can of cheese wiz before his next apt and take it with me to the vet's office just to see if that trick of squirting a tiny bit on the counter while we are waiting might help to distract him so he can relax. He will hopefully already be substantially calmer due to the valium. Maybe a little cheese wiz will help him to enjoy the process more. A dollop once or twice a year shouldn't hurt. He won't eat the treats they offer him. This time I took his treats with me, and he refused them, too, but I figure w/valium maybe...

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

momcat, wren, & ecrane,

Widget LOVES green beans. All kinds. frozen, canned, fresh. They're all good to him. I like the wide Italian style beans, the ones we used to call Kentucky Wonders. Sometimes I will open a can or steam some fresh or frozen ones in the microwave and share them with him. They make great treats.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

wren,

I used to love those (oh nuts) freeze dried vegetables & fruits. There was one type I really loved a lot, but I can't remember which one now. Apparently, everyone loved it, because the store would often be out of that one. It might even have been beans. Not sure. I tried them all, but I used to buy multiples of the one variety.

That's a good idea. I'll have to make a run to Earth Fare for some of those (for us both).

He also likes freeze dried liver for his daily treats. Although he's eating a different treat right now, that's what he eats most of the time. At least the liver has no carbs or additives unlike most treats and like the beans it keeps well in that form.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi Debbie,

Widget says, "thank you!"

I didn't have any idea how tiny he really was until the 1st time I gave him a bath. I was shocked. When the hair is wet - and Maltese actually have hair not fur - he looses 2/3 of his size instantly.

Seriously, they don't have fur. They have no undercoat. The long hair grows out from the skin like human hair. Even the texture is not like animal fur. It's more like the hair of a small child with thin, fine, straight hair. The 1st time you hold one it's weird how incredibly soft they are, but not 'fur soft' like a rabbit, although that is also a wonderful experience to the touch. If you cut a Maltese dog's hair really short, it looks awful, because you can see the skin (which is pink) - no undercoat.

Thanks again.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Debbie,

That's funny about Izzy who eats socks not liking Taste of the Wild. Is Izzy doing any better now with her unusual 'snacks'? Widget was on Blue for quite a while. I only changed him to this for something different. He doesn't like any of them. He probably would if I wouldn't have spoiled him SO badly over the years. Before the raccoons and cats, he was my only 'child', so you can probably imagine that I bought him every toy and treat I could find. It's one of my vices. I'm trying to quit.

Oh, and, alas, I'm no stranger to the diet thing myself - or the need for it.

I was actually planning to switch Widget back to Blue when he finishes this small bag of TOTW. Over the years he has eaten all of the top foods, and I don't think he likes any of them - although I thought he liked Evo Ancestral Diet at one time, but I understand that product was sold a year or so ago and has likely changed substantially and not for the better. One reason I switched from Blue was those round nutrient 'bits', forgot what they call them. Widget hates those, which alone wouldn't be so bad except that he takes them out of his dish one at a time and tosses them on the floor for me to step on - ouch - and vacuum up daily.

The reason I decided to go back to Blue was Cocoa. Cocoa actually eats the Blue dry dog food. He used to stop off at Widget's bowl and eat some on his way to the cat room to eat his cat food. I've never seen a cat eat dog food before, and Cocoa doesn't eat any of the other brands, just Blue. I figure that must say a lot for the quality of Blue, or at least for the quality of the proteins it contains. Your comments about how Izzy likes Blue have convinced me. I'll get some as soon as we finish this.

I'm not sure what this tells us exactly, since it's apples vs oranges, but a few weeks ago when I ran low on the cheap cat food I feed the raccoons, I made up the difference with some of Widget's TOTW, since he doesn't like it anyhow. I was surprised to find that even the raccoons were not impressed. They argued over the cheap cat food, and only ate the TOTW dog food when there was no more cat food. It's not a fair comparison, since it was cat food vs dog food, but it was also a high quality product vs the cheapest, grocery store cat food. They clearly preferred the cheap cat food.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Today I had steamed, fresh broccoli for lunch and shared some with Widget. He would eat his volume (if not his weight) in broccoli if you let him.

This time of year when fresh broccoli is abundant and relatively inexpensive, I buy 1 to 2 bunches every time I get groceries. I steam it and share it with Widget. I also love it raw with hummus, and Widget is more than happy to have it raw, as well.

(As a 'bonus', here is my personal recipe for a favorite, healthy lunch, a veggie wrap comprised of 1/4", lengthwise slices of raw broccoli and/or cauliflower with lettuce, all wrapped in a spinach tortilla slathered with hummus. Yummy & crunchy. The hummus acts like a healthy and flavorful condiment, adding moisture to the works. I especially like the garlic hummus for this. Garden fresh tomato slices would be a nice addition, too.) Widget, however, takes his raw broccoli plain, sans wrap.

Lyndonville, NY


You are dead on! My cats eat Izzys food also. AND...one thing I really like about the Blue Wilderness, is that since Izzy has been on it...she no longer goes after the cats food.

I have seen a change in her eating habits since switching to "no grain" aka not as many "non food" snacks. Won't lie, it is expensive to have cats & dog on it but when you count the vet trips gone....it really saves in the long run.

Neither Izzy nor the cats would eat Taste of Wild, and they started "accking" up the food again.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

This is going back a few posts, but I'd be careful on feeding canned veggies to animals, there tends to be a lot of salt and maybe other things like preservatives, etc. I would always stick with fresh or frozen, that way all you're getting is the veggies.

mulege, Mexico

The green beans are a good idea. I cook brown rice with chichen or fish for my dogs. I've cooked for them since reading a book called "Foof Pets Die For." For weight loss I recommend Red Star nutritional yeast (I buy it from www.bulkfoods.com). Both dogs and cats seem to really like it. Elliot would probably love it. I had a cat who would put her yeast dish in the middle of the kitchen floor if I failed to notice that it was empty. It is rumored to help repell fleas. For sure it's a great low fat food. I think www.food.com has recipes for dog treats. I know I've seem recipes for both dog and cat food and treats on the web. We have minimal vet service here and I think the home-cooked food really helps to keep my dogs healthy. One of them is overweight, though, she returned to me after the peoplw ho had adopted her split up and left town. They had kekpt her on a more restricked diet of dry food and she gets greedy over the fresh food which my dogs are accustomed to. Once when I turned my back on some live I was cutting up for their food she snatched a one-pound chunk of liver off the counter. She and it disappeared without a trace and she said, "Liver, hwat liver? What's for dinner? "

With five dogs, four of them big, I have to cook every day or two. For a little dog you could cook once a week or less and freeze portions.

My neighbor Dana loves dogs and has three small ones. After Amiga had surgery she refused to eat until I gave Dana a bowl of chicken and rice for her. It disappeared in a flash andd I provided food while she recovered. I am the only non-family person that Amiga likes. The first time I visited she crawled into my lap and fell alseep, amazing Dana.

Dana does lots of rescue work and works with the free animal clinic which is open here during the winter.

A long post to basially recommend checking out cooking for your pets.

katie

mulege, Mexico

Just remember another friend, Barbara, who fed her large overweight dog six cups of chapped vegetables with his food every day until he got trim. We have a lot of dog lovers around here. kb

Pelzer, SC(Zone 7b)

Home prepared food is a great option, but you have to prepare yourself for a bit of research to learn what's needed. It's very important to keep the correct balances (like calcium/phosphorus ratio) and supplementation in mind when you cook for your pet. Easier to do with raw, but not hard once you understand where you're going.

I belong to a great email list which helps with all kinds of dog diets, raw, cooked and kibble-based.

http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/K9Nutrition/

Even if you don't want to DIY, you can learn what's good and what's not for your pet.

HTH

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Hi Debbie,

For quite a while i had Widget and the cats on Blue. I don't think Widget will ever love it quite as well as Izzy does. He did eat it back when we had it, but he always prefers cat food and 'real' meats and vegetables. Still, I was very much impressed by the fact that Cocoa (cat) snacked on Blue dog food the entire time we had it on hand.

To keep Widget out of the cat food, I put 2 straight chairs in the cat room and put their bowls on top of those chairs. The cats can easily hop up onto the chairs, but Widget cannot. That works most of the time to keep him out of their food, but he is crafty and determined, and has found a way to get the food whenever I forget and leave the dish too close to the edge. He will stand up on his hind legs and flip the cat's bowl over onto the floor, spilling kibble all over the place and making a huge mess.

I do plan to switch him back to blue very soon.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

ecrane,

You are right. Thanks for reminding me about the salt issue. Most canned foods are very high in sodium. Being so small, it only takes a tiny bit of salt to cause Widget to drink and drink and drink, a clear sign his body is struggling with all that sodium.

I had bought some 'no salt added' canned beans just for him. Thanks to your timely post, I looked through the cabinet to find the 'no salt' variety. They were SO nasty tasting, but he ate almost the entire can. That particular day he seemed particularly hungry, so I put the beans in a plastic container (drained) and handed them out as treats throughout the day.

Another food which is very high in sodium is cheese. That single slice of American cheese has over 1000mg sodium. I don't give Widget cheese for that reason - because it makes him try to drink a small ocean dry.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Widget's diet is going well. Cutting his treats into a number of small slivers has been very helpful. Most mornings when we get up for breakfast, we still have a 1/3 to 1/2 of 2nd treat remaining from the day before.

He eats beans, cabbage, broccoli, etc when he gets super hungry between meals. Even when he gets hungry, he only eats just enough kibble to take the edge off of his hunger. Thus I find that I can give him unlimited dry dog food. He eats less than 1/2 cup of it a day, regardless.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Glad the diet's going well! I'm glad he likes the veggies, it makes it so much easier when they're not looking at you with that "I'm about to starve to death" look in their eyes.

Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Here is a quick pic of Widget from when he was a puppy. He only weighed 2lbs then. He had been playing a lot. I snapped this quick pic when he 'crashed' on the stairs. Again, this was back when he was a puppy, before his long coat had grown out.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring
Charleston, SC(Zone 9a)

Here is a more recent pic, this one looking down at his back.

Thumbnail by DreamOfSpring

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