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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I have a wonderful 10+ year old GR (rescue dog, so not exactly sure, but I have had her for 8 years and she was at least two when I got her) with physical limitations. She had some permanent damage to her leg joints, and her hips at the time I took her in to save her from being put down.

We previously lived in a house with a yard and pool, she used the pool some, but there was really no area for her to run or play (which she probably could have done better when she was a bit younger).

Time went on, and she gained, and still continues to gain weight, while eating very little. I had her thyroid checked, and there are no issues there.
She eats very little, and has never been a big eater, but she is very overweight.

At age 10+ she is now at 135lbs.
I would love to help her take some of the pounds off and get her to a healthier weight, so that she can be more mobile, at least to the extent in which she can move around without pain.

She now has a bit of hip dysplasia, but this is not a major issue as she has regular laser treatments.
(I love her so much that I actually just this year, purchased the same laser that my vet uses. It is a full medical laser at 980nm)
She gets around walking okay, but she does have trouble getting up, mostly due to her weight and old injuries.

Anyone know of a diet to help her take weight off quickly.
I moved her over to Blue Buffalo senior, but that has done nothing to help her.
I am not opposed to a raw diet if it would help. I just need some advice so I can help my sweet tub of lard doggie.

Currently if I give her a normal sized bowl (the metal ones you get at the pet store, holds around 3 cups maybe) she will only finish it off just about every two days. Cutting calories for her seems almost cruel to me, so I have not done anything other than change to the low calorie food.

Also, lately she has started itching like crazy just above the base of her tail, and I took her to the vet a week and half ago since her ears started to itch.
The vet said she has a slight ear infection, but not all that bad. He has me using Mometamax.
I just thought I should mention these things, in case they are a symptom of larger issues that my vet may be missing.
 

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Tatum, hi and welcome to your and your old gal. The inability to lose weight screams hypothyroidism to me, and when you add in itchy and ear infections, I'd have your vet rerun a full six-panel thyroid test. Many vets don't know that a low reading, which they then tell you is "normal" is actually too low for a golden and needs supplementation with thyroid meds. There's a vet, Dr. Jean Dodds at Hemopet, who is an expert at thyroid issues in dogs. You can send your dog's results (or the actual blood draw itself) to her and have her give you an opinion. Google Hemopet and I think the instructions are on the website.

As far as how much you're feeding her, I don't find it at all strange that this inactive senior eats 1.5 cups a day (you said she'll only finish a 3-cup bowl in two days). Active dogs in good health generally eat two cups of food a day to stay at a good weight and in good condition. More importantly, how many calories are in a cup of her food? Some people get their dogs to lose weight by determining how much they should weigh (say 70 pounds) and then giving that amount times ten for daily calories. So a 135-lb. dog who ideally should weigh 70 pounds would get 700 calories a day. You can supplement if she's hungry by feeding non-salted canned green beans or steamed veggies (cauliflower and broccoli were my old guy's favorite), raw carrots, some small pieces of melon. You know, just like us, fruits and veggies keep us healthy and slim :) But before you do any kind of diet, I would really encourage you to recheck her thyroid and send it to someone who knows goldens and thyroid levels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much!
I will have my vet (a new one that I do adore) check her.
I have had the test done a number of times over the years, and it always came back the same, so with my new vet, I have not even bothered to ask.
I mean, previously, really something like once a year, and maybe even twice at different vets in some months over the years, not trusting the opinion of the other vet.
I have finally found a vet that I trust since my new move to the country, and I am glad to hear that my instincts may have been right all along. I have always suspected this could be an issue, being a hypothyroid patient myself.

The dog now has 23 acres and a lake to have use of. I would like for her to be able to spend her senior years playing outside and chasing a ball if she wants.

I was just at petco the other day and saw this really cool bowl that was marked off in a way as to slowly reducing calories. I don't remember exactly what the trick was, but I did give it a second look since I have been considering trying to help my girl take off the pounds.
I just don't want to deprave her and make her feel hungry all the time, the amount she eats now sure seems like a small portion to take food away from.

I will absolutely take your advice and get the new thyroid reading, and then contact Hemopet with the results.

Her current food shows 396Kcals per cup, so it does not really sound like she is overeating. That is the struggle, do you take food from a dog that is eating just around the right amount, but still gaining?
It's hard, but I think I need to do it for her, so she feels better and lives longer.
 

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Welcome to the Forum!

I second the recommendation to get a full suite of thyroid tests done. Dr. Jean Dodds, already mentioned by Finn's Fan, has a book on canine thyroid disorders that might be useful to you: The Canine Thyroid Epidemic: Answers You Need for Your Dog: W. Jean Dodds, Diana Laverdure: 9781617810169: Amazon.com: Books.

We also have a thread that reports on numerous assistive devices to help dogs with all sorts of physical challenges: http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com...y-breed-standard/92648-assistive-devices.html. I know that some of the referenced sites have braces that help damaged leg joints.

Good luck and please keep us posted.
 

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I agree with others that she needs her Thyroid Checked. She probably needs other tests run because that much weight can cause other issues.

I will be blunt. Your dog is morbidly obese and weighs 2X what she should weigh.
If you can not find a competent vet where you live, I would suggest contacting
a University with a Veterinary School in your state to get one. Better yet make an appointment with a vet at the Veterinary School. She will probably need a rehabilitiion vet in order to get fully mobile.
 

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One trick often recommended to help get weight off a dog is to add frozen green beans to the kibble. The green beans provide extra bulk to fill the dog up but add few calories. Most dogs enjoy the taste and crunchy texture, in my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I am so thankful for all of your responses.
Yes, I am in total agreement that she is morbidly obese.
I have always known this, and her being heavy is not due to overfeeding.
It is also not from NOT visiting the vet, but it is partially from the lack of finding a vet that I could "connect" with.
I used to live in Georgia, and I did animal rescue, I had a number of vets that I adored and trusted. But when I moved to Plano, Texas, I just never found a vet that I felt took the time to listen to what I was telling them.
I have had three dogs at the same time I had this girl I got my German Shepherd from Good Shepherd of North Texas, she was two, and she lived to be 14 years old, when I finally had a vet come out and put her to sleep in my home. She was physically fit, and never overweight.
I also had a rescue Chocolate Lab who we got at the same time, he lived to be over 13 years old, he finally developed congestive heart failure, but he too was physically fit.
I got this Golden just before she was to be put down at a shelter. She came just around two years after I had rescued the previous two.
So out of my family of three dogs, one became overweight. All were on the same diet, and all ate normal amounts of food.

When I found this girl on Petfinder, (my daughter named her Kagome) She was a beautiful Golden Retriever. She ended up somehow at the shelter in Durant, Oklahoma.
I called them and told them that I wanted to see the dog, they said, I would need to wait since she was currently being spayed, and that they would let me know when she was ready.
I got a call later that week on a Saturday night, apparently whomever had worked at the shelter that night must have known the dog was going to be put down the next morning.
They told me if I wanted the dog, to come get her.

When I showed up to get her the next day (they opened the shelter for me on Sunday), they told me that she was having issues. They then explained that they had gotten her spayed just days before she was due to give birth.
She had then been put out in the open area outside, and had gotten in the pond there on the property, and had gotten a horrible infection. On top of that, she had a new hip and leg injury.
I saw the poor girl, and I simply could not leave her there.
I adopted her on the spot, and after multiple hundreds of dollars in vet bills (close to $1000.) she was doing better.
Unfortunately, she had some hip damage that was serious and permanent.
I have had her seen at all sorts of specialists, they have sent images to special radiologists, there is just not much that can be done.

Finally I moved out to the country, I found a vet that I can't say enough good about.
He is the kind of man that you could only wish your daughter could find and marry.
If your dog is in pain, he actually will sit on the floor with the dog and comfort it.
He is truly amazing.
I wanted my girl to be out of pain, so I asked him on my first visit with her, if there was ANYTHING that could be done for her (other than the Tramadol, pain meds, etc.) I said to him, "I don't care what it costs, is hip replacement an option?"
He then said, "try laser therapy for her". It worked so well that I dished out $27K for a machine that I could have at home for her! I mean, I TRULY do love my girl, and I want her to feel good.
I have tried to address her weight with every vet she has ever seen, but no one has been able to suggest much except to tell me to cut her calories.
I honestly feel that if I cut it by much, I will be almost starving my dog, so I have not done anything other than trying to keep her on a low calorie dog food.
I did recently buy a meat grinder capable of grinding chicken bones, I was thinking of trying the BARF diet, but I am a tad afraid of feeding raw chicken to my dog. I am just not sure yet. I would like opinions before I go this route.

Anyway, she is my baby, and I hate seeing her slowing down.
I will have the thyroid panel run, and I will keep everyone posted of the results.
If anyone has had luck with a particular diet, I am more than open to trying something new. :) I like the green bean idea. If I end up cutting the food back, I will try supplementing with those and see what happens.
 

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I personally would suggest getting a measuring cup and giving her 1 cup of food in the morning, leave it down for 20 minutes, and then pick it up. The next feeding, give her that food again (with enough extra to equal just one cup of food) and put that down for 20 minutes and if she doesn't eat it, pick it up. After a few days of that, she will be eating that one cup of food at each feeding, which is the most she needs.

I don't mean this to sound like I am criticizing you, because I'm not, but a dog who takes two days to eat the food that has been put down for her is being fed too much, especially a golden retriever. A dog who is being fed the correct amount is going to gobble down her meal because she's hungry by the time feeding time rolls around. Just like we should be hungry when it's time to eat, rather than eating when we aren't really hungry.

Good luck. It sounds like she got super lucky that you found her and got her out of the shelter when you did! It's obvious you love her and are willing to go a long ways to make sure she's happy and healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Fostermom,
I agree about the food.
Honestly, I don't think she would eat at all if she did not notice the other dogs eating.
I really have to put the food right in front of her face to get her to eat it at all.
She seriously does not really have much interest in food. I know she would love wet food, and I do give it to her once in awhile, if I have to give her any kind of medicine, i will hide it in one of those tiny appetizer sized dog foods, and she does love that.

There was a time six or seven years ago that she gobbled her food down, but not anymore.
Every day she takes long very slow walks over to the field, she follows me to the barn and back, and she gets in the lake at least a few times a day. She wades out, then stands there, (sometimes she takes a little swim) She just can't seem to loose the weight.
It sometimes seems as if she is getting in the lake to stop the itching, because when she comes out she rubs against trees and such, trying to scratch the top of her back.
I bathe her in Vetoquil universal medicated shampoo, when the itching starts really getting to her.
I also give her Benedryl for the itching when she needs it.

She just seems so miserable sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oh, and part of the reason I could not take her for walks when I lived in Plano is my own very serious, life altering, injury.
Glimmering Gems Fine Jewelry: Well, I have shattered my foot - Lisfranc joint and all.

I actually suffered from extreme pain until I purchased the laser for my dog!
It has human medical settings as well, and it works! How can I tell you that I am absolutely positive it works, It has not only taken away the arthritis in my dogs hips, but it has given me my mobility back as well!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Laser, works wonderfully on arthritis & Dysplasia

Works amazing for both dogs and humans.
Please if your dog is suffering from one of these two conditions, arthritis or dysplasia, ask your vet if they have a 980nm laser and offer treatments.
I did purchase one of the lasers, I found it hard on both my dog, and myself, to get her in and out of the vehicle. She weighs almost as much as I do!
The laser was a life changer for both she and I, as it has made my foot injury bearable.

My GR had a series of eight treatments, every other day and she had SO much more mobility. After that series, you only need to go for touch up's every now and then.
She is still obese, and her weight is a lot for her tiny little legs to carry, but I am working on getting her weight down, and with the laser I can control the pain, so I am hoping we are on our way upward to healing.
Now just to figure the diet stuff out, and how to get rid of those pounds!
 

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We had a laser machine for my husband after several of his foot surgeries. It does help bones heal, for sure.

Your girl probably will eat once you cut the amount back, especially if you have other dogs because that creates "competition" for the food. Some older dogs (like older humans) require even less food than their younger counterparts, so it may be that you'll need to cut her back to less than 2 cups a day eventually. I'd let her get used to the lowered amount of food and the fact it's not down 24/7 for her anymore before I'd cut it back anymore, though.
 

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Somewhere on this thread you mentioned about a raw food diet (BARF). I do not know anything about it, but you may try contacting Prism Goldens (Robin) on this forum. I believe she feeds her dogs raw food. She may be able to direct you on how it works.

Your poor girl -- I know there is a way that she can lose some of that extra weight and get to feeling better. I would agree with getting her tested for hypothyroidism. Your vet sounds like a real compassionate person. They are so busy sometimes, they just cannot know everything about every symptom, and I believe that we can help them as a team by researching, etc. I had a wonderful vet for Tosh and all his seizure and pancreatitis issues -- she was always open to knowledge that I had found in my research, and would listen and work with me as a team. It did help in giving him years and comfort he would not have had otherwise.

Let's pray that you find a solution for your girl -- she deserves it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The reason I posted here at this time, is because with the help of that laser, I honestly believe she has a chance to finally be healthier.
We both are more mobile now (thanks to the vet telling me to get her the laser treatments, seeing how they worked for her, and buying one for her and myself both!)
We both are outside a lot more than we were before (got the laser in November 2013) so we are both doing more. I just don't think it is enough for her to loose weight.
I have always thought she had a thyroid issue, only to be told by the other vets through the years that her numbers were nothing to worry about.
I have never asked for any particular type test, but I will be asking for the full six panel test this time around!
As I said, I love my girl and can't image what life would be without her.
It has been so hard to see her slow down so much. I feel that she is still young, and I want her to be able to enjoy all that this new place has to offer!
I want her to be able to swim, chase the ducks and geese (not catch them though) and just be able to retire out here in the country. Here is where we live now: MY NEW HOME!!! on Pinterest

The things that happened to her at the shelter, set her up for a hard life. Her front leg, the knee had always swollen up to the size of an orange. She walks with one leg that will always sway out, like a reverse bowleg on a person is the only way I know to describe it. The space between her back legs is not right, as if there is a tendon missing or something of that nature. This is due to something that happened during the spay at that horrible shelter, or possibly during the time in the pond with the other dogs attacking her.
She has always been so stoic. She is such a good girl. Even when I first got her, and she was really messed up. She never whined, never had accidents, and was always the happiest dog, even though she had a super high fever, infection in both her leg and her insides from the late spay. She was just delightful.
My hubby always said, if it came down to her or him, he would surely be in trouble!
 

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I did want to mention that the black dog in my signature is 13 years old. She's had three hip surgeries (two FHOs and one to clean out bone spurs). She's also partially torn her CCL, which has healed. 10 years ago she weighed 96 lbs, just before her second hip surgery. We worked hard with her and got her weight down to 67, which is where she's been ever since. She was very limited on her exercise several times during the weight loss due to her surgeries and knee issues, but she still lost the weight. Keeping her weight down has allowed her to be more active as she has aged than she would have been if she hadn't lost almost 30 lbs. Like your girl, she's a very stoic dog and tends to not let on if she's not feeling 100%, so we have to keep an eye on her to keep her from overdoing it.

So it's possible to get the weight off, even with limited physical activity. Good luck.
 

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I've also used Fresh Green beans or canned. If I buy canned green beans, I make sure to get the ones that have No salt added to them.

I've had to put my girl on the Green bean diet a few times. I normally reduce her food by 1/4 or 1/2 cup, then add the green beans to make a total feeding of 1 cup. The weight usually comes off pretty quickly.
I also reduce the number of treats she gets and/or include the treat calories in the overall amount of calories she gets per day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Pic of my girl a couple of years ago, just before we moved here.

Thanks to you all!!
I will do the green bean diet to see if it helps her.
You all have been so helpful here!
Such a welcoming community of people!!
Today I worked outside for a bit, my old girl came along everywhere I went.
She then got in the lake a few times to cool off, now she is lying on the carpet snoring.

My pretty girl now has her snow white mask. It came on pretty quickly. I can see her aging, and I want to have as many years with her as I possibly can.
I am determined to get her weight off, and I want to thank everyone for the advice and help.
 

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Tatum

Thanks to you all!!
I will do the green bean diet to see if it helps her.
You all have been so helpful here!
Such a welcoming community of people!!
Today I worked outside for a bit, my old girl came along everywhere I went.
She then got in the lake a few times to cool off, now she is lying on the carpet snoring.

My pretty girl now has her snow white mask. It came on pretty quickly. I can see her aging, and I want to have as many years with her as I possibly can.
I am determined to get her weight off, and I want to thank everyone for the advice and help.
Tatum

God Bless you for adopting her, she is just gorgeous. I could not have left her at the shelter either!
We were told by our vet to reduce the amount we were feeding our dogs by 20% and to cut the treats in a half or quarter. Now Tucker and Tonka get 2 cups EACH, PER DAY, AND WE are cutting their treats in quarters. Also, we just bought the Purina Pro Plan Weight Management Adult Dog Food (Dry), this weekend and will start using that for extra help. I agree with everyone else about having all of the thyroid tests done, and about the green beans.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you everyone.
I have had lots of dogs through my entire life. My mother was a dog lover, and a collector of strays. If she saw a dog on the road on her way to work (she worked off of an old country road where it seemed that people would take their dogs to dump them) she would bring it home.
I grew up loving animals, but I honestly have to admit, there has NEVER been a dog that has stolen my heart as much as this old girl.
I believe it is a breed thing. It must be because even though I have multiple other dogs, my Golden owns my heart.
 
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