Hey! I'm new here, and I posted in the Newbies forum already.
But now I want to ask my question... I put it here instead on in Diet and Nutrition just because it's more broad of a question than just his food intake... Okay, so I have a 3 year old long-haired chihuahua named Toulouse. Ever since I've had him, from 15 weeks old, he has been a big chihuahua. Not fat, but large. He's absolutely precious with his white fur, cream patches, and pink and black nose, but nobody wanted him because he was such a large male chihuahua. Except me, of course, so I lucked out!
But anyway, other than being big, he never really had a problem with being overweight; he used to be lean, easy to see his waistline, muscular... But when he was neutered about a year and a half ago, things changed... Look, I know that getting them fixed doesn't CAUSE them to get fat. But it did change his metabolism, and he started eating like a downright piglet. And my family, including me sometimes, enabled him. He gained weight pretty fast after that. His ideal weight is somewhere around 10 pounds at the lightest. (He was almost that much when he was a puppy! And not fat! His son is super lean and long, and he's 9 pounds.)
Now he is 14 pounds. Yeah, that's a lot. He's definitely overweight, but he's not extremely obese looking. You can still feel his ribs if you put your hands on his sides, and his stomach isn't almost touching the ground or anything, but he's still chunky. I'm not in denial about that, haha. He goes to the vet regularly, and he said to feed him 100 calories a day, about 1/4 cup of the food I have. Ever since I started doing that, he hasn't really lost much weight, but maybe a little since then. I split it up twice a day, morning and evening. But it's so little food, he acts like he's starving all the time. Is this okay? My family falls for it every time he goes to their houses, but I've banned them from feeding him extra treats. He's recently switched to Wellness Core Reduced Fat food; do you think that will keep him more full? It's supposed to have a lot of protein and fiber, and no grains, which is good because they mess with his stomach.
He gets a moderate amount of exercise a week, but not nearly enough. He's a lazy dog, and I'm a full time student so I do the best I can. He goes on walks a couple times a week, but I need to take him on a lot more. He plays a lot, and he runs around for hours at my mom's house once a week. I know that's not enough, but how much would be enough to start seeing a difference? How long and how often should I walk him? What's a sure way to see results?
I'm asking all this because he seems to be at a stand still. He's been stuck at 14 pounds a while now. He was 15, but that was a while ago... But I guess that means he's losing some. But lately it's been pretty stagnant. Do I cut back even more on his food? He acts like he's a starving animal. How much exercise would be effective?
None of the vets I've been to have checked his thyroid or anything; two of them just acted like I was irresponsible, in denial, and a bad pet owner, despite my agreement and concern about his weight. One of them acted like he was supposed to be like... 7 pounds. He was 7 pounds when I brought him home at 15 weeks old. I'll go with 10 pounds, but if he gets down to 11, I'll be so relieved.
Any advice? Thank you so much for reading!!
P.S. I tried to post a picture, so you can see what I'm talking about. You can see he's definitely a little sausage dog, but not a balloon.