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I have an overweight 3 year old Chihuahua who currently weighs 14lbs (I believe he is about 5lbs or so overweight?). He doesn't like to walk at all and doesn't like to play with toys.

I need help in getting him to enjoy his walks, to walk normally at the correct pace and not move like a snail. Right now it's a pain to even get him out the door to do his business. I am practically pulling him everytime we walk. Also I need help in figuring out how to get him to act more like a dog. He doesn't play with toys, balls, anything. The history I have gotten on his previous owner was that when he was a little pup, he basically was kept locked up in a bathroom all day. He barely had any outside world interaction. He was carried everywhere. Never walked, rarely played with. I believe that this is why he is the way he is now. I am pretty sure his back legs are very weak and under developed because he was carried around everywhere alot.

I've put him on a diet and I don't see any results in weight loss. Not even .1 of a pound. We've been feeding him Natural Balance, Reduced Calorie Formula dry dog food for almost two weeks. 1/4 cup in the morning. 1/4 cup at night. 2-3 healthy treats throughout the day. Nothing else. He gets walked roughly 20 minutes in the morning and 20-25 minutes at night. I would guess the distance of each walk is 1/5 of a mile or less. The distance is not as much as I would like only because he doesn't move very fast.

His exercise is what seems to be the problem, because he doesn't enjoy it. We've started with getting him accustomed to walking. No matter what we do though, he doesn't like it. He moves like a snail. Barely walks fast. To go a block is practically a 10-15 minute ordeal. Getting him to walk beside us, rather than behind us, even when we walk slow never works. He immediately sits down, as if he doesn't like the fact that we aren't in front of him (to protect him?). I am afraid to have to bring tons of treats along the walk because I don't want him to put on more weight just to get him to follow us. Around the house, he rarely wants to move. Mostly just lays there.

The basic mentality he has is he always likes to be held, hide under things, hide under comforters, etc. I believe maybe this has something to do with the fact that he doesn't like to keep up or next to us walking and instead dally behind. When it comes feeding time however, he is a totally different person. He will move very fast to chase us if we carry his bowl from one room to the next so I know for a fact that he can move pretty fast when he wants to eat. I just don't get why when walking with us he refuses to keep pace and rather us pull him.

Any help appreciated on getting this guy to walk fast and enjoy them, as well as lose weight... Thanks!
 

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Has he had a complete vet check up? Including blood work and his legs checked out?
 

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1/2 a cup per day seems like an awful lot of food. I was feeding a 14# pomeranian 1/4 cup of food per day, and he was at a good weight. I would have him checked out by a Vet to check for pain in his legs, that could be why he doesn't like to walk. Did he like to walk before he got heavy? A lot of people have success with the Green Bean Diet, i.e. adding some green beans in place of some food, it helps keep them 'fuller' longer, so they aren't starving/hungry all the time. Have you tried getting him to play in the house for exercise? Like chasing toys, or running around the backyard? Zoey has bad knees and doesn't walk for more than about 1/4 of a mile before she's done, so I just let her run around the house for exercise and that works for her.
 

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I would have him checked over at the vet, thyroid, arthritis all that. if he's that much overweight then it may hurt him to walk at this point. Is he gulping down the 1/2 cup of food your giving him? if he's grazing it may be a sign to cut back. And honestly healthy treats or not i'd cut back on those, although i don't know what they are. if you want to give treats give him a bite/kibble of his food. even healthy treats are going to be excess calories and at half a cup he probably doesn't need it.

when you do go to the vet find out what his appropriate weight should be, 9lbs is big for a chi, although it happens. and take excersize slow, a lb overweight for a chi is like 20 lbs for us ;) that's an exaggeration, but a relatively accurate one, you wouldn't expect a 300 lb person to walk ten miles at the start of an excersize plan :D
 

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maybe you should get him checked, just to be on the safe side.
but try an activity or game that you never tryed with him that might interest him. whats something youve always wanted to do with him? then maybe he'll try it, whether its very physical or not as long as you get him moving some way, then later on build on it.
 

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If you've had him a diet and he hasn't lost any weight then you definitely need to get him to the vet to see whats going on internally.

I don't know what his frame looks like, but I imagine for a chihuahua that 15 pounds is about 7 or 8 pounds too much!
 

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I don't know if you have access, but if walking is too hard, maybe he could swim? There are doggie life jackets and it could be less stress on his legs. Also, green bean diet is a good tip. I chop the green beans into tiny bites and mix it with his food. Still give him the recommended amount of food for his ideal weight, just with green beans added
 

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Sounds like you're going to have to go slowly with him as 14lbs is a lot for a chi. It probably hurts to walk carrying all that weight plus it's putting strain on his heart. I would also look into the diet & nutrition page for better foods to feed him and the amount. Definitely have him checked out by the vet to make sure he doesn't have a heart murmur or any other health problems. Post pics when you have a chance.
 

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1/2 a cup per day seems like an awful lot of food. I was feeding a 14# pomeranian 1/4 cup of food per day, and he was at a good weight. I would have him checked out by a Vet to check for pain in his legs, that could be why he doesn't like to walk. Did he like to walk before he got heavy? A lot of people have success with the Green Bean Diet, i.e. adding some green beans in place of some food, it helps keep them 'fuller' longer, so they aren't starving/hungry all the time. Have you tried getting him to play in the house for exercise? Like chasing toys, or running around the backyard? Zoey has bad knees and doesn't walk for more than about 1/4 of a mile before she's done, so I just let her run around the house for exercise and that works for her.
I like this. Poor Ernie gained so much weight since he's been sick, but because he is taking steroids he feels hungry all the time. I substituted green beans for his snack and the occasional raw mini carrot and sometimes a bit of fresh apple. He has lost 1/2 lb.
 

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poor mite.
i'm glad you're doing all you can to help him.
as he seems quite food motivated (you mentioned that he moves well when food is involved) have you tried a kibble ball?
let him watch you put his kibble meal inside the ball, let him sniff at the opening and then put it on the floor. give it a slow push with your hand until a piece falls out and let him eat it. he'll soon get the idea. :)
he'll be getting some exercise and learning how to explore and play all at the same time.
 

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I had a Chi boy who weighed 16 pounds. He had luxating patellas and the vet said he HAD to lose weight. His ideal weight was 12 pounds and I got him down to that in about five months by watching his diet. I fed him the recommended amount for a 12-pound dog and it worked. He was young and very active. He had surgery on both back legs, which was successful, and he did great. I fed him Wysong Synorgon food and absolutely no treats except raw baby carrots. I agree that you should have your dog checked out by your vet to be sure there isn't some problem making him gain weight or preventing him from losing weight. Good luck!
 

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I would agree with most, have him checked by the vet. In the meantime I would cut back on some of the kibble and add vegetables ie: green beans, peas or carrot. Our vet recommended this to us and it works and all of my chi's love the extra variety everyday! Also, we are Chihuahua breeders that are New York State licensed and approved and AKC inspected and approved. We have 33 chi's of our own. The dogs have free range of the house until feeding or bed time. We feed the same as you - 1/4 cup twice a day and 99% of the time all of the bowls are empty when we take them out of the crate 10 minutes later, so no I do not think 1/2 cup a day is too much for a 4 - 10 pound dog like suggested by some. My dogs all go tho the vet regularly and are all in good health. Good luck with him!!
 

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Last time he had a complete vet checkup was about 1-2 years ago, when we didn't have him. They told us the results were fine. We've only had him for about a month and a half now, but I will be taking him this coming weekend to the vet for a consultation, bloodwork, questions on diet, etc. So I am hoping that the doctor gives us some good advice on what might be wrong.

I don't think I am feeding him too much. 1/4 cup in the morning and 1/4 cup at night and he eats it as if he is starved within a minute. I added in the 1-2 treats as well because what happened two nights in a row, was him vomiting in the morning yellow bile. From my research, most people said that was a sign of hunger (acid building up in the stomahc) and that feeding a treat before bed or two would help to fix it. It has worked and he doesn't vomit now. But it just shows me that he is still hungry I bet.

He never walked before he got heavy... his previous owners kept him in most of the time and carried him everywhere when he needed to go out. He doesn't like toys, so exercise inside is just impossible. I've bought quite a few, and he just gets annoyed when I try to play with him using them. We don't have a pool, only a bathtub so can't do the swimming idea.

I am surprised he eats carrots. I just started those last night and he seems to not mind them. So I will be swapping that in place of his treats instead of the doggie ones. Can someone give me some more info on the green bean diet and how much of his food I should be kibble and how much green beans? Any particular kind of green beans? Raw I assume?

Thanks for all your suggestions. Here are some pics... Hopefully the vet appointment this coming weekend will be a bit helpful.


 

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OMG! Bless his heart! If you ask me this is abuse! Yes vomiting bile means he has an empty stomach and more than likely because he is so heavy that the small amounts of food compared to what he used to eat isnt fulfilling him. I would definitely ask the vet what you can do for his hunger while you are trying to shrink his tummy down so he will be fulfilled quicker. Please keep us updated on him and thank you so much for what you are doing for him :)
 

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Oh wow! Okay i'd say he looks like he should be about 6 lbs at most, although it is a little hard to judge with something to compare. I'm going on his little stick legs ;) which might just seem disproportionate due to his size.

If he's acting so starved have you tried feeding him more times a day but lesser amounts total. My reasoning is that I remember reading that digs carry food for 6-8 hours before feeling "starved" in his case lol. Also when people want to lose weight they say to eat smaller meals five times a day, it helps the metabolism ( might not apply to dogs) but also keeps you fuller and less likely to gorge.
For his sake I'm thinking your gonna have to do something a little drastic, like cutting back his food a lot and substitute veggies. If he was more active I probably wouldn't suggest it but since he's not, and I can almost guarantee that walking causes him at least discomfort, I really feel reduced caloric intake is your best bet. Ask your vet though as I'm not a vet but I really feelyour at. Critical place with him
 

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Awwww poor thing, I am so glad you have him now are doing everything you can to help. No wonder it is hard for hime to walk. Keep us posted on him, he is adorable. I bet when he starts to loose weight he will be more active.
 

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Wow. Poor little guy! I would cut his food in half, give 1/4 cup (or less) each day and make up the difference in raw or steamed no salt green beans or in plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!). No treats at all unless they are no calorie treats such as a green bean or a piece of pumpkin (I buy pumpkins in the fall and cut them up and freeze them so I can give pieces as treats). Try to stay away from carrots if you can because they do have quite a bit of sugar in them.

Keep trying to walk him. I might carry a portion of his food with me on the walk to encourage and reward him for walking and to try to help him enjoy the walk.

I second the idea of a food ball or cube. If he's really that food motivated he will get the idea that pushing the ball around delivers food and that might make him move around more.

I know you are worried about the vomiting bile and that he is "still hungry". Of course he is... anyone that's ever been on a diet knows that even when you are eating correctly you are still hungry in the beginning. Give a couple of green beans before bed to help with the vomiting.

If he hasn't been seen by a vet in a couple of years he needs a check up asap. Bloodwork, including a thyroid profile, to make sure there is no physiologic reason that he is too fat.

ETA: To keep everyone in the family on the same page and to prevent sad eyes from making you scoop a little more kibble, take a bunch of sandwich baggies and scoop his days worth of kibble into each baggie. That way you can add the green beans, use them as treats, etc until there is no more in the bag. Then he is done with the caloric food for the day.
 

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Holy ****!!!! I don't know but me reading "15 pounds" didn't impact me as much as that photo evidence does!

My oldest chihuahua is currently on the Green Bean diet. She started out at roughly 6.5 pounds which is too much for her petite frame..she's got small little legs. I buy Wellness Small Breed for my dogs and it's a very tiny kibble, so what I feed her is 1/3 cup of green beans, 20 pieces of kibble, and a little bit of water.

I warm up the green beans and water for 10-15 seconds, then carefully count the kibble and add that in. Recently I've reduced the kibble from 20 to 16 pieces. I started her on it on December 9th and she's lost about 1 pound which has already proven to be a wonderful result; she runs around sooooo much more, does twirls, is more enthuased during walks, and even sneaks under the couch, lol.

I would love to encourage you to do this green bean diet with your baby boy because he desperately needs some major change in his health and appearance. You say he throws up yellow bile since it is a sign of hunger, so maybe what you can do is start his green bean diet at larger portions and once he begins to lose weight, you can gradually reduce to the recommended portions.

Hope you keep us updated! :ngreet2:
 

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Update:

Kiwi had his checkup last weekend. The doctor told us he has no thyroid problems and basically just gave us some new food to buy. I am having doubts that this will work, considering we have had him on diet food for a while. Anyways, if a month passes and he hasn't lost 3% of his body weight as the doctor suggested we may have to put him on medication to help him lose the weight.

Anyone know if there are any bad side effects for weight loss medications?
 

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Wow. Poor little guy! I would cut his food in half, give 1/4 cup (or less) each day and make up the difference in raw or steamed no salt green beans or in plain canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!). No treats at all unless they are no calorie treats such as a green bean or a piece of pumpkin (I buy pumpkins in the fall and cut them up and freeze them so I can give pieces as treats). Try to stay away from carrots if you can because they do have quite a bit of sugar in them.

Keep trying to walk him. I might carry a portion of his food with me on the walk to encourage and reward him for walking and to try to help him enjoy the walk.

I second the idea of a food ball or cube. If he's really that food motivated he will get the idea that pushing the ball around delivers food and that might make him move around more.

I know you are worried about the vomiting bile and that he is "still hungry". Of course he is... anyone that's ever been on a diet knows that even when you are eating correctly you are still hungry in the beginning. Give a couple of green beans before bed to help with the vomiting.

If he hasn't been seen by a vet in a couple of years he needs a check up asap. Bloodwork, including a thyroid profile, to make sure there is no physiologic reason that he is too fat.

ETA: To keep everyone in the family on the same page and to prevent sad eyes from making you scoop a little more kibble, take a bunch of sandwich baggies and scoop his days worth of kibble into each baggie. That way you can add the green beans, use them as treats, etc until there is no more in the bag. Then he is done with the caloric food for the day.
Lot's of good points in omg's response. I've got a fat boy (actually two) that is on a diet and is doing nicely. The first thing I did was cut out all "dog" treats. They get carrots, grn beans, etc. for treats. Bu couldn't have walked too far at first either but my goodness does he have more energy now since he's lost. RE: vomiting bile, Bu does that every once in awhile and yes, dividing the days portion into smaller portions is a good idea. I do indeed measure their days food out in snack zip locks and it works like a charm! Good Luck, it's as much owner discipline as anything. :) I always want to cave but, then I try to remember how tickled I am to see them up and moving again!
 
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