How to get your Senior Dog on a Weight Loss Homemade Diet

June 10, 2018


Trying to balance weight loss and an ailing senior dog's requirements is not ideal, but very much  possible. I did not want to starve our dog. So, I got creative and figured out how to handle a weight loss meal plan while still ensuring our dog was given a homemade diet.

We woke up one morning and found that our senior German shepherd, Mido, couldn't walk. It scared us to bits and we had no idea what to do. He had been slowly suffering from arthritis and we had been taking him for swimming as a physiotherapy aid. Yet we were not ready to experience what we did.

Thankfully, we found a great vet who helped us get our dog back on track. With laser therapy and physiotherapy, we have managed to get Mido to a point where he could walk slowly again. It also helped that a friend sourced for gym mat floorings for the home. With the gym mats in place, Mido was slipping less and walking was becoming a reality again.

We also had to get him on a homemade diet as it was essential to keep his weight down. The lighter he was, the easier he would walk. We were advised to cut his diet to only vegetables and meat. But still had to ensure that he wasn't losing too much muscle. Mido had to lose 10kgs. Every kg lost would help in mobility and we had to keep him as thin as possible from here on out. I was adamant on not placing him on kibble and wanted to cook a homemade diet for him so I got to researching on what could be done. 

The doctor was still keeping him on a multivitamin, vitamin B12, vitamin C, fish oil, vitamin E glucosamine and calcium supplements daily in order to give him the daily requirements he needed. We included a weekly vitamin D supplement as well.

Keeping to doctor's orders, Mido is only being given vegetables and meat. The doctor had suggested that we add buttermilk in his diet daily which will help in digestion and calcium levels. He's taken to the buttermilk and has loved it. Mischka, our younger dog has also developed a love for buttermilk.

Our Weight Loss Homemade Diet as follows:

Breakfast

2 cups cut fruit and vegetable platter.
Vegetables and fruits to consider are; carrots, cucumbers, apples, mangoes and pears


Lunch

2 medium sized vegetable like cauliflower, cabbage or bottle gourd cooked and then blitzed with a hand blender. 
4 tablespoon of cooked oats
A pinch of organic turmeric
2 chicken pieces including soup - debone the chicken. (Please don't feed your dog cooked chicken bones.)

To note:
If you have a dog that doesn't require to lose much weight or if he seems like he's losing too much weight on this diet, you could add  0.5 cup mung dhal to his lunch and 100g cheese ( I use cottage cheese) to his dinner.

Evening snack

Buttermilk

To make buttermilk:
Add 4 tablespoons of yogurt (preferably thick greek yogurt) to 1 cup of water
Add ice to the mixture 
Whisk into a smooth liquid like consistency

If you're uncomfortable feeding your dog too much dairy, you can keep it light by adjusting the amount of yogurt you add.
I generally buy yogurt that doesn't have any salt or sugar added to it. I usually try to make my own curd at home for the dogs if time permits.


Dinner

2 medium sized vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage or bottle gourd
Add to this a rotation of additional vegetables which can be changed daily for variety such as:
1 beetroot or a handful of long beans or small cup of green peas or 1 carrot
Cook the ingredients above
Add a pinch of organic turmeric powder
Blitz with a hand blender
Add 2 boneless chicken pieces with soup to the bowl
Add fish oil to the food bowl when feeding


If you have a smaller dog, you can adjust the amount given accordingly. The above measurements are based on a 30-35kg dog.


The reason why I break up the food into 4 meals instead of the daily 2 meals is that you'll find that your dog will be generally hungrier when he goes on a diet. The 4 meals helps in providing him with food at intervals to help him deal with the hunger.

First month on the diet, Mido lost 3 kgs. He had lost weight noticeably even though the scale was only indicating the slight lost. His blood test came back good and he was not having any deficiencies. He was happy and his walking got better

Second month, another 3 kgs. Tests were all good. He started walking. We were feeling relieved, we really thought we had lost him when he couldn't walk. 

We're currently in the third month. The laser therapies are now once a week. There was a further 4kgs lost in weight and Mido is walking around the house more. He's still swaying the hips a bit but he is losing weight and recovering well. We are hopeful that he will get better.

I think its important to realise when our pets require to lose weight and to adjust their diets as early as possible. It would also be beneficial to try and give your pets more natural or homemade meals if possible. You could start by giving half kibble and half homemade initially if you're unsure. I've been feeding our dogs with natural homemade meals since the dogs were a few years old. The dogs seem healthier and happier since the switch.

The biggest advice I'd give any pet owner is, to start your pets on lots of fruits and vegetables when they are puppies. His diet requirements in his senior years will require him to eat these and it is always best to condition your dogs when they are younger. You'll have a far easier time changing his requirements when older.

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