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Lunar

Fat border collie?

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Okay, Oreo's not FAT, but she borders on overweight. I just don't understand how a dog who is mostly border collie (we were told she has 1/8 blue heeler in her - I got her from a friend's litter 9 years ago) can be so prone to being overweight and so lazy. She loves to sleep all day. Now she plays in the yard with us and the puppy, and she gets near-daily walks at the dog park (2 laps), but she refuses to play with the other dogs at the park. She doesn't like to run, she just basically trots along beside me, sniffing things. She's on a pretty strict diet, and we have fed her less than what is recommended for her weight for many years - if we feed the recommended amount she gets very fat. I'm happy now that I can feel her ribs and her tummy has a little bit of definition. She is almost 9 years old now, but she's always been lazy and battling the weight. Her dog-momma was the same way, however.

 

So you tell me... is she too fat? Take into account that she has cowlicks on both sides, very fluffy fur that sticks out... and a hefty, round ribcage, too. =)

 

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And a cute picture for fun.

 

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She doesn't appear to be overweight by the picture. Have you had her thyroid level checked? My lab/golden mix has a thryoid condition. She was prone to gain weight, dull coat, laid around most of the time and she had an odor even after her bath.

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Hmm, no, never checked her thyroid. Funny the vet never mentioned that after many years of complaining about her weight and coat. Her coat looks fine now, btw - I think it just needed better brushing. I found an undercoat rake that works WONDERS. The old one sucked.

 

Oreo only weighs about 48 lbs. Haven't had her checked in a while, though. Vet thinks she should be down nearer 40. - I think somewhere in the middle would be ideal.

 

Niki is so pretty. She must be taller than Oreo, to weigh that much more.

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She's adorable. Hey, border collies don't need to be anorexic.

 

We just got back from England - Yorkshire - where we saw lots of border collies. Everything from foxy-thin to far heftier than any of these photos. All incredibly healthy.

 

Maybe some border collies are just mesomorphs.

 

BTW, hypothyroidism is the most overdiagnosed condition in dogs - and the most underdiagnosed in post-menopausal women. Go figure.

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What beautiful pups.

 

Oreo is gorgous, she looks a lot like my maggie, coat and shape wise, but maggie is all black. She weighs very close to maggie too, maggie is 45 and the vet says she is perfect. Its just the round rib cage that makes them look thick. My vet said, as long as you can feel her ribs when standing and as long as, from a profile, her tummy tucks up a bit...she is fine.

 

THat is odd about her being a lazy bum though, might want to have her thyroid checked...vet probably didnt mention it because most cant do it at their office...they have to send to a different state usually.

 

But she is beautiful to me. Looks in great health.

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Thanks guys, that makes me feel a lot better. At one point her tummy didn't tuck up a bit, but now that it does, I feel much better about her shape.

 

She's always been very lazy and laid-back. She gets the zoomies now and then, but she's never had the typical border collie energy. She's quite happy to lounge all day. Maybe it's just poor breeding... quite possible, since I just got her from a friend's litter (BYB, yeck - but I was 12 =/). I think her mom (what IS the proper word for that? Bitch? Dam?) was about the same - but more high-strung and, errr, prone to biting.

 

Stacysbc, I love the line on your website: "I may have another Border Collie one day, as she has definitely given me a love of the breed but I will never have another Maggie May." That's just how I feel.

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Originally posted by Lunar:

She's always been very lazy and laid-back. She gets the zoomies now and then, but she's never had the typical border collie energy. She's quite happy to lounge all day. Maybe it's just poor breeding... quite possible, since I just got her from a friend's litter (BYB, yeck - but I was 12 =/). I think her mom (what IS the proper word for that? Bitch? Dam?) was about the same - but more high-strung and, errr, prone to biting.

So you know that your dog is not like other border collies , so don't expect her to look like every other.

If she is healthy and the fabulous dog you've talked about . .. poor breeding thats crap. Sounds like great breeding you got a great DOG!

 

 

sterling and mel mel

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So you know that your dog is not like other border collies , so don't expect her to look like every other.

If she is healthy and the fabulous dog you've talked about . .. poor breeding thats crap. Sounds like great breeding you got a great DOG!

Hehehe, good point. She's far from perfect, but I love her to DEATH and she'll always be my baby. And, strangely, she's always been very healthy... despite her questionable eating habits.

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which breed is more well known? Border Collie or Australian Shepherd? I had an uncle (who's a vet) come over, and I swear he was only looking at the Border Collie in him. His words? "Thats the fattest thing I've ever seen!" Aussies are wider, and Jake has a wide ribcage. We recently took him to the vet for an exam, and it turns out that he weighs 65.5lbs (he's 25 inches at the shoulder). Jake also has fur that sticks out and makes him look extra poofy and chubby.

 

This picture shows the poofy side

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This is when he's wet and his fur is slicked down

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But he can stand to lose a few more pounds (I'll eventually take a picture of his back when its WET)

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You know, today I was thinking maybe it's not ACD that is the other breed in her... maybe it's Aussie?? That would explain the ribcage... her Dam was the same kind of body type, and actually mostly grey-and-black, though I know (now) BCs do come in merle it's more common in Aussies. Jake's body looks SO much like Oreo... and the fuzzy, flippy fur, too.

 

Eh, it's all just postulation.

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Leah,

 

Actually, Niki looks very nearly obese to me. She is carrying a lot of extra weight on her back behind the rib cage for sure. There should be a pronounced tuck behind the ribs, and she looks like she goes out if anything.

 

On a fit dog, you should be able to feel the individual ribs without applying pressure, but they should not be prominent. Same for the hip bones. (Incidentally, this is true for all breeds of dog, not just Border collies.)

 

It's hard to say what a dog should weigh because there are so many different shapes and sizes, but I have yet to see a female Border collie over 50 pounds that didn't need to lose weight.

 

Lethargy and what seems like a little extra weight go hand in hand in many cases. But bear in mind that you have to think about weight in a relative way. While five pounds more or less might not be too much for a person, it's a very big deal for a dog. What sounds like "a few pounds" is really very close to health crisis. Basically, if you think of every pound on a typicaly Border collie-sized dog being worth four or five pounds on a person, you'll have it about right. If a dog is 10 pounds overweight, it's like a person being as much as 50 pounds over.

 

That's enough to slow you down. Believe me, I know.

 

Of course, low thyroid can also contribute to obesity, but I think it's more likely too much food for the amount of exercise.

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I agree with Bill 100%. In fact, all of the photos posted previously in this thread show overweight dogs in my opinion.

 

Of all the medical concerns, I worry most about what I would be doing to their joints if I allowed them to carry too much weight.

 

Here's a pic of how - in my opinion - a border collie should look. This dog happens to be smooth coated, but all of our 8 are in roughly this shape - including an 11 year-old and two spayed bitches.

 

PR

 

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I have to agree with Bill and PR,

On any dog you should be able to see an obvious tuck behind the rib cage, from either the side or the top. Below are two dogs that show exactly what I mean. Kat, below, has quite a wide rib cage, but the tuck is still evident. You can easily feel her ribs. she actually appears to be a bit bigger (thanks to that rib cage) than my other young bitch (last photo) but weighs something like 33 pounds (compared to the latter's range of 35-37 pounds).

 

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The dog below is the dam of my youngest bitch (who is shown below this image). Both mother and daughter tend toward a chunkier frame, but you can still see an obvious tuck in this side view of Quest working (by the way, I love Quest, which is why I got Twist, but Quest is not mine--I'm just using this photo I took of her at a trial as an example).

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Here's a picture of Twist taken by Christine Koval of Pastors Hill Photography ( http://www.pastorshill.com ). You can see the tuck here as well (although the coloring gives a slightly more tucked look than the reality).

 

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I have another dog with a lot of coat, so it is harder to tell just by looking how big he is, but if you put your hands on his rib cage, there is no difficulty whatsoever feeling his ribs (sorry, but I don't have a good side view pic of him).

 

As Bill said, being overweight is more stressful on the joints and so may make a dog less active. Thinness has proven to be a life extender for humans and other animals.

 

You are doing the right thing by feeding a reduced calorie diet, but you probably need to gradually increase your dog's exercise as well. Like all the nutritionists tell us humans, diet alone won't really help with permanent weight loss. A combination of diet and exercise is the key. For a dog,two laps around a park really isn't that much exercise. it will take more effort on your part to get your dogs to exercise more--don't count on play with another or slow walks to be sufficient. Just remember that as with any new exercise program, you will need to start slowly and work up to greater lengths of time and intensity.

 

J.

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To those of you that said Niki is obese, my vet says she is fine and she and the other dogs get excercise about 4 hours a day. I have the two older dogs on weight management food, 2 cups a day broken into two feedings, no treats or human food. So what am I doing wrong? BTW she is 21 inches and now weighs

53 pounds. It was the winter time when she gained the extra weight. Let me add that Niki has alot of fur and I can feel her ribs.

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Leah,

Please don't take offense at what people say about your dog. Many vets are not trained nutritionists and they don't see lots of truly athletic dogs. And that isn't to say that your dog has to be an athlete/working dog to be fit. If you can place your hands on her sides and esily feel her ribs then she is not obese. If you have to press into her to feel those ribs, then she is indeed overweight.

 

FWIW, my 10-year-old border collie x aussie weighs about 44 pounds. My vet says his weight is fine, but frankly I would like to see him a pound or two lighter. He doesn't get lots of sustained exercise, so I really have no one to blame but myself if he's bigger than I'd like (n his younger days he used to be my jogging partner). He gets 1 cup a day of Nutro light (for overwieght/older dogs) and the occasional treat. My most active and thinnest dogs get 2 to 2.5 cups of food a day (that would be Kat and Farleigh, the latter being the dog I described who has a lot of coat but is actually quite thin--but then he runs obsesively whenever he is outside and so gets A LOT of exercise), and that is a mix of two premium brands with more protein and fat than the diet food Indy is on. If you feel bad feeding a cup of kibble or less, you can always add pumpkin, green beans, etc. as filler.

 

J.

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I thought I'd add my two cents:

 

My Maggie is 19.5" at the shoulder and weighs around 32 or 33 lbs - she is at what I consider ideal for her build. I purposely keep my dog on the light end of normal because she runs agility and the less weight her joints must carry, the better.

 

I constantly monitor her weight by using the rib check method described by others and adjust her food intake accordingly. I feed her 1 to 1.5 cups of Eagle Pack Holistic split into two meals.

 

If I use a lot of treats I'll adjust how much she's fed to accomodate the extra calories. If she's bugging me about being hungry (i.e. getting the dog treats off the top shelf of my desk and eating them while I'm gone - lol) I'll give some carrots to fill her up but not add extra calories.

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I work for a vet and I am always surprised at the dogs that the vets say are fine but I think they are quite heavy. My spayed 4 year old female weighs 28 lbs soaking wet and I plan to keep her that way for her hips (she already has dysplastic changes and some arthritis), I think she stands around 18.5 inches tall. My intact 20 month old male weighs 43 lbs and that was hard fought, he stands around 20.5 inches tall. He is very difficult to get to eat and at his yearly vet visit his body condition score was 2.5 out of 9. The vet said he was just this side of emaciated and if she didnt know me she would worry about him. But both of them have rock hard muscles and stamina beyond belief. They also have very slow heartrates, also something she would worry about except that they are such athletes.

 

An easy way to reduce the amount of food being fed is to subtract 1/4 to 1/3 of the food and replace it with canned pumpkin (not pumpking pie filling). It will help them feel full but not add calories.

 

Olivia

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Thanks for the advise guys. Sorry for getting a bit defensive. My boy Aussie has a weight problem and maybe I am feeding too much. They eat Nutro Lite as well and 1 cup twice a day doesn't seem enough to me but I will cut it back again and try the filler ideas. Funny, I had a GSD years ago that couldn't gain weight at all because of a thyroid condition. People thought I was starving her. :rolleyes:

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That's one thing that bears repeating -- most vets will say that a fat dog is okay. THere are a number of reasons for this, one of which is that people don't like to hear that their dogs are fat.

 

We have constantly struggled with the weight of our old Australian shepherd, who should weigh about 55 pounds and has been known to tip the scales as high as 72. She currently gets about 1 cup (or a little bit more) of Diamond lamb and rice dog food. This low level of dog food allows us to not have to be Nazis about table scaps, which she was inadverently trained to expect as part of her diet.

 

But just as a point of reference, when she weighed about 68 pounds we took her to a vet away from home to have some porcupine quills removed. He commented on how athletic she was -- I thought he meant how good she was a throwing her weight around to avoid having the quills taken out -- but he was saying he thought she was fit.

 

Another true story: when I took Tweed into a fancy animal hospital in a big city to have his eyes checked, he was first seen by a "nurse" who tsk-tsked about his weight and was conerned that he might be suffering from parasites or some other disease. I assured him that Tweed was simply a fit, hard-working dog who didn't carry an ounce of fat but was certainly adequately nourished.

 

Then the actual vet came in. She ran her hands down his sides and along his back and asked if I would mind if she had a few of the interns and nurses come in and look at him. I was afraid she was going to tell them that this was a classic malnourished farm dog, etc., and have the SPCA on me. But no, she said it had been years since she had seen a dog in such top physical condition, and with the disposition to allow lots of strangers to feel him and listent to his heart ("My God, he's got a diesel in there!)

 

In any event, most animal care professionals are used to seeing fat dogs, so they aren't as concerned as perhaps they should be about dogs that are moderly overweight or even slightly obese.

 

As far as what to do about it, here's what worked with our Australian shepherd, and with one of our Border collies who tends to be an "easy keeper."

 

In the reducing stage, the first step is to cut out all treats and table scraps. We also put Annie on a light dog food for a while. The next big change we made was to reduce the availabilty of food. If she didn't eat it all in five or 10 minutes, we took it away and reduced her feed the next day by roughly that amount.

 

Eventually we got down to one cup a day, with no treats and no scraps. She would fuss about being hungry, but we just toughed it out.

 

We also tried to make sure that she got plenty of exercise. About 20 minutes of good strenuous exercise, plus walking and playing, etc. Then we gradually increased her food again (to keep her metabolism from going into starvation mode) to about a cup and three quarters and held it there for a few months. As long as she didn't seem to be gaining weight, we didn't adjust it downward.

 

Very gradually, the pounds came off. If you think about the process of going from 72 to 55 as being akin to a person losing nearly 100 pounds, you'll understand why it needs to be a gradual process. I think Annie's weight loss took nearly a year.

 

Maintining her weight has been a challenge. It's a matter of keeping a close eye on her body condition and decreasing her food if she starts gaining. (She's 13 now, so there's only so much we can increase her exercise.)

 

In the years since, we have occasionnally allowed her weight to creep up to 60 or so, but we've found that subsequent dieting has been easier and weight has come off quicker.

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Leah,

Two of my dogs only get 1.25 cups a day...Sierra (8.5 y.o.) is 20" and 33# and Zoe (5 y.o.) is 18" and 28#. Wick (2 y.o.) gets 2.25 cups per day and is 18" and 29#. All are appropriate weight, well-muscled, healthy dogs.

 

-Laura

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Laura,

 

How much exercise do your dogs get a day and what type of food do you feed them? My dog Mia (almost 2 y.o.) usually weighs anywhere between 30 and 33lbs but at her last vet visit she was up to 36lbs so I've cut back on the amount of food that I feed her. She used to get 2 cups of Wellness Super 5 mix and now she gets anywhere between 1.5 and 2 cups once a day depending on how much exercise she gets. Her weight is back down to 33lbs but I'm wondering if I'm still feeding her to much. I have to add that after our daughter was born she wouldn't eat her morning meal until dinner time so we only feed her once at night now.

 

It is because of their age that you only feed them 1.25 cups of food a day to two of your three dogs?

 

Gimmie Sue and Mia

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