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Is my adult male overweight?

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My 5yo smooth coated male "matured" at what looked like a pretty healthy 45 pounds at three years of age.  He is now 56 pounds which seems like he "has" to be over weight.  But he does not really look or feel that way. Blue is 20" tall at the shoulders and 21" over his hips.  Neck, chest and waist measure 16", 27" and 23" respectively.  Skinfold on belly = 1/2" (same as mine :-).

For an urban border collie, Blue gets lots of exercise.  I walk him three miles six or seven mornings per week. We typically have one or two brief border collie soccer sessions every day.  He and his 2 year old "sister" have at least four lengthy and highly energetic play fights every day.

She weighs 32 pounds and has a figure like a wasp.

Blue Dog Weight.PNG

Big Blue.jpg

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After reading this, I am going to have to conclude that he is overweight.  He has a waist but nothing like he used to have and his ribs are only evident when a modest pressure is applied.  Nothing left to do but cut back his caloric intake.

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That is a good photo of Blue from above.  I would agree that he is a little overweight, and cutting back on his food should be all that is needed.  He does not seem dangerously overweight, in that he does have a slight waist, but he is a little blockier than is ideal.

I tend to adjust my boys' diets constantly depending on how their body feels, as their metabolism seems to vary with the seasons etc.  They pretty much get weighed when they go the vets, and that is all.  I find that body score is so much more individually accurate than weight.

 

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Thanks for your opinion.  I wanted to believe he was just a muscle man but I know you are right.  Not surprisingly, he loves to eat and will give you the foot if you are late with his victuals.  He and his sister are currently being fed twice a day.  I'm thinking of cutting that back to once for both of them.  She is still thin but has cruised from 29 to 32 pounds since the beginning of this year.  She is 22 months old.  He cleans his bowl in an instant while she has to be persuaded to eat. What do you think?

As for the weighing, I do human weight management work and am kind of a nut about that.  I weigh them both every Sunday lately.  If only I could get them to lay still for a DXA :). Again though, I have to agree with you ... feeling for ribs trumps weight on the scale.

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There's no nice, easy formula for ideal weight based on height. There are too many other variables, such as bone (some dogs finer boned, some medium, others heavier boned) and muscle vs. fat (muscle weighs more than fat). And, of course, there are significant variations in border collies' sizes. Just looking at a dog (or seeing a photo) can be deceiving, too, depending on the dog's coat. You really have to put your hands on a dog for a good evaluation.

A dog at good weight has ribs that can be felt easily without having to press, same with backbone and hip bones, and a waist tuck. None of these should be extreme.

I don't understand the chart you posted, primarily because the date axis doesn't follow a linear progression. (Starts in 2020, then '18, back to '20, on to '19, then to '20 again?) Essentially, though, such a graph should show a fairly steady increase from birth weight to adult weight with only minor ups and downs once a dog's reached physical adulthood. For border collies that's well before 3 years of age. Most of their growth is achieved by a year to a year and a half old, with some slight gain till around 2, in my experience. If healthy they should remain pretty steady after that.

What vets use is a body condition chart that's been posted here on the Boards several times and can also easily be found on the internet. It's easy enough for a lay person to follow, but I wonder if you've asked your vet about Blue's weight? (Many vets won't comment about a dog's weight unless specifically asked; they see way too many overweight dogs whose owners become very defensive or even combative when someone says something that can be seen as critical of their care.)

The photo you posted of Blue looks to me like a dog who could stand to loose a few pounds.

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16 hours ago, Blue Dog said:

Thanks for your opinion.  I wanted to believe he was just a muscle man but I know you are right.  Not surprisingly, he loves to eat and will give you the foot if you are late with his victuals.  He and his sister are currently being fed twice a day.  I'm thinking of cutting that back to once for both of them.  She is still thin but has cruised from 29 to 32 pounds since the beginning of this year.  She is 22 months old.  He cleans his bowl in an instant while she has to be persuaded to eat. What do you think?

He looks a bit over to me, as well. As far as cutting back to one meal a day, I'd stick with 2 meals, and take maybe an eighth of a cup out of one. 1) You're  likely to get dogs demanding to be fed both evening and morning if you cut one out. 2) Reducing by an eighth of a cup might be all you need.

Do you use treats as training rewards? You can switch to kibble, slowly, and count that as part of their meals. 

You don't mention living with any other humans, a spouse, family member or roommate. If there is another human in the household, make sure that person(s) is not feeding the dog, unbeknownst to you. I had a room mate years and years ago who fixed himself popcorn several times a week as an evening snack. Since I was working evenings at the time, I had no idea he shared his snack with my dog, until she turned roly-poly. Neither of them was happy when that happy ritual came to an end.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Thank you Urge to Herd.

We don't use treats as training rewards.  Praise seems to trump treats for that.  What we do do however—and this seems perverse when I see it in print—is we use treats as a reward for eating.  The big guy (who is going to eat every molecule every time anyway) gets a single, regular size Greenie or a Good n Fun "Wing" for dessert after each meal.  Little Bonnie, who does not eat like a dog, gets as many as three treats for emptying her bowl.  We have already agreed that this needs to come to one treat per meal.  Very often Bonnie will leave some or all of her food and forgo her treat(s).

I am the cook in this house.  The only other human here is my wife who is also the dog chef.  Bonnie gets bits and pieces of our snacks from time to time but Blue will not eat in her presence so he gets none of that.  We don't snack much in general so even Bonnie is getting very little of that.

Here is rough coated Bonnie from above:

 

Dorsal Bonnie.jpg

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11 minutes ago, Blue Dog said:

Thank you Urge to Herd.  Praise seems to trump treats for that.  Excellent!

What we do do however—and this seems perverse when I see it in print—is we use treats as a reward for eating.  Not perverse at all! My parents were very strict about dessert - you ate everything on your plate before you got dessert. Still make sense to me.

Very often Bonnie will leave some or all of her food and forgo her treat(s). Dogs eating less than normal doesn't  bother me much, unless it goes on for a long time and shows up in unwanted weight loss.

I am the cook in this house.  The only other human here is my wife who is also the dog chef.  Bonnie gets bits and pieces of our snacks from time to time but Blue will not eat in her presence so he gets none of that.  We don't snack much in general so even Bonnie is getting very little of that. Sounds like you're doing it right, then. The dog I referenced above could never be broken of staring at me and drooling while I was eating. I had to shut her in another room if I wanted to eat in peace.

My basic behavioral rule around anything dog is if it's behavior I wouldn't mind from a human, it's probably ok. If it's behavior I wouldn't accept from a human, it's probably not ok. Examples: I won't allow a human to yell loudly at me. Dog version: dog gets to bark once or twice if in alert, then it needs to be quiet.  Do I allow a human friend to sit beside me on the couch? Usually yes. Dog version: Do I allow a dog to sit beside me on the couch? Yes, when invited.  

Hope this is helpful.

Ruth & Gibbs

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Blue Dog said:

...we use treats as a reward for eating....Little Bonnie, who does not eat like a dog, gets as many as three treats for emptying her bowl.  We have already agreed that this needs to come to one treat per meal.  Very often Bonnie will leave some or all of her food and forgo her treat(s).

Just be careful that this doesn't come back to bite you in the butt. Dogs who self regulate are much fewer and further between than those who will happily turn down food because their bodies know when they've had enough. Giving Bonnie treats for what may be overeating could encourage her to eat too much and also become pudgy.

With all the dogs I've had, I've only ever had one who wouldn't eat more than he needed to -- and you couldn't make him eat more than he wanted. My current 3 have all experienced food insecurity in their former lives. (Before entering shelters/rescues one was starving as a stray when he was picked up, one was obviously malnourished as a 6 month old pup and the last was confiscated for neglect/abuse from a hoarder.) No issues whatsoever with any of them turning down food. :rolleyes:

I agree that gradually reducing their current portions would be kinder than going to just one meal a day cold turkey. If you want to go to just one daily feeding, I'd recommend gradually making one of the meals smaller until it's just been phased out. You may have to increase the other somewhat to achieve the desired caloric intake.

p.s. I also miss having a dog who values a word of praise to a food or toy reward. Only the first border collie I had (the one who wouldn't overeat) was like that. No interest whatsoever in food but tell him he was a good dog and he was over the moon!

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Good points all GentleLake.  With their weekly weigh-ins, it is unlikely that anyone is going to get too thin.  We have decided to stick with two meals a day—King's breakfast and Pauper's supper as well as scaling back Le Bon's treats.

My dogs have been a little spoiled.  When we first got Blue, my wife was working and I was not.  If I wasn't exercising alone, he and I were doing something together.  Other than being the runt of a large litter from Welsh parents, he has had no trauma in his life until 6 week-old, 3-pound Bonnie moved in three years later.  She was immediately in charge and he was traumatized for two to three months.  By then, I was pretty busy and my wife was retired.  While less athletically inclined than I, she lavished a ton of full-time love and attention on both of them.  Scolding rolls right off both of their backs but, like your first, praise gets immediate, gratifying results.

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