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I have two Beagles; both are overweight... I asked my Vet what food he would recommend for them and he said Iams or Eukanuba.... UNBELIEVABLE coming from a Vet...

Answer
Technically, you have not asked a question, but here I go anyway since this is a subject close to my heart.

Dogs get overweight the same way we do. They are taking in too many calories for the amount of exercise they are doing. To lose weight, they need to eat LESS than their maintenance amount, and increasing their exercise will help to speed the process up a bit. When I have to diet someone here, I cut him/her back to 1/2-3/4 cup of food (for the entire day), depending on the size of the dog. A smaller bitch will get the smaller amount, while a larger male will do fine on slightly more. When I lay my hands on a dog's ribcage, I want to feel its ribs without pushing down on them, yet I do not want to be able to feel the dog's hip bones.

Here is my recommendation for choosing a good food:

  The first ingredient should be a specified meat meal (ie. chicken meal, lamb meal, etc.; meaning all water is removed from the meat). I will accept a label that lists a specified meat, followed by a specified meat meal (ie. chicken, chicken meal). There should be a minimum of grains (one, or, at the most, two), there should be NO by-products, NO preservatives such as BHA and BHT, NO ethoxyquin, and NO menadione sodium bisulfate (source of vitamin K; this is banned in Europe!).

Dogs also do not need extra salt, but I might fudge on this if I like the rest of the ingredients. Fiber shouldn't be over 4%; more fiber equates to more poop to pick up. I like to see probiotics and enzymes in the food (acidolpholus), and glucosamine/chondroitin is a good thing as a dog ages. Corn is an excellent source of the omega fatty acids if one doesn't have a dog that is allergic to it, but fish/fish oil will accomplish the same thing.

When I go to a company's website to see the nutritional analysis of a product, this means as much to me as seeing a list of the ingredients. I want to know how much protein, fat, and fiber is in that food.

My dogs do best on 25% protein and 15% fat due to their activity levels and our colder winter climate, plus the large fenced area they have to run in. Some dogs require lower fat levels because of hyperlidipemia (too much fat) in their bloodstream (which can cause pancreatitis), and I would be careful of too much protein as that can cause kidney issues... avoid anything over 25% protein. The average pet dog would probably do well on something like 22% protein and 12% fat. One important thing to remember is that, if a dog is neutered, it will rquire LESS food than one that is intact due to the change in hormone levels.

Let me know if I didn't answer your questions...

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Karen Brittan

Expertise

I have been showing miniature schnauzers in conformation, obedience, and earthdog for forty years, and am a professional dog groomer. I am not a veterinarian and cannot answer questions of a veterinary nature. However, I can give my opinion or share some experiences on some health issues. Everyone should remember that this is a volunteer service, and few of us are up late into the night. Medical emergencies require a veterinary visit, or at least a telephone call... not an internet question which might not be viewed and answered until hours later. If your dog is sick or injured, it should be seen by a licensed professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Experience

I have taught obedience classes and have taught people how to groom for many years.

Learn more about me and my dogs: http://britmorschnauzers.com

Organizations
Member of: American Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Miniature Schnauzer Club; Twin Cities Obedience Training Club; Elk River Kennel Club; Minnesota Professional Pet Groomers Association; Greater Twin Cities Earthdog Club.

Education/Credentials
Fifty-one years of living with, observing, and training dogs, along with numerous seminars during that time.

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