As you probably know, I appreciate owners that keep their dogs fit. Whilst scrolling on Facebook, I had seen pictures of a dachshund that had lost an incredible amount of weight. I decided to approach his owner to ask about his weight loss progress, and she explained how Finnegan lost 7 pounds after switching to a raw diet. She wrote the following.
Finnegan’s condition before weight loss
Finnegan is currently 8 years old and had been overweight since the age of 1. While living with my family, Finnegan was always free fed, meaning he had constant access to his Ol’ Roy kibble. After him being free fed for three years, I moved out of my parents’ home with Finnegan and my other dogs. This made it possible for me to choose their diet.
During the time Finn was overweight, he was diagnosed epileptic and had to take phenobarbital (medication designed to treat specific forms of epilepsy in humans as well as animals). His seizures were progressively getting more frequent and longer during the time that he was fed kibble.
Finnegan also had super dry skin combined with a greasy smelly coat (even fresh out of a bath he would smell). By mid 2014 I’d almost stopped petting him because it was just such a bother to have to go wash my hands after I did, just to get rid of the smell. Even sleeping near him wasn’t fun anymore.
The obesity resulted in bad sleep apnea for Finnegan, and it was incredibly common for me to think he wasn’t going to wake up. It would feel like he wasn’t breathing, that is how shallow it got. Many times I’d literally have to pick him up and pat him a little before he woke.
Switching to raw
After I moved out, I immediately cut back on Finnegan’s and my other dogs’ daily amount of food. I chose to feed them a measured amount twice a day, instead of giving them free access. After doing research, I switched all my dogs to Earthborn Grain Free kibble. I expected that to help Finnegan a lot, but sadly it didn’t. Green bean diets, cutting back, increasing exercise – none of that helped. He was still obese, and he still had seizures. His thyroid and everything else of relevance was checked by a veterinarian, there was no medical reason found for him to still be so severely overweight.
In 2014, when Finnegan was 5, I decided to switch to home prepared raw instead of kibble. I figured it was my last option available to provide Finn with a better, healthier life. Progress was slow at first but I didn’t realize when I’d first calculated his daily intake, the calculator I’d used online was broken. Hence, I was feeding Finn more than he technically needed and sometimes I’d splurge to be nice. It took me almost a year to get Finnegan’s daily intake right. He was fed 3.2 ounces of raw food a day, and if I splurged even less than an ounce he would regress and gain weight immediately.
After starting with Finnegan’s raw diet in 2014, I saw some changes to his wellbeing, but it was not until late 2015 that I was finally able to see real progress in Finnegan’s overall health.
Quickly after switching to a raw diet, Finnegan no longer smelled, his skin was healthier looking than it ever had been, and he was more energetic. I also decided after the first couple of months or so, to take him off phenobarbital. I’d heard people mention how they had stopped offering the medication after switching their dogs to raw. I was not sure about it at first, but I was curious. In August 2014 he had his final seizure. It was incredibly mild and I attributed it to him still being in what was considered a detox period related to switching to a raw diet. Finnegan has been seizure free for three years.
I’m not sure off the top of my head how long it took for him to lose the 7 pounds once he finally started losing weight. But after losing some weight, his metabolism seemed to improve. Now, he eats a similar amount as all of my other Dachshunds and does just fine. Finnegan also used to go to the vet a lot for what I would call “tar poo”. Which can best be described as black, bloody diarrhea, which he had almost regularly. But he has not had that since being on a balanced raw diet.
I’d love to say I did loads of work with Finn to get him in shape, but really I don’t live in a place for it. I hardly have what can be considered a yard, and Finn is still a very lazy dog. He’s an old soul,he’d rather lounge in the sun all day than play.
As becomes clear from this story, Finnegan lost weight due a change in diet. He was fed a diet rich in carbohydrates prior to switching to raw, and by excluding those from his diet entirely, he soon began shedding the pounds. We hope this post inspired you to make some changes in your (dog’s) life, and to keep your pets fit and healthy! Don’t forget to check out our educational page on weight maintenance for more ticks and trips!
Follow Finnegan’s owner and his dachshund friends on their Facebook page All Things Ender.