The Weight Loss Challenge
Yes, it is the New Year and even dogs have to take under consideration that this might be a good time to take off a few of our extra pounds. Not that me, Miss Sadie, has anything to worry about, but my partner and playmate Mr. Yule had to go through what he thought was a “Chinese water torture” treatment to lose a few necessary pounds.
A far as dogs are concerned, we really don’t worry about our waistlines like you humans do, but extra weight is detrimental to our health. Not that we spend too much time thinking about that either. In a dog’s world next to having our humans around, food is of the utmost importance.
Seriously, I think food is our number one priority, I know, cause no one enjoys food more than I do.
However, getting back to the seriousness of the obese or overweight dog. It is said that more than 40 percent of the dogs in the United States are obese and/or way overweight.
Most dog owners do not know or feel that their dogs are overweight. So how can a loving owner tell? My Grandma says it easy.
First stand over your dog and look down at him/her, if your dog has an hourglass shape when you are looking down, that’s good. However, if the tummy plumps out and you see patches of fat along the hips, neck and chest, that’s not so good.
Another test is if you can feel your dog’s ribs and a small layer of fat that is good too, but, if you can feel away all day and not find a rib that’s bad.
If your dog fails the test the first thing you should do is take him/her to the vet for a check up and if your dog proves to be healthy, your vet will prescribe a diet for you to follow for your dog. Notice I said for you to follow for your dog! You know we cannot read or truly care to follow a diet, food is too important, so it is up to you to see that we obey our veterinarian.
Why is it important that we do? Well, gram says obesity can cause many health problems in dogs, just as it does in humans.
It can cause diabetes, under active thyroid problems, and something called Cushing’s s disease. (Cushing’s disease may show up as some minor hair loss or urinary tract problem, but left-untreated can cause diabetes, pancreatitis, seizures and even death.) Diet here is important.
Not only that but obesity can cause orthopedic problems, arthritis, high blood pressure and even respiratory problems just to name a few things.
So what’s dog owner to do? My Gram says it is the same old stuff you humans have to do. Cut down on food consumption, watch the carbohydrates and get plenty of exercise! Sound familiar? Sounds horrible to me.
Dog’s need to lose weight slowly, no crash diets here. Monitoring what goes into the tummy and adding exercise (walking and playing ball) will do the trick.
Start out by measuring the food, your vet may suggest a lower calorie dog food, skip the fatty treats and there is even a prescription weight loss medication for dogs with severe obesity.
Now how do you convince your dog this is fun? Healthy snacks that are non-fattening are a good way to start. My mom gives Mr. Yule and me some great raw treats like carrots, apple slices, broccoli pieces, raw green beans, hardboiled eggs pieces, cottage cheese, and even cooked chicken.
Our real meal is measured out and once in awhile mixed with a special treat like chicken broth or some cooked veggies.
Mr. Yule isn’t really interested in too much exercise cause he is getting elderly, but I make certain he moves around everyday and plays. He has lost about 10 to 12 pounds and looks rather handsome.
My mom and my gram say it is up to you, our humans, to keep our weight under control, we can’t open the frig or get the cookies out of the jar, that’s your job. The hardest thing to do is not fall for our big brown eyes and our begging talent.
When we whine and beg, distract us by playing a game, give us a chase around the yard, take us for a walk or teach us a new trick. This will get our mind off of food, make us healthier and tire us out. Remember a tired dog is a happy dog!
Love till next time,
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