I’m writing about this because my Willow was declared to be overweight and she needed for her health and mobility to lose weight. Really?
My dogs have always been about this size. I know she doesn’t fit the standard for female weight but neither do I. She needs surgery for an ACL injury that I don’t know what caused it, but if weight is a part of it, OK, I’ll attempt to help her lose weight.
The first return visit to the vet for an X-ray and she had lost all of 1 pound after three weeks on a special diet guaranteed to take off pounds. What I do know for sure is she’s always hungry. So … special diet dog food, special low-calorie treats, baby carrots for crunch and low calories, cut way down on treats, and she’s now always hungry.
She stares at me in the kitchen as if to ask where’s more food? I return her sad-eye look with my own forlorn expression and say there is no more until later today. Just hang in there for a few hours.
Apparently according to Dr. Ernest Ward, president of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, we eat too much and exercise too little. That may be true for me, but both of my dogs run a lot and eat much less than what is suggested on the back of the dog food bag. Ward goes on to say that to stay leaner and healthier they should have a higher protein diet.
Sometimes it’s difficult to determine how many calories are in a cup of dog food and are you feeding a level cup and not a heaping cup. In my case it’s a level cup, but then there are the biscuits, the other treats, the “toast time” in the morning, some table scraps earlier in the evening and the “good night” snack at bedtime.
I have tried to quit that and substitute baby carrots and green beans. Carrots are popular, but forget the green beans. They sniff and turn away. I have to agree with Dr. Ward that it’s the treats and extras that are the culprits.
The AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) directly links pet obesity to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, increased risk of cancer and orthopedic problems, including debilitating knee injuries and arthritis. Overweight dogs are more prone to heat exhaustion and exercise intolerance.
A 14-year study of Labrador retrievers disclosed that those kept at a healthy weight lived on average two years longer than their overweight peers. What better reason is there for being more watchful to what we’re feeding our fur babies than that?
Judy Lore is an Ark-Valley Humane Society volunteer. She has two retrievers and one is overweight and the other is only 9 months old and still in good shape. She said they will both benefit from more healthy eating – bring on those carrots for snacks.