Monday, November 2, 2009

When Your Dog Is Beyond Chubby

obese doggy

The Aha Moment

I decided to take both dogs on a long walk on Halloween. A huge part of this was to tire Cookie out so that she wouldn't be barking like a maniac when the trick or treaters came to visit. It turned out to be a day full of surprises.

I had found a grassy area and decided I would run them for a little. Cookie tended to get tired out easily but Gigi came to life running in a set of circles just like she did when I got her a year ago. In that moment, I realized that I had not been doing enough to give my dogs adequate exercise. I was being cautious with Cookie because of her injury. However, time has passed since then and she has recovered pretty well and Gigi's higher activity level was not being met. Both wound up calmer that day and weren't as antsy as they usually are.

Our Society Today

The way our dogs live, is a direct result of how we raise them. We all slack off now and then. I myself have done so on more than one occasion. However, four out of ten dogs are either overweight of obese in the U.S. While there are medical factors as well as some breeds having a disposition to a slow metabolism, this post isn't about those dogs. Some of the breeds that tend to gain weight easily are: Golden Retrievers, Bassett Hounds, Pugs, Cocker Spaniels (like Cookie) and Collies.

For some dogs, giving them an extra dog treat a day is like us having an extra candy bar. Giving them table scraps isn't much help either. It can just make them more finicky and throws their feeding schedule off track. Dogs are best when they have a solid routine for feeding and exercise. Our society has changed from having a more physical workday to having a more sedentary one, especially with all of the technology we have.

Even now, there's even a drug by Pfizer called Slentrol which was created for dog obesity. I think any drugs for that should be used as a last resort, but after cruising their site, they do have a great obesity risk indicator.

If you feel that your dog doesn't have the energy that he did compared to when you first brought him or her home, then you may want to step up the exercise regimen and/or reduce calorie intake. Doing this gradually is the best method. Dogs don't become obese overnight and it's not healthy for them to lose weight that way either.

Steps for prevention

Watch the fat content! Dry dog food can contain anywhere from 11 to 16 per cent fat. If you feel you're feeding them the right amount of food, then you may want to switch to a food with a lower percentage fat content. Some of you may want to make your own food for them. When you do that, there's less preservatives involved but it can be time consuming.

Make time for exercise! Many days can be really stressful. Sometimes the last thing a person wants to do is go out and exercise. Really, it helps both the person and the dog because it helps to release the stress.

While Cookie is overweight, she is still healthy enough to enjoy a run or chase the neighborhood squirrel. Anything extra I'm doing for her now, is to improve her quality of life as she gets into her senior years. Also, I aim to keep Gigi as active as she used to be.

Have any of you been in a similar situation? If so, what did you do?

Well thanks for stopping by. I hope your week is off to a good start.

Related Posts and Articles
The benefits of walking your dog part I
The Benefits of walking your dog part II
Obesity in Dogs
Preventing Dog Obesity


  1. That's a good point, Elena, that how we raise dogs affects how they live. I think it also reflects how we live. Being a couch potato is way too common in our culture, and any dog owners who prefer to spend their time in front of the boob tube doing 12-ounce curls certainly aren't going to be doing much good for their dogs as far as exercise goes!


  2. I think even the tiniest amount activity can make all the difference. It's not a bad thing to be a couch potato but all things are best when they are done in moderation. Thanks for writing in Pat. :)



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