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Pet People

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Penny, the 60-pound Beagle!



Yes, I once had a beagle who grew to the humongous weight of 60 pounds, the first stray I took in, Penny. She was about 6 when rescued and was underweight Big Time. Soon she fattened up to normal beagle size, about 35 pounds. Then, like for many of us, she started to pack on extra pounds, and more extra pounds and more! Some of you have mentioned weight problems with your own pets, so I thought we’d discuss it.

The vet thought I might be overfeeding her, but I insisted I wasn’t because by then I had three dogs and I fed them the same (they were all the same weight). Penny also started drinking more water and acted hungry all the time, which isn’t unusual for a hound, as they are all pigs. LOL. Also, beagles, like labs and some other breeds are more prone to being overweight than others.

The vet did blood work and found her thyroid levels were way off. We started medication (it was very cheap) and she dropped 12 pounds! She remained overweight, because she was old by then and had arthritis (took pain meds for that) so she couldn’t exercise as much to help with the weight issues. She died of a heart failure when she was about 14.

The first thing to do when you have a pet with weight problems is to check with your vet to make sure, like with Penny, there are no underlying health problems. But for most pets, it’s simply a matter of too much food and not enough exercise. Sound familiar? There are many good diet formulas on the market. When you switch, just add a bit of the new food to the old, then day by day gradually add more until a complete switch is made. Follow your vet’s advice or make sure to give the amount of food based on the pet’s weight that’s listed on the food. Remember, dogs and cats are a lot smaller than we are and don’t need as much as we do!

I know we all love to give treats to the pets we love, so it’s hard to cut back, but instead of high-fat treats, get a big-chunk diet food and dole out one or two of these as a treat. They don't know the difference! NO people food and don’t forget exercise! Walks or romps in the house or yard will really make a difference for both of you. LOL. We all have to remember that food does not equal love in a dog or cat’s mind (well, not totally!). Love means doing what is best for them.

As a closing note, I wanted to mention my sister’s father-in-law, who is no longer with us. He fed his little poodle dog, Reggie, everything he himself ate, tossing him pieces of hot dog, cheese, human cookies or whatever. That little dog looked like a tick that had been sucking blood for a year he was so bloated and fat. And one morning, Reggie was found dead in the hallway at the age of 5. Too much food love really can hurt, and love shouldn’t have to hurt, right?

posted by Sandy at 1/17/2007 11:40:00 AM

20 Comments:

Blogger Alice said...

Our Charlie was a rescue as well and his previous owner brought him in to be put down. There was something wrong with Charlie but the previous owner didn't want to pay to find out what. Charlie was severely malnourished... wouldn't eat anything and if he did manage to eat, he would throw it all back up. The vet wouldn't put him to sleep so the vet asked us to foster him. Well, at first he just wouldn't eat. His teeth were all flattened... he had been chewing rocks. We started him on macaroni and cheese, which he ate. But he would throw up. The vet said to try an antacid pill. It worked and the real miracle happened when Dad gave Charlie a ball. The life cam back into his eyes and he gained weight. He plays with that ball like a human child. He will put it under the blanket and then bark at it and then pull the blanket off and toss the ball in the air and then do it all over again. The vet thinks his brain was damaged by being malnourished for so long but since all our dogs are wacky, we couldn't tell if he is! Now, he eats with gusto and it is so satisfying to see him run and play with the others. Just a little love and a ball was all it took.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 12:26:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

What a sweet story! It's funny, Penny's teeth were like that too!I don't know why, because she didn't chew rocks--who knows what happened to her before I got her. Neighbors told me they saw her wandering around for months! She also had ringworm and was so worn down I thought she was a senior!

I should hook Charlie up with Peanut who is also a ball nut!(no pun intended! LOL)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Hi,
Yes the weight problem with Courtney is very frustrating. She checked out fine at our Vet but I think I'm going to take her in again soon for blood work just to make sure we haven't missed anything. The thing is, she really rarely gets any people food and when she does it is such a tiny bite. I am very careful about what I do give her even then because of so many people foods being harmful to animals. So many people don't realize how dangerous onions are to animals but we are extra careful and make sure they don't get anything with them in it.

Outside of her stealing her sister's food Courtney really doesn't eat that much and she doesn't get treats every day. When she does it's just two or three tops. She is very picky about the canned food too and even her favorite tuna she only eats the pea size. I think part of it is her nature just like her older sister who died at 15 last year. She was 15 pounds all of her life till the last year and that was because she had some kidney problems but that is another story for another time. If I caould exercise Courtney more I know it would help. We managed to get a almost two pounds off of her but it's back now. She only gets a half cup of weight control food each 24 hours ( except what she sneaks,ha ) so it is frustrating. Maybe we can get started with more exercise soon.
That story about Charlie's previous owners makes me so angry. How can people be so mean as to take a animal to be put down because they don't want to spend the money on thier health care? It all comes down to the question we always ask, why do these kind of peole ever get animals in the first place?
Pam

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 1:12:00 PM  
Blogger jdt said...

Hi everyone...I just love this blog...I look forward to reading it everyday...I thought I was the only one obsessed with my dogs...I have four pomeranians, our most recent we rescued him, he was flea infested, matted terrible with what hair was left and had his ribs sticking out because he hadn't eaten...what is amazing is that after we got the fleas taken care of and the mats out of his hair, and he was fed proper dog food, he has turned out to be the best looking of our 4 pomeranians...he is a gorgeous, fluffy white dog that is now at a healthy weight...he is also the sweetest dog I have ever owned...he is learning to adjust to all our other pets (the 3 other dogs and 2 cats)...he has really brought out the playful side in our other dogs...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 5:11:00 PM  
Blogger Alice said...

Indeed, it is really wonderful to read all the comments! I am really glad to have found this place. And Sandy sounds delightful and is a wonderful columnist! Hey editors! Give this one a raise!!

I wish we could put pictures up here. I'd love to see the companions we are all talking about!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 5:37:00 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I love reading about what treasures you find in a rescued pet!

And what a good idea Alice. I had thought that pictures would be nice too.

JDT-you are definitely not alone in obsessing about your pets. I have kind of made fun of my mother for years(in a nice way!)I am the only one out of my family (thank you Army!)that does not live within 5 miles of my Mom so we talk on the phone alot. No matter what I call her about, the entire conversation ends up being her talking about her 5 cats, what they have done, etc.When anyone ask what my Mom had to say, I always reply that we just talked about her cats. Recently I was talking to my 20 year old daughter and I was telling her all about the night our cat Bubba got a sweater he was trying to crawl into stuck around his neck and he was racing around the house thinking something was chasing him. It was terribly funny to me but my daughter just shook her head and said "Mom, you're getting to be just like Grandma" Oh well, I admit to obsessing over my pets!


Sandy, thanks for the reminder about taking our over-weight pets in to see the vet. Now that you mention it, my log sized boxer Harley has been drinking more water lately. Her thyroid was borderline before and maybe thats what the problem is now.Our vet has walk-in appts so we will be visiting tomorrow.

Shannon

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 7:18:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

I too am glad I am not the only one crazy about my animals!

As for weight, I think some pets, like some people, are simply more prone to be bigger. Or it's their metabolism. Look at some purebred cats--some are round and "fatter," others are lean and long like Siamese.

As for pictures, if anyone wants a picture posted (and I will do a separate entry about this in case someone misses this) email it to PetsSpeak@aol.com, along with a description of the who, what, where and why and I'll post them when I can in between topics. Make sure to reduce them to a smaller size for easy downloading.

Thank you for reading, posting and hanging out! I'm sure we'll all be helpful to each other from our MANY years of experience and trials and tribulations--and joy too!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 10:14:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Oh, Shannon, forgot to say: I too talk to my Mom almost every day on the phone; she lives in PA. She talks about her little dogs Bennie and Murphy, the family pets. I will have to post about some of her worries, and believe me, she has lots of them! LOL.

Who has the most pets? jdt has 6 by my count, I have 5 total. Who gets the prize? LOL. I'm also glad to see so many have rescue pets!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Add my name to the list of those who are happy to chat with others as crazy about thier pets as much as me! I too look forward to checking it out every day! I just told my husband Jon yesterday that it is so nice to be able to do this.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 8:14:00 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Me too!!! This is a great forum. My husband is alot like Sandy's Boss--he just rolls his eyes when I start to talk about something really cute one of the fur-babies has done.

Sandy, like you, I also have 5 pets, and one husband!! LOL! With all that, who needs 2 legged children???

It's interesting to note that most of us have a mixture of dogs and cats as well. Alot of people tend to think households are divided into "dog lovers" or "cat lovers", but we obviously are both. And, most true pet lovers--by that I mean those of us that think our pets are our children--are the kind of people that understand you don't BUY an animal, you SAVE one.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 8:38:00 AM  
Blogger jdt said...

We do have 6 total pets...our cats are actually the oldest pets in the house, and I think at times they regret the day that I started adding to the brood...Our family consists or myself and my husband, then we have Chance (cat), Scruffy (cat), Abby (dog), Zander (dog), Annabelle (dog) and Jake. These are my children...we do plan to eventually have two legged children, but for now I am content with just the four-legged variety...I am definitely going to try to send some pictures and I hope everyone else will too...I want to put faces to the stories we tell...

Thursday, January 18, 2007 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Our family is my husband, me, one grown daughter Kerry, son-in-law Billy,
grand kids, Alex 8, Karoline, 4, and new baby Kate 4 months, our cats Brittany and Courtney almost 7, and Penelope almost 6. Kerry also has two cats Callie and Gracie who are almost 11 and thier dog Roxie ( a standard poodle ) almost 9.
Jon as much as he does love our kitties isn't like me when it comes to the baby talk and all the cuddles and hugs I give. He gives sratches on the head and talks to them but I'm the one who really babies them.
And you are right Stacey, us true animal lovers do "save" not buy animals!

Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Oh, the baby talk! Drives The Boss nuts too. LOL. I can't sing worth a hoot, so I sing to the dogs in a high-pitched voice that gets Peanut howling. The Boss goes insane over that: "You're hurting the dogs' ears!" Translation: You are huring my ears and aggrevating me. Even if I'm in the bedroom with the dogs and sing quietly he'll hear and say: "Would you quit it!" I love to instigate. LOL

Also, when I complain about the dogs in any way, he says, "Well, you let them get away with it." Get this. He HATES snakes with a passion I've never witnessed before. Catfish brought in a little baby snake (dead) that he found on the floor. He said to me: "You better do something about them bringing in snakes. They could crawl and hide somewhere." Naw, the cats make sure their presents are dead first. I better do something? So I had a meeting with the cats and told them not to do it any more because Daddy doesn't like it. They said "okay." LOLOLOL.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Hi Sandy, I'm completely addicted with your blog and all the comments. I found your blog when I stumbled onto The Leaf while looking for a new place to call home with my furry family and of course my husband. Thanks for your help by the way!

2 of our 4 children are rescues. My crazy cat Jazzy, I can't keep weight on (no worms!) was a stray and my St. Bernard Stella who's weight constantly goes up and down, we rescued her from an abusive breeder. Yes I confess that my other 2 children are pure breed’s that we used to breed. Mattie and Oscar are Shih Tzu's and are inseparable. We bred for the love of the breed and no other reason. But Mattie is getting older and since her puppy years she has been over weight. (Go figure, I would be too) We stopped because it was just too hard on her and us. So now they have all been spayed or neutered.

I find that once they are fixed they tend to gain weight more easily too. After several visits to the vet, we are now on thyroid meds. WOW what a change. Even though we go for walks everyday (we live in an apartment), Mattie was still gaining weight and getting grouchy too. The meds have made a big difference in her. She still rules the roost but isn't as cranky and has her pre-puppy figure back.

I too talk to my mom once a week. We live 2500 miles from each other. (Distance does the heart good!) We always end up talking about the dogs. She trains for agility because Cody her 4 year old Golden Ret. had too much energy and nothing to do with it but get in trouble. He's awesome at it. Any time she walks to the back gate he thinks its time to train. Her mother-in-law has a beagle that is severely over weight. She refuses to change her ways because she compensates for his attention with food. The dog is a little neurotic and doesn't like people very much, so she feeds him anything he likes so he will come to her. My mom has taken the dog from her for several weeks at a time and worked with him. By the time he goes home he is eating dog food again and will come and sit with you. But Martha just resorts back to her old ways and he gains weight again. He is a 13 inch beagle and weighs 45 pounds. I forwarded a copy of your blog to both my mom and Martha so that she can see her actions are killing her dog. The vet said that if he didn't loose weight and stop eating people food he wouldn't live to see 4. How sad! I hope this helps open her eyes at how serious the problem is.

Kudos for all you do and have done for the animals in your community! Keep up the good work.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Sandy, I do believe your husband must be my long lost brother because I was going to write about how much I hate and fear snakes. I mean I FEAR, ABNORMALY FEAR snakes!!!!!!!!! I mean I cannot walk past a snake if it's been lying dead in the road for a month and it could be two or three inches long. I have such a fear that Ican't look at the toy ones in stores or photos. It really is terrible but if desensitation is the only answer then I will stay afraid,ha. It is so bad that I have a funny story for you guys. When the Chatanooga Aquarium first opened and we got to the entrance and they said the only way to get through was to first go past the snakes I almost fainted.The way it was we couldn't go back the way we came so only one way out. Jon said I have a idea. Put yout sunglasses on and hold onto my arm and I'll walk you through then I'll let you know when we are completely past the snakes. So, here we went with me with my sunglasses on and hold onto Jon's arm, it looked like he was leading a blind person through. I could still feel the presence of those snakes, so creepy! i was fraked out!Anyway that is one of the reasons I'm glad out cats don't go outside because I'm sure our little hunter Brittany would bring in a snake is she went out.I

I sing to my girls too,ha. I used to be in rock bands back in the old days but I'm pretty out of practice and my girls look at me like I've lost my mind sometimes but they love me anyway,ha.

I have more things to write and tell you about another time. We have some problems and little bad habits that won't go away no matter what but another time.


And Sandy maybe your blog that Adrienne sent will end up saving that little Beagle's life. Wouldn't that be great. Good for you too Adrienne! And welcome to oour little group. I love it!

Thursday, January 18, 2007 2:26:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

P.S. to what I wrote last, I forgot to mention that my eyes were closed behind the sunglasses but you probably figured that out.

Thursday, January 18, 2007 3:05:00 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I am late posting to this-sorry-but I hate to miss a topic! I do have a family other than my pets. My husband is gone more than he is home but he does live with us about 4 months a year. He has told me I am not allowed to get any more cats while he is deployed.(haha)We also have 3 daughters.

I have 5 cats and 1 dog. All my kitties were stays-2 found in the Walmart parking lot, one found by Trane on Wilma Rudolph, 1 from a lady taking it to the shelter, and my last kitty was grown when found. I am a realtor and I had a client selling their home. Well, they had a lovely gray tabby along with a dog. After they moved the house still had not sold. I went over to check on it(this was after the terrible ice storm we had 2 Decembers ago around Christmas) and noticed a skinny gray kitty meowing at the back door. I called my client who informed me that their cat got out while they were moving and they had to leave it. I was absolutely furious. This poor "inside" kitty had been abandoned with no food during the coldest of winters. Without a word from the owners. I would have gladly taken it in had I known it was there for a month, fending with no food and shelter. Anyway-this wonderful kitty moved in with me immediately and she is such a hoot.

I also confess that my dogs have always been purebreeds too. I have one remaining boxer-Harley. I am always drawn to the personality of a boxer. If I choose to get another Boxer, I will definitely try to find one from a rescue group.

I am also really enjoying this blog. I hit on it by accident and am so glad I did.

Someone mentioned the babytalk earlier. I have special voices and accents reserved especially for pet conversation. My babies perk up whent hey hear this voice because they know I am talking especially to them. My husband just looks at me and rolls his eyes. He just doesn't know what he is missing!

Thursday, January 18, 2007 4:24:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

My cats can only go in the front yard/porch, because the cat fence keeps them enclosed in the yard. Have you guys heard of it? It works great. It's called the cat fence-in system and if you google it you can find the link to the sight. I'll have to take pictures of mine to show you all in case any of yo uare interested.

There is nothing wrong with purebreds, as long as you get from professional breeders or, the first choice, breed rescue. I would love a French bulldog--they are so cute. Or Corgi. I'm partial to short legged dogs, they look so cute!

Shannon, I think I did a story on your boxer for Animal Tracks, a cover story, didn't I?

It's so great to hear from others who rescue, so now when The Boss tries to make it out like I'm nuts for doing what I do, I can't point a finger at all of you! LOL.

I will try to do my best to keep up with all of you, but if I don't respond at times it's only because I'm falling behind on my work!

Thursday, January 18, 2007 9:46:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy Britt said...

Adrieene, let us all know when and if you move to Clarksville and we'll welcome you when you get here and get settled!

Thursday, January 18, 2007 9:48:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

I'm with Shannon about hating to miss a topic. It's just so great meeting all of you pet lovers knowing now I'm not really as nuts as some of my family and friends think or if so I'm not so alone,ha.

Shannon the story about your gray kitty was sad but thankfully has a happy ending. Bless you for adopting that cat.

The story of it being put outside reminds me of a situation that I am helpless on but frustrated. A friend of mine who feels differently about animals as me told me a few years ago that her husband had goten rabbit. It was in the house for the first few months then put in a cage way down in thier back yard. It rarely was taken out to be played with and only brought into the garage on the coldest nights. I felt so sorry for it but after it died I was rellieved it didn't ahve to live likt that anymore. Well since they ahve gotten about 3 or 4 more and they have been treated the same way. I feel so bad for them when we've went to feed and check on them for the owners. I have tried to talk to them and tell them how rabbits need to be treated like cats and dogs and they get depressed and all but the po poo me and ignor what I say. About 4 years ago they decided to get two kittens. They decided they wouldn't declaw and they would be house cats. They were raised inside. A stary cat showed up at thier house and they did take care of it too but wouldn't let it inside. I felt so sorry for it and begged them to find a good home for it but they wouldn't bother. I think it had previously been someones inside pet. They named it OC for outside cat. Since they were claiming it and ignored everything I said I felt I had to stay out of it. Now when the tornados hit our neighborhood and our homes thiers was hit a lot harder than ours so they had to go toa hotel while repairs were made. They said the cats hated the hotel so they took them home and kept them in a large bathroom while the workers were there. They siad they got traumatized from all the noise and wouldn't listen to me when I begged them to take the one cat to the doctor. She had started peeing in different places. I told them she probably had a cystitis but they wouldn't take her, said it was just from stress and they were putting them both outside to live! I was so upset but it did no good. They wouldn't give them away because they said it was thier little girl's cats, I didn't see the owners for a couple of months and when I did my friend said the girl cat ( one peeing ) had died. Said she woke them up screaming in the middle of the night and when they checked on her she just died, I was outraged but what could I do?
The boy cat lives in the garage and outside now and they won't let him in at all. This after he was raised as a inside cat! It really hurts my heart but they won't listen to me. I had bought thier other cat OC a bed to sleep in the garage and they said it left and they THINK it went to another neighbors to live. So I told them to let thier other cat sleep in the bed since it would be warmer andhey said they have been doing that. I hate to even ask anything about either cat at this point. I'm afraid of what I'll hear. Is that terrible of me? My heart can only take so much after I've tried so ahrd to help the situations to no avail.

Sandy, that was a great idea saying the apartment was for you mother, way to go girl!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 19, 2007 12:21:00 PM  

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Pet People

Sandy Britt, an animal welfare advocate and volunteer with Clarksville rescue organizations, takes care of three dogs: Zoe, Scooter and Peanut; two cats: Catfish and Tarzan; and one husband, Glen, and according to him she takes care of them in that order.
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