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Pet People

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Pets, People, are Packing on the Pounds


We've all heard Americans are getting fatter and fatter. According to a July msnbc.com article, 75 percent of us will be deemed overweight by 2015 if we continue gaining at the current rate, with a whopping 41 percent labled obese.

But it's not just we humans who are getting plumper - our pets are on the perilous path to portliness as well. And just like for us, a dog or cat's excess weight is bad for their health, quality of life and longevity.

Daisy Duke's father-in-law, Jack, learned this lesson the hard way. He had an adored, joyful miniature poodle named Reggie. Jack would always toss Reggie a piece of whatever he was chomping on - from hot dogs, chips, and cheese to popcorn, cookies and cake. Jack's goodie-giving taught Reggie to constantly beg for food with those sad puppy eyes so many of us find hard to resist. But resist you must. Better yet, never start this bad habit, and you'll never have to worry about breaking it.

Jack never broke his habit, and after a year or so, little Reggie wasn't so little. He was a ball of fat who waddled and panted at the slightest exertion.One morning, Jack found Reggie lying dead in a hallway. The happy curly-haired pup was only 5. A dog of Reggie's size and breed has a life-span of 15 to 17 years, but Reggie's tiny heart couldn't carry the heavy load a day longer. Love - expressed through food - cut short Reggie's life and broke Jack's heart.

However, too much food isn't always the culprit in weight problems. Penny, the stray beagle I took in more than a decade ago, balooned up to a humongous 60 pounds.(A beagle should weigh about 35). My stepson's friend once said she looked like a tick fully-engorged with sucked blood. I had to laugh, as the analogy was apt.

Penny was about 6-years-old, underweight and full of fleas, ticks and mange when rescued. With proper vet care and TLC, she blossomed into a beautiful beagle. But afer a few years, she started to pack on extra pounds. Beagles are one of the breeds prone to weight problems, and hounds can be real food hogs, so my vet thought I was overfeeding her. But I wasn't. By then I had three dogs of the same weight and fed them all the same.We never fed them scraps or tossed bits of what we ate - in fact, The Boss insisted the dogs stay out of the kitchen while we ate. (Today, we've slacked off on this rule, but since we never gave table food, they ignore our eating).

Then Penny started drinking a lot more water, and as she got as big as a Macy's Parade float, I knew it was more than a food issue. The vet did blood work and found her thyroid levels were extremely low. As soon as she started thyroid medicine, she quickly lost 12 pounds and lived to 14, though she always remained a bit chubbby, as arthritis in her later years slowed her down.

So while most weight problems in pets (and people) are a result of too many calories and too little exercise, always check with your vet.If your pet needs to lose weight, make it a team project that will boost your health too - go on more walks. Also adjust your pet's diet with one of the many quality diet foods, after first checking with your vet.

How to tell if our pet has too much paunch? Look at them from above. They should have a bit of an hourglass shape, not the shape of an overstuffed sausage. You also should be able to feel their ribs easily.Remember that extra pounds place an excess burden on joints and bones, which will tarnish your pet's golden years. Fat pets also have a harder time during surgery and anesthesia and are prone to scores of other health problems.

We love to love our pets, but no one wants to love their pet to death. Remember, true love is making sure they enjoy a long, healthy and happy life.

posted by Sandy at 9/04/2007 11:31:00 PM

24 Comments:

Blogger Adrienne said...

I'm waiting for the miracle machine that I can stick my finger in and it will suck the fat off my body. HA! Wouldn't that be great?!!

Tonight is puppy orientation and puppy classes start next Thursday. I can hardly wait!! Next I need to find training classes for the Foreman. Do they have one for not being a child? I'd pay good money for that one!!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Good info Sandy! My dad started this ugly eating and begging from the table with Sheba! She jumps into a chair next to us each night as we sit down for dinner. It is cute and I must admit I have given in to her also. But after finding out about the onion issues with cats and since we put onion in almost everything we cook, I have laid down the law! NO MORE EATING PEOPLE FOOD FOR SHEBA! She is not happy at all. Now we keep her kitty treats on the table and when she begs, she gets a kitty treat. Well, that worked for a few times and now she has caught on to us. She will not eat the treats anymore and after a few minutes of her being ignored with her begging, she goes away and pouts! I am not kidding, she actually pouts like a child! I know in time, she will no longer beg but we have to be patient and persistent with her.

The Saint is the problem; he gives in so easily where the babies are concerned! Last night I caught him trying to feed her and I yelled at him. I swear he started to pout also! I told him that I am prolonging a early death by not feeding her people food, his reply was she don’t care about the future, she wants the food now! I swear, what is a mommy to do with logic such as that?

Cheetah does not beg because like I said, it was my dad that started this feeding from the table and when anyone other then the Saint and I are in the house, Cheetah pretty much stays out of sight with her scardey cat ways. So she was never taught how to beg… Thanks so much Big Daddy!

Hummmm, maybe I have a thyroid issue, that would explain my body… Yeah, right….

Puppy classes for who Adrienne? Hunter or did I miss you getting a puppy???

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Oh Adrienne, you said a mouthful when you said training classes for the Foreman. I think training classes for men are a fantastic idea! What do you think girls?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

I do give in once in awhile too when it comes to a teeny tiny bite of people food. Like you Skeeter, I make sure there isn't any onions or anything else that will make them sick before I let them have a taste. Courtney gets the least of course since we're trying to get her weight down.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger pearcehart said...

Aimee, dog princess, had a follow-up visit to see Dr. Sykes this morning. She has lost two more pounds. Aimee is un-doglike in that if she doesn't like the smell of something she will NOT eat it. She doesn't like the k/d. Dr. Sykes said at this point we should give her chicken breast w/o skin and try to get her to eat. He drew some blood for testing and said that if this was the bad immune disease, the k/d would not help at this point. If it was the bacterial thing, she would be over it and needs to eat to gain weight as she is drastically underweight. She is half of what she should weigh at 11 pounds. I gave her some chicken after she came home with some VitaGravy on it. At first she wouldn't eat it but the Professor coaxed her into eating some. She is his little girl, all right. Max and Charlie got a little tidbit of her leftovers. I am feeding her... or trying to... several times a day. I have also been giving her a pepcid in the morning. It seems to have helped with her vomiting.

It's ironic considering your article today, Sandy. Our Aimee really doesn't like people food. But we do have to watch out for "wide-load" Charlie and Max "five-second rule". Oh! Herbie like bologna, Scootie doesn't.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 2:19:00 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

I too "accidently" drop a pice of chicken or whatever on the floor for Peanut. It's our little ritual just between the two of us every night when I come home from work when I fix something to eat. Nothing wrong with a treat like that, it's giving the fattening things or people junk food that's bad.

Alice, have you tried mixing rice with chicken? That's good for sensitive tummies. Or the lamb and rice stuff. I switched from adding a bit of canned food to the dog's dry food to adding the pouch food. They have a lot of good flavors in that, like the beef chunks in gravy. YUM.

Or you can try beef or chicken broth over dry food too.

Please let us know how her tests come out.

Scooter has really strange habits. He never wants to eat his breakfast, but if Zoe leaves some in her bowl, he runs over to eat it. Or if I leave it on the counter for a bit and try later, he'll eat it. At dinner time, he always eats it. So I wonder if he's like some people who just don't like to eat early in the morning!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 3:11:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Alice, I feel your frustrations and will hope and pray for the best with Aimee dog princes! Mom B had some sort of issue with Minnie and someone suggested adding rice as Sandy mentioned. And it did work. So maybe the rice and chicken will work for Aimee as well…

Just as we were finishing up dinner tonight, I spotted a raccoon coming out of the woods. I was thinking uh-oh a rabid one as it was still day light. Upon a closer look through the binoculars, I realized it was a gray striped cat! The thing climbed the steps into our tree house and proceeded to take a bath! Arggg, I don’t need this in my life!( I will explain this one on a post.)The Saint went outside and it ran off into the woods so we think it belongs to the house through the woods. Arggggg, I already have one neighbors cat pooping in my flower garden and harassing the birds, I sure don’t need two!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 6:40:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Sandy, the biggest problem I'v had with chicken broth is making sure it is one that doesn't have onion powder added, so many of them do, it's frustrating.I do know you would never give you babies anything unsafe either but we sure do have to be the watch police on all we give our animal kids.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 7:10:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Alice, I'm still praying that Aimee only has a bacteria and not kidney disease. Hang in there girl!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 7:20:00 PM  
Blogger pearcehart said...

Yes, we have tried adding rice to Aimee's food. But when she threw up a day or so ago, all that came out was the rice, totally undigested. I already make a supplement for our kids consisting of white rice and ground turkey meat with a little salt and garlic powder. Max and Charlie get some added to their dinner each night. I tried brown rice but they both started itching horribly and scratched constantly so I went back to white rice and the itching is gone. I added plain white rice to Aimee's k/d to lighten the texture a little but when she vomits, all that comes up is rice. The vet said that she doesn't need to eat the k/d anymore. She's either terminal or getting better (!!!) So, I have switched her to plain chicken breast mixed with some VitaGravy and some Little Cesar dog food. Tonight she gobbled it up.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Skeeter, the puppy classes are for Hunter and the Foreman, But I know that I will be the one in the class in the end.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 10:16:00 PM  
Blogger B said...

Alice--still praying for you guys--still believing in miracles!!Let us know if we can help.

Thursday, September 06, 2007 8:00:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Okay Adrienne, for a mintue there, I thought I had missed a day of reading on here! Good luck to Hunter in getting daddy trained...LOL

I am soooo soooo pulling for the "getting better" Alice....

Thursday, September 06, 2007 8:36:00 AM  
Blogger B said...

Good luck with Hunter--I've got a feeling I'm going to have to do selective subject training with the Hines 57 dog. That high primal scream barking has got to go! Problem is, I think Charley loves it, cuz he's the one that starts the madness then goes mute to enjoy the mayhem.
As far as weight gain in our little brood--would anyone like to see the beat marks where the vet hits me every visit? BUT-we are having the fence put in, supposedly next week) so they will be able to run more and we can play without those darn leashes in the way. When we get the fence up, we can have play dates!!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Alice, praying for the Better!

Friday, September 07, 2007 9:11:00 AM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

I wanna come for a play date....
Do I need to have a dog for a Play Date??? hee hee

Friday, September 07, 2007 10:25:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Skeeter, depends on what you want play girl! Hee Hee Hee.

Saturday, September 08, 2007 8:38:00 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

Sandy, Today I was on my vets websit. They are very good about posting information about new products. So on topic with weight control...There is a new drug out specifically for weight control in dogs called Slentrol(www.Slentrol.com) Here's what is posted on my vets web page...

Slentrol, a new weight loss medication from Pfizer, works by suppressing appetite. As part of an overall weight management program, it can be very effective in helping your dog attain his or her ideal body weight. It works particularly well because dogs receiving the correct dose regulate their own food intake. Call us to discuss the benefits or schedule an appointment to set up a program for your dog (not approved for use in cats.)

I'm not sure how I feel about this, but I guess of you have an over weight dog and nothing else will work, OK. But typically if that's the case, there is something else medically wrong with the dog or you are just too lazy to control your pets weight. What do you think?

Monday, September 10, 2007 7:16:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Adrienne, I'm always nervous about drugging my girls but man I'd be tempted to put Courtney on something for her weight. She needs to lose three pounds right now and I've been monitoring her food intake for a long time. Seems like she just can't lose. Her last blodd work showed her sugar levels were a ting bit high and I want to keep her from getting diabetes. I ahve to keep thier food dishes in the family room with us so I can make sure she doesn't get into her sisters food. oday the Dish guys ere here to work on the reciever so I moved them into the kitchen and listen to this- Little Miss Penelope came over to my chair which sets next to where her food dish normally sets, she meowed at me. I said your food is in the kitchen so go eat it then I tok her and showed her where it was. I came back and sat down, here she came at meowed at me again, we repeated and again for a third time, she refused to eat in the kitchen,ha. I may never be able to take the dishes back to the kitchen again,ha. Courtney munched a bit of heres but the she came in and layed down in front of where her dish ususally is too. They don't like change around here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 1:59:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

That is funny Pam!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Skeeter, it may be funny but see how spoiled, spoiled, spoiled my girls are?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 9:03:00 PM  
Blogger Skeeter said...

Yes Pam, I have seen your spoiled ones in action!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 8:51:00 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Oh by the way did that cute little fellow in the middle of Missy and Sandy ( in the photo of this blog subject )get adopted yet? LOL, hahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 2:41:00 PM  
Blogger Pam said...

Whoops wrong photo, not this one but on the one below this. I'll repost this there so as not to confuse all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 2:43:00 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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