Is Your Dog A Little Overweight?


Well, it’s that time of year again.  I read recently that the holidays are good for at least a 5 pound weight gain and I’m seeing all the usual weight loss program ads on television.  It sure is easy to eat all the goodies that are everywhere.  What about your dog?  Do the pups get extra treats or maybe table scraps during the holidays?  Maybe they got lots of treats in their stocking.  It’s easy for our dogs to gain a little holiday weight too.

I have a friend who says her dogs are not fat, they are just fluffy.  My girls are pretty good.  The Chihuahua’s mission in life is to find/steal as much food as possible so she struggles with her weight.   I found a picture of Brownie the Chihuahua on the day I adopted her 3 1/2 years ago.  She was very overweight from 30 days of inactivity while being treated for heartworms.  It took me almost a year to get her from 31 pounds to her present 25 pounds.  As you can see from the photo, she was pretty fat.  At one point my vet joked that she had so much excess skin that she needed skin removal surgery.

In April 2012 the New York Times published an article on the cost of having an overweight pet.  These numbers are 4 years old so I’m sure they are higher now.  Take a look at this:

“Just as diabetes and heart disease are more common in people who are obese, these diseases also are more common in overweight animals.  The average cost of veterinary care for a diabetic dog or cat in 2011 was more than $900, according to Petplan USA, a pet insurance company.  Treatment for arthritis and ligament tears, which can be caused by the strain of an overweight frame that weakens joints, cost pet owners an average of $2,000.”

So it can really be expensive if Fido gains a lot of weight, and, of course, very detrimental to his health causing a shorter life.  If you have a dog that is not an athlete getting lots of exercise, you have to get creative if you are going to keep their weight under control and still provide treats.  I have been using green beans, carrots and broccoli as treats and discovered that they love cooked brussel sprouts.  What have you discovered as natural treats? 

There are also many brands of weight control dog chow.  Have you tried any of them?  At one point about 2 years ago, I enrolled Brownie in a weight loss dog chow trial.  I wasn’t very impressed.  In a year she lost one pound and didn’t seem to like the food very well.

Tell us what you are doing to maintain your dog’s weight.  Let’s talk about it.