You’ve seen them. The chunky dogs. The ones that wobble around because their little legs can’t support their weight; or the bigger dogs that you think might just be really fluffy. Nope. They’re fat. Let’s face it! People tend to associate food with a couple things. Mainly, reward and comfort. So you’re training your dog, the instructor tells you to bring in some treats to work on positive reinforcement/reward. Awesome! Good idea. The problem is managing the treats… you give your dog 25 full size treats over the course of a one hour training session instead of breaking up your treats into tiny little pieces. Your dog is old, you want her to be comfortable in her old age… she’s lived a good life. So you give her as much food as she wants. You give her table scraps! Why not, right?! Eh… let’s think about this.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 54% of dogs are overweight or obese. The health risks associated with obesity in pets include:
- Bone and Joint issues
- Skin and Coat problems
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart and Respiratory Disease
- Kidney Disease
- Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)
Longer dogs like Dachshunds, Beagles, and Basset Hounds that are prone to Intervertebral Disk Disease (IVDD) should take extra care to stay at a healthy, lean weight to avoid extra pressure on the spinal cord and joints.
I think its time to face the fact that food does not equal love. If you are overfeeding or over-treating your dogs, the time you spend with them could be reduced, your vet bills could be increased, and your dogs overall quality of life will decrease. I’ll admit, Mona could lose another half pound or so. It’s one of my short term goals to get that weight dropped. Ron has fluctuated since I adopted him, but for the past year he’s remained at a healthy weight. Yay! Here’s a helpful graphic:
I’ve been doing lots of organized run/walks this summer. This weekend I got to do a “1 mile fun run” with Mona to support our local animal shelter. She did so great!
Last weekend I ran (lets be real… walked) a 5K to support ovarian cancer. This year I told myself I was going to become a runner. I was going to register for a bunch of 5k’s and I was going to like them, damn it! Well… Surprise… that didn’t happen. I’ve followed through with all the 5k’s I registered for but I don’t think I’ll ever be a runner. Something about convincing myself that I’m not actually dying for 45 minutes at a time just doesn’t appeal to me. I’d love to find another outdoor activity to keep me active (besides walking the dogs, of course!) and doing some sort of cardio, though. Maybe I’ll pick up a bicycle! What sort of activities do you do in the summer to stay active?