Last week I saw Gabby, a 2 year old beagle closing in on 40 pounds and of considerable girth if not height. She was accompanied by her housemate Harley, at 114 pounds, an even rounder Rottweiler.
|(Courtesy of zazzle.com)|
CFT (chronic food toxicity)
Dog and a half
All of the above are joking terms for our chubby canine friends. Even though obesity is a serious health concern for many of our pets, today I'd like to share some of the more humorous explanations and comments. These are actual quotes.
"We only feed them six times a day."
This from a family with two adult boxers. Maybe when they were 3 weeks old and nursing they needed feeding, on average, every 4 hours. But seriously... I was dispensing medication for one of them and I gave the usual instructions that the tablets could be given with or without food and couldn't resist noting, "Not that their stomachs ever actually get empty..."
"Maybe she has a thyroid condition?"
This was a legitimate possibility hopefully offered for the 130 pound golden retriever. It's an easy blood test, her thyroid levels were normal. The simple math: Calories in >> > Calories out = Overweight Pet.
It's worth noting a recent veterinary study, (The exact source escapes me, write if you must know and I'll track it down.), comparing the feeding recommendations on multiple brands of dog food bags to actual calorie needs. The conclusion was that recommendations for adult, indoor neutered dogs were consistently one third more than needed. Makes sense if you want to sell dog food, not so much if you want a healthy pet for a long time. Another reason to consider the source, not only of the ingredients but the information on the bag.
"She doesn't eat much. I only see her eating a few kibbles at a time."
|(Courtesy of L.A.Unleashed)|
The rest of the story: This was Gabby mentioned above. Both dogs grazed freely from a very large, never-empty dish of food. A few kibbles at a time all day and night add up pretty quickly. She probably only had room for a few kibbles at a time.
It was after I suggested separate dishes and measured meals that their owner added, "Oh, I did see her eating a bird the other day."
'Ah,' I thought to myself, 'One of those fat-laden, high-calorie, energy sparrows. Surely that explains the weight gain.'