I didn't mean to get fat. It wasn't something I planned. My diet had not changed. In fact, since moving house my exercise regime increased, chasing my younger fur brother, Jackman, and playing fetch with our humans. So where did this extra weight come from? While that is still an unsolved mystery we have learned how to loose and keep the weight off.
Did you know, loosing weight is more difficult than putting it on? Well, I didn't. Nor did my humans. When they realised that my love handles were bigger they took what they thought was the logical approach to help me drop the extra weight -- feed me less of what I was eating (Mighty Mix with the occasional fruits and vegetables). After a few months of this diet I lost minimal weight. My humans were stumped. The time had come to consult a professional, a veterinarian, before things got serious with my health.
The day we visited South Wairarapa Veterinary Services in Masterton I tipped the scales at 34kg. My preferred weight is between 29 and 31kgs. The need for a diet change was pretty serious. My vet's, Tony Moyes, proposed approach surprised my humans - a diet high in protein, rich in Omega 3s, dark leafy greens, fibre and low in fat. No special expensive diet food? What is this craziness? You mean I get to eat more delicious food and loose weight? Where do I sign up?
Based on my current weight and desired weight the vet prescribed a meal plan specific for me that includes*:
- lean mince
- cooked spinach
- roasted pumpkin
- olive oil and
- coconut oil
Well that's a comprehensive list of deliciousness. Who's going to make these meals for me? My humans of course. Every few weeks my humans are tasked with making this delicious concoction every few weeks. The words gross, blech and ugghh are heard while they blend up the offal into a delicious puree. My humans must truly love me. Six days a week I eat this in the mornings and evenings. And, on Mondays I eat a raw beef bone followed by spinach and pumpkin in the evenings. The vet calls this a starve day to allow my digestive system to have a rest.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention's 2016 survey nearly 54% of dogs in America are deemed overweight. As of 2015 one third of New Zealand pets are overweight. Wow! Humans what are you doing to us?
Not only is a fat dog unattractive it is not good from a health perspective because according to PetMD and the SPCA overweight dogs can lead to the following (warning this a long and scary list of potential ailments):
- Exercise intolerance, decreased stamina
- Respiratory compromise (breathing difficulty)
- Heat intolerance
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- Liver disease or dysfunction
- Osteoarthritis (lameness)
- Increased surgical/anesthetic risk
- Lowered immune system function
- Increased risk of developing malignant tumors (cancer)
- Heart, respiratory, and digestive impairment
- Slower healing process
- Poor resistance to viral and bacterial infections
- Skin irritations and disease caused by friction within fatty rolls of skin
- For females, greater likelihood of complications during whelping
As of January 2018 I way 31kgs. That is thanks to my vet and my humans dedication to help me get to a healthy weight so that I can run around with my fellow four-legged mates and my two-legged little sister.
If your dog has been on a weight loss journey please share their story with us. We would love to hear what worked for them.
A message to the humans reading this: If you think your dog is on the chubby side please consult your vet for a check-up. If you don't like the advise given get a second, a third or how many other opinions you need to be satisfied that they are taking your dog's best interest at heart. We dogs don't have to eat yucky kibble diet food to loose weight, there are alternatives using raw meat and vegetables. I am proof.
*We have opted to not include the specific proportions of my diet as it was prescribed specifically for me and we are not professionals and do not want to cause harm to our furry four-legged friends.