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Dog owners Speak out – Do Fat Dogs have Fat Owners?

By: The Irreverent Veterinarian

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There were comments submitted by users about our article The Irreverent Vet Speaks on Owners That Think Their Dogs are Big-Boned.

  • As with obese dogs/owners being linked, I have seen several instances where they were. Some people believe that every time humans eat, the pet has to eat also. Some owners overindulge in "treats" and do not exercise the dog to compensate for the extra calories. Some owners fail to recognize that portion size for humans and animals does not have to be the same.

    Amy

  • Amen to that. Obesity in dogs is one of my pet peeves (no pun intended). I have 7 dogs (5 of them Border Collies), and I run with 3 of them every morning on a local bike path, and I take the others out for a daily hour-plus hike in the woods. Ergo, there are no overweight dogs (or people) in my household. I realize that not everyone is a marathon runner nor has the time to devote several hours each day to exercise. However, ALL dog owners should have time for at least a 45 minute play/exercise period daily. And ALL can monitor the proper food intake for their pet. Otherwise - get a stuffed animal!

    Meg M.

  • I agree. Another reason pets are obese is because there is no discipline, both on the owner's side and the pet's. I've met some people that simply CAN NOT not feed their dog from the table or human scraps. Even after explaining that I don't like my own dog to have human food because it promotes begging and obesity, guests will often disregard my rules and feed my dog under the table or when I am not looking. There is no discipline, even if it means killing the dog slowly. Dogs respond very well to dietary restriction--almost dramatically so. And naturally, if there is no consistency or discipline from the owner, one cannot expect it from the dog either.

    Dr. Janeth

  • Thank you for the article on overweight dogs. I see too many fellow pet owners overfeeding their dogs, or giving them huge amounts of table scraps. My husband and I used to give our beagles too many training bits (they're very food-driven), and it wasn't until our vet told us our older puppy was "getting a little chunky" that we finally realized she had gained some weight. Thankfully, this vet was able to warn us well before Emma reached obesity. We really appreciate honesty from professionals who have more knowledge and expertise than the average pet owner.

    Michelle (and Emma and Beckett Beagle)

  • I have just read the article on obese dogs, and yes, I have one. He eats very little (i thought he ate very little before i put him on a diet and have since cut his food intake in half) and is exercised for an hour and a half 6 days per week--runs for miles--plus chases balls at home. Initially after his food was reduced he lost 2 kilos but after a while the weight started to go back on and i can't shift it!!! No, i am not at all overweight and neither are my other 2 dogs who eat MUCH more than the obese one. Yes, I did get a bit shitty when the vet accused me of overfeeding him because the amount of food he gets is ridiculously small and i don't know what else I can do.

    Helen M.

  • I volunteer with a senior dog rescue group and the dogs we get are either underweight or overweight (hardly any are where they should be!) ... and our vet always says that the top three health things to watch for in your dog as they age are 1: weight 2: weight 3: weight as weight causes health problems, acerbates existing health problems and shortens a dog's life (not unlike our own!).

    The old quote "if your dog is too fat, You're not getting enough exercise" is true! my dogs and I walk for at least 45 minutes EVERY DAY (rain, sleet, snow or shine!) -- sometimes it has to be early because of heat, sometimes it has to be right after work because of the lack of light -- but they are aging beautifully because of their muscle tone & exercise - one with a little arthritis needs that daily 'push' to keep it in check (and I know with time, they will need shorter walks, but I'm ready when they are).

    I want to "love my guys to death" with something besides food! And I feel so sad when I see the pudgy ones in their yards as we walk by every day - they are actually 'dying' for exercise! - Colleen

  • If more vets were brave enough to state the truth about dogs being overweight, it would make a difference. I, as a trainer, get away with telling people their dogs are overweight because it is obvious that the dog can't do the exercise properly when it is carrying too much weight. My dog's vet has a picture of dogs of various weights seen from above..... shows underweight, just right and obese. It's the first thing you see in his waiting room.

    Judi

  • Re: Irreverent Vet's article on Obese dogs - Well Put!! I am a human Osteopath doing further post-grad studies to treat animals, and by far one of the most common impediments to good bodily health I see in the companion dog is being overweight. I was wondering if you might mind me reproducing this article (with due credits of course!) to use as an info brochure to place in my waiting room to help some of my clients come to grips with the intent of a health professional suggesting that weight loss will assist better health? Thanks heaps in advance, I really enjoy the newsletters, always something interesting to think about!

    Samantha S., Sydney, Australia.

  • Awsome! So many animals come in overweight with an owner that thinks they have to eat three squares a day - just like the owner! People are not the only ones exposed to the "cafeteria effect". There are certain genetics that play a part, but mostly it is intake and output. I have nine dogs, all toy poodles under 6 pounds, and my eldest (just turned 13 years) is a little round from gravity and a few spare ounces, but hikes 60 kilometers (nearly 40 miles) a week with the rest of the pack. She is the first one down the trails and the first one across the finish line! I have two sisters (4 and 3 years old) whose mom is predisposed to chunkiness. They are both packing a bit too much (not THAT much) but hike the same distance and are very healthy and happy. Nobody is obese. All are fit. Needless to say, so am I! I recall my friend (ophthalmologist vet) telling his clients that their dogs could do without eating for two weeks, and then telling the owners they should try the same! People loved him or hated him, I adored him and his honesty!

    Trish M.

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