Sunday, January 31, 2010

We're on a DIET!

Mom thinks we might be getting a little pudgy, especially me, so she made us all go on a diet.  And Mom is trying to be on a diet, too.  None of us likes being on a diet because it's lots more fun to eat as much of everything as we want to.  Mom thinks that we are gaining weight because we don't get much exercise these days, due to the bad weather.  And also we changed to a new food which is called EVO Herring and Salmon, and maybe Mom is giving us more of it than we should get.  So now she has cut our rations back, and also we get fewer treats.  We are not horribly fat or anything like that, so it's not like Mom is starving us, but still it's no fun to have to eat less.

Friday night on Dogtown, which is one of my very favorite TV shows, as you know, they had a chihuahua/pug mix named Tuli who was really fat.  Tuli weighed 11 pounds, and the vet thought she should only weigh about 8 pounds.  So she had to go on a diet and get different food and eat carrots for treats and go for walks every day.  And after doing all that for quite a while, she lost weight, so the vet said it was okay for her to be adopted, and this nice lady adopted her and talked about how she had to be careful to keep Tuli from getting fat again because Tuli liked to do stuff like eat the cats' food.

The vet on Dogtown talked about how it's not healthy for dogs to be fat.  If they are just sort of fat, it's called being "overweight," but if they are really fat, it's called being "obese."  So I did a little research on the topic of fat dogs, and now I'm going to tell you what I learned.

Most of the websites I looked at said that about 25% of dogs in the U.S. are too fat, but one site said it might be more like 40% or 50%.  This is a really high number, and it just goes to show that dogs really enjoy eating, which of course is natural, because who doesn't?

Here are the main reasons why dogs get fat:
1.  They are fed too much
2.  They don't get enough exercise
3.  They have genes that tend to make them get fat easily
4.  They have some condition like hypothyroidism

There are some breeds of dogs that are more likely to be overweight than other breeds.  These breeds include labs, dachshunds, shelties, cockers, bassets, beagles, cairn terriers, and collies.  Also dogs that have been neutered or spayed need fewer calories than dogs that are intact.

Here's how you can tell if your dog is overweight or not:  In a dog who is just the right weight, you can feel the ribs easily through a thin layer of fat.  Also you can see that the dog has a waist and tuck-up.  The tuck-up is the tummy part of the dog from the ribs on back to the rear end of the dog.  Of course, some breeds are shaped lots different from other breeds, but those are the general rules about how to tell if dogs are fat.

Being fat can cause a whole ton of health problems for a dog.  Here's a list of the ones I found while doing my research:
 1.  You might get diabetes
 2.  Your bones and joints hurt more
 3.  You can have heart disease and high blood pressure
 4.  It's harder to breathe
 5.  You get tired quicker
 6.  You can't stand the heat
 7.  Your liver doesn't work as well
 8.  It's riskier to have surgery
 9.  It's harder to have puppies
10.  You can't digest your food as well
11.  You can get infections easier
12.  Your skin gets dry and flaky
13.  You're more likely to get cancer
14.  You probably won't live as long

When I read about all these scary things that can happen to fat dogs, I felt better about being on a diet.  Well, sort of.  Anyway, I know I don't want to have all those bad things happen to me, so I guess it's worth it to eat a little less, especially if Mom doesn't give me a choice in the matter!

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