Food is a huge commonality in dogs. All dogs must eat. All humans must feed their dogs. And in all of this I have a beef. A big one.
My beef is with this.
It surprises me that an average walk down the street doesn’t send me into paroxysms of fury. Then I realize that these fat dogs don’t walk anywhere so at least my evening zen is safe.
I have no illusions to my own fitness. I am gifted with opposable thumbs, a car, and free will which allows me the freedom to pick and choose whatever bullshit I want to ingest and I do so with zealous abandon. I can be a happy 600lbs and it’s no one’s business but mine and my doctor’s. My dogs, however, despite some ingenuity with cabinet doors and packaging in general, have no such options. As such, their well-being rests entirely with me.
I know. I’d be scared too.
As I was saying, I own the credit card. I go to the store. I pick out the food. I pay for the food. I bring the food home. I measure out the food. I give individual portions for ideal body condition into each dish. I stand around waiting for the food to be eaten by each dog. I pick up their dishes. I wash their dishes. I repeat this cycle twice a day and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives. I’m equal parts dictator, nutritionist, fat-camp counselor, and anxious mother. Are they eating? Are they eating enough? How many kilocalories are in a cup of that? Is there enough bone in this package? Did I give enough organs this week? Why won’t they eat that? Can I make them eat that?
In essence, it all comes down to me. I make the choices for them. I pick their treats. As such, their weight is something I should be in control of. Whether or not you feed the best high dollar kibble on the market, one of the raw diets, table-scraps, or the crappiest dollar store kibble around, there is zero excuse for having an otherwise medically sound dog who is obese. I have dogs as companions, friends and helpers. I do not have dogs to create some sick science experiment on volume vs. surface area.
Now I fully understand medical issues. Thyroid, Addison’s Disease, Cushing’s Disease, post-Op recovery, even recent spay/neutering surgeries can cause your pups to pack on the pounds. Other skeletal and joint issues make strenuous exercise nearly impossible for others.
I also understand that sometimes, shit happens. Jobs are lost. Living circumstances change. Budgets are cut and that pricey diet kibble is no longer in the cards. Now, ask me how much that matters in the long term health of your dog.
Yup. You got it. There are always other options to keep a dog at a healthy weight. The first step is recognizing there is a problem. If it’s not medical, it’s lifestyle choice, and let’s be honest, our dogs don’t have that many choices in regard to home decor let alone food.
Here’s a handy guide to: Shit not acceptable as an excuse:
1) He looks hungry still
He’s a dog. They’re scavengers and thus most are always hungry.
2) He looks thin.
Have you ever seen a thin dog? Yes? Well that one isn’t so no. People can’t recognize a cat at a healthy weight so why would they recognize a healthy dog.
3) He’s hyper otherwise.
Why did you get an energetic dog if you couldn’t manage it? Putting weight on a dog doesn’t solve training issues, it just gives them more mass to knock you around with, moron.
4) He misses me.
WTF? What does that have to do with anything?
All those excuses suck. The sheer willful disregard by owners astounds me. (Okay, no it doesn’t, but I lost my soul somewhere in the dog park) Whether it’s carelessness, a deliberate attempt to decrease energy levels, misplaced love or just ignorance it is something that is not only fixable but preventable in the first place. When your dog weighs more than I do, we have a problem. So here’s the plan; You get out and look at your dog. If it’s fat, put it on a diet. If it’s not. Awesome. I don’t hate you yet*.
*I will probably hate you eventually though.