Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Cuddle Buddy

Woah people, it's not what it sounds like. I swear, lol.

But, giggling aside, this is my dog Buddy. If you read my previous posts, he's my hybrid mix family protector / beanbag / aspiring lap dog. At about 120 pounds now, and his head just level with my hip (I'm about 5'6"), I'm afraid he may be a little too cuddly. He is overweight, and I'm concerned. My parents and siblings overfeed him. He's in a pen with his brother (that's their "house" when it's sleep time), so when it's food time, Buddy scarfs down a big silver bowl (no joke, like an industrial size mixing bowl) to keep Aero from eating. They never fight over food; Buddy just hogs it. Aero is a normal weight, about 95, and about a half inch shorter than Buddy. I do try to intervene. I take out the bowls, when I see them, and give each dog about 3 cups to eat separately, BUT... I'm not always there, and though I've spoken with my parents, they insist the dogs be allowed to free feed. I've tried to explain that yes, dogs can get diabetes, and yes, they can get arthritis and Buddy's fat isn't going to make him feel any better when it's bearing down on his joints. I no longer give Buddy table scraps. Next time I get money, I plan on buying him a doggie backpack and going hiking since it's getting cold outside.

So... thus begins the transformation. I can only try to get people to stop feeding him so much, but I can definitely up the exercise. Every once in a while I'll let you guys know how he's progressing (it's like having his very own Lifetime drama, lol).

I'd also like to request some information from the readers. If my parents are going to feed him so much, I'd actually prefer it be diet. I've never had to put a dog on a diet before, so I was wondering if any of you more experienced readers could drop me a tip. What are some good brands to look for when putting a dog on a diet? Right now they eat whatever gets picked up from the store (yuck I know, but at least we never bring home Ol' Roy or Kibbles 'n Bits or Beneful), but they're usually on Canidae... which, I heard, went through some nasty ingredient changes and kind of ruined it.


The Schooligan said...

I sympathize with you. It's hard when other people involved in your pet's care don't see eye-to-eye with you about what's best for the animal.

That being said, I have the opposite problem with my dog. He's a 2 year old pittie who I can't seem to keep weight on. When I got him, (as a rescue) he was emaciated, and it took a while for him to put the weight back on. He's still lean, and part of his trouble, I think, is that he has such a high energy level. It's hard to gain weight when you are exercising constantly! (Except I don't seem to have any trouble, ha ha!) The vet doesn't think he has a problem, but sometimes he looks a little too "ribby" to me.

We've also had some food sensitivity, and now Truman eats a grain free food (Before Grain) that seems to agree with him.

Good luck!

lifelovepitbulls said...

Honestly, I think talking with your vet would be a good start. For what I'd suggest, get a natural dog food that's low in fat. I feed my two dogs a high energy dog food from petco (they're a bit more than chubby at this point). It SHOULD give him energy without any fattening foods. But like I said, that's only my opinion, and it really is best to talk to your vet about it. I'll guarantee he'll know more than me.

Mary said...

From a vet student: Talk to your vet or a veterinary nutritionist. Don't jump on a bandwagon because it's "natural" or any other propaganda you might hear. Most of your well-known, moderately priced food brands would be fine. Check the calorie content for each so your dog can eat more for fewer calories (like eating a pound of salad vs. a pound of cheeseburger).

Energy = fat if you don't burn it off. Fat AND carbs will be converted and stored as fat.

Good luck, it's not easy, but you can reduce the calories and increase exercise fairly easily. Remember, ANYONE can formulate a dog food and sell it without any nutrition knowledge.

DisgruntledBadger said...

When we had to put my yellow Lab on a diet, we found that it was easiest on all concerned to give him multiple very small feedings throughout the day. We also got him one of those treat ball things and put a good portion of his daily feed in there; that way, he kept his brain busy and kept himself active while thinking he got more to eat than he actually did.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

You may not be able to prevent your family from overfeeding, but you could always reduce the amount you feed when it's your turn. I agree with the other comments - take your family and him to the vet. If the recommendation for you dog to lose weight comes from a professional then it often will be received with better results than from you. (I know, that's a pisoff, but it's life)

Also, definitely up the exercise. Something I find really good to burn off energy/calories is biking with your dog in a Heel.

BE CAREFUL!! Your dog is just like you - if he's not used to exercise, you need to SLOWLY build up his stamina. It would be like asking you to run a mile - could you do it without stopping and resting? Don't make your dog do it unless you know he can. Start by walking, then build him up from there. If you rush him, you could end up with bigger problems than you started with. I've seen dogs blow cruciate ligaments from over exercise (THAT's an expensive surgery), as well as over work their lungs, heart and other organs. You MUST go slowly for his health sake.

The best thing? Start him off with spurts. 5-15 minutes to start and then build him up from there. That doesn't mean that he'll only get 5-15 per day ... when you get home from school, take him out. Then go inside and watch a tv show and relax for 30 mins. Then take him out again for the same amount of time. Do this throughout the evening around dinner, homework, chores, etc. and you will find that he starts having more energy to do things and he may even start losing weight. Once he can do these 15 min outings with ease, up his time or increase the workout for him.


LegendsLiveOn said...

Thanks for the advice, everyone. It's a nice, chilly day so we can get in some good exercise. ATM, I don't have a bike (or rollerblades or a scooter or skateboard), so I'm taking the two-legged routine. I will definitely schedule a general exam for Buddy. Last time we were there [about five months ago], they said his weight was normal and he was 110. He still had a bit of chub, but I'm happy with that. I think I got through to my mom last night after telling her about Schwarzeneggers plan to up veterinary service taxes. I told her I wouldn't be able to afford arthritis medication or insulin for him should he continue to gain weight. I'm also thinking of buying him some Science Diet, with a strict feeding of two cups in the morning and two at night. Any opinions on this?

Schooligan - I've have two dogs like that. My old Bassett JJ was a petstore dog and even after getting the vet clear, he would not gain any weight an stayed ribby, even though he was free fed and given many tablescraps. My Mini Dachshund is ribby (another pet store dog), and there is nothing wrong with him either (or so the vet says). I found the best I can do for him is mix small kibbles in with about a cup of rice and some cooked ground beef.

bullymom said...

Personally I would avoid any free feeding. I understand your situation is more difficult due to the fact that family is involved, but free feeding can just be so unhealthy, especially in a multi dog household. Free feeding can lead to finicky eating, obesity, make it difficult to diagnose illness and monitor intakes..

As far as foods, Science Diet is one of the worst out there...if you wish to stick with a kibble, look for a food free of grains, by-products and chemical preservatives and also look for a food with it's meat source as the first and main ingredient. I highly recommend Taste of the Wild, and have also had good results with DVP, Canidae, Wellness, etc..

If you are able to speak with your family, see if you can all agree on a healthy feeding schedule... feed 2x's a day maximum and try to avoid any free feeding and excess treats. Excercise is also important..sounds as if you have a regimen ready to start.

You will notice on a higher quality food, that much less needs to be fed as it is much more digestible and "usable" to the dog's system. 4 cups sounds like quite a lot of food,(especially for a somewhat inactive dog) and I think with a higher quality you would be feeding much less....Obviously follow the feeding guidelines listed, but realize you will need to adjust according to your dog's physical condition and excercise levels. I personally feed Taste of the Wild and love it!! My 105 pound 8 year old American Bulldog has zero gray hair, is in excellent body weight and has quite a bit of muscletone...he moves like he's 2... great coat, no tear stains or bad breath..poos 2x's a day like clockwork... I just can't rave enough about it. My 3 yr old English Bulldog is also on this food... he had allergy issues and had a hard time with most other foods and allergy formulas... he does excellent on this food.... no more oily coat or itchy skin and hives, no tear stains, normal poos...super stuff!

Regardless of your decision, I wish you the best of luck with your pooch! I just saw this blog from a link on the fugly site... will try to peek in more often!

LegendsLiveOn said...

Bullymom - Thanks for all the advice! I never really looked in to many dog foods brands. I know we feed Canidae often and my old GSD mix puppy used to be fed RAW to shape him up for Schutzhund (boy, I miss him). Our vets in Petsmart give/reccommend Science Diet (I'm pretty sure) for overweight dogs, so I thought that'd be okay. I'll look in to that dog food.

bullymom said...

No problem for the help... I have been keeping up on large dog nutrition for the past 10 years, so I am always happy to share.

As far as Science Diet... realize that most vets are not really trained as nutritionists (realize I say most vets and not all... some vets are taking their schooling farther)... Science Diet and their parent company sponsor nutrition courses and if vets "push" the food, they get kick backs from it all... while I will say a few of their medical formulas are OK, their average formulas are no better than Atta Boy, pedigree or 'Ol Roy.....

Hyena Overlord said...

My lab was getting fat after having a ligament replaced. I figured we both could use the exercise. We're just getting back to our 5k a day walks. Plus, if your family sees you exercising him they may get the hint to stop feeding him extra.

I feed him either large breed/adult formulas of Nutrience or Iams or Costco , depending on what is available. He does well on these three.

GoLightly said...

Yell loudly at your parents. (Yeah, right) Seriously, you can lose a dog that way. My Rusty was getting giant size snacks without my knowledge, couldn't figure it out, until I found out my receptionist had allowed people to treat her when they went walking. It almost killed her. Took almost two years to save her from the obesity brought on by "kindness".
I've had my Flip on diet food, but it doesn't agree with her tummy.
I'll yell at your parents, if ya want:)
Yeah, talk to your good vet, get him to yell too.

cherryblossomshiba said...

rofl the ingredient changes in Canidae weren't 'nasty', it's not like they filled it with corn and by-products. Just added more grain which some dogs don't tolerate very well (barely, pretty high in fiber)

Don't talk to your vet, most likely they'll push science diet on you because that's all they know. Now, science diet IS filled with corn and by-products, while by-products like feet, feathers in their raw form are good in moderation, the bulk of the food being made up of cooked by-products arn't good.

Remember, read labels. Don't go with anything that has unspecified sources, by-products, corn, wheat, or soy, brewers rice (not terrible but no nutrional value as it's just floor sweepings), and try to get something with atleast a specified meat meal as the first, and not overly grainy to grain free.

Also, I've heard lots of dogs do well on Wellness Core's Reduced Fat formula. It is rather expensive however. And remember you'll have to up his exersize, too.

With that said, good luck!