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Is Daisy too thin?

February 18, 2013 69 comments

Over the past few days I have received several comments from people about Daisy’s weight. It’s not the typical “your dog is fat” comment. No. The comments from both family and friends have been “Daisy looks really thin.” or “Daisy is looking pretty thin.”.

How odd it is to have people tell you your dog is too thin. To be honest, it kind of made me a little paranoid to hear so many comments in such a short period of time. Was Daisy too thin? Was I not feeding her enough? Should I be feeding her more?

I started to feel bad. Was I being a bad dog mom?

When I first brought Daisy home, she was way too thin. You could see her ribs.

Summer 019

But then, after she had a chance to eat plenty of food, she got way too fat.
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Today, she looks like this.IMG_8763

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Having seen way (WAY) too many fat Labs in my life, I have always tried to  keep Daisy at a healthy weight. When she was too fat, I got concerned about what that would mean for her joints and energy level. I didn’t want her to be one of those older dogs, waddling along, hardly able to go for a walk around the block. She’s 9 years old now and arthritis is a real possibility. Extra weight would not help her in this area at all.

But, all the recent comments made me wonder if I was keeping her too thin. Should I add some food to her dish each morning and evening?

This past summer I saw a body condition chart at a dog adoption event and I remembered wondering where my dogs fit on that chart. Surely I could find one online and see where Daisy fell on it, right?

It turns out there are several variations of the body condition chart online (see below), but Body Condition Score chart I like is one on the Hospital for Companion Animals.

Dog Obesity-Chart

DogBodyConditionScore_APOP

So where did Daisy fall?

Using images in the first chart (above), I determined that she fell within the ideal weight category. On the second chart, she scored between a 2 and 3 – which falls anywhere from thin and an ideal weight. And, on the third chart, she scored as “moderate”. So is Daisy too thin? I don’t think so. She’s healthy and happy and looking like a dog at a healthy weight.

Is it possible that we have gotten so used to seeing overweight and obese dogs that our view of what a healthy weight looks like on a dog has been skewed? Maybe. It’s hard to know. But, to be sure, I am going to take her into our vet and see what she says. I think that will give me more peace of mind.

What about your dog? Do you get comments on their weight? Too thin? Too fat?

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Do you know the state of your pet’s health? Banfield does.

May 6, 2012 11 comments

I look forward to reading the reports that Banfield Pet Hospital’s puts out. I always learn something from them, and they often contain data that you can’t find anywhere else.

This most recent report (State of Pet Health 2012 Report) includes medical data that they captured and analyzed from more “than 2 million dogs and nearly 430,000 cats” that passed through their doors.

Much of the data included in this report were eye openers for me. What about you?

  • Chronic disease among pets are increasing
  • The number of overweight pets has increased in the past five years – 37% in dogs and 90% in cats (I was shocked by the cat statistic!) and yet, 76% of dog owners and 69% of cat owners believe their pet is just the right weight.
  • Among the common dog diagnoses made in 2011, dental tartar, obesity and ear infections were the most frequent across Young Adult, Mature Adult and Geriatric dogs.
  • Among the most common diagnoses in cats it was dental tartar and obesity across these same categories.
  • In Minnesota, dog and cat obesity ranked High in a ranking that ranged from Low to High.
  • Human food seems to represent the largest percentage of a dog and cat’s daily caloric requirement
  • The prevalence of arthritis has increased 38 percent in dogs and 67 percent in cats over the past five years.
  • 2 in 3 dog owners and 2 in 3 cat owners not aware that weight gain or obesity are associated with arthritis
  • Kidney disease is almost seven times more common  in cats than it is in dogs
  • In dogs, the most common thyroid disease is hypothyroidism while in cats it is hyperthyroidism
  • Almost one-third of dogs (28 percent) and nearly one-quarter of cats (25 percent) with cardiomyopathy (a type of heart disease) also have periodontal disease

Clearly, we humans aren’t the only ones with a weight problem in this country (and I am speaking for myself here as well), but our pets are suffering from this ailment as well. Obesity leads to all sorts of medical issues that affects both us AND our pets. Based on some of the stats in this report, we are in denial about how fat our pets really are and we need to get educated. Page 17 has a great Body Condition Score chart that is worth reviewing.

Think your pet is obese after reviewing the chart? I recommend reading Peggy Frezon’s book, Dieting With My Dog as a starting point.

If you are interested in reading the full report, you can download it here.

Doggone It! So THAT’S Why They Feed Corn to Cattle?

October 16, 2010 6 comments

I didn’t always used to be so food conscious when it came to my pets. My first Sheltie ate Kibbles ‘N Bits for heaven’s sake!

But, over time as I’ve gained more knowledge about pets and pet food, I’ve come to see one ingredient as a “no-go” for my pets.
The ingredient? Corn.

You find it in a lot of dog foods, especially the low-grade ones. Corn, corn gluten, corn byproducts – all are “an inexpensive protein source for pet foods” and a common source of pet allergies. Sadly, most of us never think about it, but corn is used in other ways too.

Have you you been hearing a lot about the dangers of high fructose corn syrup? It originates from corn. It’s in our soft drinks, specialty coffees, and a lot of our processed foods. It’s a preservative and a sweetener… and too much of it in your diet can cause obesity, Type II Diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.

Corn is also fed to cows. Did you ever wonder why? Two reasons: to fatten them up before slaughter and to save money. Cows fatten up faster on corn, thus allowing them to “be brought to market in as few as 15 months.” Yup!

While most cattle still begin their lives grazing on grass, the vast majority—an estimated three-quarters of them, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture—are “finished,” or fattened for market, in feedlots. There, they spend three to six months eating a diet composed of 70 to 90 percent corn.

So where is all this going? To make one point: If they feed corn to cattle to fatten them up faster, what do you think it’s doing to your dog?

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