This is Ernie. Not too long ago he was on the blocks at a puppymill auction. This past weekend he found a new home. See our St. Louis Senior Dog Project website for pictures of dogs still waiting for new homes (some are also pictured and described below). And if you like what we’re doing, please consider sending up a donation, so we can keep on doing it. Just click on the button below.
Welcome to the St. Louis Senior Dog Project Blog where today we ask the question, “Is your dog fat?” Come on. You know who you are.
Maybe you’re telling yourself that you just love your dog too much. Or maybe you’re blaming the dog for the extra weight. But wait a minute! Your dog doesn’t go out for pizza or go to bed with a bag of chips and some sour cream. Your dog doesn’t pick up a bag of donuts in the morning and down every last one of them. Your dog doesn’t ask you to “supersize it.” Your dog doesn’t eat anything you don’t give it to eat. So your dog will only lose weight when you change your habits. And if you don’t change your ways, your dog will suffer. That extra weight is hard on the joints, the heart, and the disposition.
So what can you do? Feed him less and walk him more. Sound too simple? Start by picking up that food dish off the floor. The easiest way to make your dog fat is to leave food out all day and keep filling the dish every time you see it’s empty. Instead, feed your dog once a day and pick up the dish after 15 minutes. (You can feed twice a day, but only if you divide a day’s rations in half. Most people end up feeding twice as much). As for treats, don’t overdo it. Your dog will do tricks for cheerios and carrot strips. If you must offer dog biscuits, buy those you can break into tiny pieces.
When a grossly overweight dog lands in the Senior Dog Project, I put him on a prescription diet such as Hill’s RD. Then I mix the small daily portion with canned green beans. It fools the dog into thinking he’s getting a bigger meal.
And two final suggestions: No table scraps. And walks.
Among the foster dogs at my home now is McRuff, a border collie who came back to us 30 pounds heavier that he was 6 months ago. He grumbles some but overall he’s putting up nicely with his diet. He’ll be his old, sleek self in no time. McRuff is about five years old, walks nicely on a leash and knows several commands: sit, down, roll over.
Ginger has the opposite problem. This girl was skin and bones a month ago. When I picked her up at the St. Louis City Pound, she’d already put on 10 pound in a few weeks and was still painfully thin. She came into the Pound at 17 pounds, left at 28 pounds and needs to weigh about 35 pounds. Ginger sleeps in bed with me and loves everyone who comes near her. She’s a little protective of her food but less so every day as she realizes she’ll be getting more tomorrow. I feed her puppy food twice a day and add canned food on top of the kibble. Ginger is only a little over a year old and will make someone a fine pet.
Betsy is the quietest beagle I’ve ever known…and the calmest. She’s a small beagle, very sweet, and extremely tolerant of small children. We took her from a shelter in St. Charles County after she was picked up running loose. Right now she’s on one of my living room chairs. Wendy, a frisky terrier mix with Walt Disney looks, is on another. My own dog Smokey is on the sofa. My other dog, Cloud Dancer, is in the sunroom. McRuff is on the floor next to me. Ginger is on a dog bed. Leah’s on another.
Ah, Leah. She’s a little chihuahua/terrier mix. Her former owners dropped her off at a shelter because they were moving. On first seeing Leah, one of my volunteers said she had a “sweet” face but he couldn’t really describe her as “pretty.” Someone else --okay several others --said she looked a like a piglet. Well, she’s one very nice little piglet-faced dog. She’s little enough to be a lap dog and big enough to enjoy a walk. She likes sleeping on the bed under the covers. At 9 years of age, she’s well-behaved, housebroken, and affectionate. She makes me smile.
The only worrisome note this week is that Kahuna is missing. He’s a gold and white shih tzu who slipped through a gate at his new home in the St. Louis City Tower Grove neighborhood. His family has enlisted an army of neighbors in the search for Kahuna. I hope next time I’ll have good news to report.
St. Louis Senior Dog Project