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confessions of a pet owner | Toby’s on a diet

This is a photo of my FIToby at about 75 pounds the first week of January 2010.

Well, since my ankle injury has kept me down and off my bike, my own weight has crept up a bit but so has my Toby!!  We used to go for a daily bike ride, which kept him in great shape!  Well…I didn’t adjust his diet like I adjusted mine and I think he gained as much weight as I did…over 10 pounds!!!

I feel so guilty! I feel horrible!  What a bad mommy!  Just like humans, when you see them every day it “creeps” up and I didn’t notice right away and didn’t take enough steps to change it right away!  [10 pounds for a dog is like 20 or 30 on us!!]  I used to pride myself on having the only Golden Retriever who wasn’t fat. It seems like all the Goldens in the movies are fat.  Goldens have a propensity to gain weight, much like those in my family…hahaha!  We’re getting back there though, even though he’d eat himself fat if we let him….and so would many of us!  🙂

I know many people are different with regard to their animals. We really take our dog ownership seriously. We feel like we took on the obligation and responsibility of a life and we have the duty to take care of him.  Now, I’m sure things will change after we have kids, but he’s still our responsibility.  He can’t make decisions on his own to keep himself safe. That is our job.  So, I feel like I let the poor guy down…but we’re fixing it!!!

Toby at about 87 pounds.  Makes me sad. I feel like such a bad Mommy.  🙁

Anyway, he’s lost almost 7 pounds now since we put him on a diet a month ago or so.  We had to adjust his food according to his activity level now and his lowered metabolism.  The vet explained to me that dogs are just like we are in the sense that some can eat a bunch more than others and not gain any weight. Some have higher metabolisms than others. So, we have to adjust their food based on their activity level and metabolism. He’s on the right track. He’s looking better, but he’s not back to the svelte 75 pounds he was at the beginning of the year.  He got up to 87 pounds and he’s down to 80 now.  I think he looks best, according to the models in the doctor’s office and the “feel the ribs test” at 75 pounds.  So, we have another 5 to go.

Do you know how to tell the proper weight for your dog by looking at or feeling him or her?

TOUCH TEST…First, you can test by simply rubbing your dog’s side and feeling for ribs.  You should feel each individual rib with a thin layer of fat over each, but not be able to see them just feel them.  If you can’t feel the ribs, he is overweight. If you can see the ribs, he is underweight.

HOURGLASS FIGURE….Next, you can stand over the dog and look for his hourglass figure…seriously!!  Here is a great diagram.

Score 1: Emaciated. No obvious body fat, the ribs and backbones are easily seen form a distance.  There is noticable muscle loss.  The waist has an accentuated hourglass shape and the abdomen is severely tucked.

Score 2: Poor. Ribs and back bones and hips are easily felt and possibly seen with no obvious fat cover.  The waist has a marked hourglass shape and the abdomen is tucked.

Score 3: Ideal. Ribs have some fat cover but can be felt with a flat hand.  The backbone also has a cover of fat but can be felt. The abdomen has a slight tuck towards the hips and there is an obvious waist.

Score 4: Overweight. This pet carries up to 15% extra weight.  There is visible body fat and minimal muscle tone.  It is difficult to feel the ribs, backbone and hips.  The waist and abdominal tuck have disappeared.

Score 4: Overweight. This pet carries up to 15% extra weight.  There is visible body fat and minimal muscle tone.  It is difficult to feel the ribs, backbone and hips.  The waist and abdominal tuck have disappeared.

Any more tips?  Have you let this happen to your animals?  Do you feel as badly as I do?

source: daily puppy |  Weston Creek Vet Hospital

Toronto Girl West - Awwwww – I’m sure your Toby will be back to fighting weight in no time!

Much like you, I try to make sure Daisy is a healthy weight. Right now she’s about 9 pounds which for her is perfect. I have to be really careful with her though because she usually doesn’t require many calories. If I were to feed her like my co-workers feed their dogs, mix ground beef with veggies and copious amounts of yogurt, I would have an obese dog.

Anne - Guilty mommy here too 🙁 Bringing a baby home really cut into our “doggie time”. Then when she started eating real food, his diet went up about 1,000 calories a day catching all the dropped food from baby!!

Courtney F - I had no idea there was a diet dog test!! Our Jack Russell puts on some weight during the winter, but in the summer we slack off on her eating some. Our Husky naturally gains and loses during the different seasons. You aren’t a bad mama by the way! You care about Toby and want to keep him around as much as possible.

Meghan - We are HUGE into the care of our dogs, and are CRAZY about what we feed them… that stuff that the vet sells?! NOT good for every dog (science diet is FILLED with corn which is a huge skin allergy irritant for almost all retrivers), they fill that stuff with some serious additives that are WAY worse than what they could even think about putting in human food – a whole tangent that I could just go nuts about. But something to think about too with retrivers is thier fat/protien ratio, it’s as important for dogs as it is for humans – maybe more so because it’s such a HUGE portion of their diet. Jeff does a lot of hunting with the pups during the winter, and being that it’s so cold out here we definitely adjust their diet to take on the cold and especially the cold in combination with what we expect them to do when out in the field. Maybe we need a post on dog supplements too… as ours are starting to get up there in years (6 and 7 for us), we are needing to be aware of their joints and other things – fish oil and glucosimine (sp?) aren’t just for humans. Atlas is a healthy 90-95 lbs, where as Bella looks great between 50-55 (even though they’re both labs) we let them get to the high side in the winter and on the low side on the summer.

Stacey - I wonder if Golden’s just have slow metabolism’s…my moms Golden Retriever topped off at 140lbs and they did everything to try and get his weight down. It’s like the dog has no metabolism what so ever. It didn’t help that he had to have hip surgery a while back which still makes walking to much painful for him. Cutting his food down just made him chew on everything in the house. Then the vet put him on this stuff that just made him have no appetite whatsoever and that wasn’t good either cause he was now just starving himself. Finally the vet put him on some really expensive diet dog food and he is like 114 lbs now. The vet wants him at 100lbs…he is a larger then normal golden, I swear he’s as big as a horse, well small pony anyway lol, but man has that dog’s weight been a fight to get under control and my mom does not feed any of her dog’s table scraps and they have set times they eat their food. That dog can look at a potato chip and gain ten pounds lol.

Sara - That’s so great that you pay attention to your dog that much. We have been fortunate to have a dog that seems to self-regulate his intake and we’ve never had a weight issue with him. He is however, an extremely fluffy dog (breed Old English Sheepdog). When he is in full coat most people assume that he is a HUGE dog, when in reality, he has never weighed more that 65 lbs. When we get him groomed in the summer he is quite literally half the dog without all that hair!

tori - We weighed him at Petsmart yesterday and he’s down another 2 pounds…woohoo! He’s coming along.

@ Meghan – there are some great books that tell you the horrible stuff in the foods our dogs are eating….it’s sickening!! We spend a tremendous amount on high quality dog food (and our dog has food allergies = more $$) for him. I’ve thought many times about a raw food diet for him or cooking and giving him real food.

@Stacey – I think they do! I felt like I was starving out poor guy w/ as little food as we were giving him and HE ACTS STARVED all the time, but it seems to be the only thing that works. Poor guy!!

@Sara – jealous! I checked out your doggie too….SO cute! And, we got Toby a hair cut yesterday and he looks trimmer w/ less hair!

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