Obese Pets: Mapping out, the weighty matter of our overfed dogs

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    Obesity shortens a dog's life

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    Around a quarter of dogs are clinically obese, a pet charity has warned.
    And, according to a canine 'fat map' of Britain, a great many of the overweight animals are to be found in the North-East.
    The region has the highest proportion of obese dogs - 28 per cent, or nearly a third.
    Experts said overweight dogs are likely to die two years earlier than lean ones and have a much poorer quality of life.
    Many owners have no idea what a healthy shape for their dogs should be and often give them sweet and fatty treats such as chocolate or crisps.
    The fat map was compiled by the charity PDSA which analysed the weight of 4,000 dogs between March and October last year.
    After the North-East, Scotland and Northern Ireland had the highest proportion of obese dogs (both 26 per cent), with London (25 per cent) coming in at third place.
    The lowest ratio of fat dogs was found in the South-East, excluding London, at 12 per cent. PDSA has been collecting data through mobile pet clinics over the last three years, but this is the first time it has had enough information to provide a nationwide picture.

    Spokesman Elaine Pendlebury, a senior vet with 29 years of experience in tackling animal obesity, said: "Our figures show there is a real need for owners to help their overweight pets lose those excess pounds.
    "Too much weight on a dog can accelerate arthritis, lead to diabetes and ruin the quality of its life."
    She said owners of obese dogs should be encouraged to take their dogs out for more walks and, in extreme cases, radically alter their diets.
    "The reasons why people overfeed their dogs are quite complicated," she added. "Often they cannot resist those pleading eyes and it takes a lot of determination from the owners to resist.
    "Also, many people do not realise the harm they can do by feeding their dog a little bit of sausage, doughnuts, crisps or chocolate.
    "Giving a dog snacks is one of the quickest ways to make them obese. Depending on the size of the dog, even small snacks can make a dog put on weight very quickly."
    The PDSA also estimates that in the last 20 years the number of obese cats has doubled.
    There has even been a rise in the number of overweight rabbits and hamsters. In recent years animal charities have taken to prosecuting owners for overfeeding their pets.





    By PETER STEBBINGS and DUNCAN ROBERTSON
     
  2. thanks for posting this prada. its always bothered me seeing the way some people feed their pets and heartbreaking to see overweight animals.
     
  3. It really is a form of abuse, isn't it? My dad had a wee dog and he was getting so fat that I had to say something and all I said was "Dad, you should really be careful how much you feed to Bertie because it's not good for his health for him to be fat", dad says "He only has a little handful of biscuits in the morning and his meat at night". I was puzzled as to why he was so fat. Then my daughter (who used to visit and stay overnight at her grampas) informed me that the "handful of buscuits" were SWEET biscuits, as in Shortbread Creams! Oh and his "meat at night" was a full big tin as well as any scraps dad had left over from his dinner! But the thing that left me truly gobbsmacked was the "little" dish of pure cream that Bertie enjoyed every evening before bed.:wtf:

    Having said all this, Bertie lived to the ripe old age of 16.:rolleyes:
     
  4. ^ I agree, it is a form of abuse, pretty much the same as obese children. The parents of both think they are being nice and treating them well when in reality they are jeopardizing their health.
     
  5. A former bf's Mom's BF had a corgi mix that got so fat it couldn't stand up after a while; it's legs were too small for its immense weight. I mean this animal was HUGE. One day I went over to the house and they were feeding it bacon and pizza! Three weeks later it died. It's flat out animal abuse.
     
  6. Ugh. Seeing overweight dogs whose owners don't do anything about it makes me so sad. Those poor animals.. they have no control over it. They just eat what's in front of them.
     
  7. My moms dog, a beagle, was so fat. My step dad would always feed her scraps and my mom tried to tell him not to because she was getting so fat. My mom put her on a diet and is taking her walking everyday. My mom has told me she has lost a lot of weight. I am always nervous that my dogs are to skinny, haha, but they are healthy says the vet(2 chihuahuas).
     
  8. Has anyone had a problem with their dog getting fat after being neutered? My black/white parti pom has gotten so huge after being neutered. So has my friend's jackrussell after she was spayed. Or am i just wrong, and thye've just gotten fat as a result of us feeding them too much?
     
  9. When I got Casey, my rescue doxie, he was a shocking 23 lbs! His belly hung to the ground, and he could not move very well. I am happy to say he is now down to 13.4lbs, a loss of almost 10lbs. He feels great now, although I think he wonders why he does not get the quanity of food he used to before from his first owner.
     
  10. Hector was too fat to fit under my arm at the beginning of the year and that's when I knew he had to go on a diet.

    I got him in April 2000, when he was only three months old, from a breeder in East Sussex. I had another Scottie who died just after Christmas 1999 and I was used to the company, so I knew I wanted to get another one.


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    Heavyweight Hector, the 50lb Scottie
     
  11. My last dog was also called Hector after my first boyfriend. This one was born on January 1, so I call him my Millennium baby.
    He was tiny and adorable, but soon grew to be nearly twice the size of a normal Scottie — and I was to blame because of his diet.
    I think it started when he was 18 months old and I had him neutered.
    This can slow down a dog's metabolism so it may have contributed to his size.
    But I'm single and don't have children, so I spoiled him and treated him like a substitute child.
    He loves dried pigs' ears I get from the butchers, which I'd give him three times a week, and he ate dog biscuits every morning and evening with his meals.
    If I ate a biscuit, he would expect one. If I had a square of chocolate, I'd treat him to one. When I had friends over for dinner, I gave him the scraps.
    I'd tried putting him on diets before and he'd lost a kilo here and there, but I'd never been able to get him down to the recommended weight.
    None of the diets seemed to work, probably because of his slow metabolism. By the time I put him on this diet in March, he weighed 50lb (23 kilos) — the ideal weight is 35-40lb (16-18kilos).
    I was worried he'd balloon out and become unwell. And with summer coming up I didn't want him to be uncomfortable in the heat. I wanted him to be as close as possible to his target weight by the summer to kickstart a healthier lifestyle.
    So I decided to put him on a new treatment called Yarvitan, because he didn't seem to lose weight any other way.
    I was wary about putting him on something so new to the market, but my vet assured me it was safe.
    It costs around £50 for an eight-week course, and in liquid form is poured over the pet food. It works by blocking the transfer of fats into the bloodstream, and also slightly reduces the dog's appetite.
    Studies have shown it helps dogs lose an average of 8 per cent of body weight.
    I started by cutting down his treats in preparation for the diet and he only got them once every few weeks rather than every day.
    Once I'd started the medication, I noticed a difference after the first week. He was livelier and more energetic.
    He had been a bit of a couch potato, and he was now bounding about and much happier.
    He also ate less. Not only did I restrict the quantity of food, as advised by the vet, but he wasn't even finishing everything in the bowl.
    Before going on the diet, I would fill his food bowl to the top and he would eat until the bowl was empty.
    Now, I give him food which comes with a measuring cup, and tells you how much to give your dog, depending on his size and breed.
    I cut biscuits and treats completely out of his diet, which was a bit of a shock to his system. He would ask for biscuits but, when he realised 'no' was going to be his only answer, he stopped trying.
    In a way, it was also a good way for me to lose a couple of pounds because I had to cut out all the snacks for myself as well.
    The one thing I didn't have to do was exercise Hector more because he already gets plenty. He goes for an hour-long walk in the mornings, and another half an hour in the afternoons and evenings.
    I found Yarvitan easy to administer. Although it was expensive — £57 a bottle — he's only had half so far so there's plenty left over in case he gains weight again and I decide to put him back on it. He now weights 44lb (20kg) and is much closer to his ideal weight. Six pounds might not seem like a lot in human terms, but when you look at how small he is, it makes a difference — and he has lost more than 10 per cent of his body weight
     
  12. Jane Crellin, 38, a child support worker, lives in a twobedroom flat in Redditch with her partner Nick Jennings-Slater, 42, who works in the transport industry, and their three-year-old golden retriever Barney. Jane says:


    Barney put on weight as a result of a shoulder injury earlier this year.
    I was taking him out for a walk and, in his excitement, he fell off the kerb leading down to the car park outside our apartment.

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    Jane Crellin with Barney



    Within weeks of getting him home, after I bought him, we found out he had a chicken allergy because he was sick every time we gave him poultry.
    The vet recommended a beef and vegetable diet, which is much better for him, but it's also very high in fat so I had to make sure he exercised regularly.
    He didn't get many treats although he had rawhide dental chews every day, which are high in fat but good for his teeth. He loved them but, with his new diet, they had to stop.
    We had to put him on Yarvitan after the accident because he'd put on so much weight because he wasn't getting any exercise.
    For the first week after the fall, he couldn't walk at all.
    After that, the vet still recommended keeping the exercise very light and as short as possible so we only took him outside for five minutes to go to the toilet.
    He still isn't better and it'll take another three months to recover completely. After two weeks, he'd obviously put on weight so I took him to the vet who agreed he could lose a few pounds.
    He weighed in at 92lb (42kilos) and I wanted him to get down to 75lb (34 kilos). So we decided to put him on Yarvitan although he didn't like how it tasted — apparently it's very sweet — so he refused to eat it.
    In the end we resorted to mixing it with an Oxo cube and making it into a gravy, which he was much happier with.
    Out of the eight-week diet, he's been bed-ridden for six because of the injury and operation.
    It's meant the Yarvitan hasn't been as effective as we'd have liked — he's only lost 4lb (two kilos) and I'm worried that now he's stopped taking it, he'll gain weight again. I am disappointed.
     
  13. This is so sad...just like the childhood obesity epidemic :sad:
     

  14. • Richard Green, 50, a solicitor, lives in a four-bedroom house in Worcestershire with his wife Lyn, 40, an insolvency practitioner, and their three children, Adelaide, 18, James, 12, and Isabella, one.
    They have a six-year-old black labrador called Chelsea and a brown labrador puppy called Coco. Richard says:


    Chelsea put on weight because her previous owner was terminally ill. She wasn't getting the exercise she needed and was being fed lots of treats and leftovers.

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    Richard Green with Chelsea

    But when we responded to an advert for a new owner in the newspaper five weeks ago, we found she had the sweetest nature and the kids loved her, so we brought her home.
    Our first trip to the vet was a bit of a shock. We found out she was 101lb (46 kilos).
    The ideal weight for a black lab her age is 75lb (34 kilos).
    We started feeding her diet foods straight away. We don't give either dog treats because Chelsea is so overweight.
    They're happy with their two meals bowls a day of dried food. Because Chelsea was on the vet's list of overweight dogs, they called us as soon as the new medication arrived and asked if we were interested.
    The vet recommended an eight-week course along with walking her for three-quarters of a mile a day. Before she started the Yarvitan, she was quite lazy.
    Within a couple of weeks of starting the treatment, her energy levels shot up and she was running around.
    She now gets plenty of exercise, which has increased since we bought a new puppy called Coco two months ago.
    They keep each other company and are always playing. The only negative was that, as time progressed, Chelsea became less keen to eat the food with Yarvitan poured all over it.
    Part of the course is a two-week gap where they stop taking it and she was back on her usual dried food.
    When we put her back on the Yarvitan, she almost turned her nose up at it. She finished her food, but reluctantly. It didn't smell, but was too sweet. After the eight-week course, Chelsea is now down to 85lb (39 kilos), which is only 10lb (4.5 kilos) off her target weight.
     
  15. Henry was, and still is, a nightmare with food.
    Last summer at the Southampton fair, he disappeared into the circus arena and emerged a little while later from someone's caravan with six pieces of chicken hanging from his mouth.

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    Chris Wotton and Lisa Alexander with Henry

    He was eight weeks old when we got him from a family who lived locally — their dog had eight puppies and Henry was the last one left. They warned us he was far bigger than all his brothers and sisters.
    From day one, Henry was a real character. He was playful, enjoying chewing on my laces, and well-trained — going to the toilet on paper. He seemed like the perfect dog.
    His diet at home is quite controlled, to counter balance all the food he finds in other places. We give him dry dog food and rarely let ourselves succumb to his begging of extra food and treats.
    But, like all black labrador males, he is food obsessed and he's always looking for a way to have more.
    When he goes out, he comes back with scraps he's found in bins, or picks up loaves of bread people leave out for the birds.
    In the summer, it's even harder. Henry invites himself to people's picnics and steals burgers, crisps and pizzas.
    He goes on two walks every day — in the morning for 15 minutes and in the evening for half an hour.
    On the weekends we take him to the forest and he runs for a couple of hours.
    But, despite this, by the beginning of the year we were worried that his extra weight was putting an unnecessary strain on his heart and were concerned about his long-term health.
    So we went to our vet Chris Carter who told us the only way to change his habits was to increase his exercise and decrease the amount of food we give him.
    Ideally we wanted him to lose four to six pounds. But he had weighed 92 pounds (42kg) and is now down to a much healthier 82 pounds (37kg).
    I was a bit suspicious about Yarvitan, as you are with anything when it's new on the market. But Chris assured us there were no risks in terms of his health.
    The only downside was the cost — we had to pay £67 but it was worth it.
    Henry suffered from no side effects — he still ate healthily, didn't get unwell and has more energy than he did before the diet. He now runs around even more than he used to. He's lost weight from his tummy and sides. Friends commented on it, without knowing we put him on a diet.