Monday, October 21, 2013

An Incredulous Mini Rant - Dachshund Mommy Is Genuinely Confused

     Hey, everyone! Hope y'all had a good weekend. :)
Today I wanted to post about something I encounter a lot, and each time I see it it baffles me more than the last. It may be a touchy subject for some people, and I want to clarify that I am in no way attacking or berating anyone. Y'all are great friends of mine, and I don't want to offend anyone with this topic. If it hits a nerve for you, feel free to leave now. I'm going to be blunt and honest in this post, and I might come across as a bitch. You've been warned.
What's got my panties in such a bunch, you ask? Dog obesity. Yup, I said it. Say those words on the internet and you've got an instant riot. People saying pet obesity is abuse, people saying food is love, people saying they're right and you're wrong, you saying you're right and they're wrong, and it's just an overall cluster fuck. This topic ranks right up there with positive training vs. dominance theory, kibble vs. raw, and let's not forget the fun topic of vaccines. I'm sharing my views on this topic, because the world needs another dog freak spouting their views all over the net. It's my civic duty, dontcha know?


      I'm going to cut right to the chase with this one. I don't understand dog obesity. Yes, I am fully aware that their are legitimate medical causes of obesity. I get that. BUT, anywhere from 60-80% of dogs are overweight or obese. Not that many dogs have medical problems warranting the weight gain. Excuse number one debunked.

     Perhaps I'm a little biased with my confusion. All 4 of my dogs are at a healthy weight. And by healthy weight I mean lean; I can feel their ribs, hips and spine, clearly see muscle definition and they all have a well defined tuck up of their bellies. I have never in my life had an overweight dog, and I'm by no means a novice owner. Not only that, I've never been even close to overweight in my life. I'm 5' 7 1/2" and 123lbs. The most I've ever weighted was 135lbs. So I have no experience with obesity, human or pet. But still.

     I also don't understand showing love with food. Nola doesn't need a treat to know I love her. I show my love by training her, petting her, playing with her, feeding her one grain free, home cooked meal a day with a few healthy snacks, photographing her, talking to her. She doesn't need a treat pitched her way to know that. Yes, dogs love food. We all know that! But they don't need constant feeding as a way to show affection. Your dog won't hate you or be upset if you don't feed them 24/7. Trust me, my dog is obsessed with me and I'm a Nazi when it comes to what she eats.

     I don't get using your dog's breed as an excuse. "Oh, I have a Lab, they're such chow hounds! A little extra pudge is normal for the breed." A breed isn't prone to obesity. That's the biggest load of horse shit I've ever heard.
What sparked this little spiel were two Dachshunds I met yesterday while going to yardsales. A chocolate dapple boy and a black and tan girl. The boy wasn't nearly as toned as my Doxie Mafia, and he could do with loosing a pound or three. The girl was so fat her belly was level with her chest, with rolls of fat hanging from her throat. The fat made a roll where her tail met her body, and if you looked at her from above she looked like a rectangular table. No curves what so ever. The owners didn't care, since Dachshunds are one of the many breeds labeled "prone to obesity". They aren't prone to obesity. They're prone to owners feeding them too much and not giving nearly enough exercise.

     I really don't get not exercising your dog. When the Mafia doesn't get exercised they are holy terrors. Barking, fighting with each other, bouncing off the walls and just being little shits. An exercised dog is a happy dog. To have a healthy dog they need daily exercise, and by that I mean more than just a short walk or a trip to the yard.


     There are so many benefits to keeping your dog fit, not the least of which is that it can extend their life up to two and a half YEARS! YEARS! Here's a digram of the different levels of body condition; where does your dog land?
Nola: is a 3. Ideal.
Boston: is a 2, and struggles to stay there. Girl can't keep weight on.
Auggie: bounces between a 3 and a 2.
Phoenix: is a 3.


     A healthy, lean Dachshund should look like this:


Nola and Boston are leggy for Dachshunds, but even Phee and Auggie look taller than normal since they're not being dragged down by fat.









     Aside from the Doxie Mafia, I've seen only 2 other Dachshunds in as good of condition. You put my crew next to most Dachshunds and they look like different breeds.

   And end rant!

Hugs,
Dachshund Mommy

18 comments:

  1. Well this was some timely, if uncomfortable, reading for me! We just put dear Toby back on his "diet", which means I scold my husband into not sharing his snacks with the dog, and I keep better track of the training treats. Thanks for the rant, it will stick with me for awhile to keep me going when the boys (hubby and Toby) start begging for permission to go back to their bad habits. No need to apologize for speaking the truth. And I'm glad you included photo evidence, even though I winced a little as the lesson hit home. Good post!

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  2. I really agree! I mean most people over-feed their cats and dogs, because they think it's cute and funny (Or maybe the owner is fat like the dog or cat). Maybe they should over-feed themselves and see if it's good for their health! Or to see how cute they are when their 300lbs! I have told some people that it's bad for cats and dogs to be overweight (Just like people) and they just say "Oh but it's cute!" We'll it's NOT!

    It's unhealthy and just plan mean!

    PLEASE don't over-feed your cat or dog!


    Ragdoll Mommy~

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  3. What a great post today! I know that Muffin and I are a little bit on the chunky monkey side. Mommy said one of the problems is Muffin HATES to walk. We've tried training her but Muffin refuses and just hurts herself instead by clawing at the pavement. Our 2nd problem is having Grandpa Bob sneaking us food all of the time. There is nothing we can do about that bcuz his memory is not too good and he doesn't remember. Mommy has cut back on our food but by 9pm we're both starving! She's added more green beans to our diet but we really don't care for them too much. Mommy get's upset bcuz I, Lily Belle, HATE wearing my harness and it takes her a long, long time to get me to put it on. I love to walk so if she can catch me, we do enjoy our walks together. Then... We can't get out too much bcuz we don't often leave Grandpa Bob alone and we definitely don't leave him alone with us dog's. So if Daddy's not home and Mommy wants to walk with me she can't. It's not safe for Muffin to be left behind with Grandpa Bob. It's a no win situation. We do get some exercise by running around the house like crazy, but we know it is not enough. Of course, we are always open to suggestions. Mommy said she too would love to lose some weight. Now that she's a prisoner in her own home, it is hard.

    Hugs,
    Lily Belle

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  4. Nothing drives me more crazy than seeing a fat dog. I always feel so sorry for the dog, and want to chew out the owner. We see fat dogs in our travels, mostly owned by older people who think it's "cute". UGH! But we also see a lot of healthy older people and their equally healthy dogs out walking daily.

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  5. The same can be said for my corgis. When we are not hanging around the agility set who of course obsess over every little ounce, people comment on how they've never seen a corgi shaped like mine. LOL! Mine are what they are supposed to look like!

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  6. This was a good post. WE tend to get BULKED UP in the WINTER when it is too MISERABLE and SOMETIMES dangerous fur us to get out.

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  7. I know Beamer is thick, but he isn't fat. I'd say he falls under category 3 of the chart you posted, as he has a tuck in his tummy, I can feel his ribs no problem, and he has a nice curve from a bird's eye view. It's just his build and I'm very careful when it comes to how much and what I feed him. However, he's a sneaky bugger and will get into his food container when someone isn't careful about locking it up and will eat until his stomach hangs as low as his chest. He did this everyday for a week and a half before I found the cause of his sudden and alarming weight gain and have been very careful about how I put his food away. On the odd occasion that he gets into is food, I put him on a one day fast (with some light snacks throughout the day), so that his body can get back to normal.

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  8. Beaglebratz mom here – Obesity in our canine family members is also one of my pet peeves- I don’t understand it. I use to watch It’s Me Or The Dog when it was on and remember how Victoria Stilwell would really let people know if their dog was overweight(and quite noticeably too) and then devise a plan for the owner to follow. I was astounded by the owners who would say things like “Well I don’t know how the dog has gotten so fat – he only eats what we feed him” Yes, EVERY family member would be feeding the dog. Or the vet has told the owner that their dog needs to be on a diet, even sells the owner special food but of course the owner knows best what the dog will eat so continues feeding in excess and continues feeding fatty foods and then wonders why the dog has multiiple medical issues. Or like you pointed out – the so- called breed specific “chow hounds”. Yes, there are many dogs who would fit the title of chow hound (even the Beaglebratz)but ANY breed can be one – last I checked, we humans are still in charge of how much and what kind of food is fed.
    Mom Kim

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  9. We had a doxie down the street whose stomach...not chest...stomach scraped the ground. It was sad.

    XXXOOO Daisy, Bella & Roxy

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  10. You forgot my favorite excuse "but they are always hungry." Of course they are always hungry- they are a DOG!!! I have lean dogs also, and people come up to me asking if I need money for dog food- LOL. Funny thing is I get the most comments about Copley and he is always on the bigger end of a healthy weight.

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  11. Props to you for speaking your mind and speaking the truth...the #1 cause of fat dogs is lazy owners..period, end of sentence. And I agree with you about the treats...Gizmo gets 1 or 2, maybe, per day, unless I'm using small bits for training purposes...and I mean small bits...Like you, my dog is obsessed with me and it's not for the treats...it's for the time we spend together, the activities we do and the fun we have...and not one of those will put on weight.

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  12. We keep careful tabs on our pups weight, but sometimes it slips past us without us noticing. During the summer outside activity comes to a standstill - temps first thing in the morning can be in the 90's and it goes up from there. My Mom is terrible. She was a little chihuahua that probably weighs somewhere in the 20+ range. The poor dog looks so uncomfortable, but Mom is one of those folks that equates food with love.

    Monty and Harlow

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  13. Amen! I agree with you. People are so used to seeing fat dogs, they sometimes think mine are "too skinny", particularly if my dogs are wet.

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  14. I'm with you. I actually do have experience with struggling with my own weight in my younger days (when the docs figured out that I had a thyroid problem, the weight problem evaporated). Before the docs discovered the problem, I learned how hard it is to eat less than it feels like you should be eating. It takes more will power than a naturally thin person can imagine.

    But, with a dog, we control what they eat. And, we have the choice to exercise them. So, like you, I don't understand the dog obesity problem. It seems so easy to solve.

    Many people tell me that my labs are "abnormally thin". I don't get that either. My vet says that each of them is at a good weight... I guess that whatever we see around us becomes "normal" so, if people see lots of fat labs, they think that all labs "should" be fat.

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  15. I'd say Yosuke teeters between 3 and 4. Sometimes he is ideal, other days (when the weather isn't cooperating) he gains about 1-2 pounds. He's a healthy little guy and gets regular exercise. Even though he's not full grown, at only 10 months old he is in very good shape. He looks very close to how Nola did at about that age based on your pics. He is also long-haired, so it hides his waist so much more.

    I completely agree that obese dogs are not good! When I see obese dogs, it makes me sad, but also wonder why the dog is obese. Is it the parents or is he sick?

    Our first dachshund was obese sadly. He was on steroids for his immune disease. We would take him on 1/4 mile walks three times a day and he still gained weight. Thankfully, according to the vet he was more muscle and water weight than fat. We always felt bad though because he had to have the meds and people thought we weren't taking care of him. :/

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  16. I agree with this post! It is almost totally black and white... every dog should be in a good shape.

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  17. When I was rescued two years ago, I used to weigh twice my current weight. I had bladder stones and had to have surgery. I also had to have three teeth pulled. I was a fat little dog! But I went from fat to fit! The vet, Mom, and I worked very, very hard for me to become the fit little long dog I am today. It took about six months to really get a handle on it, but it really took about a year for me to stabilize at my current good weight.

    So I totally understand your post and your venting! :)

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  18. I live in a very dog loving neighbourhood with lots of dachies. I have a mini dach myself and on more than one occasion I have been told "he looks really skinny. do u feed hom enough??" or "Is that a cross breed? what why doesnt his body look like a sausage dog?". This realllly gets me riled up. My dashy eats a healthy diet and gets excersized twice a day. Every other dashy in this community gets over fed and under exercised and people think its ok because its a "sausage dog, so it should look like a sausage right!" (fat and waddles). At one point I was afraid they were right, so i took my dachie to the vet and the vet told me he was extremely healthy and that almost all dashie owners in the community ignored her advice and kept feeding their dachies.
    I'm so glad I came accross your article. Your dachie looks so healthy!

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