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!