dog diets, Dog Health, General

Oh my gosh the obesity

Pem people, this has got to stop. If I see one more photo of Precious Pooky Peedler who can barely drag himself around because the amount of fat wrapped around his PROSTATE is more than any dog should have to carry over his whole body, I am going to scream. What is the deal? Why the epidemic of incredible fatness in this breed when owned by pet owners?

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  • Reply Tiffany July 27, 2010 at 4:50 am

    I have to agree with you on this. What is it with people who have a Pem and grow it into a marshmallow sausage dog that looks like a blob with 4 stumps as legs that can barely move/function. I don’t understand.

    • Reply Pai July 27, 2010 at 12:18 pm

      I see a similar phenomenon with Chihuahuas, at least the ones that live around my neighborhood.

  • Reply Beth July 27, 2010 at 6:10 am

    To be fair, Pems are incredibly easy keepers. The weight can keep going on with what seems a pitifully small amount of food, for the size of the dog. That said, I have had quite a few people—dog people, too—- comment that mine are “thin.” Our TDI trainer met Maddie and said “Is she always this skinny?” and then paused and said “Or are most Corgis just fat?” My response was most Corgis are not just fat but obese.

    People get used to seeing a bullet-shaped waistless dog and think that is what they are meant to look like. Many Pems have a fairly heavy front-end and people feed them til the back end matches the front. The other two breeds I see that are typically overweight, and significantly so, in pet homes are pugs and labrador retrievers. A lab is a stocky dog but meant to look athletic; they have a very short coat and you should clearly see the faintest outline of ribcage in a dog in good shape.

    • Reply Crystal (and Maisy) July 27, 2010 at 6:55 am

      I think I’ve seen ONE pug in my life that wasn’t obese. A co-worker recently purchased a “chug” (chi/pug mix) because she hates “how fat pugs are” and that the chi in the dog would “help keep it skinny.” I told her to just get a pug and feed it correctly, but clearly she didn’t listen to me. *sigh*

  • Reply Kathy J July 27, 2010 at 6:54 am

    Must be why folks who look at Bart the corgi think he is an abused dog. He is small for a corgi – runt of the litter – and right now tips the scale at about 27#. He is a lean mean corgi machine. Now he has been (embarrassed pause) 32# but that came to a halt thanks to the wonderful green bean and pumpkin plus a few more walkies. Since Bart is affected at risk for DM I want to keep him lean so he is mobile for as long as possible. I can see a slightly strange motion in his gait which is either I’m getting to be an old dog 12.5 years old, or the dang genes are catching up with me.

    The collies are pretty lean as well but with the one you would never know because he is a fluff ball. However I expect these dogs to jump and I am not a fan of veterinary orthopedic surgery – well it would be more accurate to say I am not excited about paying for it – I am glad the technology exists.

  • Reply Scott July 27, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Obesity is RAMPANT in retired racing greyhounds. People are so brain-washed into believing that they are starved and mistreated on the tracks, and so many veterinarians have little experience with sighthounds in general, that they think they need to fatten them up.

    Here is a greyhound at the proper, healthy weight:

    Now compare that to this one:

    The second dog is actually not too bad as I’ve seen much, much worse, but you can see that her tuck-up has practically disappeared. She would certainly not be considered overweight if it were a Lab or a Golden, but it isn’t and its body was not designed to carry that weight. Of course the owner’s vet might say it is healthy.

    For a dog at the proper running weight, you should be able to see the ribs and musculature. There should be several vertebrae and hipbones visible. The banner picture on my blog is my whippet during one of his first runs. Most people would think him okay, but he was actually a pound or so overweight then. For a pet home, a few pounds on the dog might be alright as long as it doesn’t change the dog’s silhouette, but a dog that is slightly thin is always healthier than one that is slightly overweight. I always tell new owners to look up their dog online and see what his racing weight was; ideally the dog should be two or three pounds LESS than his running weight since he will lose muscle mass when not racing. A pound or two may not seem like much, but the risks of injury while the dog is running – even if it is just in your backyard – increase at least tenfold.

  • Reply Dawn Small July 27, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Preach!! And it’s not just corgis, though they are frequent offenders, but the VAST majority of pet dogs. There is an event called Woofstock that is held in Damariscotta every year, where there are dog-related vendors, demonstrations, etc. Lots of people wander in with the family pet. I was in a constant state of horrification looking at all of the obese dogs and the talon-like toenails. Nathan finally made me leave before my filter went completely, fearing I’d go on a rant and embarrass him.

    Show people don’t get a pass either, though. It makes me want to club baby seals when I hear people say that their dog is at a healthy weight but needs to be “bulked up” for the show ring. Jeebus, if the judge can’t appreciate a dog at its proper weight, find another judge! A ribbon is not worth the dog’s health.

    • Reply Leila July 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

      I see a ridiculous number of overweight show dogs. The last time I was at a show I didn’t even recognize the Labs – seriously, I had to pause a sec and ask myself what they could possibly be before I thought “Oooo!” – they looked like ticks with huge round bodies and little heads stuck on little necks. It was gross.

      I do agility exclusively and I keep my Cardis very thin and I understand where you might want your dogs to have a pound or two more but the people who do both? I dont understand the 10, 15, 20 pounds (I am not kidding) that people feel like they have to put on their dogs to put them into the show ring. I would figure the agility people at least would know better, but no. /shakes head.

      I have to say most of the Pointery breeds with short coats are fine but just about everything else? Holy hell.

    • Reply Beth July 27, 2010 at 9:20 am

      Ooooohhh, thank you! My experience with dog shows is from the telly, and I was watching recently thinking “Does the camera add 10 pounds to dogs, too, or or half of these guys all kinds of pudgy?”

  • Reply Tass July 27, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Not just the pems. My brother has a golden he hunts with, 9 years old, who is showing signs of hip problems. He’s medicated for pain and they just can’t figure out that if he’d lose 10-15 lbs. (Gus weighs in at about 90 lbs) he’d most likely not need the meds and feel better. According to the vet, his weight is fine. (head/desk, head/desk, head/desk)

    I told them to ask how much a hip replacement costs…(I think the vet’s son is heading to college soon, also).

    • Reply Leila July 28, 2010 at 8:57 am

      I have a very good friend who is a vet and I asked her about why more vets don’t say anything or get firmer with their pet owners when they bring in an overweight dog. She said it was because of how offended a lot of people get if you even *hint* that their dog is chubby. They will frequently leave and go find another vet who will tell them their dog’s weight is “just fine.”

      I teach pet obedience classes and in class I generally try to work in some kind of nutrition segment and then bring out a couple of my dogs for them to put their hands on so they can feel what a fit dog should feel like. I find this works pretty well since I’m not telling any specific person their dog is fat and it doesn’t make anyone defensive because I’ve made them feel like bad parents. They generally go off and think about it and many will come up to me in class and mention they’ve made some sort of change.

  • Reply kathi July 27, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I have some weight guilt of my own, since my male Rottweiler finished his championship earlier this year, and yes, I did put some weight on him for that. Not that it absolves me, but it pales in comparison next to some of the truly huge pets in the neighborhood (and it does include a pug and a lab). I think it’s worse now, but not a new problem. About 10 years ago, dearly departed Heidi (also a Rottweiler) blew a cruciate. On our visits to the ortho specialist, she always seemed to be one of the very few dogs of correct weight in the waiting room. Almost all of the others in to see the ortho specialist were overweight, some a LOT.

  • Reply Sarah Davis July 27, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    In my 200 hour internship at Warren Animal Hospital this summer, I have seen obese Pems, Bassets, Pugs, Chihuahuas, Shitzu, Pekingese, Labs, Goldens, and many, many fat cats. Most of them are also Type 2 diabetics with the secondary conditions associated with diabetes. The owners pay a minimum of $100 a month for insulin plus regularvet visits to regulate their blood sugar and deal with their secondary issues. I have seen ONE cat revert to a non-diabetic – turns out his condition was due to a chronic steroid overdose. If people with new puppies could see whatwould happen to their dog in the future, I wonder if they would change their behavior.

  • Reply Pai July 27, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    When I was at the vet lately with my own pup, my vet informed me that she was pleased to see a puppy with a healthy weight, and many of the (8-10 WEEK old!) pups she sees are already overweight.

  • Reply Tiffany July 27, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I guess being a newbie to the show world I find it slightly puzzling when told that dogs need to put on bulk weight to do well in the breed ring. I gather this is just common practice? But the extra weight would prevent them from doing well in the performance field or if it were to do what it was bred to do for work. Makes no sense.

    Being somebody who’s extremely athletic, I expect my dogs to be able to keep up.. and condition them to be able to do so. They do keep up with me and can run 3.1miles no problem at a really decent pace of 8min miles! (both my cardi boys). Uno is extremely muscular and our breed handling instructor saw him yesterday after not seeing him since Dec. Complemented me on how great of a shape he was in and was extremely muscular.. but needs to tack on some weight to fill out for the breed ring.. said just a little bit. I hope it’s not too much that has to go on b/c I know how much the extra weight can effect an animal or even human’s joints and muscles. It totally changes everything. And because it changes everything, I now won’t take Uno out on the runs with me b/c that’s not fair to him. So I guess for now he is just on low intensity exercise mode..

    As far as over weight pets go.. that is probably the most frustrating thing to watch. Sigh

  • Reply Lawren July 27, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    I see many fat Pems when I go to the dog park and it always makes my mouth fall open when I see the little round potato shaped dogs who are panting and huffing and look like they are about ready to collapse. It makes me sad. I get a lot of comments about Teddy, saying that he’s too skinny and that I need to feed him more and that corgis shouldn’t be that skinny and he needs more weight on him. Ummm no. Last vet visit at 16 months he weighed 24.5#. The vet praised me for having a fit, healthy corgi.
    I see a lot of fat pugs too, some who can barely move. The kicker though was the lady who had her obese pug in a stroller! Gee, no wonder he is fat if he gets no exercise.

  • Reply Liz July 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I agree that this is a “pet” thing more than a breed-specific thing, though there are absolutely some breeds that are more prone to being fat than others. Don’t you wonder though too–a dog like a Chi or a Pug, or maybe often times especially now, Labs–people choose those breeds based on their energy levels and it becomes a chicken-or-the-egg scenario. Dog is mellow, owner doesn’t feel the need to exercise it, dog gets fatter and slower, and on and on?

    I agree with the stroller thing too. Who on Gods Green Earth feels the need to stroller their dogs around? Maybe a disabled dog, but still.

    I have a Chi mix whose weight I watch like a hawk. But he also gets multiple walks a day, and plenty of running at the dog park, beach, hiking etc. He definitely has the personality to happily live as a couch potato, but I’d prefer to keep him around longer and he enjoys his busy life. My IG-Min Pin mix has the metabolism of a super model and the energy level to match, so he eats full meals and more or less unlimited training treats. Regardless, the older he gets, if I even suspect him of getting heavier I will have no qualms on pulling back on his intake.

    We also all know many pet dogs eat crap food–just like the majority of obese Americans. The “worst” food my dogs eat are string cheese and the occasional hot dogs for training only, if all I fed them was Beggin’ Strips and Pedigree, theyd probably start packing on the pounds as well.

  • Reply Erika July 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    After being wrongfully accused of abusing my allegedly “skeletal” dog and being told I know nothing about dog ownership because she isn’t overweight like many other Cardis, this post makes me laugh with irony. Seriously?!?!?!?!? SNORT.

    • Reply Pai July 27, 2010 at 2:48 pm

      On one of the forums I frequent, someone had AC called on them because of their ‘skeletal’ Great Dane. She was a gangly puppy without even a rib showing.

    • Reply Kate July 27, 2010 at 4:11 pm

      Erika, I have tried very hard not to be defensive, with the passive-aggressive comments in blog posts and the old jabs on Facebook – who knows what you’ve said since you unfriended me – but to be honest, you need to grow up and have a good long think.

      When I get emails from more than one person (people concerned enough to seek me out as the dogs breeder and contact me) saying that the puppy you bred looks sick, and when you ask the owner if she has been wormed and the owner says, “Oh, what’s that?” it is hard to not be alarmed. And, in case you don’t remember, this was not the first – or last – problem with her. Both Joanna (as the dam’s owner) and I talked to you SEVERAL times and saw no improvement in how you were dealing with the puppy. I felt that, at that point, the only way to get your attention was to scare you by threatening to take the puppy back if things didn’t change. I suppose that, if someone was taking care of one of your children, and someone told you that the child looked like they were starving, you would shrug and say, “Oh, I’m sure she’s fine.”

      I know I am a villain in your mind, and I have “persecuted” you wrongfully, and nothing will ever change how you feel about that, but the bottom line is that my puppies matter a lot to me. I worry about them all the time. I don’t know how Maizey is doing, but I hope she is well.

      I like you as a person Erika, and I felt good about giving you Maizey. I, however, am very concerned about you as a dog owner. It hurts me a lot that, even after trying to make things right about Ella – GIVING you Maizey, and an HV dryer, and more to make up for wronging you by keeping Ella after I said you could have her, that you would still say that I fucked you over Ella. Another case of trying to do something nice for someone else blowing up in my face. I need to remember not to do that anymore. And let us not forget what a huge mistake my changing my mind and keeping Ella was… (tongue in cheek – Ella is my soul mate, and I should never have tried to talk myself out of her)

      That said, since you feel no qualms about speaking your mind – I am really, really, really sorry that I let you have Maizey. This experience has changed how I will place puppies forever. Your comment above made me even more secure in my feelings about you being unfitt dog owner. The fact that you can’t tell the difference between a starving dog, and a slim healthy dog, makes me scared for Maizey. I just hope, and pray, that she is thriving, because I love her and want only the best for her.

      You will probably tell everyone you can what a horrible breeder I am, and how horrible I was to you, but do try to step back and look at how well-cared my dogs are, and how happy and healthy they are, and how delighted everyone else who got a puppy from the litter is, and how every person who knows me will say freely how wonderful my dogs lives are, and think about how maybe I was not the problem in this equation.

      • Reply Erika July 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm

        I don’t really want to delve deeply into this, since there are obviously still hurt feelings on all sides — but I believe I must defend myself against accusations of ignoring Maizey’s health:

        Once the issue of Maizey’s small size was raised, I sought out MULTIPLE Cardi people put their hands on Maizey and examine her — including Cathy Ochs-Cline, Cindy Bossi, and Robin Honeycutt — as well as switching to a vet used by another local Cardi person, Jeannie Strong. All deemed her perfectly healthy, and Cathy Ochs-Cline even offered to email Kate and Joanna personally to tell them that she had seen Maizey and she was healthy.

        Yet still I am accused of being an unfit owner and starving my dog.

        We have all learned lessons from this situation, about both owners and breeders.

        I often read that breeders put the health of the puppies above all else, but my personal experience is that once Maizey started going blind from Optic Neuritis, I received an “I’m sorry to hear that” email, and nothing else. That was extremely disappointing for me. (Her condition is a freak occurrence, not due to genetics or environment, but I was hoping I would have the continued support of her breeders in dealing with this situation.)

        That all said, in my probably-biased opinion, Maizey is fine and healthy and wonderful.

        • Reply rufflyspeaking July 27, 2010 at 9:21 pm

          Maizey WAS too thin. I verified this by talking with multiple people who had had their hands on her. Then we worked together to CHANGE her diet, and she put on a LOT of weight before she looked slender-normal.

          I am not sure what more support you needed on the eye issues – I talked with you half a dozen times, helped you understand the disease, supported you through seeing the specialist, and so on. I never did not answer a phone call or an e-mail and I called you lots and lots. It was far from one e-mail.

          • rufflyspeaking July 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

            And, I should add, the support is not at an end – you could still call me for any reason at any time as long as she is living.

          • Erika July 27, 2010 at 9:52 pm

            We must have a miscommunication as a result of she-said/she-said, because not a single person who actually PUT HANDS ON Maizey told me personally that Maizey was too thin, either before or after her diet was changed. (I believe there is one person who saw her from afar — never touched her or saw her up close — and then contacted another friend who NEVER ACTUALLY SAW MAIZEY, and then contacted you and Kate — but that person had never put her hands on my dog.) I suppose those who actually did put their hands on Maizey could have been lying to me but I believe that since my dog’s health was at stake, nobody would do that.

            At any rate, this is a serious case of she-said/she-said — yet because I am in the role of first-time purebred dog owner versus long-time dog expert, I am blamed by default, despite the actions I took to ensure that the truth about Maizey’s size was brought to light by other experts.

            I do appreciate that you, Joanna, as the dam’s owner, have responded to my inquiries about Maizey’s eye condition.

          • rufflyspeaking July 27, 2010 at 10:21 pm

            Didn’t she put on seven pounds after we worked to change her diet? And now she looks really lovely, not at all overweight? Trust me, if she were normal before, even low-normal, seven extra pounds would take her to FAT. I usually get worried about the way my dogs look when they put on one or two pounds. She’s a huge-boned bitch like her mom; at 22 lb she was MUCH too thin. I don’t have any idea what people told you, but they told me that when they compared her to other Cardis her age she was very thin. Her mom is too thin under 35 lb, and I would expect her to grow up to about the same.

  • Reply Laura, Lance, and Vito July 27, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    My vet has actually taken pictures of my corgi to show people what a proper corgi should look like! Recently she has told me that a 60, 60!!!, pound corgi has come into their office as a referral for something. It really is quite sad how people don’t even recognize what a healthy dog should look like anymore.

  • Reply Jeri July 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    In Cardis at least, I think one reason that people tend to “bulk up” their show dogs is because they’re too impatient to let them grow up first. Looking at Nash right now, I can understand the sentiment LOL. Of course, incorrect weight doesn’t actually magically make a dog look mature, but people try anyway.

    And yes, a lot of them are just too fat. But not usually as bad as the average pet dog.

  • Reply Ron July 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I am wondering if the “Daily Corgi” blog inspired this post.

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