Sunday, March 29, 2009

Biggie Size My Biscuit

Our 1 year anniversary in our new house was this weekend.  Neal & I celebrated with Chinese take-out, one of our favorites.   Not wanting the dogs to feel left out of the action, I gave them a gi-normous dog treat. After eating, I settled down to read through a stack of magazines.   I've been promising myself I'd read them for a year.  Time to get down to business. 
Every issue that I leafed through, had an article about canine obesity.   

Recent studies estimate that a quarter of our dog population is overweight. Doggie demographics suggest that the negative changes in our lifestyles, are playing a role in their health as well. Us humans are spending longer hours at work, more time in front of the TV/computer & less time outdoors. The portion sizes of meals have also increased.  Often we eat out of boredom & we feel as though are dogs should partake. Another thing is the guilt factor. Both pet parents work all day & don't get to spend as much time with pets as they would like.  Therefore, we compensate by over feeding the four legged family members. 
Less exercise + more food = weight gain.  

Veterinary practices are starting to open obesity clinics to try to curtail the epidemic. These are like boot camps for dogs.  Owners are educated on nutrition & exercise while the dog stays at the vet's to lose weight. Sometimes these stints in doggie rehab can last a month or more.  Obesity is also causing an alarming trend in canine arthritis, diabetes, and an increase in heart & lung problems. Carrying extra weight also shortens life span.    
Dogs don't ask to have their biscuits biggie sized.  And although they won't say no to a colossal bowl of kibble, it's up to us to moderate their portions & exercise with them.

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