Thursday, July 1, 2010

On My Soapbox Again

Watson has started his thyroid medication, just half of an incredibly tiny pill, twice a day, with a recheck in 4-6 weeks. His mother Coral had her blood work done yesterday too, just to be sure that she is OK, AND because she was due for a checkup. Had planned to get the dogs in in April, but never quite got to it. Pending the blood work results, Coral appears to be doing great at 12. Eyes are just a tiny bit cloudy, and she's got the beginnings of a very small heart murmur, nothing to be concerned about. She's a bit quieter these days, and does not get into the middle of the wrestling matches, but enjoys a long walk every day and is still fast enough to steal ANY toy she covets! Her coat & spots are still beautiful and she still has a puppyish face - people often ask how old my puppy is.

We weighed both Watson and Coral when they got their checkups and their weights are still perfect, just what they weighed when they were young show dogs. Watson is 54 pounds, Coral 50. She's actually a bit taller than her son, but he has more bone and a deeper chest. Both had gained a few extra pounds over the winter and went on spring diets. It's important to keep older dogs in good condition, as excess weight puts a lot of stress on joints, as well as on the dog's heart and other organs. Just as with people, leaner is better for longevity.

I've never understood why owners can not manage their dogs' weight. The owners are the ones who decide what to feed, how much, and how often. How hard is that? Fat dog, feed less, cut back on snacks, and NO food left in the dish to nibble on later. Unfortunately, too many people equate food with love, and feel "guilty" if the dog begs for more food. Seems to me that if you really love your dog, you will keep it in the proper weight! I also have no tolerance for the argument that the dog is fat because it does not get enough exercise - if it does not get enough exercise, it's the owner's responsibility to change that, BUT that is not the basic problem. Too much food = fat dog. Just as with humans it's all about calories. Feed too much, dog gets fat. If he gets more exercise it will take more calories to make him fat, but it still goes back to too much food = fat dog.

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