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does this dog make me look fat? part two

20 April 2011

The Beatles sang, “I get high with a little help from my friends.” Too many puppies (and the odd obese Chinese toddler) can sing a similar refrain about their weight.

“I get stuffed with a little help from my friends.”

Lu Hao, world's fattest toddler

thanks mom: you don’t get this fat without a little assistance from your parents and family

Or parents, in the case of Lu Hao, the very young Dashan (Guangdong Province) resident who’s already crested the 140 lbs. threshold before his 4th birthday.

Whether we’re talking about puppies or chubby Chinese kids, dog owners/parents need to take responsibility for their charges’ weights. Neither the kids nor the dogs are buying the groceries, cooking the meals, distributing the entrees, or handing out the treats. They’re not finding calories in a stash of Hallowe’en candy hidden in a closet, either.

True, the dogs (and the multiple-bowls-of-rice-eating Hao) are the ones chewing and swallowing but the stuff going into their mouths is cooked/prepared/delivered by someone who should know better.

Ballooning Together: America’s National Debt and America’s Dogs 

Our nation’s puppies and pooches are growing almost as fast as the national debt.

Having already lamented that a troubling number of dog owners are chubby, why are more than half the dogs in America overweight or obese, too?

If you’re pressed for time and can’t finish reading this entire post, here’s the answer to why too many dogs are too heavy:

Too many calories and too little exercise

A Scary Stat

In its fourth annual study of obesity and dogs, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that more than 55% of dogs were overweight or obese. (NOTE: honk if you think that the fact that there’s even an organization called the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is troubling).

Among the sample of 383 dogs, 35% were overweight and 20.6% were obese. OK, it’s a pretty small sample as statistical studies go but still….they found a lot of dogs that could use a little exercise at cool places to walk dogs.

The world's fattest dog:

without a negligent owner, do you really think I would be this fat?

The Fat Line Starts Here

If you’re wondering where the obesity threshold is, the report’s authors define it as “a body weight that is 30% greater than normal.”

And the risk is?

The risk is the same as it is for the huge people who intermittently appear in grainy black and white photos (see below) on the covers of supermarket tabloids. Excess pounds are as detrimental to a dog as they are to humans. Weight-related ailments that can afflict dogs include arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.

A Simple Solution

As far as solutions, Hill’s Pet Nutrition (which is really big on trademark registration and protection as you can see below) flogs two different weight control diets packaged in colorful boxes:

  • For obese and overweight dogs, there’s the Hill’s® Prescription Diet®
Therapeutic Weight Reduction Program
  • For slightly overweight dogs (whatever that means), Hill’s offers the Science Diet® Weight Loss System

Hill’s modestly claims that these “all-inclusive weight loss solutions feature a foolproof approach to making weight loss easier and more effective.”

Oh wait, they haven’t included exercise or dog walking in the box. So it is really only foolproof if you combine the calorie control with some exercise. But then you could have done this yourself without paying a surcharge for Hills to fill the box with prepacked, premeasured food and treats, and a lot of small plastic bags to throw away in the garbage once opened.

It is the dog owner version of buying 100 calorie chocolate bars or cookies. Everything in moderation except commonsense.

A Chubby Life is a Short Life

And without commonsense, you can wake up one day to find out that your lovely Rottweiler has inflated and now looks like the Barnyard movie’s Biggie Cheese  character, an enormous rat who raps.

The bottom line if I still haven’t convinced you to get serious about weight loss for your pet is this: the reason you don’t see really old, really overweight humans is the same reason you don’t see fat, old dogs. Fat bodies die young. This guy died at 32.

Robert Earl Hughes, world's fattest human

one dog that beat the odds. his owner died young, of course.

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