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Why I’ll Never Put My Obese Dog On A Diet

Obese DogWith the majority of pets in this country being overweight or obese, there’s a good chance your dog is one of them. Your veterinarian may have suggested you put your overweight dog on a diet, and even gave you specific ideas on how to get the weight off your dog. She may say things like “he’ll feel better.” It sounds horrible (diets always are), and both you and your dog are just fine the way he is! Here’s four reasons to ignore your veterinarian’s advice. (Before you get mad, read to the end).

1 – Obese dogs that barely move are easy to care for

He never wants to move. Sometimes he doesn’t even greet you at the door. Sure, he’ll waddle outside to do his business, but that’s about it. No walks. No playing with toys. No throwing the ball. You have a decoration in your house that you feed (and feed, and feed) that requires little to no effort. Does it get any better than that?

I used to have a dog like this. And, gullible me, put her on a weight loss program that was very successful! She lost 20% of her body weight, and what do I have now? A dog that greets me enthusiastically at the door. I have a dog who runs through the house wanting to play. She asks to go for walks. She brings me toys and wants me to pull them. This is exhausting. Sure was easier when she didn’t want to move. Still kicking myself for this one. Now I have a lively dog that wants me to get off the couch and enjoy life. The nerve!

2 – Obese dogs have shorter lives

Let’s face it, even if the dog doesn’t move much, you still have to pet it, feed it, possibly medicate it for its obesity-related health problems. That still takes time, and you’re busy! If he dies sooner, then it’s that much sooner you can get a young, skinny model. It’s been proven obesity takes years, not months, years off dogs’ lives. With the number of homeless animals out there, having your dog die young means you can save another homeless pet. Score one for compassion, right?!?!

3 – Obese dogs are good for the economy

Overfeeding your dog requires a lot of food! Dog food, people food, any food! Also, don’t forget the entire cabinet of treats you have! All that costs money, and our economy thanks you! Besides, many obese dogs have health problems, with arthritis being the most common one. Is your dog on pain meds? (I would hope you are giving them if your dog needs them). Does she get skin infections in her fat folds that need to be treated? Finally, when your obese dog passes away, cremation companies will profit! Cremation is charged by weight, so the more pounds, the more those companies can charge. Way to help America prosper!

4 – Obese dogs want to eat and eat, and depriving them of that is mean

Cue the Sarah McLachlan song! Your dog’s ancestors, the wolf, might run around and have to catch their own prey. They might even play and engage in social activities. Savages! You want your refined, evolved dog to have the best life, and that means never getting out of his bed. If you offer him food and he eats it, then clearly he has been starving! When he looks at you with the mournful eyes, it isn’t because he has instincts telling him to move, to get out in the world, to chase a squirrel. No, those eyes want to get every french fry possible. Playing is over-rated. Every other species does it, but dogs have always been a niche of their own anyway, right? Food is love, and you want your dog to feel loved.

So…

clearly your veterinarian does not have anyone’s best interest in mind when she offers ways to help your dog lose weight. She doesn’t know your dog! He was not descended from the wolf, but from the sloth! He has no desire to do “normal” dog activities, because he’s much more refined than that. Playing? Jumping in the car to go for a ride? Chasing the neighbor’s cat? So stereotypical!  As long as you keep all the weight on him, you’ll never know the energetic dog lurking underneath. So feed him and feed him, and manage his health problems as they pop up. And when your obese dog passes away at a young age, please adopt!

But, wait! What if you love your dog and you want her to live a long time? To enjoy life?

Oh. You’re that owner (thankfully!)

You remember when she would be happy to see you come home from work, tail wagging, butt wiggling, and you miss that.

Maybe your doctor told you to get out and walk a little bit too, and to find a buddy.

Or you worry how she’ll get around the next time it snows.

Come to think of it, that playful, happy dog you enjoyed before she gained all the weight was kinda fun. The vet said weight loss would extend her life, and she would feel better.

Maybe you should give it a shot after all, for your dog’s sake.

Web-DVM guest blogger Dr. Karen Louis is a practicing small animal veterinarian.  See more of her articles at her blog at VetChick.com

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