I took the doggy to the vet a few weeks ago for a well-check and was shocked to find out that Jake weighed 62 pounds. He was so thin when I adopted him. It was obvious that he had gone a long time with no real feeding schedule. He behaved as if he did not expect food to be part of a daily routine. Changing that expectation took time, and I don’t want him to feel deprived again.
How it Happened
We were fostering a new puppy, Buddy. I gradually changed Buddy over from puppy food to adult food a couple of months ago. Jake was in very good, muscular form at that time so I thought that I could take him off the light food and cut his snacks to keep him in shape. That way I only had to purchase one Science Diet formula. Well, it seemed to work, then I noticed Jake was gaining, but it wasn’t much. I just didn’t realize that he was on a gradual gain swing. So gradual that I didn’t notice just how much he had gained after several weeks had gone by. In fact, I’m sure that he was still putting it on the very day he went to see the veterinarian.
After we got home from our appointment, I looked him over more objectively. He is the most wonderful boy to my eyes, so I always see him as beautiful. He was big and beautiful; I had to admit. Quite big, with noticeable rolls on his hips and even over his shoulders. He had put on a thick layer of fat. It was time to put him on a new nutrition and exercise program. Fewer calories and more play were what was needed.
So, back to the light formula and fewer snacks which now consists of dry Science Diet, the kind for weight management, (here is the one we buy) a few times a day, plus one homemade cookie total that is broken up to make two treats.
He is happy and feels well taken care of, plus he has lost about 2 pounds in the three weeks since we started his new program. he is also more active. I hadn’t noticed that he was slowing down a little bit, due to the excess weight, until his normal energy levels had started to return.
He doesn’t feel deprived because I can give him the same amount of the light formula as he has become accustomed to for his meals and the tiny snacks please him as much (well almost) as a full cookie snack. he has noticed the change. he quickly learned to anticipate the two times of the day that we give the dogs a half cookie. he is food-focused; there is no doubt about it. Any routine of ours that has to do with food seems to get programmed into his body clock instantaneously. he has taught me to be more self-aware because he notices food routines that are basically unconscious on our part.
The increased exercise part of his program was easy and automatic. His energy level has been going up steadily. If he’s got the energy, our cats Julius and Happy have got the time. They are making sure that he’s got something to do whenever he feels like playing. They are all best buds and most all projects, whether it be to find the hidden ball or see if they can get away with starting a dig in the backyard, are partnerships for them. There is no doubt that Jake loves Julius and Happy- thick or thin. he’s just a lot more fun when he isn’t lazy from being overweight.
I will still let Jake keep his jolly weight. I feel that it is important for his emotional health because he is much more nervous
when he is at a working dog weight. he tends to worry about when he’ll get his next meal when he is at the standard weight. he’s not a working dog anyway. Well, he is the bed warmer, and he does take his job seriously, but athletic ability isn’t part of the job description. In fact, a tiny bit of fat is desirable in the winter time.