Diet and exercise
I'm trying to lose weight, heck who isn't right? But more than lose weight I like to be in shape so I exercise like crazy, as do my dogs. I have always kept my dogs in peek condition; it is very easy, much easier than keeping myself in shape. They don't sneak a snack here and there and they never balk at the idea of exercise. Even Luke at 12.5 always wants to go and run, explore and join in the fun. So it makes me sad when I see overweight dogs; and I see them a lot. We see them out on walks, in cars, yards and photos; fat dogs are everywhere.
Why are there so many fat dogs? There are many reasons why humans allow their dogs to become fat. But the bottom line is over feeding and lack of movement, that's it. Many people just don't get their dogs out. It really amazes me how many dogs never leave the confines of their home and yard. They spend their days and nights looking at the same walls and yard. They eat the same boring food out of the same boring bowl day in and day out. This is a sad life for any dog.
I ran into a woman the other day at the park who stopped to ask about my dogs. She wanted to know if they were part Wheaten Terrier? She had a Wheaten at home and wondered about Luke and Elsa's color. When I asked her about her dog and why it wasn't with her she just sort of shrugged and said "no I don't like to bring him." I thought about how much connection time she was missing out on by not bringing her dog running with her. But we moved on.
Every dog is different; each has different requirements as far as exercise. But no matter what shape or size they are they need to run. Dogs need to be active. Of course with the large differences in dogs you need to adjust your activities accordingly. But they all still need to get out and run or walk. Even a few pounds on a dog can do a great deal of damage. I know how I feel when I put on or take off a few. You can really feel just a few pounds. Pounds do damage to joints; they can also be very taxing on vital organs.
Fat dogs are at a much higher risk of injury. Their joints will suffer so that they will have to deal with arthritis as they age. Along with many degrees of damage done to their body organs. Having too much weight on them is taxing to the body creating all sort of health issues from moderate to life threatening. There is simply no reason for a dog to be fat. (Of course unless they have some sort of medical issue.)
Recently I have seen some very fit people out with fat dogs. I wonder if they simply don't see it. Do they not realize how fat their dogs are? I have told people before that their dog was fat and needed to lose a few and the response is always shock. "Really? You think?" Then I explain what their dog should look like and how they should be able to move much more easily. Our dogs should resemble a lean, mean hunting machine. That is after all what they are. Yes even those little puff ball dogs you carry around in a fancy bag. They are dogs and dogs are athletic, strong and agile; or at least they should be.
There is no reason for a dog to be fat; that responsibility lies solely on us, the owner. If your dog is fat it is your fault. Our dogs are in our hands completely. What they eat, do and live is all on us. Along with more moving we must feed less food. There is a ton of very poor quality food out there that has huge feeding quantities listed on the back of the bag. These companies want you to feed their food and lots of it. Dogs truly don't need a ton of food; if it is quality food that is.
With boredom can come a desire for more food and with our natural human guilt kicking in you can find yourself offering up more and more food. But when you feed you should feed the best food that you can. No matter if you have a tiny pocket pooch or a big monster beast dog; feed them all good food. The more quality you feed the less quantity they will need. It actually surprises me how little food Elsa eats to keep her in such amazing shape.
Diet: food and drink considered in terms of its qualities, composition, and its effects on health.
Diet is not a bad word; it is used incorrectly all of the time. People say "I'm on a diet" when they mean that they are on a weight loss diet. Diet is simply the food that you and your dog eat; it is not synonymous with weight loss. Everyone is on a diet; be it weight loss, gain, no carb, grapefruit etc. etc. I know that I feel great when I eat great; so I consider how my dogs must feel as well. Imagine someone told you that you had to eat some sort of horrible fast food from now on. Every meal was high in fat, salt and additives with very little actual nutrition in the food. Much like the crap in many of the dog foods out there. You probably would not feel very well; certain not in peak condition.
Picture your dog in peak condition; a lean, mean hunting machine. Are they close? Or do you have a great deal of work to get them there? It truly does not take a whole lot of work to be in that state. Feed great food and move. That is the secret to being in shape; that's it, no magical pill, no secret ingredient. It is all about putting the best food in; offering a quality diet and moving.