One of my biggest pet hates (excuse the pun) is seeing overweight pets and animals, especially as they rely upon their owners to provide their food for them…they aren’t even making themselves fat! My Staffordshire Bull Terrier was morbidly obese when we took over her care; she was so big that she couldn’t lie down to sleep and we had to prop her up on pillows. The reason she was like this was due to a rather sad tale of her owner getting killed and the owners Dad feeding her the same food as he ate – meal for meal, for weeks. She refused to eat dog food for days on end until I relented and gave her a hot cross bun! However she is now eating as she should be – albeit she is still a greedy girl – and weighs approximately 13kg…she was over 36kg when we first took over her care.
One of my motivators in getting her fit and healthy was that I could really see that she was struggling, and I didn’t want her to die young. I also didn’t want people looking at me and thinking “fat owner, fat dog”! Overweight animals are susceptible to the same health conditions associated with overweight humans – heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and other joint problems, and I didn’t want to inflict this on her. My poorly little dog was quite quickly put on the right path thanks to a great brand of dried food – with a ‘lighter’ range! – exercise, and some TLC…and here she is, my little old grey lady – Lucy. She’s thirteen years old now, and still going strong!
I found an interesting article that stated:
53% of dogs are overweight or obese
55% of cats are overweight or obese
That means that there are 88,400,000 fat pets!
I was also shocked to discover that 15% of overweight cat owners, and 22% of overweight dog owners, think that their pets are a healthy weight, and that 95% of owners give MULTIPLE treats to their pets each day. This might not sound so bad, but when a pigs ear – something that I give to Lucy every now and again – is the equivalent of me drinking six cans of full sugar fizzy pop, it’s quite eye-opening!
There were some shocking stories about overweight pets too. Jack, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, was 105% overweight…he should have weighed 22lbs, but weighed 45lbs; Walter, a short-haired cat, weighed 28lbs but should have weighed 10lbs…so was 180% overweight; and Sampson, a black Labrador, weighed 187lbs when he should have weighed 70lbs, and so was 167% overweight! All of these animals were clearly incredibly overweight, yet their owners had allowed them to get to this stage. I know we all love a nice cuddly pet, but really, we need to help them out!
My horses are a big concern as well. There used to be a trend in the world of showing for big glossy round rumps…i.e. plump little ponies. Yes, they might look cute, and it might be lovely to feed them endless streams of carrots and apples – as my niece tries to do – but it can have severe affects on their behaviour and wellbeing. For a start, constantly feeding them treats has a habit of teaching them to ‘mug’ people for food…okay if it’s a cute little puppy, not so great if it’s half a tonne of horse with great big teeth. I have had numerous jacket pockets ripped off by horses who have been taught to search for treats, and I have been bitten a number of times too – and it bloody well hurts. Far more importantly though, there are also a number of health conditions that stem from over feeding horses and ponies, joint overload, metabolic conditions such as cushing’s, and the main one that I have firsthand experience of is laminitis.
Laminitis is an incredibly painful hoof condition which, in extreme cases, can lead to the horse having to be euthanised. At best, laminitis causes lameness for a short period of time – during which the horse needs to have it’s food intake monitored and reduced – at worst, the bone in the hoof which supports the body weight of the horse, can burst through the bottom of the hoof…and when this happens, there are not many options left at all. Allowing a horse access to fresh, rich grass, for even a period as small as thirty minutes, can induce an attack of laminitis, and once a horse or pony has had it, they are prone to it for life. My little Shetland pony has had this prior to us owning him, and we have to keep a muzzle on him 24/7 from spring through to autumn, and closely watch his weight, his behaviour and his movement for any sign of this awful condition. Luckily, since we’ve had him, he has only had two mild bouts which we were able to control by removing him from the grass and stabling him for a few days. He’s such a greedy little monster though: he breaks through electric fencing to get at the lush grass, which is why we have to muzzle him…I always feel so guilty when I put it on him, as I think he must be looking at me thinking, “you need one of these too luv!” Here is is, the cheeky little monster…enjoying his dinner!
He also has a breathing condition called COPD, which means we have to give him a special supplement and, on high pollen count days, we give him a Piriton tablet too! The things we do for the love of our animals hey?!
So if I’m so good at looking after the health and wellbeing of my animals, then why did it take me so long to do something about my weight? If it was so easy for me to spot that Lucy was in trouble and needed help, why was it so hard for me to spot the same in myself? I knew I didn’t want to end up with the health conditions I mentioned above, and I knew I was having difficulties doing the things I wanted to do, yet it still didn’t change my habits. It is sadly all to often the case that we can spot things wrong with other people, or animals in this case, but tend to turn a blind eye to our own issues. All too busy helping people sort their lives out, that we fail to tackle our own issues.
So I guess the moral of my little story is to not only take care of your pets’ wellbeing, but to bloody well look after your own! Perhaps getting off your backside and taking your dog for a walk, instead of just using it to warm your feet up, might help. Use that ‘selfish’ time I mentioned the other day and work out a little healthcare plan for both you and your pets…after all, you don’t want to be the fat owner of a fat pet do you?! 😉
Onto today’s usuals then…
What a day it’s been. It started with a tired WLB after a really disturbed night, and then I ended up with a dodgy stomach this morning too. My sister was early to drop off the kids – I was looking after them whilst they attended a funeral – so it was all a bit rushed. We did the horses, the park and McDonalds (I resisted – polishing my halo!) and it was then home for more play and fun! They had a picnic dinner which I had to feed to the little man and I wanted to eat most of this – as I was really hungry at this point. He had crisps, chocolate, cheese sandwiches, yogurt and fruit…I resisted this too! We then had more playtime, stories and bed. I returned home to find that my other half hadn’t prepared any food…and I wanted to flip my lid…I am not great company this evening!! 😉
Breakfast: Banana and two Benefit bars.
Lunch: Fruit and a Muller light.
Dinner: Quorn sticky fillets, low fat Supernoodles and fried veggies.
Snacks: Two wholemeal rolls turned into pizza toasties! (No pics…not made yet!)
Total nightmare today – breakfast and lunch was just grabbed stuff to keep me going. My sister was much later back than I’d anticipated and so I hadn’t eaten anything ‘proper’ until 8.30pm…I was tired, ratty and hormonal by this point and told my other half to stay away from me as I felt I was in danger of doing and OJ or an Oscar!! I managed to prepare a soup though, a quick meal, and my pizza toasties as I knew I will end up staying up rather late tonight…so I’m aiming to get something decent eaten as I don’t want to feel ravenous tomorrow and end up eating the world! This method of eating is NOT recommended, especially given that I have diabetes and need to eat regularly!
Exercise: BodyPump, Boxercise, Sit-ups, Dancercise – forty minutes.
Today was a tough one for fitting in the exercise, but I managed to do it in two twenty minute blocks which means I’ve got one more session and will have achieved my Silver award! 😉
Loads of love,
Weight Loss Bitch xxx
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To read the poster that I got some of the stats from, follow this link – http://scb.catswhiskerswebd.netdna-cdn.com/cms/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/veterinary-tech-carrington-college_600.jpg