Speedy and Alex bring our beagle, Penny, to the vet for her regular check-ups and scheduled shots. When they get home, the news is often the same. First, the people at the vet clinic exclaim at how beautiful her coat is. Second, Penny is overweight.
Of course, her coat is beautiful. We take care of her well. But the overweight issue? When she first started showing signs of being overweight, she was still growing and we figured that by the time she reached her full size, the weight gain would stop and that was that.
Well, Penny has gained her full size, the weight gain has stopped but she still hasn’t shed off the extra six pounds or so. We tried to figure out how she got overweight in the first place. We feed her only the recommended amount of dog food. She doesn’t lack physical activity either. She roams the house freely and the garden with supervision (because she keeps eating the plants and other things that aren’t meant to be eaten). She loves dissing the cats and chasing them around. She’s taken on walks around the village unless it’s raining. We backtracked, and…
High Sugar Dog Food and Treats
When Penny was only a few months old, Alex left for a nine-month tour around the country (she was technical director of a show that was brought to different regions). Because she was going to miss the dog terribly, she bought her a large jar of dog treats. While she was gone, Speedy played with Penny and tried to teach her basic things like “catch” and “fetch” using the dog treats that Alex bought. Alex came home between the legs of the tour and was amazed at the rate that the puppy was growing.
At the time, we thought it was cute and we attributed the rapid weight gain to Penny’s healthy appetite. It wasn’t until someone (I forget now if it was Sam or Alex) checked the label of the dog treats and discovered the high sugar content. We stopped buying dog treats after that. And Sam insisted that we switch to another brand of dog food.
Health Issues Resulting from Being Overweight
Just like humans, dogs can develop health issues like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes if the diet is all wrong.
While it is difficult to accurately gauge the exact nutritional value of commercial dog food (they all say they’re the best for your dog), you can assess how good a particular brand is by observing how it affects your dog’s weight, moods and preponderance toward laziness or hyperactivity. “High protein” doesn’t necessarily mean it is “low sugar”.
What you want is the dog food that provides the correct nutritional balance for your dog. If you don’t like how your dog looks or behaves after being fed a particular brand of dog food for a week or so, consider switching brands.
If, after trying several brands, you’re still not satisfied, ask your vet for suggestions. We supplement Penny’s commercial dog food intake with raw fruits and vegetables. No more commercial dog treats though.
Overweight Dogs and Pregnancy
When Penny first started going overweight, the vet said it wasn’t advisable to allow Penny get pregnant if she were overweight because the strain on her body would be tremendous. Speedy is adamantly against breeding the dog but Alex is toying with the idea. Penny just turned two years old a month ago and there’s no hurry to make a decision.
Meanwhile, we’re still watching her weight. It’s good that she’s not gaining any extra pounds anymore but it would be better if she can shed off the extra weight little by little.