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Tag: obesity

Obie 4 and Obie after: Dachshund down to 35 pounds after excess skin removed

Like that light at the end of the tunnel, there’s now some light underneath Obie, the overfed dachshund.

And that’s even more the case after surgery yesterday to remove 2-1/2 pounds of loose skin from the dog who once tipped the scales at 77 pounds.

Obie was recovering at the Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin, in Oregon, after surgery to remove the excess skin that remained after he lost 40 pounds in 8 months.

Obie’s caretaker, Nora Vanatta, says the surgery went well and that she hopes to bring him home today, according to KGW in Portland.

Obie weighed 77 pounds when he was given up by his former owners in Puyallup, Washington, last year and assigned to a foster home by a rescue organization.

Oregon Dachshund Rescue placed Obie — that’s him to the left in his beefier days — in Vanatta’s care. But after his girth garnered national attention the organization asked for the dog back, claiming Vanatta — by publicizing his crash diet and seeking contributions to his care — was exploiting him.

When Vanatta refused to turn him over, they filed a lawsuit, accusing her of using the “sensationalistic promotional value of his unusual obesity” and “earning money off of his public exhibition on national and regional television shows,” while not taking care of his condition.

A settlement in the case was reached in January, allowing Vanatta to keep the dog.

Before the Tuesday surgery, Obie was down to 37 pounds and four ounces. 

“We haven’t weighed him since the surgery, but he lost 2 1/2 pounds of skin” Vanatta said. “So he should be around 35 pounds now. I figure his healthy weight is between 28 and 30 pounds.”

For now, he’s resting comfortably at the veterinary clinic (left), from which he’s expected to be released today — a few pounds lighter and his skin much tigher.

Vets will evaluate Obie to determine if more surgery is needed after he loses the last five pounds, a goal Vanatta hopes will be achieved late this summer.

Obie’s fight with obesity can be followed on the Facebook page Vanatta created on his behalf.

(Photos: KGW)

Chow Hounds: Why our dogs are fatter

louie2If your dog is fat — and statistics indicate nearly half are — you might want to check Dr. Ernie Ward’s  recent online chat, sponsored by the Washington Post.

About 45 percent of all adult dogs and 58 percent of cats are overweight.  That’s 34 million fat dogs and 54 million fat cats — all at risk for diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer and more.

Ward recently published a book on the pet obesity epidemic, “Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives” (2010 HCI Publishing).

Here are a few excerpts from his online chat:  

“No one is getting enough physical activity in this country. This is why owning a dog is a great incentive for exercise. All dogs need at least 20-30 minutes of aerobic intensity walking per day. Larger breeds often need much more… 

“Neutering and spaying reduces a dog or cat’s metabolic rate by  25-35%. This is why you can not feed according to pet food labels. These guidelines are made for intact adult pets. In my book, I go into considerable detail on how to calculate the exact number of calories your pet needs each day based on its lifestyle…

“Most dogs eat until the are full and tend not to overeat. The reasons that dogs overeat are largely due to the changes in dog food formulation, hence the term ‘Kibble Crack’ I use in Chow Hounds. I go into great detail on how pet food companies have added sugar and fat to trick a dog’s normal appetite…”

Then there was this exchange, and I can only hope both were joking:

Q. ”I like to carry my little dog around in my purse. Is there anything I could get for the dog to exercise while in the purse? You know, like a wheel for him to run in?”

 A. “I recently patented the ‘pocket treadmill.’ I would be glad to sell you a prototype.”

Ward directs those wanting to learn more to the Association for Pet Obesity’s website, to visit his own website, or, of course, to read his book.

Study looks at health benefits of dog walking

dogwalk1

 
I’m not going to make fun of this study. I’m not going to make fun of this study. I’m not going to make fun of this …

Ah, I can’t resist.

A study at Cornell University is trying to determine whether walking the dog helps owners shed and keep off unwanted pounds, according to USA Today’s Paw Print Post.

If that sounds like a no-brainer — one of those things that perhaps man could figure out without an expensive study –  consider this: “An early look at the data shows that the dogs who walk the most steps have a better body condition score.”

In all fairness, there’s more to the study than determining whether exercise is good for us and our dogs; and dog walking habits could, if properly approached, make for some pretty interesting reading.

Basically, I see three types of dogwalkers: Those who jog with their dogs, clearly getting exercise; those who hike or walk laps with their dogs, also getting exercise; and those who take their dogs to the park and let the dogs get all the exercise while they sit on the bench, yap with fellow dog walkers, smoke, or talk on cell phones.

In defense of the latter group, it should be pointed out that we they, are still getting exercise by virtue of walking to the park, and that, rather than being total slouches, they may prefer to let their dogs playfully romp and socialize off leash with other dogs — thereby getting even more exercise (the dogs, anyway) than they would by being walked in boring circles on a rope.

It should also be pointed out that members of the more sedentary latter group — while violating leash laws — are also allowing their dogs to gain social skills, and, perhaps, honing their own in the process.

But back to the study. Cornell researcher Barbour Warren says they are analyzing everything from how much dogs and humans actually walk together to human attitudes, and the decisions to walk the dog or not walk the dog.

“We’re trying to get people to make small changes in the amount of food they take and the amount of physical activity they take,” says Warren, “and finding out how dog walking might be involved and how typical veterinary practices might be involved in helping more.”

Warren says the study stems from the rise of obesity in the USA and obesity-related illnesses, including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. More than two-thirds of the people across the nation are overweight and one third are considered obese. Dogs are increasingly falling into those categories as well.

“We became interested in trying to prevent weight gain,” he says. “Dog walking offers two of the key elements for regular physical activity, purpose and companionship. Dogs can provide both of these in spades.”

The goal of the study is to develop the necessary data and tools to build a program to combat obesity by increasing dog walking as a form of family exercise.

Sneaky kids let their dogs do the walking

About 200 children in east London were given pedometers to automatically count how many steps they walked and ran each day as part of a research study.

But when the researchers at Mile End Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine reviewed the results, they couldn’t figure out why some of the fat kids could be so fat, based on the amount of exercise the pedometers showed they were getting.

Turns out the little scamps were attaching the devices to their dogs’ collars.

The pilot study in Whitechapel required 11 and 12-year-olds to clip a pedometer to their waists, with researchers at the centre collecting the readings by satellite, according to a BBC report.

“But after a week we found there were some kids who were extremely active but still obese,” said Professor Nicola Maffulli.

It was “not unheard of” for participants in previous studies to manipulate the readings of pedometers, he added. Once adjusted to take into account the help from pets, the study indicated that boys in the borough walk or run 12,620 steps a day, below the recommended level of 15,000 steps. Girls were found to take 10,150 steps, falling short of the recommended 12,000 steps.

It indicated that more than a third of 11 and 12-year-olds in the borough of Tower Hamlets are overweight or obese – 11% higher than the national average.

The borough’s dogs, on the other hand, are looking quite fit.

My hero: Fat Georgia dog drops 100 pounds

Meet my new hero — Raleigh, the dog. I’m thinking of taping his picture to my refrigerator.

Raleigh, through diet and exercise — and we all know that, unfortunately, is what it takes — dropped 100 pounds in just over three years.

Raleigh weighed 60 pounds when owners Jane and Jay Whitehead of Oconee County adopted the then one-year-old mixed breed at a Gwinnett County animal shelter about six years ago.

But, as the Athens Banner-Herald points out in a lovely story about Raleigh’s weight battle, he just kept growing – sideways.

By February 2006, Raleigh was a Goodyear blimp on legs, ballooning to 187 pounds.

The Whiteheads tried cutting back on Raleigh’s food, and took him to their vet, who found no disorder. Other than his weight, he was perfectly healthy.

He couldn’t walk more than a few steps at a time before he flopped over on his side, and it would take three people to get him up again, his owners said.

“It just kind of equates to people you see on TV that are so obese they can’t get out of bed. That’s what he was,” said Jane Whitehead, the chief financial officer for a Gwinnett County company. “You just don’t know what to do. He had no quality of life, but nothing seemed to help.”

In late 2005, the Whiteheads’ vet referred them to Sherry Sanderson, a professor in the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine’s department of physiology and pharmacology who was beginning a study on a new weight-loss drug for dogs.”

Raleigh turned out to be ineligible for the study, but Sanderson remained interested in his case, and suggested the Whiteheads began feeding Raleigh a specially formulated dog food that is low in calories but has the nutrients dog need. It was was provided free by the Nestle Purina PetCare Co., which also helped pay for the rest of Raleigh’s therapy.

That was the other problem. Raleigh was too far gone for normal dog exercise, but Sanderson asked one of her students to set up three-times-a week sessions on an underwater treadmill in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Small Animal Hospital. The treadmill, most often used to rehabilitate dogs after surgery, allows dogs to move their legs without putting much weight on their joints.

The treadmill and new diet worked for Raleigh, who began shedding pounds. In a few weeks, he was able to walk short distances on his own.

By January 2007, Raleigh had slimmed down to 116 pounds, and by last April, he was down to 89. His owners are aiming for a goal weight of 70 to 80 pounds.

“After seeing what he did, I don’t think there’s any case that’s truly hopeless,” Sanderson said. “I hope he can be a motivator for others.”

Kids with dogs are fitter, study shows

Researchers at an Australian University say young children in households with dogs are less likely to be overweight or obese.

The Deakin University study is of particular interest because Australia, like America, has a growing childhood obesity epidemic.

The study of more than 1100 children aged five to 12 found they were slimmer and healthier if they had a dog, even if they did not walk it regularly, according to a report in The Age, an Australian newspaper.

The findings suggest even incidental play with a dog helps children keep weight off, said Jo Salmon, the head researcher and an associate professor at the university.

“For parents who are trying to get their kids off the computer and switching off the TV and getting out and playing, having a pet might be a really good strategy for doing that,” Professor Salmon said. “Social support for physical activity is vital, so this research suggests the extended family network — not just parents and siblings but also dogs and pets — is important for children’s health and their physical activity.”

The study, published in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia, follows a previous paper from the same researchers that found young girls who owned a dog were physically active for 30 minutes more than those without a pet.

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