Biggie: A Small Dog With A Big Weight Problem
Last night, I tuned in to the newest episode of the CBS show, Dogs in the City. Justin Silver, star of the show, works with dog owners and their dogs on a variety of health and behavior issues. One segment, the story of Biggie, was especially interesting.
Biggie was a 4 year old Puggle (Pug/Beagle mix) that would be considered morbidly obese. For his size/breed, he should ideally weigh 25 lbs., but was tipping the scales at 40 lbs.! His owner, a lady named Mo, contacted Silver because she was worried about the health implications of Biggie’s weight. In talking with Mo, Justin discovered that she was previously overweight herself and lost about 100 lbs. after weight loss surgery. Mo confessed that although she’d lost the weight, her attitudes about food didn’t change. She cooked for her family to show her love, but in looking at her husband and daughter, they were overweight like Biggie.
None of the family, Biggie included, were getting any exercise. Silver, a former personal trainer, took the entire family to a park and had them run an obstacle course he designed. To ensure Biggie was getting exercise, each member of the family held his leash while going through the course and Biggie ran to keep up.
Silver set a goal for the family to participate in an upcoming 5K fundraising dog run. Everyone, including Biggie, participated in the run. Biggie seemed to love it, the family struggled a bit but did complete the run. After seeing how much Biggie enjoyed himself, Mo and her family committed to exercise with him on a regular basis.
In addition to increasing Biggie’s activity level, Silver also advised Mo on the appropriate food portion for Biggie. When he asked how much Biggie was eating a day, Silver discovered Biggie was getting four times the amount of food he needed for his size, in addition to several treats! Since Mo liked to cook for her family, Justin gave her a list of food items and portion sizes for Biggie that would help him drop the extra weight.
Pet obesity is a big problem, but with a few changes in routine for both owner and dog, everyone can be healthier and happier like Mo’s family and Biggie! If you have a pet that’s overweight, consult your veterinarian for advice on helping your pet drop the extra pounds.