Greyt Inspirations Life

A little about our life, our business and our pets.

Is your pet getting enough exercise?

Spring is finally here.  I know this because it’s been raining for a week where I live but we still have flowers.  The dogs are spending some time outside.  I have to go out and bring in their soggy toys.  So far the squeakers still work.  But when it’s too wet to go out the dogs have been having some epic play session in the living room…and in the dining room…and in the kitchen…and, well, you get the idea.  They’re dogs gone wild!  If I had a camera they would dance on tables for me.


I suppose my dogs are getting enough exercise but it’s not very structured.  Right now they’re in good weight.  No one is overweight or obese.  Taylor, who had lost some weight last summer, has gained weight and he’s in good shape.  He’s 12 and I cook for him a couple of times a week.  He gets mashed up chicken and sweet potatoes everyday in addition to the same dog food everyone else gets.  No matter what I’m doing, when he thinks it’s time for his extra meal he won’t give me any peace until I feed him.  I have to stand guard while he eats to hold the other dogs back.  I tell all of them that I will do the same for them when they’re old dogs.


2807890400_b11393ecaf1The truth is that an estimated 40 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese.  Pfizer Animal Health found in a recent study that vets consider about 47 percent of their patients overweight or obese.  Only about 17 percent of owners thought their dogs were overweight or obese.  That’s a big difference.  Obviously vets and owners are not looking at the dogs the same way.


How can you tell if your dog is overweight?  You should be able to feel ribs.  Not see them — that’s too skinny.  But you should be able to feel ribs when you press your dog’s sides.  Your dog should have a waist or slight tuck up.  Most dogs are not supposed to be built like a sausage.  If your dog has rolls of fat that’s an indication that he’s overweight.  If your dog has respiratory problems then they could be the result of being overweight.  Walking from the yard to the house should not make your dog breathless.  If your dog waddles then you should waddle him right onto a diet.


One of the main causes of overweight and obesity in dogs is overfeeding.  Cutting back on food, feeding smaller portions, feeding less fattening treats will all help your dog lose some weight.  It’s not entirely an owner’s fault.  In many cases, if you follow the feeding directions on a bag of food you will be overfeeding your dog.  The best thing to do is to start off following the feeding directions and then to adjust the amount depending on how your dog gains or loses weight.  If you see that your dog is obviously gaining too much weight you should cut back the amount of food you’re feeding him.  If he objects to smaller portions you can add carrots or green beans to his food.  They can help fill him up without adding many calories to his diet.  Give your dog popcorn as a treat.  Most popcorn is low in calories.


You should also make sure that your dog is getting plenty of regular exercise.  Walks are a great way to help your dog get more exercise.  If you bike you can buy a springer attachment to let your dog trot along beside you.  Swimming is another great exercise that you and your dog can enjoy together.  Many joggers like to jog with their dog.  If you like to hike your dog can be a great companion.  Whatever activity you like to do yourself, see if there’s a way to include your dog.  He needs the exercise and the two of you can have a great time together.


Here’s a cool way one dog likes to get his exercise:



May 6, 2009 Posted by | dogs, General, Pets | , , , , | Leave a comment

How Much to Feed?

I belong to way too many dog e-mail lists. If I’m not careful I can spend all day long just ready e-mail about dogs: puppy antics, dog legislation, dog cartoons, dog breeding, Setters, gossip about dog people, etc. But But there are a lot of people who obsess about dog food and who can’t wait to try every new food that comes out. Well, that’s their choice. But then they write e-mails to the chat lists talking about how their dogs have gastro upsets and diarrhea and they don’t understand why. They blame it on the food and they decide to try something else. It kind of drives me useful discussion recently was about whether or not people fed their dogs the amounts of food recommended on the labels of the dog food bags.

Now, I am the first to admit that I am a stick in the mud when it comes to dog food. I hate to change foods. I am firmly convinced that changing foods all the time messes dogs up. This is just my opinion, and I’m sorry if it offends anyone, but it seems to me that when people talk about having finicky dogs it seems like the dogs are finicky because the owners are always offering them different things to eat. I think you find a good food that your dogs like and you stay with it. Why would you change if your dogs are doing well on a food?

But there are a lot of people who obsess about dog food and who can’t wait to try every new food that comes out. Well, that’s their choice. But then they write e-mails to the chat lists talking about how their dogs have gastro upsets and diarrhea and they don’t understand why. They blame it on the food and they decide to try something else. It kind of drives me nuts.

Anyway, that’s my theory about dog foods. You can ignore it. It’s just my personal opinion. But as for how much to feed, have you really looked at the amounts recommended on the dog food labels? For most foods, if people feed their dogs the recommended amounts, they will turn into porkers. There will always be some dogs that you have to try to make gain weight, but by far the bigger problem in this country is overweight-obese dogs. Maybe that’s because people are feeding their dogs what the packages say!

If you Google diet and dogs, or overweight dogs you will get more hits than you can possibly look at. It’s estimated that about 40 percent of the dogs in this country are overweight. It’s true that some of that is from people who feed their dogs too many treats and tablescraps, and from people who think their dogs are picky and try to tempt them with special foods, but I think a lot of it is simply from people who are feeding their dogs portions that are too large.

It’s a good idea to look at your dog and evaluate his overall condition. Scales alone don’t tell the whole story. If your dog is well-muscled and in good condition you must be feeding him the right amount of food, regardless of what the scales say. But if he’s round where he should be lean, if he’s a butterball, think about cutting back a little on his food amounts. If your dog tells you he’s still hungry you can add veggies, like green beans to his diet. They are healthy and filling but don’t add a lot of extra calories. (Don’t cook them in bacon grease, either.)

I have no idea how much I feed my dogs or what the label on my dog food says. Years ago I bought a big scoop from a pet catalog. I put one big scoop in each of five pans and it’s up to the dogs to sort out who eats how much. All of my dogs are in good weight and condition except one — Beau is a little overweight. But even he has lost weight in the last couple of years since I switched to free feeding the dogs. I leave their food down all the time and they can eat all they want when they want it. Nobody rushes, nobody fights. They tend to nibble throughout the day when they get hungry. I just let them outside this a.m. and there is still dry food sitting out from yesterday afternoon. Of course, this really only works with dry kibble. I have to do things a little differently when I give them canned food or something homemade.

Anyway, after that rant, look at your dog and see if you think he or she could lose a little weight. Consider if there are some adjustments you can make. Obesity will shorten your dog’s life so it’s really a good idea to cut back on portion size if your dog is overweight.

December 17, 2008 Posted by | General | , , , , | Leave a comment