Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Fatty Fatty Two by Four

"Your dog is getting fat."

I swear that if it wasn't my favorite veterinarian who had uttered those words, I would have thrown down right then and there. My dog is not fat. She once ran seven miles with me last summer! She's high energy! We walk all the time! You can see her ribs, for goodness sakes. Right there, see? Oh. Um.... well the last time we walked farther than one mile was... Um... Hey! It's been winter and I'm in school! Don't judge me!! It's not like I'm maintaining my weight either. We're suffering together. Yeah, that's it.

This happened at a vet checkup during which Casey was medicated against the horrible allergies she gets every spring. Dogs show allergic reactions through their skin, and for the last couple of years, come April, Casey has red rimmed eyes (from rubbing her face) red feet (from chewing) and hives absolutely covering her body. In the past, given my reluctance to use medicine, we've tried home remedies to relieve her. These remedies included some Benedryl, washing her feet after every walk (THAT was fun, let me tell you) and repeated dunkings in any body of water that we came across. After spending the last two summers in itchy misery, I decided to break down and medicate her this year.

Do you know how dogs are medicated against allergies? Steroids. Do you know what steroids do? Among other things, they make your dog eat more.

The second comment came from the head of the pit bull rescue that I volunteer for. "Oh my goodness! Casey is getting so big!" And upon seeing my expression, "I mean, she's just always been so thin. She's really filling out."


When I mentioned this to my dog sitter, she said, "I did notice that Casey was a little round."

That was the straw that broke the camel's back. ROUND? In no way is my dog round. You can still see her WAIST for goodness sakes. She may not be as thin as she used to be, but she's....curvy. That's it. Curvy. And there is nothing wrong with curvy.

In the meantime, MonsterDog (aka Casey on steroids) is eating me out of house and home. She's almost doubled her food intake per day, and she's demanding about how hungry she is. She's stealing Blue's food. She's stealing the cat's food (never mind the scratches she gets when she does it - Laney does not give up her food easily.) She's digging in the trash. She's eating random things off the road when we walk. She's asking to go out literally every two hours when I'm home. And she's going to the bathroom each and every time. On walks? I now have to carry 4-5 plastic bags to clean up after two dogs. Blue uses one. At least Casey is a good girl and won't go in her crate. But when I get home after work/school, she's literally panting with the effort of not going, and she races out the door to relieve herself.

Well, "races" as fast as a tubby pit bull can run.

I'm doing some research for other remedies that I can try to avoid another steroid shot this year. Because, while they work fine, steroids can become less effective if used repeatedly. Besides, I can't handle anymore MonsterDog, let alone fat MonsterDog.

Blue goes home Friday. Next week? Casey and I begin operation "lose the tubby." I just hope she's not as grumpy as I am when her food intake is cut.

(I would post a picture, but Casey objected. Apparently there's no angle from which she looks thin. I will just say that she's gained 6lbs in the last six to eight months. This is a gain of 13% of her original body weight. And as much as we would both like to believe that it's muscle, it's, um, not.)


Candace said...

Damn Damn is a sad state of affairs when we must put our pets on diets as well as ourselves. You can hear them saying, "That all I get B**ch (pets start to curse when they get hungry)" when their twice daily food is rationed out.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever thought about feeding Casey raw? I have heard that it has great success in alleviating allergy symptoms in dogs. In fact, One of my clients has three American Eskimos. One of them used to get the most horrible hot spots, especially in spring when allergy season started, but all year round as well. They went to a raw diet 6-7 months ago for all the dogs. I have sat for them several times since then and Nugget has not had a single hot spot since they switched!


ems said...

I did not know that a raw diet could help with allergies. Hmmmm... But the head of the rescue tried feeding her dogs raw for a while and when she explained the cost, it seemed prohibitive. I would have no problem trying it, I hear the dogs actually eat less and enjoy the food more... but I've also heard that the transition is rough on their system - is that true?

Anonymous said...

it is true. But it's not usually horrible. Toby had paint-peeling gas for several weeks when I switched him. Seriously, I had to leave the house several times! But no diarrhea, which can happen especially on an abrupt switch. The key is to start very very simply, with one meat (chicken normally) and feed only that meat (bone-in, but no skin until you know how her system handles it) for at least 2 months. Then very gradually you can try other meats and add in organs. The optimal ratio is 80% meat, 10% bone, 10% organ. And you only feed your dog 2-3% of it's total body weight. There is a place in PA that sells raw food ( and it seems no more expensive than really high quality kibble. Which is to say, 2-3$/pound. Toby absolutely LOVED it, and actually if you know any hunters who like to hunt but don't eat venison you might get your meat mostly free. I used to pick up road-killed deer in winter and butcher them and he ate free almost a whole year doing that. (I don't expect anyone else on earth to do that though, heh) I can give you lots more info if you want, just email me!