Aside from the need for a professional teeth cleaning, the only suggestion the vet made was that Frankie slim down a bit, from 10 1/2 pounds to about 9 1/2.
As it happens, Frankie is already on a weight-reduction program because I’d noticed that his halter was getting a bit snug. So I had no problem with the notion of continuing the program, which has already succeeded to the point of harness-roominess.
What was the key to diet success, you ask?
Um, I gave Frankie less food.
Maybe I’m missing something here, but how hard is it to slim a dog down? I am in complete control of Frankie’s diet (or, in trainer-speak, resources). If he is eating too much, it’s entirely my responsibility to give him less food or food with fewer calories (yes, they’re right there on the bag label). He doesn’t snack between meals because of his diabetes, but if he did I’d give him veggies instead of high-calorie treats. And if he weren’t already getting long walks, a routine put in place because of his diabetes, I’d give him more exercise.
Mind you, I myself am a serial dieter. I’ve been on Weight Watcher’s, Atkins (ugh!)… and now I’m on a semi-South Beach regimen. When I’m not eating out for my food writing job. Or just saying screw it, I want bread and lots of it. Or beer. Or carrot cake.
I also try to get my spreading butt to the gym as often as possible because those daily walks with Frankie aren’t enough to counter those bread, beer and carrot cake urges.
But if I had someone giving me only a certain amount of food each day, Jennie Craig-style, someone who also barred me from access to a refrigerator and all-night convenience store and who led me out of the house every day for exercise (which, if I was a dog, I would probably enjoy a lot more), I would not have weight issues.
I’ve seen Frankie lick the bowl and look longingly — or irately — at me, as if to say, “Where’s the rest?” But in another second he goes back to doing his doggie thing and forgets that I’m depriving him.
I’d genuinely like to know: What are the issues that others trying to put their dogs on a diet confront? Is it that Frankie is smaller and thus easier to control? Enlighten me.
By the way, Frankie lost weight automatically when he first had diabetes. Two female vets — one in the same practice, and one at an emergency clinic — both said that Frankie looked scrawny when he weighed 9 1/4 pounds and told me that he needed to put on a bit of weight. It’s only the male vet who ever advised Frankie to slim down. Just food for thought…