Pets – Their Weight Matters Too

I had an interesting experience recently at the vet with my dog Rocky. I had to take him to the vet because his paw was bothering him. The good news was that after some x-rays and an exam, he just has an allergy. What I did find interesting though was how the vet addressed his weight.

Just like humans at the doctor, they began by weighing him on a scale. They weighed him in the waiting room in front of all the other dogs and then verbally stated his weight to me. In the human world, I think this would be troublesome and an invasion of privacy. In this case, I am not sure the other dogs, cats or birds were really paying attention (at least I hope they weren’t).

Out of respect for his privacy, I won’t say his weight; however, I was told he was “a little fat and could lose five to 10 pounds.” I knew what the vet’s next question was going to be. “How often do you walk him?” I already had my response ready. “Well, I try to walk him every night, but it’s difficult sometimes when things pop up.” She then responded, “I hear you. I struggle with making time for my dog as well.”

This experience got me thinking. “Am I giving him too many treats?” “How can I make more time to walk him more often?” “Should I change his brand of dog food?” The more I thought about this the more I realized something – I am in complete control of his diet, exercise…pretty much his world.

Throughout the past two years, I have lost and maintained a 65 pound weight-loss, returning me to “normal weight,” through dietary and behavioral changes, increased cardio and a weight training routine. Now, I had the capability to make these changes in my life because I came to a crossroads when my weight increased and it started to impact my health. I knew it was time for a change. But the key to all this is that “I” was able to make the changes. Rocky cannot. He relies on me to help him lead a healthy lifestyle.

So where do we start? Well, we’ve reduced the frequency of treats and are now walking at least once a day throughout the entire neighborhood. He got into a routine of getting a treat each time he came inside from going to the bathroom. Now, when he comes back in, he gets some loving and a kiss on the snout.

This experience has reminded me that while I’ve made changes in my life to improve my health, I also have to remember that my pet, Rocky, needs me to help him live a healthy lifestyle as well because his weight matters too. “Healthy weight” is not exclusive to humans. In a time where being “plugged in” has revolutionized the way we live, it’s important to remember the simpler things in life as well, such as family, friends and most importantly man’s best friend. And on that note, I think it’s time for Rocky and I to do a little walking.

Think about it…

James

 



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