I think it is human nature to want to love and care for our family, whether they be our fellow humans, or our furry companions. I think one way we show love is to feed our family and enjoy watching them enjoy the food we have prepared.
I am pretty sure my wife loves me, although sometimes I think she should get a medal for putting up with me. How do I come up with this conclusion? Well she loves to feed me. After a long day at the clinic I will sit down to a hearty bowl of soup and bread for dinner. This would probably be sufficient for most people but then comes out the roast chicken with gravy. I know she will be offended if I say I am full so I eat this also. Then as I sit there in my bloated state she brings out the chocolate cake she has made specially.
When I tell her I am trying to lose weight and get fit, she tells me I look great and that she doesn't like skinny men. Now before I cause mass outrage among women who think I am an ungrateful git, and men who would change places in a heartbeat, I would like to say I am not complaining. I love my food, and my protests are very feeble.
The point I am making is we often show our love through food. This is exactly the same for our pets. They have that stare, the look in their eyes that says "don't you love me?" How could you possibly refuse them a few chips or the end of your sausage roll? Once you have fed them they look so happy like you are their best friend in the world. If you still have some more chips, they then go back to the sad eyes look again and the process is repeated.
If we enjoy feeding our pets and they enjoy eating the food, does it really matter if they are a little chubby?
Sadly, it does. A study was done in America some years back comparing two groups of Labradors. One group was fed a third less than the other group. The ones fed less, and consequently leaner, lived two years longer. Two years is a very long time for a dog that on average only lives to twelve.
The study also showed the heavier dogs had much greater levels of arthritis.
As a vet I find getting people to diet pets immensely depressing. In most people’s minds love=food. Telling someone to feed their pet less is telling them to love it less.
I think doing what is required to optimise the chances your pet has a long, happy, pain free life is the true way to show love. I said I find getting people to diet their pets depressing. The reason for this is most people don't comply. Even if most of the family are onboard there is usually one saboteur who thinks everyone else is being mean. For those cases where everyone is motivated, watching a pet transform from a lethargic obese animal to a fit, active, happy pet is very rewarding.
My name is Lance Eastman and I am the local vet here in Blockhouse Bay.
I first started working in the Bay in 1997 and tried to escape overseas for awhile but eventually ended up back where I started.
I did return with a Scottish wife, Jacqueline who is also a vet and my business partner at the clinic.
I have been writing articles on matters related to pets for over ten years now. Sometimes I run out of ideas and get my dog "Breeze" or my cat "Radish" to write something for me. Most people prefer to read these articles over what I write but it can be hard to motivate your pets to write sometimes.