I’ve never had a fat dog.
In fact, my friends from Slim Doggy had to point out to me that Honey was actually getting too skinny.
But our new foster dog is a corpulent canine, a dense dog, a bulging beagle. Blanche is enormous.
Beagles should weigh less than 30 pounds. Blanche weighs about 46 pounds, just 4 pounds less than my golden retriever, Honey.
And she’s making me sad.
When Being Fat Hurts
Blanche is a lovely dog.
She enjoys being outside and sniffing the scents. She likes being with people. She’s curious. And sweet.
But her weight makes it hard for her to get around.
Our house is cool but she pants easily just walking around indoors. She has to take the stairs diagonally to make it to the top. And her leg seems to be bothering her.
Unfortunately, she’s also recovering from hernia surgery and is not ready for hard exercise. The vet instructions advise me to give her 2 to 3 short, slow walks each day.
Ultimately, it will be up to Blanche’s new family to help her lose weight at a reasonable pace. But is there something we can do to start her off in the two weeks she’ll be with us?
Getting Fit A Little At A Time
First of all, Blanche is getting those short walks every day. We’ll be talking to the vet today to make sure we’re on the right track and not over or under doing it.
I’m also taking advantage of Blanche’s sweet nature (I don’t call her Sweetie for nothing). She loves people and enjoys their attention. To get her to come to me, I only have to crouch down and she’ll waddle over to have her ears scratched.
We’re lucky to have a small, fenced back yard. I’ve discovered that when Blanche whines after waking up from a nap, she doesn’t really need a pee break. She needs to sniff around the yard to see what has happened since the last time she was out. And her circuit of the yard is gentle exercise.
Finally, I’ve made careful use of the stairs.
I don’t let Blanche follow me up and down all day like Honey would. She slips on the wood and I’m afraid she’s going to take a tumble if I’m not careful.
But when we do go up and down the stairs, I stand by to support her while she makes the effort herself.
I’m hoping that the effort builds up her muscles and ultimately helps her slim down.
Listening To A Dog’s Body
It’s hard enough to listen to our own bodies much less figure out what a dog’s body is trying to tell us. But watching Blanche struggle with her body as she tries to get her nose around to smell all the amazing smells tells quite a tale.
I once read that the Marine Corps standard of fitness was to be able to do everything required of you each day plus have enough to give that extra push when needed. For a Marine, that may be rappelling up a building followed by a run across rooftops in heavy gear.
For me, being fit means bringing six stuffed bags of groceries home on the bike with enough gas in my tank to pull out into traffic on a hill without being splatted by cars for going too slow.
And for Blanche, it means feeling fit enough that she can follow her nose and her heart to what she loves most.