Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter -A Vet's Plan to Save Their Lives

Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter -A Vet's Plan to Save Their Lives

by Ernest Ward, DVM

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780757313660
Publisher: Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date: 03/01/2010
Pages: 300
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Dr. Ernest Ward, DVM, or "Dr. Ernie," is a practicing veterinarian who is dedicated to helping pets and their humans live healthier lives. He appears regularly on the Rachael Ray Show, and has been featured on Animal Planet, NBC Nightly News, the Today Show and CNN. He has authored and contributed to over fifty-five veterinary journal articles in North America, England, Canada, Japan, and China, and has published three books and three veterinary training videos. He lectures extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, and China, and was awarded the Speaker of the Year award from the North American Veterinary Conference in 2004. An athlete himself, he is an avid racer certified personal trainer, triathlon coach and Ironman; he competed the inaugural Ford Ironman 70.3 World Championships and the 2008 Escape from Alcatraz triathlon.

Read an Excerpt

Pet obesity is a huge problem. How big? To better answer this question, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), conducted the first National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study in 2007. The findings were alarming: 43 percent of all dogs were assessed by a veterinary health-care provider as overweight or obese. By 2009, the findings were worse: 45 percent of all dogs—almost one-half—were classified as overweight or obese. And what if your dog isn't obese but is just toting around a few extra pounds? Owners who view their dogs' 'few extra pounds' as no big deal are greatly underestimating the potential health threat. Even as few as two or three extra pounds may be silently damaging your dog's vital organs.

The Problem with Extra Pounds

When I was in veterinary school in the late 1980s, very little emphasis was placed on the role fat tissue played in maintaining health or causing disease, especially in dogs and cats. In all honesty, fat was viewed as an inert by-product of excess calories. Unfortunately, that way of thinking hasn't changed much even though numerous studies have now proven that fat is a much more active tissue than we ever imagined and a direct cause of a multitude of diseases. These findings have led scientists to refer to fat as the 'second pancreas' because of the number of hormones and compounds that fat tissue secretes.

All fat is not created equal. There are two types of fat: white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue, which serve two different purposes and behave very differently in the body. White adipose tissue is the most common type of fatty tissue found in dogs and humans. Historically, white adipose tissue was thought to serve three primary functions: heat insulation, cushioning of vital organs, and, most important, as being a source of energy. We now know about a dark side to excess fat. Current scientific thought places a danger sign clearly above increased abdominal or belly fat—the fat you may see hanging down on your dog's underside just behind the ribs. In humans, this area is known affectionately as a potbelly and results from too much white adipose tissue. Researchers have discovered that this belly fat produces a multitude of chemicals and compounds that signal other cells to perform some action. Some of these actions are beneficial, while others are potentially damaging and can cause conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Because excess fat produces harmful molecules, obese dogs are in a chronically inflamed state, akin to having an endless infection or fever. In fact, in an article in Science, researchers at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute characterized obesity as a 'low-grade inflammatory state' that was unhealthy and contributed to a number of medical problems.

Why Addressing Canine Obesity Is Important

1. You want your dog to live a long time. Overweight pets, like people, have a higher incidence of life-stealing health complications.
2. You want your dog to be healthy and active. Dogs were meant to run and play. Obesity robs them of the ability to enjoy and lead an active life.
3. You want your dog to be pain-free and happy. One of the main complications of obesity is painful arthritis. Your dog deserves a pain-free life.
4. You want your dog to live a life without medications. All medications carry risk. If you can avoid drugs, you should.
5. You want to save money on your pet's bills. Obesity complications are expensive. The surest way to save money is to prevent disease.

Chow Hounds. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

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Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter -A Vet's Plan to Save Their Lives 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian who has authored or contributed to more than 45 veterinary journal articles worldwide, has written a book which just may save your dog¿s life. Chowhounds is a user-friendly manual for dog owners that not only gives you the frightening statistics around canine obesity (in 2008 nearly half the dogs in a pet obesity study were found to be overweight or obese), but tells you how to slim your dog down to a healthy weight.The book is divided into several sections ¿ beginning with the statistics around the problem, then taking the reader through the complicated maze of pet food labeling, then helping the layperson assess their dog¿s weight, and finally giving the answers to the problem: choosing a good commercial dog food, supplementing your dog¿s diet with home cooking, exercise (for you AND your canine), and troubleshooting.Before I read this book, I thought I knew a good deal about dogs and how to feed them ¿ I¿ve raised five German Shepherds from puppies and none of them were overweight. But I was amazed to discover that weight itself may not be the key to a healthy dog. Dr. Ward¿s section on deciphering the label on a bag of commercial dog food was very interesting to me, although I must admit the complexity of it made my eyes glaze over a bit.Not surprisingly, the pet food companies have figured out what to add to dog food to make our dogs want to eat more food: sugar, fat and salt are the primary additives which increase the desire for a dog to eat more than is healthy for them.The primary concern is that sugar and fat contribute greatly to weight gain because they are higher in calories. However, even more dangerous is that when many animals eat foods rich in sugar, fat, or salt, they want to eat more, regardless of whether or not they should. ¿ from Chowhounds, page 11 of the ARC -Sounds like dogs are not that much different than people, doesn¿t it?Some of Dr. Ward¿s advice is just commonsense ¿ such as tracking how many ¿treats¿ you give your dog. I did enjoy his comparison charts in this section which show the reader the effects of dog treats in human terms. For example, if I give my dog Raven (who weighs approximately 60 pounds) one Good-Life wholesome bone, it is like me eating FOUR Kentucky Fried chicken breasts. Yikes!One of the most helpful sections for me was the section on choosing a commercial dog food. Dr. Ward breaks down the contents for the reader in easy to understand terms: Calories, Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates. He also specifies what to avoid (such as artificial colors ¿ dogs don¿t see color like we do!). Following this section, is a fun section on how to supplement your dog¿s food with home cooked meals. I enjoyed looking through the recipes and have decided to try out a few of these with Raven who is a picky eater! For example, check out this recipe:Turkey Meatballs (makes 30)6 oz. lean ground turkey1/2 cup chopped carrots1/2 cup ground quinoa or oatmeal1/2 tsp. garlic powderPinch of kelpPreheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beef and carrots in food processor and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixed. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on nonstick cooking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. (calories per meatball = 17)Overall, Chowhounds is a useful book for dog owners who care about the health and fitness of their pet. Some sections may be a little too technical for readers¿but that is really a minor complaint. Understanding the caloric needs of our dogs, as well as their fitness requirements, is essential to preventing early onset arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases related to obesity. Even if your dog is NOT overweight, Chowhounds is a good reference tool for selecting healthy food for your dog.Highly recommended for dog owners.
K9SwimandTrim More than 1 year ago
Every small animal veterinarian in the country should own this book. Every pet food company should read this book and make the changes it suggests.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book may help dog obesity GET