A Weighty Issue

A Weighty Issue

By Neil McKinnon


fat-dogIt’s an axiom that, with the passage of time, pets and their owners begin to look alike. The axiom is at least partially true. As the obesity rate soars in North America, many pets are becoming more pot-bellied. Veterinarians classify 60% of their adult dog and cat patients as overweight according to APOP, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. There is an epidemic of portly pups, fat cats and blubbery bunnies.

Now, the inevitable has happened. There is no trend where an entrepreneur fears to tread, and no product that he or she creates is so silly that some consumer won’t buy it. We now have treadmills designed for Rover, puppy pedometers, fitness classes for canines, obesity clinics for pets, dog yoga, puppy Pilates, diet dog food and canine interval training courses.

Hundreds of doggy treadmills have been sold. They come in regular and mini sizes, and they’re priced around $500 which proves that it’s not the dogs that are daft. There is even an activity monitor with a built in GPS device that you can attach to Fido so you will know where he is at all times without actually having to accompany him on his morning wander in the park.

So far canine obesity has primarily been tackled by traditional diet and exercise, and to-date few of these efforts are paying off. If anything, the epidemic is getting worse. Therefore, as a favor to pet owners everywhere, I’ve researched a number of non-traditional weight reduction techniques that have actually worked on humans and by inference may be beneficial to an obese pet. I’ve listed some of the pros and cons for each method:

1) Daily Injections: Sheryl Paloni of Boston, daily injected herself with urine derived from pregnant women and lost 43 pounds in 5 months. Irish McCarthy of Success Weight-loss Systems in Albuquerque says, “It’s not the urine, but the hormone in it that takes off the pounds. It tricks the brain into thinking your body is pregnant and your metabolic rate increases.”

The hormone is human Chorionic Gonadotrophin or hCG. If daily injections are not your thing, hCG can also be used by spraying a mist under the tongue. HCG is also a fertility drug that is commonly used by pro-athletes to restart testosterone production and restore testicular size after a steroid cycle.

In 2009, Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers was suspended 50 games for using it. Other high profile users were Houston Texans linebacker Brian Cushing and Jose Canseco who was arrested for bringing hCG into the U.S. from Mexico.” Because of its multi-functionality, hCG injections may be ideal for knocking pounds off Rover. However, dog owners should be aware of potential drawbacks:

It may be difficult to find pregnant women who are willing to sell their urine to dogs,

If Rover is female, you may find yourself the proud owner of a new litter of pups,

If Rover is male he may soon be begging you to let him attend Dodger Spring Training even though his fielding ability may be impeded by having to tote around an unusually large set of testicles. Worse still, if he makes the team, you may find yourself smack-dab in the middle of a doping scandal.

2) The Jesus Diet: This diet allows you to lose weight and gain divine favour at the same time. Adherents only eat foods that are mentioned in the Bible. Dr. Don Colbert, Director of the Divine Health Wellness Center in Orlando has written a book titled, What Would Jesus Eat? His answer, “Jesus mostly ate fish, vegetables, beans and lentils,” and as Dr. Don says, “What was good enough for Jesus is good enough for me.”

It seems reasonable to assume that pets following this regimen will be rewarded with a trim body and a place in Heaven. The main problem is that not all dogs are Christians and many that are do not own a Bible.

I interviewed a few dog owners who have used variations of this diet. Abraham Rothstein of Montreal, Canada says, “I tried to get my dog to eat kosher as prescribed in the Torah. However, she refused. Her name is Mei Li and she’s a Pekingese. She lost weight anyway because rice, ginger and wine were the only foods she could find in the Sayings of Confucius.

Another owner who had little success with the diet is Gilbert Romney of Salt Lake City. He says, “My dog Ali is an Afghan hound and only wanted foods that were listed in the Koran. I couldn’t find a copy of the Koran in all of Utah and Ali refused to even look at The Book of Mormon.”

It seems that this approach is best employed in areas that are not overly pluralistic and where there is a scarcity of foreign dogs.

3) Having Sex: The world’s heaviest woman is burning 3500 calories a day by having sex.  Pauline Potter, 47, became the Guinness World Record holder for heaviest woman last year when she weighed in at 700 pounds. Divorced for four years, Pauline recently met up with her ex-husband Alex. They reunited, rekindled and repeatedly re-consumated. “It’s helped me lose 98 pounds,” Potter says. “I can’t move much in bed, but I burn 500 calories a session by just jiggling around. We have sex up to seven times each day. Alex weighs just 140 pounds so he does most of the work.”

This activity may be more useful as a weight reduction method for rabbits than for other pets unless, of course, you happen to keep an overweight mink in the basement.

4) The Tapeworm Diet: This technique is not new. In the 19th century, ladies swallowed tapeworms in order to lose weight. It fell out of favour because the tapeworm sometimes caused diarrhoea, headaches and infections. Today, the diet is making a comeback. It’s thought that tapeworms eat some of the excess calories that humans ingest, and also that they help balance the immune system. The theory is that humans had worms in the past and now the body wants its parasites back.

To find out more, I interviewed Russian weight loss guru, Dr. Dimitri Flaboff. “There’s a problem using this technique on your dog,” Flaboff says. “After the tapeworm becomes accustomed to Rover’s diet, many people find themselves feeding two obese pets.”

5) Cotton Ball Diet: Many people believe that eating cotton balls helps them lose weight? The idea is that cotton balls are low in calories but filling, and hence, you won’t feel the need to eat for a long while after a cotton ball meal.

It may be difficult to get Rover to eat cotton and therefore the technique may be more successful with flabby felines than with dogs. They already have experience with hair balls which have a similar consistency to cotton. In either case, be careful to only tempt your pet with fresh cotton balls. Otherwise the results can be disastrous. Warnings have been passed down for generations. Consider the original versions of Cotton Fields and Old Man River:

When those cotton balls get rotten,

You can’t eat very much cotton.

And those that eats it are soon forgotten.

Dire warnings indeed!

These are just a few of the non-traditional weight-loss methods available to pet owners. I have omitted others such as hypnosis, diet sunglasses, slimming soap, naso-gastric drips, tongue patches, raw food diets and bite-o-meters. However, it won’t be long until Spot has tried them all. Just as he followed his master into the realm of the rotund, it’s only a matter of time until he tries every quick fix available.

Ojo Del Lago
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