It’s an axiom that, with the passage of time, pets and their owners begin to look alike. The axiom is at least partly 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 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’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 that you can attach to Fido so you will know where he is without actually having to accompany him on his morning wander in the park.
Pet Fit Club in Britain conducts a contest, no doubt modeled after the Biggest Loser TV program, where your overweight pet competes with other pudgy animals to see which can lose the most weight. The winner receives… you guessed it… a year’s supply of pet food.
So far canine obesity has primarily been tackled by traditional diet and exercise, but 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 the pros and cons for each method:
1) Daily Injections: Prunella Peestar, a Boston matron, daily injected herself with urine derived from pregnant women and lost 43 pounds in 5 months. A hormone in the urine, Chorionic Gonadotropin or hCG, tricks the brain into thinking your body is pregnant and your metabolic rate increases.
HCG is also a fertility drug commonly used by male athletes to restart testosterone production and restore testicular size after steroid use. In 2009 Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers was suspended 50 games for using it. A year earlier, baseball star Jose Canseco 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:
Many pregnant women are unwilling to sell their urine to dogs,
If Rover is female, you may find yourself the proud owner of a new litter of pups, or
If Rover is male he may start 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 favor 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 ate mostly fish, vegetables and lentils,” and as Dr. Don says, “What was good enough for Jesus is good enough for me.”
Pets following this regimen should 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, don’t own a Bible.
I interviewed a few dog owners who have used variations of this diet. Abraham Lardstein of Montreal 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 and ginger were the only foods she could find in the Sayings of Confucius.
Another owner who had little success with the diet is Joseph Romney-Smith 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.”
The approach is best employed in areas with low immigrant populations and where there is a scarcity of foreign dogs.
3) Having Sex: The world’s heaviest woman burns 3500 calories a day by having sex. Gina Gigante, the Guinness record holder for heaviest woman, weighs in at 700 pounds. Divorced for four years, Gina recently met up with her ex-husband, Timmy. They reunited, rekindled and repeatedly re-consumated. “It’s helped me lose 98 pounds,” Gigante 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. Timmy only weighs 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 isn’t new. In the 19th century, ladies swallowed tapeworms in order to lose weight. It fell out of favor because the tapeworm sometimes caused diarrhea, headaches and infections. Today, the diet is making a comeback. It’s thought that tapeworms eat the excess calories that humans ingest.
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 believe that eating cotton balls helps them lose weight. Cotton balls are low in calories but filling, and hence, you don’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. They already have experience with hair balls. Be careful to tempt your pet only 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 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.
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