Forbes, expert guest on national TV news shows when the
topic is animal behavior and pets, has trained dogs for
movies and police forces, written the book "Dog
Talk" and is developing a pet-talk radio show. The
Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with him this
week to talk about a growing problem among American pets
that reflects a similar problem among their owners, pet
Why should we care if our dogs are fat? Whatís the
Itís very similar to some ailments people have if you
have a fat dog. It shortens their life tremendously and
you are setting yourself up for a lot of medical bills.
Extra weight on dogs can lead to diabetes, heart
problems, joint problems. Ö You are doing your dog a
If you have a fat dog, what do you do to start slimming
it down? Whatís the regimen?
We are 100 percent responsible for what goes into our
petís dish. As owners, we have to take responsibility
if they get fat, and we need to cut the food and up the
exercise. Ö With dogs, they can gain and lose weight
pretty quickly. (So start the new regimen and adjust in
two weeks or so after checking results.)
And as dogs age?
Itís a little counterintuitive. Ö An owner thinks
Barney has been a good dog and lived a good life and now
he can get fat and lie in front of the fireplace. In
truth, he needs to slim down more than ever. It helps
tremendously with arthritis (and other illnesses). Ö
Itís better to be 2 pounds under what you think he
should weigh than 2 pounds over.
pet nutrition has come so far in the last 10 or 15
years. (Pet food is more nutritious and packed with
calories), but some owners still fill up the bowl and
let the animal eat out of it all day long. Thatís the
flip side of super-nutritious food.
at your dog, and if you donít see a slight taper after
their rib cage, then your dog is overweight.
people underestimate the amount of exercise a dog may
need. They go for a quarter-mile walk around the block
and that barely fits the needs some dogs have. Some dogs
can run miles alongside a bicycle, and thatís good for
suggests finding some backyard or dog park exercise that
your dogs like, such as fetch or chasing games.)