Optimum, health and weight

Optimum; it means best, peak or greatest degree obtainable.  Yesterday at the park I saw several dogs that were far from optimum weight which means that they were most definitely not as healthy as they could be.    What goes into the body as well as what you do with a body is how you achieve optimum.   If you feed your dog junk, the lower end type dog foods then they are starting off handicapped.  The body needs fuel and the higher the quality juice that goes into the body, the better your dog's body will be able to function.

Dropping just a couple of pounds can make a huge difference.  I see many dogs that are overweight.  Just a few extra pounds can put more wear and tear on joints causing early set on of arthritis.  Too much weight can cause all sorts of health issues, heart disease, liver problem, kidney failure etc. etc.  Not only does extra weight make it more difficult to move around, it causes them to gain more weight.  Carrying extra weights makes a dog more lethargic and less likely to be active, it's a vicious circle.

Moving is so very important, far too many dogs take a daily walk down the street and that is their exercise allotment for the day.  For the young and energetic dogs out there, they need to rip.  They need to stretch out and run.  Move, move, move.  As I've written before, they don't need a lot; dogs do not need to go to the park and run for hours.  They need quality exercise so if you can only fit in a fifteen minute run, make it a good one.  Chuck its, frisbees and a good throwing arm are great ways to offer your dog quality exercise.  That is if your dog is a retriever.  If not then a dog friend will usually help or you can even play monkey in the middle with them running back and forth.

The other day I was watching a show on tv that I hadn't seen before.  It is about dogs in NYC, they have a trainer who helps people with their dogs.  One of the dogs owners was concerned about weight, he thought that his dog might be obese.  As it turned out the dog was a perfect weight per standard for the breed.  After the veterinarian weighed her she said that this size dog should be eating more food per the feeding schedule on the bag.  Now I was interested, really?  The dog was perfect weight, why feed more?  Because the bag said so?

Optimum weight should be tested by feel, not by how much a dog is eating and most definitely not by what is written on the back of a food bag.  One of the dogs that I saw at the park who was not optimum weight was a shaved down Golden Retriever.  A breed which is commonly overweight, the shave made it easy to see what needed to be done.  Did owner see this need, I don't know.  But a simple feel test is one of the easiest ways to know how your dog is doing in the weight department.  You should be able to feel ribs easily.  The ribs should feel like they have a very thin neoprene covering on them.

It makes me very sad when I see a fat dog; they should be able to run around and play and they cannot.  Even young fat dogs are handicapped when they carry extra weight, they look years older than their actual age.  The old suffer even more by packing on the pounds.  Just imagine the aches and pains that come with age and then try to carry around more weight.   I like to keep my dogs lean, of course Luke is far too lean but at least he is not suffering from extra weight on his joints as he ages.  He is still very active for a dog his age and loves to run and play.  Elsa is the type of dog that can put on weight easily, she adores food and will eat just about anything.  Just the other day I cut back on her food a bit as I felt a little more sponge around the middle than I like.

Dogs optimum health is in our hands.  Of course they can be stricken by illness that can be out of our control but their weight and nutrition is all on us.  What goes into your dogs mouth should be extremely high quality food allowing their body to extract the nutrients it needs to run properly.  Their exercise needs and requirements should be met.  Both physical and mental exercise needs to be fulfilled on a daily basis.  I saw a lady the other day at Costco as she complained to a passerby about all the dog food she was having to buy.  Huge bag after bag, pallets of canned dog food.......all Pedigree.  Did she realize that she was feeding her dog empty calories?  That there is very little real nutrients in these low grade foods that her dogs can use?  Cheap yes but quality?  NO.

Optimum should be your goal, is it?