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Book Review & GIVEAWAY – Chow Hounds by Ernie Ward, D.V.M.

Chow Hounds
by Ernie Ward, D.V.M.
312 pages
Published March 1, 2010

My vet has been telling me for quite a while that my dogs are overweight, so I was thrilled to participate in the tour for Chow Hounds by Ernie Ward, D.V.M.

I have two dogs: Samson, a tiny toy poodle who weighs 10 pounds but should weigh 6-7, and Delilah (we call her Lila), a papillon who weighs 8-9 pounds and should weigh 7. I’ve been struggling with getting my dogs to a healthy weight for a while. I certainly don’t think it’s no big deal that my dogs are overweight. I know it causes health problems, and I know it can shorten their life. At first I was like, What’s a pound or two?! So what?! But my previous vet explained to me that a pound or two on a dog that’s supposed to be 6 pounds (in the case of Samson) or 7 pounds (in the case of Lila), is roughly 20% of their body weight. Can you imagine adding 20% of YOUR body weight to yourself? That was when I realized that a pound or two on my rat dogs is TERRIBLE.

I didn’t anticipate that I would look at my OWN diet when when I read this book. In talking about the amount of sugar, fat, and salt in dog food, Dr. Ward said:

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. In other words, sugar, fat, and salt increase a food’s palatability to such an extent that even most animals, including humans, eat more food than they require — even when they’re full.

In relation to this, Dr. Ward talks about a study that was done on rats, and “the impact of sugar and fat on their appetite and weight.” The conclusion from the study was that “the combination of high fat and high sugar levels in food overrides the body’s normal regulatory systems to curtail appetite.”

Chow Hounds has quite a few tables that show you how much sugar, fat and salt are in various dog foods and dog treats. Dr. Ward explains the regulations on dog food and how to read labels.

Especially important is the chapter on how to calculate calories for your dog to get to their target weight. I really like how Dr. Ward shows the equivalent of what YOU would be eating in relation to the treats you give your dog. 1 Milk-Bone Gravy Bone for small and medium size dogs is the equivalent of 2 Krispy Kreme Chocolate Iced Glazed Doughnuts. Yipes! 1 Greenies Teenies (which I give my dogs once in a while) is the equivalent of 2 12oz Coke Classics. Really hammers things home, doesn’t it?

Chow Hounds goes into how to pick a good commercial dog food, as well as how to make home cooking healthy, complete with recipes and instructions. Exercise, tracking your progress, weight loss supplements, and the consequences of obesity are all looked at in detail.

While I found Chow Hounds to be informative and eye-opening, it just reinforced what I’m already working with for my dogs. I’m going a little more alternative with my dogs than Dr. Ward recommends, but I really think it’s working for us. The dog food I’m using doesn’t list fat, sugar or salt anywhere in the ingredients. In fact, I love that I know exactly what everything is in the ingredients list (it’s raw medallions that I get from my vet with a balance of raw meat and vegetables). I’m also utilizing a day of fasting for my dogs, preceded by a day of gorging where they eat a chicken neck and a couple of other raw things.

Whatever you choose for your dogs, weight is certainly not to be ignored or treated as insignificant.

Thanks to the publisher, HCI, I have two copies to give away! To enter the giveaway, just tell me about your dog (breed, name, age, etc). The giveaway will be open through Sunday, April 11, 2010 until 11:59pm PST. Winners will be chosen using a random number generator. Contest is open internationally (HCI will only ship to the US and Canada, so if the winner is international, I will have the book shipped to me and then I’ll send it out to the winner).

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be on this tour!

Check out Dr. Ward’s website at

Book source: I received this book from the publisher for being on this book tour.

| Tags: , , , , 19 comments »

19 Responses to “Book Review & GIVEAWAY – Chow Hounds by Ernie Ward, D.V.M.”

  1. heidenkind

    So that’s why my schnauzer is such a pest about treats….


  2. Lance R

    My 9 year old bulldog grim wants me to win this book


  3. Camila F.

    I have a 7 year old (chubby) poodle that needs a little more discipline!


  4. Lisamm

    My 6 1/2 yr old golden retriever Jazzy loves her treats!

    Thank you for your great review of Chow Hounds, Trish!


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  6. Word Lily

    So, is this book basically just addressing the problem of overweight dogs? Maisie, my 5-month-old Old English Sheepdog, isn’t overweight. (She *is* overly fluffy, but that’s honestly just her normal coat.)


  7. Cam (epiBloguer)

    Really interesting… you think of an overweight dog as a “pampered” dog, but not so! I actually don’t have dogs, but two cats. And one of our cats is kind of a pig. I have to be really careful how much food I give her because she’ll just sit and scarf it until it’s gone. Which was completely different from our other cat who would just eat a little here and there and I’d just fill his bowl when it was empty. Anyway… interesting that even animals can have food issues!! LOL


  8. kathleen

    Wow, that whole Krispy Kreme analogy is scary. I used to give my dog treats but stopped when he didn’t want his regular food. I can see now that I made the right choice!


  9. Cheryl

    Hi, I would love to be included in the giveaway. I have a Bedlington Terrier mix that is very food motivated. He was very skinny when I adopted him and has gotten up to a much healthier weight now, perhaps a pound or two too much.


  10. RoseAnn

    I would love to be in the drawing for the giveaway! I have two dogs, both Golden Retrievers. Ruby is almost 6 and Rio is 4. They are half-sisters and I’ve always been fascinated by how different they are about food. Ruby recently had to lose 10 lbs and it was hard for both of us to stay disciplined but she has so much more energy now (thyroid medication helped with that).


  11. Sandy

    No need to enter me, as my Meggie passed away years ago and haven’t been able to replace her (gloom). I remember she got a bit pudgy, and we put her on an exercise and diet, and what was kinda funny was that my husband and I lost weight also! All that walking I guess!


  12. zibilee

    I would love to win this one! I have three dogs, but only one is significantly overweight. We have two Boston terriers, one girl and one boy ( the girl is the one who is the chubber) and one Pit bull that is skinny and sleek. I think that this book would really help me in figuring out how to trim my little piglet down. It frustrating, because they all get a half hour walk daily, but she just keeps packing on the pounds.


  13. Sandra K321

    I have a 6 year old yellow lab named Scooter that is the reincarnation of Marley. He lives for his food. He is a few pounds overweight because he tore his ACL last year and the operation wasn’t a complete success so he doesn’t get as much exercise as he used to (he can take pain meds but they will probably destroy his liver instead so I took him off of them.) My MIL has a Jack Russell that is all teeth and is getting fatter every time I see it (my MIL gives her a biscuit every time she barks to get her to stop barking. hmmmmmm.) If I win I would definitely share this book with her.


  14. Beth

    We have a 7 year old border collie mix and her four five-year-old pups, who are border collie mixes mixed with shepherd and (we think) black lab. They are much cuter than the description would lead you to believe. Thanks for the chance to enter.


  15. Melissa Palmer

    Emma is a Jack Russell Terrier who turns 8 today so this would be a nice birthday present for her!


  16. Beth

    This looks fascinating! I’d love to win it!

    My dog is Arnold. He’s a 13 year old Chihuahua.

    BethsBookReviewBlog AT gmail DOT com


  17. Amber Stults

    No need to include me in the giveaway – just wanted to chime in on the topic. 🙂

    Corgis are chow hounds. They love food and their satellite ears allow them to hear a crumb hitting the ground from two rooms (and a floor) away.

    My first one was big boned (like an older style Corgi) and topped out at 50 lbs. My vet had us put him on diet food and more exercise. For him, the lowest healthy weight he could be was 42 pounds. Any more and he would have been underweight. When he had cancer, the 42 pounds were too low for him and he had to gain the weight back.

    The current Corgi was underweight when we got him at 16 pounds but with regular meals he’s blossomed into a healthy weight at 30 pounds. He’s built like the standard Corgi and any more than that would be too much weight for him. (The standard weight of a Corgi is generally 25 pounds. My first one was gigantic…. twice the length and a quarter taller than the standard sized Corgi.)

    I am more mindful now than I was 5 years ago in reading the ingredients of what I give my dogs. I think that helps the current Corgi keep his svelte figure.


  18. Sara Nikkel

    I would love to be included in the giveaway as I have two french bulldogs and I have been doing a lot of research about their food recently. My three-year-old male is named Orson and he is overweight by around 3 lbs. My nearly two-year-old Olive is underweight by about 3 lbs.

    It is so hard to read the feeding recommendations on dog food bags based only on weight, because they have very different activity levels and skeletal structures. Orson has Russian roots and is long and big-boned. He’s healthy at 25 pounds whereas Olive is extremely petite- she looks like a really young frenchie even as she approaches two-years-old. She fluctuates between 18 and 20 pounds and I have not clue how to manage her weight.

    What frustrates me is that so many owners are moving towards alternative feedings and every vet I have ever come across has had little nutritional training in vet school and believes that the food they sell in their office is the answer to any dog’s nutritional needs. Even when I have told my previous vet that the food they sell in their office has low protein and several ingredients that my older dog is allergic to, they have still tried to press their food on me. Not being able to confer with a vet about food means that I have to do research on the subject myself and every book helps.


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