Chow Hounds by Ernie Ward, D.V.M. 312 pages Published March 1, 2010 Non-fiction
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 www.drernieward.com.
Book source: I received this book from the publisher for being on this book tour.