I just had a conversation with a groomer friend, Linda in Wisconsin who called me up complaining of her aches and pains from her day of grooming. The cause of the aches and pains was a golden retriever client that she hadn’t seen in two years. Back in 2008, this golden retriever tipped the scales at a whopping 260 lbs! She measured his waist and it was a huge 40” around. A 40” waist may not be so bad if you are human but if you are supposed to be a normal sized 60 lb. dog, that’s extreme!
She warned them in 2008 of the health risks associated with their dog’s obesity, and tried to convince them to put him on a diet. Apparently, they didn’t listen. Which leads me to the question, why did she book the dog for grooming again?
Well I can answer that one. It stems from hormones and childbirth. When you want to have a child, there is an overwhelming urge and your biological clock begins ticking. Once you become pregnant, as happy as you are to be pregnant, the morning sickness hits you, and even though you are indeed glad to be pregnant, the side effects can be awful. Along towards the end of your pregnancy journey, the feet and ankle swelling begins, along with the general aches and pains, and restlessness. Sleeping in a bed is no longer comfortable; you opt for the recliner instead. Then labor hits. You may have decided to be a “he-woman” and not take any drugs for the pain. Although this is what your Lamaze coach recommends, all you need for pain is to focus on an object and breathe…once you are actually in labor, you discover that you not only can’t focus on anything except for the pain, but breathing has also become hard to do! What were you thinking?
They say you never forget the pain of childbirth, this is true but then those darned hormones hit and you get that overwhelming urge in a couple of years to have a second child, and it isn’t until you are pregnant again that you remember how bad it was the first time.
That must be what she did. She just forgot how bad it was the first time, or maybe she thought she had actually gotten through to her clients and they took her advice and put their dog on a diet. Well when she opened the door today, she found out that the dog had gained an additional 30 lbs. in the past two years, and his waist size has ballooned to a whopping 53 and a half inches around! A 290 lb. golden retriever! Now that has got to be some kind of a record.
Why is this dog so overweight? Does he have some kind of thyroid imbalance or immune disorder which is making him gain? Well, we just don’t know because the owners never took him to the vet to find out. It seems they live on a farm and he eats the grain that the cows eat along with 4 cups a day of his dog food, and eats the barn cats’ food, and whatever else he can get into. I’m pretty sure a vet would’ve read them the riot act over letting this dog get so heavy.
At his enormous weight, the dog is having difficulty walking; his hocks are breaking down from carrying the immense weight. I know that his heart has to be working on overload, along with his other vital organs. The dog is getting pressure sores on his body from lying down, and of course he was a mess from not being groomed in two years.
I’ve seen clients kill their dogs with kindness by over-feeding them. Just because he’s giving you those “doggy eyes” doesn’t mean you have to give in and feed him more. On every bag of dog food you’ll find a chart on how much to feed a dog that weighs x amount of lbs. Now, you are supposed to feed the amount for what the dog SHOULD weigh, not what he currently weighs. If your dog weighs 50 lbs, and should weigh 30 lbs, then you need to feed him what a 30 lb. dog should eat daily. Measure it with a REAL measuring cup, not the extra large cup your coke came in from McDonalds. There is a difference!
My friend Linda told her clients after she had completed the grooming that unless he lost weight, she would not groom him again. The clients were shocked and confused as to why she would say such a thing. Then she felt bad later. I told her not to feel bad because she had to protect her own body. None of us are getting any younger, and nobody can afford to hurt their back or shoulder etc. She took some pain relievers and hot bath and hopefully with some luck, she will get out of bed tomorrow and face another day of grooming. Unless you’ve been a groomer, or done some of your own dogs’ grooming it’s hard to understand how physical this job is.
I only hope her clients see the light and take some action to get their dog to the vet, and put him on a strict diet and confine him so he can’t get into the other livestock’s feed. It won’t be long until he does collapse and they will not be able to pick him up and take him to the vet. The one who ultimately suffers is the dog.
Don’t kill your dog with kindness, be loving but firm, food and treats don’t equal love and attention.