The hairy members of our family (yes I am talking about the pets) rely on us to keep them nice and slender, with a balanced diet giving them all their nutritional needs. Now, being a bit of a foodie myself (especially when it comes to cake, chocolate, crisps, cheese…. maybe I should stop before I fill the page) I tend to have passed on this love of food to my dog Daisy. As well as looking like me, she also likes to eat as much as me, and with a cute irresistible face like this how can you resist! (Unfortunately for me we look alike- but I am not this cute).
But here is where the tricky part comes. Daisy likes to go through cycles of getting a bit soft around the edges. A good weight for Daisy, being a working Cocker Spaniel, should be around 12-12.5kg, but she has been known to creep right up to 13.5kg.
Now, for someone who works in a vets, I’m probably not setting a very good example, but it’s easy for any of us, no matter who we are, to be a bit over zealous when feeding our pets. I thought the best way to explain how easy it can be sometimes for Daisy to get a few too many tit bits, would be to ask her to do a diary in the life of Daisy. Here’s what she had to say:
A day in the life of a “Working” (more like sleeping) Cocker Spaniel
When I wake up in the morning everyone is asleep, and I have to nudge them with my face to make sure they wake up to give me my breakfast. Sometimes I get everyone up as early as half past 5, because all I want is my breakfast. I wake up, go outside for a quick wee, and run straight back in for food. After taking about 1 minute to eat it, I go back out to the toilet again, and come back in still hungry!
If I’m lucky mum does me a treasure hunt and hides biscuits around the house for me to find, but it doesn’t take me very long. Then when mum and other members of the family have their breakfast I wait and see if they have anything for me. Sometimes if I’m lucky, I get my own taste of some milk in my bowl, yummy! Then I go back and lay on mums bed and have a few hours’ kip, its tough work being me so I need lots of sleep.
By about lunch time I get to go on a walk over the woods, where I don’t stop, not even when I need the toilet, this helps me to burn all my energy off. When I get back and have my legs washed (much to my disgust, what’s the point in getting dirty if I then get cleaned again), I often get given a chew bone to help keep my teeth pearly white.
When the humans start eating their lunch, I often might get a few bits of meat when they finish because I put on my best soppy look. Later in the afternoon I’ll go out for another walk, and when I come back I get my dinner- yummy! I start asking and pestering for this at about 2 o’clock, even though I don’t have my dinner till 4 – just to make sure they don’t forget.
When the humans have their dinner again later on, I pretend like I haven’t had mine, and then I often may get a few more bits of scrap meat or vegetables- delicious! Once when the humans went out at Christmas I was so hungry that I opened one of their bags and helped myself to my doggy stocking. I got so full I couldn’t finish it all.
In the evening the humans tend to snack lots on lots of yummy things like popcorn and biscuits, they are so greedy so I don’t think it’s fair when they tell me I’m being a porkie pie. I usually sit there expectantly, give them my best fluttering eyelashes, and get some bits of popcorn or biscuits or crisps. I’ve managed to get my way so much that the humans buy some digestives just for me- they even have a special name – Daisy Digestive. I know they’re in there, so anytime I hear movements of the biscuit tin, no matter where I am, I run to it as fast as I can.
After all this exhausting work of eating, sleeping, and going out for walks, I’m ready for bed. Although, if I hear a rustling downstairs, I’m still quick to get up and see what food may be on offer.
Now, as you can see Daisy can get to eat a lot in the day! If we looked at that in terms of numbers, Daisy (for her size, based on her level of exercise) should only consume about 860 calories a day to maintain her weight. Her chappie, which is her main food for the day comes to around 680kcals, that leaves only 180 left for her to have. GULP. So her handful of biscuits that she has in the morning will be another 58kcals, for a dental stick from pedigree they are 53kcals, 73kcals for a digestive biscuit, and for ¼ of a chicken breast it is approximately another 75 kcals. Now, if I add all this up, and that’s excluding the milk, it comes to around an extra 250 calories, which means in a day she could be having 930calories- that’s over 10% a day more than she should be, and that’s just in one day!
I thought by using myself as an example, it would show how easy it is to overfeed your pet, and how quickly this can start leading to weight gain and subsequent health issues. That’s why we, at Mayne vets, are doing a month dedicated to helping all our clients and their furry friends.
Any pets that may have weight issues can come in to see us, to see where they could be going wrong, and how we can put them back on track again- and this is all free of charge! So if you think, like me, you could be overfeeding your pet, and perhaps they could do with losing a few of those pounds, then please ring in and book with the nursing team today.
(I try not to be naughty anymore to set a good example, but Daisy still gets her ‘Daisy Digestives’- please don’t tell the vets!).