I was having quite the day at work, so I hit the emergency button, called my husband, and asked him to take Eleanor to the vet. I very seldom take the dogs to the vet here in Austin, and when I do it’s only after I’ve conferred with Dad as to what is really wrong. However, Eleanor just passed the year mark, and much as I love puppies, an unplanned doggie pregnancy is not something I care to add to my list of what happened in 2014. (Yes, I know that I have two vets in the family and could probably convince Chris and Sasha that spaying Eleanor was a good use of their time, but Matt so seldom works on dogs that he’d have to read up on spaying a dog, Dad is taking more of a consulting role these days, and Bridger Vet is an awful long way from Texas to have a dog spayed. So, Austin and city-vet prices it is.) While at the vet, however, Joel received some interesting news.

Eleanor is fat.

Okay, perhaps not fat so much as a bit chubby, pleasingly plump, and on the plus side, she’s not pregnant, not that we were trying or that she is even interested in such things just yet. Eleanor clocked in at 72 pounds, and as we have a bit of time before her puppymaker is taken out (Dad always referred to spaying dogs as taking out their puppymakers when we were kids), the vet asked that we try to get her down to 65 pounds.

Maybe this would be a bit easier if she were pregnant after all. At least I’d get a puppy out of that.

It’s not like friends were shy about telling me that Eleanor was fat. Diane went so far as to tell me that Eleanor had a muffin top and junk in her trunk. Michelle pointed out that Eleanor had fat bloop. Even I have to admit that the baum-chicka-wow-wow song plays whenever you see Eleanor walk away. (However, in my defense, Michelle was the one who got Eleanor and Beatrice the Frosty Paws dog ice cream for Eleanor’s birthday, and I seem to remember Diane giving me TWO bags of homemade dog cookies for the girls for Christmas. Joel would like to once again point out that dog cookies look an awful lot like human cookies, but they taste kind of funny.)

Eleanor *does* get a lot of exercise. I should know because I’m the one that walks Eleanor and Beatrice about five miles a day, plus Joel takes them out on shorter walks. However, I don’t think exercise is her problem. I think it’s the self-feed, here-have-another-biscuit food plan I employ for both of our dogs. Something tells me that perhaps Labrador Retrievers are not the greatest about deciding when they’ve had enough.

Oh Smelleanor, it looks like less peanut butter and more carrot sticks for you. I suppose now is as good a time as any to discuss why keeping your dog at a healthy weight is important. If your pet is overweight, here are just a few of the disease and problems that your animal is at an increased risk:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Osteoarthritis (arthritis)
  • Increased frequency of joint injuries
  • High blood pressure
  • Some forms of cancer, especially intra-abdominal cancers

You’re also at risk of having your friends point out that your dog is fat.

If you’re on the hunt to find some online tools to help keep your furry household companions fit and trim, go to www.petobesityprevention.com. You can also make an appointment and bring in your dog or cat and talk to your favorite veterinarian at Bridger Vet–one of us would be happy to talk with you about pets and healthy weights. And even if you don’t have an appointment, feel free to swing by and use the pet scale. We promise to not make any fat jokes, and we even have diet dog food on hand.