Dieting on the Buddy System- Losing Weight with Your Dog

Labrador Dog

You know how much better it is to embark on a project with a friend? Especially a task that isn’t so much fun – like cleaning out your basement…or going on a diet?!

I had a light bulb moment when I realized how hard it is to get the weight off your dog – fat that you have put on there with over feeding.

Weight loss has been proven to work really well when you have someone going through it with you – which is why Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and similar programs have given people satisfying results. The trick, of course, isn’t just to drop the weight, but to do it slowly, surely, and then maintain that lower weight with careful eating choices and habits. By having a diet buddy in your dog, you can watch her weight drop down little by little, and be encouraged to keep at it yourself- or vice-versa.

Even if you stop giving constant treats, you still may not see any weight loss from cutting out the snacks. For some dogs, the problem has to do with eating a totally carbohydrate heavy diet – all kibble – which can leave a dog hungry enough to beg pitifully while packing on the pounds!

Most of us eat too many carbs, too. We all have some weight we’d be happy to shed. So why not go on a gentle, manageable weight loss regime alongside your dog!

The first change you can make is to substitute half a can of a good quality dog food like Spot’s Stew (or a ½ cup of cooked meat, chicken or fish) for ½ cup of the kibble you’ve been giving. The real meat protein and the natural fat in fresh food can keep a dog feeling satisfied for longer.

That’s what we did in the Halo Healthy Weight Challenge and not only helped take the weight off our participants but they changed their eating habits forever and are proud of it! John’s Xena the Pomeranian continues to stay in touch about never having gained back the weight she happily shed.

For yourself, substitute low-carb vegetables (and hold the butter or sauce) for the rice, potatoes or pasta you might usually eat alongside your protein. Simply lightening the carb load can make a change in metabolism,. Once you get a greater awareness of how many biscuits you give your dog throughout the day (and chips or cookies for yourself) you can switch to some vegetable snacks for you and your dog in between two satisfying, meat-inclusive meals.

It’s great to have someone to turn to when you crave a doughnut instead of a carrot stick, and your buddy system can help you past that moment. It’s usually the belly bulge or the handful of fat on either side that we want to lose. It takes determination and patience for a change in food choices to slowly have their effect, for us and our canine pals.

We all know that our dogs are generally too heavy- they are carrying pounds of extra fat around their necks, shoulders, waists and chests. That extra fat on dogs has been scientifically proven to take as much as two years off a Labrador-type dog’s life – as well as lowering her quality of life because running and playing are much harder when you are lugging around extra weight.

It’s always advised to check with your vet to make sure your dog is “healthy enough to go on a gentle weight loss program” but I can pretty much assure you that any vet would be thrilled to know his clients are working to manage the most serious pet health problem we have in this country: fat cats and pudgy dogs!

Baby carrots to the rescue! Lightly steamed green beans! Strips of red pepper! Stalks of celery! Keep a bowl of them in the fridge (sprinkled with water to keep them appealing) and share them with your dog, making it a game for her by tossing it into her mouth or thrown for her to chase.

Change what goes in your dog’s bowl – change your own meal habits – and before long you’ll both have a lighter spring in your step!

newtraciepic2

RPLN-NewLogo-ProudSponsor175x197 Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

Halo Pets

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Prince Lorenzo Borghese Helps Georgia Rescues

A former reality star with a royal pedigree, Prince Lorenzo Borghese– who end in search of a soul mate in season nine of The Bachelor— helps our four-legged friends in their search for a…



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DogTipper

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Download a free copy of The Dog Treat Travel Cookbook!

If you love to make treats for your dog–and travel with your dog, we’ve got a fun, free cookbook to share with you: The Dog Treat Travel Cookbook! We’ve gathered some of our top…



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DogTipper

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The bush dog might not be what we thought it was

bush dog

We often talk about the South American wild dogs. The South American wild dogs are a sister group to Canis and its allies, and in South America, evolution allowed dogs to go many unusual directions.

When the dog family phylogenetic tree was drawn from sequencing the genome of a boxer, I was amazed that it put the bush dog, which is sort of a wild version of the dachshund, as being a sister species to the maned wolf, which has very long legs.

There was actually a big debate as to where the bush dog actually fit. When I was learning about dog evolution as a child, I had books that told me that the dhole, African wild dog, and the bush dog were all closely related because of their trenchant heel dentition. One of their carnassials has a single, blade-like cusp that increases their ability to bolt shear meat.

The phylogenetic tree that was created from the dog genome sequence pretty much ended this discussion. The dhole and African wild dog were both found to be closely related to Canis, more so than the side-striped and black-backed jackals. The bush dog was with the maned wolf and the other South American canids, and the trenchant heel dentition was the result of convergent evolution.

End of story.

Or so I thought.

In 2012, a study was released that that was meant to update the divergence times with all extant carnivora. The researchers used large samples of DNA and other characters to determine when these animals diverged from each other. Some of these “other characters were things like vocalization and scent gland similarities.

Its phylogenetic tree for Canidae is similar to that in the aforementioned paper on the domestic dog genome, except that it greatly increases the divergence time between species. For example, it has the Urocyon foxes diverging from the rest of Canidae 15-16 million years ago, instead of the 9-10 million years that the dog genome paper found.  It also has the golden jackal and the coyote being sister species, and the wolf is not the closest relative of the coyote. We now know this is very much in error, and it probably comes from the non-genetic “source trees” that were used in the analysis. It has has the Tibetan fox as being related to the extinct Falkland Islands wolf, which happened because there are almost no genetic studies on the Tibetan fox. Both the Tibetan fox and the Falkland Islands wolf had kind of weird squared off bodies, though, and this type of analysis does use morphology.

It has the dhole as being closely related to the wolf, golden jackal, and coyote.

But it has the African wild dog splitting off much sooner from this clade, and what’s more, it has the bush dog as its sister species!

One should be skeptical of this finding, because of its use of so many non-genetic “source trees,” it is going to miss the problem that occurs so much with dog species. Convergent evolution and phenotypic plasticity run riot in the family, and it is really hard to figure out relationships between species using just morphology and behavior alone.

This would make a lot of sense if it were confirmed with better genetic studies. Bush dogs are very weird animals. They are the only South American canids that hunt in packs. They really don’t have a rich fossil record, and it is pretty hard to connect them to other South American wild dogs.

It is tempting that they might be something that weird, but we need more evidence.

If they really did turn out not to be part of the South American clade of wild dogs and to be closer to the African wild dog, it would be a real shocker.

But not entirely.

The questions that would arise from it would be how it evolved.  We have evidence of Xenocyon coming into North America. Xenocyon is traditionally thought of as the ancestor of the African wild dog and the dhole, but it may not be. But there is also evidence of dholes or dhole-like dogs that are actually closer to the AWD coming into North America and making it as far south as Mexico.

So maybe there is something to it.

But this sort of study does have its limits. It’s trying to morph both classical and molecular techniques for taxonomy, and those tend not to hold up very well.

But I still think it’s worth examining.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Natural History

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I am a board member and director with the Miami Co…

I am a board member and director with the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation. Although Miami-Dade County is the only county in FL that has BSL the rest of the state is seriously hampered by homeowners associations and landlords with breed specific policies. One of the approaches we are trying to encourage is a professional evaluation process, where any potential homeowner or renter on they own dime many select from associations/landlord's approved list of dog behaviorists to have their dog evaluated regardless of the breed. This way regardless of the breed you only have approved dogs living there and eliminated potentially problem dogs. I would rather have a well socialized Rottie or Pitty living next door than a poorly socialized Beagle or Retriever. People may also find things out about their own dogs they were not aware of.
BAD RAP Blog

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A mere thank you for all the work that you do to i…

A mere thank you for all the work that you do to improve the lives of the animals in your care seems inadequate. So many lives would have been lost without your unwavering commitment to prevent that from happening. All of your blogs have been so incredibly educational & beneficial, not only to the general public but to those of us in the rescue community as well. However, your blog about Olive deeply touched my heart. Sadly I've met a few Olives who will never have the opportunity to truly live. Exist, yes. But still shackled to their emotional pain, with no serious course of action to help free them from that anguish. Olive's 'recovery' is a testimony that the mental well-being of all animals should be a much higher priority in rescue. Please continue reminding all of us do-gooders that we have much more to learn about animal rights & welfare. PTSD isn't just a human diagnosis…
BAD RAP Blog

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Shelter Saturday: August 13

As athletes from around the globe go for the gold in the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Rio, homeless dogs in shelters across America are hoping to win the love of a forever pet parent with a heart of…



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Border

This is a breed rarely seen in the south of France.  A Border Terrier. I love them, such characters.
RIVIERA DOGS

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Halo Wins Eco Excellence Award for Best Pet Food

eco-excellence-award-2016Halo, Purely for Pets is thrilled to have won the NWC Eco Excellence Award™ for best pet food!

Halo uses only WHOLE meats, never any rendered meat meals, such as chicken meal or by-product meal. WHOLE meat is more digestible, more bioavailable, and more delicious!

The Eco-Excellence Awards™ are the only one of their kind to recognize excellence in the children, adult and pet lifestyle industries that stand out for their social and environmental sustainability.

Halo would love to give a special thank you to everyone who voted for us. We appreciate your support and congratulations to all the Eco Excellence Award™ winners!

Halo

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Preparing For Our First Back-To-School Mornings

I almost can’t believe I’m saying this, but Essley starts preschool in just a few weeks. (Wait, didn’t I just give birth to the kid, like, last week?) And while I suppose I can’t really use the term “back-to-school” to apply to us, since this is technically our first school adventure and it’s not like we’re going back to anything, we’ve been getting into back-to-school mode around here. The preschool Essley is attending is part of the public school system here, so it follows the same calendar as older grades and has some of the same requirements in terms of school supplies, etc. So while it’s only a two day a week program and the students are all two-and-a-half and three year olds, it feels pretty official.

I’m admittedly both excited and nervous, as I always tend to be with “first times” when it comes to my kids, and we want Essley to look forward to going to school, so we’ve been practicing a routine that, naturally, begins with our mornings. I work from home so we’ve gotten pretty used to leisurely mornings that often involve moving slowly, making semi-elaborate breakfasts (especially when Robbie, our house chef, is home between the band’s tours), and lots of time spent in pajamas. Recently we’ve breaking out of that mold in preparation for school by getting dressed and washed up right away, and eating nutritious but simple breakfasts that take less time, like Essley’s favorite, Cheerios with organic fruit. After breakfast Essley usually runs directly to her backpack, puts it on, and loudly proclaims that it’s time to go to school. Establishing this morning routine has been beneficial for all of us. It’s actually kind of fun.

We’ve also been preparing for the back-to-school mornings (and school in general) by shopping for breakfast and after school snack items at Costco. In addition to having everything we need, Costco is currently running a really cool Box Top special called the Golden Box Tops Challenge, where, by purchasing specially marked General Mills products with 8 Box Tops (like Essley’s beloved Cheerios), you can enter to win an additional 100 eBoxTops (!!!). This may be our first year but we’re already well aware of how Box Tops help raise money for and bring major classroom benefits to schools, so this is a really wonderful way for us to get ourselves prepared for getting involved, even at the Pre-K level. And if you don’t have a lot of extra time or money to devote to your kids’ schools, Box Tops are an incredible way to contribute through items that you already have on your grocery list. We’ve also been teaching Essley how Box Tops can help her school, and together we make a game out of cutting them out and putting them into a basket that she’ll be able to bring to her school later on. We have also, of course, entered the Golden Box Tops Challenge. You can enter too! Just click here to learn how, along with more about the prizes and participating products. We think it’s pretty great.

While I’m by no means a back-to-school expert (you honestly can’t get more “beginner” than me if we’re being honest here), for my fellow new-to-school preschooler moms and dads, I highly recommend getting a head start on your school mornings if you can. Even our simple routine of getting up at an established time, getting dressed, making and eating an easy but healthy breakfast, brushing teeth, and encouraging Essley as she pretends to head to school for the day, along with other back-to-school activities like participating in Costco’s Golden Box Tops Challenge, has made the whole experience feel like a something to get excited about instead of dread.

Do any of you have kids heading to preschool this fall? Who else collects Box Tops?


Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. This post is sponsored by Costco Golden Box Tops and Acorn.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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