Oscar and I are back on the blogosphere following Mother Nature’s first hints of summer! The sunshine revitalized our spirits after a demanding work week and we hope our American blogging friends enjoyed a three-day weekend filled with family, friends and good food.
Camping out by the barbecue. Does Oscar look more slender? Yea or nay?
Waiting patiently (using the term very loosely) while the grill works its magic.
Grilling is taking much longer than he anticipated!
Although our weekend consisted of strolling through the park, bagging sales and gathering around the barbecue, I spent some time reflecting on Memorial Day’s purpose. Many thanks to the men, women and war dogs who served and who continue to serve their country. Your sacrifice hasn’t been forgotten.
According to PetMD, over 50% of pets in American households are either overweight or obese and Oscar represents just one of the millions of dogs packing extra pounds.
Eye on the prize, baby.
Oscar never had a greyhound’s body to begin with. Nope. He’s robust. Husky. Big-boned. But I noticed his body changing over the span of our two years together. There were subtle hints like his waist disappearing, his stamina decreasing and his love handles forming.
I confess. I found chubby Oscar to be just as cute as naturally robust Oscar and I got a kick out of comparing him to harbor seal basking on the sand, but the seriousness of his weight finally hit home when I realized he would be riddled with health problems if I didn’t take action. I cringe to imagine what would happen if he developed arthritis or diabetes from something that could have been prevented.
Instead of tackling Oscar’s excess weight with a diet, I confronted the situation with a lifestyle change. I’m so happy to report that after one month of implementing the following objectives, Oscar has more endurance, more energy and less weight. Here’s to a slimmer, sexier Oscar!
- Less food. Both humans and pets gain weight when they consume more calories than they burn. Restricting food was going to be tough for this four-legged foodie, so I limited his food intake by 10% the first couple of weeks and cut another 5% when he started to plateau. We’re still working our way up to a 20% food reduction. 😉
- More exercise. I think the heading speaks for itself. Oscar rebuilt his stamina with short treadmill sessions. We started with 5-minute bursts and worked our way up to 10, 15, 20, 25 minutes! Now he can keep up with me and trot around the park’s perimeter without getting too winded.
- You don’t have to eliminate treats! I knew completely restricting treats wouldn’t fly. Zuke’s Mini Bakes saved Oscar’s life! Seek smaller portions of your pet’s favorite treats or switch to treats intended for training. They’re usually smaller and have fewer calories per bite.
- Keep a food blog/journal. Writing down everything that makes its way into Oscar’s belly helps me keep track of what he’s eaten. It’s a lot like counting calories! I document even the tiniest crumb.
- Beware of begging. Describing Oscar as “food-motivated” would be the understatement of the century. He is shameless when it comes to begging (please refer to the photograph below for an example of his antics). Whenever something yummy is in sight, he’ll drop everything for a bite. Curbing his requests is still a work in progress.
What can I say about Zuke’s that hasn’t been mentioned by another satisfied customer?
At five calories per biscuit, it’s one of the few treats Oscar can enjoy without sabotaging his diet!
Zuke’s Mini Bakes are available in three distinct flavors—chicken ‘n cherryz, peanut butter ‘n blueberryz and turkey ‘n taterz—but I decided on the peanut butter and blueberry combo. Can’t go wrong with peanut butter coupled with a shot of blueberries for an extra boost of antioxidants!
There are so many things I love about Zuke’s:
- I can pronounce all the ingredients! Ground oats, rice bran, peanut butter, blueberries, potatoes, oat fiber, blackstrap molasses (possible pirate name?), oil blend (sunflower, olive and canola oils) and natural vegetable flavors.
- The amount of biscuits per box. A one-pound box contains more than 325 biscuits at 5 calories each! Break them in half and you have twice as many goodies that are perfect for training (or dieting dogs).
- The treats are devoid of wheat, corn, artificial colors, flavors, added fat or by-products. Now that’s wholesome goodness!
- Zuke’s cares about our planet. Every box of Zuke’s is made with 100% recycled paperboard and 100% wind energy.
- Zuke’s gives back. Zuke’s donates a portion of every sale to The Dog & Cat Cancer Fund. Last year’s donation was over $30,000!
And the best thing about the Mini Bakes…
- Oscar loves them! Well, Oscar loves anything edible, but he goes gaga over these treats. I’m sure he doesn’t realize they’re only 5 calories a bite!
Time for another round of the Saturday Pet Blogger Hop. Happy Hopping!
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As promised, here are the last batch of zoo pictures before Oscar reclaims his place as the focus of the blog! These pictures were just too cute to pass up.
Elephants are the newest residents at the zoo!
Something our friends Kame and Kroten might like!
Somebody’s a little camera-shy!
Meerkat on the watch.
And one Oscar for good measure (You’re welcome, Evee). 😉