Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Green Beans to the Rescue!

Brisbane is what horse people call an "easy keeper". Every so often I attempt to use this term with non-horse people and get puzzled expressions and strange looks. An easy keeper is a horse that keeps weight on with zero effort on the part of the owner. He doesn't need to be fed extra supplements or fussed over in the winter, you barely have to feed him and he stays fat and happy. Sometimes I think Brisbane photosynthesizes extra calories, he plumps up so easily.

Chubby puppy.
When he was a baby, I fed Brisbane as much as he would eat. I had thought this would teach him to self-limit his food intake, but instead it just made him fat. I know better now. I used to argue that Brisbane was not fat. I could feel his ribs if I really pushed, and he kind of had an abdominal tuck if I pushed his fur against his belly. When it became obvious that Briz had spinal issues, I decided to put him on a diet.
A slim dog has it easier.
The less weight Brisbane has to carry, the less stress there will be on his joint. His back already has some issues, he certainly doesn't need to be carrying extra pounds. In the top picture he was nearly 50 pounds, in the second he was down to 45 pounds or less. These days I keep him at a trim 40 pounds. I can easily feel his ribs just under his skin, with no fat covering them. He has a nice abdominal tuck, with proper definition between his ribcage and waist. Brisbane's disc issues have improved with time.

There's kibble under there, I swear.
Brisbane lost all that weight through potion control, and he eats very small portions. There was a time when I counted out exactly 25 pieces of low-calorie kibble for him every day. I used to do whole-prey-model raw feeding, but Briz is allergic to poultry. I haven't figured out yet how to do minuscule portions of non-poultry raw meaty bones. Ground frozen raw food is out of my price range in this town.

Every day, Brisbane gets 1/4-cup of kibble with a pile of green beans on top. I get the no-salt added canned ones, usually store brand. Right now the small cans are the cheapest, so he gets an entire can drained and unceremoniously dumped on top of his food. The entire heap of green beans is only 40 calories, but fills him up enough to keep him from inventing new ways to steal food. The tiny portion of kibble helps compensate for all the training treats Briz gets, along with the occasional half package of Oreos he eats off the counter.

My husband wants to know how I can keep the dog so skinny, but not him. I offered to replace most of his food with green beans, but he wouldn't go for it.

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