A Dog Eat (Hot)Dog World

Disclaimer:  the following conversation actually happened but the dialogue is manufactured in my mind since said mind has a faulty memory and cannot recall the precise phrasing of a conversation that took place on bikes with no paper handy to take notes.  But you’ll get the general idea.

Husband:  This is not a blog-worthy topic but seeing that woman over there with her dog gives me an idea.

Me:  What woman?

Husband:  Have you noticed how overweight people have overweight pets?

Me:  No.

Husband:  I think that owners pass on their own eating habits to their pets.  I think they include the pets in whatever emotional thing they are dealing with that makes them overeat.

Me:  I’m not sure I agree with that.  Ergo (okay, I am sure I did not actually say “ergo”) this would make a perfect blog topic!  Let’s see what everyone else thinks.

So, readers, time for you to join in the conversation.  What do you think?  Can we generalize and say that pet owners who overeat also overfeed their dogs?  Does this give new meaning to the term “fat cat?”  Are people who eat unhealthy foods more likely to give table food to their pets?  Do pets really resemble their owners?  Is an owner who exercises more likely to walk his or her dog?  Do we pass our eating habits onto our pets?  Or does one have nothing to do with the other?

For the 11 years we had out dog, her weight did not vary much, while mine went up and down and up and down.  I put plenty of junk into my mouth but never once fed my dog table scraps.  The only “people food” she got was peanut butter, hot dogs, or cheese wrapped around her medication in an attempt to trick her into swallowing her pills.  Yes, she did gain weight over the years.  Yes, it turns out that we were mistakenly giving her too much of the very pricey prescription dog food.  And when she was diagnosed with a heart ailment and we were told she needed to lose weight, we did indeed cut back on her food and put her on a diet, so to speak.  (And let me tell you that it is a lot easier to lose weight when someone else is putting your food in front of you twice a day.)  But I am just not seeing a personal pet-owner correlation.

Your turn to weigh in.  (Pun intended.)  What do you think about hubby’s theory?

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20 Comments

Filed under influence of others, weight issues

20 responses to “A Dog Eat (Hot)Dog World

  1. I think it’s very possible that owners who do not get any activity would pass that along to their pets. But a lot of them wouldn’t dare feed their pets the garbage that they feed themselves. It’s the same thing with my kids – I wouldn’t have let them eat bags of chocolate in bed the way I did for years!!!

  2. I don’t have any animals now or as an adult BUT we had plenty of them growing up.. all kinds!!! We were an overweight family but the animals were not so…. I don’t know.

    I do think that there may be some truth to this though.

    Further studies are needed. I wonder if I can get a $100k grant to study this.. they study everything else even if it is apparent! I need the money! 🙂

  3. Great post! I have dogs, neither of whom are overweight even though I need to shed a few pounds. I think people generally don’t read labels and don’t understand how much to feed their pets or that table scraps are unhealthy for animals. That said, as someone else said, I can see how people who weren’t active or didn’t give their pets the exercise they require could have overweight pets.

    I agree, time for a study. 😉

  4. Seems likely that there is some meat to this. I have always had dogs — my entire life. I buy my current pups hand made lamb and rice feed at the local farmer’s market. Oh, I also buy a lot of my own human food at the local farmer’s market. People who buy dog food at Safeway, probably also buy human food at Safeway. Too broad a brush stroke to assume, but I do think there is something there.

  5. I just watched my recorded Oprah show (part 2 with Geneen Roth) and Oprah actually said that she was overfeeding her dogs while she was overfeeding herself. So…the hubby may be onto something…

  6. Interesting.
    If he said kids instead of dogs I’d have a better arguement.

    Most dogs I see are in better shape than the owner. I think that’s because the owner can let the dog out and the dog can run the food off in the yard instead of the owner having to walk the dog.

  7. Hmm. I think that overweight people will not adequately walk their dog, which is probably the biggest(haha) issue.

    But, yeah, if we equate food with pleasure, we’ll be inclined to overfeed. I have a cat with a mighty bottom, though I don’t know if she’s considered overweight.

  8. Neither of my pets are overweight- green cheeks are supposed to be 60-80 grams and they both are in the mid-60s. But for me I’m very careful about their diet. If I weren’t though they WOULD be overweight because they always want to eat what I eat! lol. In addition to pellets they get fruits and veggies and ocassional treats.

    BUT I wouldn’t put it past a lot of people to give their pets what they eat also because let’s face it- how many of our pets beg for food? Heck, yesterday when I was eating a cracker Cinnamon went all the way across the room to me and I gave him a tiny piece. But of course when he was done with it he wanted more! I’ve seen bird owners give their birds a “snack” of ten cheerios when really they only need 1 or 2.

  9. I work in news, and just last week I ran a story about how pets owners’ eating habits impact the pets weight! So I think you’re husband’s on to something. One of the owners interviewed said something like, “I’m eating… and I don’t want to ignore my pet… so I let them eat too.”

  10. sunnydaze

    I totally agree with your husband. More food and less exercise for them, too.

  11. I am not a pet owner so I don’t have first hand experience but it seems like it would be true! Overweight parents often times have over weight children!

  12. Possibly, I don’t know. It probably varies too much to have any serious scientific basis.

    I had my parents dog for a day last week. She’s not overweight–just getting a bit pudgy. My parents take her for walks several times a week, but she mainly uses it as an opportunity to sniff grass and trees. Fun for her, but it doesn’t burn many calories. Anyway, when I took her for her walk, we kept moving (in fact, her pace outdid mine a couple of times) and had a nice little half-mile walk. My father called the next morning and asked what I had done to her. She’d been asleep almost since I took her home. 🙂

  13. I think pets have a mind of thier own! If my cats don’t want to eat thier food, they won’t – and if they want to steal the meat from Hubbys sandwich they will! Haha. I think what we give them access to may have something to do with it – if you have4 a pet that will eat anything in front of them and you give them an endless dish of food, than yes. But one of my cats is very good at not overeating, and no amount of food we give her will change that. The other – he’s a little eating machine. He needs to be watched…

  14. Our dog is a bit underweight, always has been. I set out a bowl of food and she takes a couple of days to eat it. Now that she is old (13) we spoil her a lot and let her lick plates and have cut up meat and veggies and she still doesn’t gain weight.

    I have always been overweight, but my 2 of my kids have never had any issues with weight, and 1 daughter is maybe 10 pounds overweight. We have never had junk food (we were watching a movie the other day and she asked “what is a Snowball?”) in the house and I was always stingy with the desserts. So generalize away, but know it “ain’t always so.”

  15. Genie@dietof51

    My beagles are world-class beggers, and the little one is pudgy, thanks to me giving in to his pleading ways. Two years ago, when we rescued him, he was quite scrawny with no butt. Since then, he has taken up competitive eating, and can wolf down his food almost as fast as our big beagle.

    I’ve been cutting his intake back due to his little bloated belly, but it’s hard because he can really beg. Ergo, he is just like me…. Hate to admit that a man might be right.

  16. I honestly have never noticed if overweight folks tend to have overweight pets, but I do have a little story for you. When we built out home we didn’t have a fence constructed in our yard right away. Our dog is a runner, so that meant several daily walks. I lost 10 pounds that summer. I suppose it helped my little poochie too!

  17. I have a hyper skinney “crackhead” black lab. She is 10 months old and maybe 25 pounds. I think fit dogs make fit owners. Fat dogs make fat owners. 😉 I will hopefully be fit and hyper soon! 😉 She has helped me lose my 35 pounds.

    Lucy gets meat scraps if there are any leftovers. With 4 sons and a husband, that RARELY happens. She did get a small plate of whole wheat spaghetti and home made lean meatballs tonight. Hubby and I decided we were full and didn’t want to finish our plates.

  18. I so agree with your hubby!!! yes!!! sadly~ my hound is now on weight control dog food!

  19. We have a sheltie who has a LOT of fur. We just figured out that he is a bit overweight. We don’t overfeed him, but in fact measure his food. Our problem is that with all the kids at the table, food does get dropped. A lot.

  20. That’s just entirely too funny. I don’t have the slightest clue but love the way your goes.

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