Don’t become a Roley Poley Polly !

dogs overfeedingDear Doris,

I have been pondering for quite a while about putting paw to paper, but I am worried about my weight…doesn’t everyone?

How rude, I ought to introduce myself, my name is Polly, I am a Blue Roan Cocker Spaniel and I have recently made a trip to the vet for my annual boosters…nothing odd about that but I nearly fainted when I plonked myself on the weighing scales in the surgery, 17 1/2 kgs….. nearly a 1/3 of my body overweight!

I always knew I was a bit on the plump side like my owner Dermot but the shock of this sent me reeling. I am not a lazy spaniel really (apart from nights curled up on the recliner watching the recent World Cup…. )… I am given 2 x 1 1/2 mile walks daily (the other dog in the family is a fit bearded collie and is the normal weight for his breed.) I do love to fetch tennis balls each evening and I do love a good walk down to Cork harbour, but I cannot shift this weight.

I was a bit of a table surfer….when my owners turned their back to answer the phone or the door, I was a little partial to robbing pastries and rasher sandwiches…but those days are firmly behind me. I am on a low protein diet, no treats, no red meat….and I am going crazy…. My owners have tried this raw diet with me but I hate it…… (the beardie is on it….not that I would ever think of robbing his dinner…..). I am going on this new diet for 4 weeks and then ……I just don’t know.

Please Doris, from one girl to another, can you please help me shift this weight….as I do miss admiring my former svelte body in the hall mirror….. I’d hate to think of middle aged spread or thyroid problems…after all I am only 3 1/2…….

I await your informed reply.



Dear Polly,

It is so nice to hear from you. You have touched on a topic that is very close to my heart as diet plays a vital role in my daily life as I was diagnosed as being diabetic over three years ago. I have been meaning to write an article on canine obesity and the implications of same, and when I heard from you I was thrilled as you gave me great food for thought..Excuse the pun!

Before I replied to you I also did a small bit of surfing (not the table kind) and my research on your branch of the family tree shows that your ideal weight should be between 12-15 kgs, so you do have a little bit to shed but you are by no means a sumo wrestler. Having said that you did say you plonked yourself on the scales and nearly fainted. I bet Dermot is glad he didn’t have to lift you on to them as then it might have been him that was fainting.LOL !

Joking aside your breed gains weight easily along with many other of our canine cousins including us Dachshunds so it is very important that we do not get overfed which has been part of your problem up to now. This along with the odd side order of bacon butties & the fact that our humans are around us every day and fail to see our figures becoming more, let’s say “Fuller”.

Now I’m not trying to shock you into getting in shape, as you’ve already made up your mind that it’s the right thing to do. However dogs that are overweight are more likely to suffer from heart and joint problems, diabetes and some types of cancer among other things.

We can put on weight so quickly but it takes a long time to lose it, like I always say “a moment on the lips forever on the hips”

I’m glad to inform you Polly that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s not a freight train ! The most important thing on the track to the new slim line you is that your humans have identified your problem. They already take care of your exercise requirements so this combined with your new low fat diet will do wonders for you. Some humans never reach this stage and then sadly it is too late for us canines as the damage has been done. They’re killing us with what they see as kindness.

My condition that is diabetes does not just affect us more mature canines, it can happen at any stage in a dog’s life and it is on the increase. One of the main contributing factors can be diets that are high in sugar and fat. My humans fed me an expensive highly recommended dried kibble for years which they thought at the time was good quality but obviously it was not that good for me. You mentioned that your canine companion the “Beardie” is on the raw food diet, which some humans consider to be just a fad, like many of the diets they go on, but it is the only diet that controls my blood levels effectively and keeps me looking trim. Controlling diabetes is all about a good diet and eating the same amounts at each meal with no snacking in between at all except for the occasional piece of raw veg as a treat which I love. I know your new diet plan may seem quite draconian at present but in the long run it will all be worth it.

You are only young Polly so the pendulum is really swinging in your favour and with your new regime you are doing all you can to try and live a longer ,healthier life and no bacon butty, no matter how delicious it tastes is worth jeopardising that !

You are heading down a new path in life but don’t be afraid of your fears, they’re not there to scare you, they’re there to let you know that something is worth it.

Keep me posted

Yours Truly

Doris Dachshund

Email: [email protected]



July 18, 2014 4:20 pm

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