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Fat Dachshund

July 9, 2010
fat dachshund

Fat Dachshund Reminds VirtuaVet of  a Purina MisLeada’

obese dachshund

This dachshund is morbidly obese!

The Scoop on Fat Dogs and Purina Dog Food

Picture fit, thin, healthy, happy yellow Labrador Retrievers galloping along a sandy shoreline, their paws splash in the surf , their long red tongues lolling out the side of their mouths.  Happiness and health exude from their every golden fur on their hairy, shaggy, tail-wagging fit bodies.

That’s a beautiful Purina dog food commercial that implies feeding Purina Dog Food will keep your dog fit and trim and healthy.  The narrator states that a study shows that dogs that eat Purina stay fit. You know the ad if you watch American television.

Doc Truli always laughs when that ad comes on with the suggestive voice over.  You really think Purina food alone made those dogs so healthy and happy.

Here’s what the study was and what it proved, in a nutshell:

Purina sponsored a longitudinal study to characterize the effects of portion size on obesity in dogs.

top view fat dachshund

top view fat dachshund

A litter of 12 Labradors — the most popular American Kennel Club breed in the United States, the country where corporations test their theories because people seem to buy anything in America — was preselected for the study.  All twelve were raised in normal households with normal lives.  6 were allowed to eat any amount of their Purina food they wanted every day.  The other 6 were paired with a partner littermate, but sent to different households.  Each unlimited feeding puppy was matched with a littermate who was allowed to eat 75% of what his partner ate each day.

The important point is: calorie control led to healthier, longer lives.

So, the eating whatever-he-wanted puppy’s owner would measure the amount, call the partner-puppy’s owners, and that second owner would feed their dog 75% of what it’s littermate wanted that day.  Basically 6 ate as much as they wanted and 6 ate 75% of that amount!  The study is important to VirtuaVet because it lasted their whole lives.

The puppies that ate 75% of the amount of Purina lived 2-4 years longer and old age diseases like arthritis started 2-4 years later than their fatter litter mates.  Same genetics, almost the same family situations.  Cutting back and restricting the food helped add about 25% to the lifespan of the Labradors.  That’s like adding 15-20 years for a human being!

Of course, Purina just reports in the commercial that feeding Purina food led to 2 years longer, healthier lives!  The actual study probably could have been done with any food as the base.  The important point was the calorie control led to healthier, longer lives. That commercial is patently misleading.

Next time you see a Labrador looking fit and happy on the television, or at the beach, remember the advertising will tell you what they want you to hear.  You need an unbiased professional to help you navigate the misinformation campaign!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. donna permalink
    May 31, 2013 11:05 pm

    We rescued a standard male dachshund who weighed in at 43 pounds. He has thick legs and enormous paws and is very solid underneath the layer of fat. We have attempted to take him on walks, but he lies down before we reach the street. He has stolen cheese from a mouse trap, gotten inside my broiler when he smelled food, broken into the bottom cupboard and eaten rice and cereal and has stolen crackers in the yard that are for the birds. I feed him 1/2 cup of Beneful in the morning and one at night. He gets no commercial snacks. I steam boneless, skinless chicken breast for an extra tidbit during the day. The vet tested him for Thyroid and it was fine, but he has a moderate heart murmur. He has got to lose weight and I am running out of ideas to get him moving. He is very mellow and non-reactive except for tail wagging and the rolling of eyes. He is 9

    • June 1, 2013 5:29 pm

      What did your vet recommend?

  2. Becka Hockett permalink
    September 15, 2012 6:49 am

    I am a veterinary nurse and I don’t ever believe any dog food brand’s claim that the animal wont gain weight no matter how much they eat. The better dog food brands like blue buffalo and natural choice have food that is supposed to help the animal maintain healthy weight but on the bag it tells you to measure the food and not to just dump it in a bowl and let them have it. Unfortunately I have noticed that especially in my neighborhood I am the only person that walks my dogs frequently. Dogs not only need their food measured to prevent overeating but they also need frequent exercise. This all might sound like a no brainier but you would be surprised how many people are shocked when I tell them that at least a 15 or 30 minute walk every day not only could help a dog keep an ideal body weight but it also helps with behavioral problems. In many ways dogs are like children. Children are allowed recess so they will be able to relive pent up energy and be able to concentrate in class. Dogs are the same way, they cant be expected to be little angels if they are bored or have pent up energy. Unfortunately I see too many dogs taken to the shelter I volunteer for because the dog was not being physically and mentally exercised.

    • September 15, 2012 3:43 pm

      Thanks for the info, Becka. Also, the kilocalories per 8 ounce measuring cup in Blue Buffalo, even the weight management formula are much higher than supermarket foods. People looking to upgrade the quality do not often take into account the calories. They can get fat on Blue if they keep loading the bowl up! Pay attention by checking the web site or better, call the 1-800 number on your Pete’s food bag and ask, “how many kilocalories per 8 ounce measuring cup?”

      Also, feel your Pete’s body. If Theresa’s fat accumulating, a good rule of thumb is to decrease calories 25%. Consult your veterinarian for calorie and diet advice.

  3. June 18, 2012 10:50 pm

    For companies like that it’s all about the end profit and that is a real shame..

  4. crystal janow permalink
    March 25, 2012 11:23 am

    i have a mini dachshund who has been vomitting and has been in the animal hospital for the last 5 days. they have done the barium tests and all the x-rays. they all came back negative. he was still belching, probably from the baium stuff yesterday when we visited him. his stomach was all flabby like it had fluid build-up. should i be concerned at this point??? should i ask for more tests??? he had stopped vomitting as of yesterday. any suggestions??? i do not want to loose my baby. help!!!

    • March 25, 2012 6:33 pm

      Dear Crystal,
      If your Dachshund does not have a diagnosis and is not feeling better, you need to ask for more tests. X-rays and barium studies have missed amazing things in my practice. Things barium did not show: a felt cat mouse toy, a squeaker from inside a toy, a palm seed, a peach pit, carpet, panty hose, a triangular piece of dog toy in the stomach. It can be expensive to get to the bottom of the problem, especially if you want to avoid exploratory surgery. Speak with your veterinarian about your concerns. If they have reached the limits of what the hospital can do, then ask for a referral to a specialist. Your veterinarian can guide you to a specialist who is competent and has good communication so you can continue a good working relationship with your original vet, too.

  5. March 25, 2012 10:09 am

    Anybody have any good tips for how to get a Miniature Dachshund to lose weight?

    • jaycee permalink
      September 12, 2012 8:42 pm

      yeah, walk it daily and feed it a half cup of dry dog food. treats can consist of chicken breasts cooked or dehydrated.


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