It crept up over the course of a few months, but suddenly I realized that the belly was looking fuller. The ribs that I used to be able to see were gone. There was just more of a solid look overall. Then came the dreaded weigh in at a doctor visit - one where medication was going to be necessary, so an accurate weight was important. Up 12% since the last visit in June! Not good. Something had to be done.
Looking back, it was easy to see how this happened - the medicine for allergies contained a steroid, and that causes excess hunger...and without realizing it, more and more food was consumed every day.
So the diet started. Nothing drastic, just cutting back...a little less food each day. Of course the food rage started right away. Why are they eating and not me??? When can I eat again? Major crankiness and growling ensued.
Look, it can happen to anyone. Even those who seem to be carefree about eating...the ones who routinely leave food in their dish, who only seem to eat socially - even they, given different circumstances, can gain weight.
You cannot possibly be talking about me...
Wait. Where rest of my food?!??!?!???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry Paco. It's for your own good. I know, I know, believe me...I KNOW. Better to start the diet now, when you are just a few pounds up, than later, when you are really overweight.
Paco was the dog who would "happy eat" - meaning that when we'd come home, he'd greet us with glee and then rush over to his food dish, grab a mouthful of kibble, run back to where we were, and chomp away. He was a social eater, to the point that I moved his food dish into my office, because I noticed that he would only eat when we were nearby, and I spend more time in my office than my kitchen, where his dish was. I'd fill his bowl once every few days - he just ate whenever he felt hungry (and I often felt like I should take MY cues from him, lol). He always weighed in at the "perfect weight" (according to my vet) of 28 pounds. So I was shocked at our last visit when he weighed in at 31 pounds! The poor dog has terrible allergies - at first they were seasonal, but lately they've stretched to nearly year-round. We've tried steroid shots, Benadryl, and some really expensive pills - everything helps for a while, but then he starts scratching and chewing his skin again.
I forgot that steroids make you super-hungry (anyone who's taken Prednisone can attest to that), and didn't pay attention to how often I was refilling his food bowl. Oops. My bad. Unfortunately, Paco is the one who has to suffer, because while he's still on the steroids, he's not getting to eat as much as he'd like to. As the caretaker and controller of his food, it's pretty easy to put Paco on a diet. He only eats what I give him. He doesn't have the ability to sneak food, and while I know he's hungry, he's getting enough, so I don't have a problem giving in to his begging (every time I walk into the kitchen, he's right with me, tapping the counter where his cookie jar sits).
Honestly? Paco is lucky. He has no choice with this diet. Too bad it's not as simple for us humans.
I look out window and ignore you, mean Mom.