Dogs put on pandemic pounds, too

We’re embarrassed to admit – we’ve let pandemic pounds creep up on the dogs. We realized the truth this week at the vet’s office. When Hope absolutely refused to put Torque on the scale.

The last several weeks Hope’s French Bulldog, Torque, has been wearing the cone of shame. Another eye injury. And weekly trips to the vet for progress checks.

Torque, a French Bulldog, has put on pandemic pounds

This week, while waiting for the vet, Hope noticed that Torque’s looking a bit thick. He’s definitely an “easy keeper” – which translates to “puts on weight by looking at food.”

We can certainly identify. Unlike the Boston Terriers, who seem to have non-stop metabolisms, Torque gains weight easily. This has been particularly painful for us because we have to carry him up the stairs from the basement. He’s not great at stairs at the best of times. Wearing a cone, they’re impossible. So our weight-lifting has included schlepping a Frenchie up a flight of stairs, multiple times a day.

Pandemic pounds

It’s been months that our regular dog activities have been suspended. And now that the weather’s cold, we’re not even spending much time outside walking, playing, or practicing. So just like us, our dog that’s prone to gaining weight is doing exactly that.

Now that we realize what’s going on, we’ll start our “Torque needs to lose weight again” regimen. And we thought we’d share, because we know if it’s happening with our dog, it’s going on with others, too. 

Great substitutes

We’ve never been able to resist the “puppy dog eyes” look – especially the pitiful one that says “I’m starving!” – even when we know it’s not true. So, to keep the volume of food about the same, and lessen the calorie count, we make substitutions. 

Replacing some higher-calorie food with low-calorie options is as simple as: fill the dog’s bowl as usual, take a handful of regular food out. Replace it with the same size handful of frozen green beans. Then put in a couple extra beans, because guilt.

Veggies are your friends

Most dogs love frozen green beans, and they work great for calorie control. You can use whatever green vegetable your dog likes. Torque adores celery and cucumbers (or raw pickles), so we use fresh veggies, too. Be aware, though, that both of those have a high water content. Which is great for calorie control, but may mean your dog has to go out more often. 

We know there are many, many diet plans, for both dogs and people. Both Fran and Hope are long-time battlers of the weight-control war and firm believers in data. The data shows that when we (or our dogs) use more calories than we consume, we lose weight. Any combination of increased calorie use and decreased consumption results in weight loss, for us and our dogs. It works the same for pandemic pounds as any other type.

Invisible to the fat dog

Torque will never know that he’s on a weight-loss journey. He’s going to be satisfied by the meals he gets, and love every bite. We’ll know we’re successful in helping our fat dog when we see his waist reappear. We’re hoping that will coincide with being able to get back to doing “stuff” with our dogs and dog friends. And the era of “pandemic pounds” will be in the past.

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