Friday, February 11, 2011

New Weight Loss System from Hills — are we that dumb?

Obesity is most definitely a problem among American dogs.
It’s a problem that, in usual circumstances, is easy to prevent and easy to correct.

Want to know how? Here’s some advice:
  1. Feed your dog a decent brand of dry dog food. Don’t know how much to feed? Call your veterinarian and ask. Then, follow those guidelines. (So often I hear, ‘I was told to feed him this much, but it just didn’t seem like enough’). Excuse me, but are you a veterinarian? Didn’t think so. Since you’re not, listen to the professional. Simple stuff.
  2. Is your dog so picky he wouldn’t dare think about dry dog food? Try spicing it up by adding something healthy — warm up some kidney beans or green beans and mix ‘em in there. Try a little rice. Start heavy on the healthy adds, work your way down until the mix is more kibble, less adds.
  3. Stop feeding your dog people food and table scraps. Feeling guilty? Replace scraps with healthy treats. Cooked whole potatoes, green beans, mushy carrots ... It’s still human food; it’s just not junk. Can’t get past those “Precious Moments” beggin’ eyes? Train your dog not to beg. Train him to lay in his bed while you eat dinner. Train a “head down” command to combat begging while you snack. 
  4. Stop buying junkfood dog treats (Beggin’ Strips is my favorite example). There’s a whole market out there for healthy treats specifically for dogs. Buy those instead.
  5. Get your dog some exercise. Better yet, exercise with your dog.
The best thing to do is not feed your dog human food from the very get-go. Brent and I took this method. It’s wonderful. Sensi is old but fit. He doesn’t beg. He thinks healthy treats — raw carrots, frozen green beans, fresh celery, etc. — are the most wonderful things in the world. I’ve met dogs who have led human-food heavy lives who won’t even sniff a raw carrot. It’s such a shame.

My mom likes to guilt me about this. “Don’t you think he’s missing out?” she asks. “Don’t you feel bad that he has no variety in his diet?” She’s wrong. He has great, healthy, nutritional variety in his diet. He gets home-cooked adds — rice and beans along with some sort of meat — mixed into his food daily. He gets some of whatever veggies are in our fridge as treats. He gets warmed up oatmeal with peanut butter as a very, very special snack. I get creative with his diet and he loves it. And he’s healthy.

I just don’t understand. It’s not time consuming, it’s not rocket science. It’s simple stuff. So, why do we need a dog food company to prepackage meals and treats for us? Are we that dumb?

So much dog-related marketing and products just boils my blood. The new Hills Science Diet Weight Loss System leaves me dumbstruck. For a large dog, you can get a 4-week supply of diet food prepackaged into portioned meals along with prepackaged treats. It guarantees results in 30 days.

I’ll throw my support behind a product that helps dogs lose weight, but I think it’s the fact that there’s a market and a need for such a product that angers me. Are we really that dumb? I have no doubt there’s a mark-up in pricing for this special weight loss system — after all, healthy foods for people are more expensive than regular foods, why wouldn’t it be the same for dogs? So we’re willing to pay more to get less all because we’re too lazy and uninformed to manage our dog’s weight on our own? We really need a company to hold our hand on this one?

Here’s a newsflash: If you’re dog is overweight, it is more than likely due to the fact that you feed it far too much human food. Go ahead and buy this new weight loss system — I encourage everyone to take steps to bring down their dog’s weight — but it’s not going to stop your dog from begging. And if you just can’t help yourself from giving in to those beggin’ eyes, this new weight loss system isn’t going to solve your dog’s weight problem.


  1. I thought the same thing...that's so funny!

  2. Right on, Karen.

    This prepackaged stuff will sell to the people who buy prepackaged food for themselves. Some folks like to leave the thinking out of their lives!

  3. Science Diet is bad dog food, even when it's advertised as a "weight loss plan". Look at the ingredients one of the first ingredients is corn, they use corn to fatten up livestock, also dogs don't digest corn properly anyhow. Feed dog food that has no corn, wheat and grains if possible. Read the ingredients on the dog food the first ingredient should be a named meat product. If it has more than one meat product that is even better.

  4. I would recommend you read "The Whole Dog Journal" for much better info on how and what to feed your dog. "Human food" is not bad, kibble not necessarily good and many vets strongly recommend Science Diet/Iams type foods and they are crap.

  5. To be honest, I'm not that surprised that we're seeing products like this. Most people can't handle putting together a proper diet for themselves, let alone handle portion control for their own food. Just go to a restaurant and watch people eat a meal that could have served multiple people. Why would we expect people to be capable of managing diets for their pets if they can't manage for themselves?