January 06, 2007

dogs on a diet

More and more dogs are overweight. Just like their owners. But unlike their owners, dogs have no control over what they eat. Yes, I know what it's like -- those big brown eyes staring at you as you prepare a cheese sandwich. I live with a dog who after five years still hopes that I might change my mind, just once. And yet, I find it quite easy to "just say no". No treats without actions that merit a reward. No scraps off the table. Nor off the cutting board. Sorry, Brandy -- the arrival of the ridiculously named "Slentrol" won't change anything.

New Diet Drug Is Approved For Pudgy Dogs [The New York Times]

Too many dogs are lounging around at home all day while their owners work, then stuffing on table scraps in front of the television at night, so much so that veterinarians say there is an epidemic of canine obesity in this country. Yesterday, the Food and Drug Administration announced one possible way to address the problem: the first prescription drug to treat obesity in dogs. [...]

Veterinarians define obese dogs as those that are 20 percent overweight. About 5 percent of dogs in the United States are obese, and another 20 precent to 30 percent are overweight, according to the drug agency. In all, Pfizer, the maker of the dog drug, called Slentrol, estimates that four million American dogs are obese and potential candidates for its therapy, which will cost $1 to $2 a day.

“This is not a passport to abandon exercise or diets,” said George J. Fennell, Pfizer’s vice president in the United States for companion animal health. But Mr. Fennell said the drug would be a big help for dog owners who find it difficult to cut back on doggy treats. “You hear pet owners say: ‘The dog really wags his tail when I give him a treat. It’s hard to hold back,’ ” Mr. Fennell said. [...]

Slentrol is a liquid that can be added to a dog’s food or placed directly in its mouth. The duration of treatment will depend on the amount of weight a dog needs to lose. In clinical studies of the drug, dogs on Slentrol lost about 3 percent of their weight a month, without changing their diets.

To which I say: A 3% weight loss per month? Take your dog to the dog park twice a week and you'll achieve the same results. You may even lose some weight yourself. And have more fun.

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