Dr. Dolittler

Overweight Corgi begs for food constantly



Q. I have a fat Corgi who needs to lose weight but won’t stop begging for food. She’s so obsessed with what goes into her mouth that she’ll even eat paper.

You happen to be owned by one of the more extreme examples of a highly food-driven dog. My own Slumdog consumes toilet paper as if it’s served on a roll for his culinary convenience and enjoys paper currency in all denominations, too.

A great many dogs are similarly obsessed. In my experience, 90 percent cannot be trusted on a free-choice diet in which they’re expected to moderate their own caloric intake. A bottomless-bowl feeding policy almost always leads to obesity.

Here’s a brief list of solutions:

•  Feed pets on a schedule so there’s never free access to food. Pets who eat more slowly and tend to have food “stolen” by others (or, conversely, those who “steal”) should be fed privately.

•  Start early. It’s crucial for pet owners to understand that when they give in to pets’ “hunger” impulses early on, they’re laying the groundwork for a never-ending series of “Feed me!” moments.

•  Redirect the behavior. When she begs, take her for a walk, put her in her crate with a chew toy or otherwise redirect her attention.

•  Feed in a new location. Getting away from places where the begging behavior gets rewarded makes it easier to eliminate.

•  Don’t personalize it. Be honest with yourself: Are you having trouble because you know how you feel when you’ve got cravings? This is a common human reaction that doesn’t ultimately serve our pets.

•  Seek professional help. Hiring a trainer or behaviorist is first on my list of recommendations here, but for some severely affected pets, a veterinarian might be of assistance in the pharmacological department. A small percentage of food-obsessed pets suffer from an obsessive-compulsive disorder of sorts that may respond to medication.

•  Be patient. Whatever you do, keep trying. She’s worth it.

Dr. Patty Khuly has a veterinary practice in South Miami and blogs at dolittler.com. Send questions to khulyp@bellsouth.net or Dr. Dolittler, Tropical Life, The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132.

Read more Pets stories from the Miami Herald

  • Animal Island: End kitten's biting 'play' with a sock toy

    Q: We adopted a kitten when she was 10 weeks old. She is now 5 months old and loves to be cuddled and is very affectionate. She also likes to grab your arm and hold on with her claws and also bites. One minute she is cuddling with you, and then suddenly she will just bite you. We have tried spraying her with water, which works at that moment, but then she will do it again a short time later. Is this a kitten thing, or is there something we can do to stop this?

  • Talking Dogs: Salutes and tips for owning a canine friend

    Dog lovers had cause to rejoice the last week of August, as the 25th was National Dog Day. This "Howliday" was started in 2004 to encourage the adoption of dogs in shelters - and bring attention to the ridiculously high numbers of such dogs. If you've decided you're ready for the responsibility of owning and caring for a dog, consider finding your new companion at your local shelter or a pure breed rescue organization.

  • What a treat! Your dog might enjoy a kennel stay: study

    Many dog owners have had their vacations marred because they were so worried about how little Scruffy was faring in the boarding kennel back home.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category