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Guest Column

January 11, 2014

Exercise key for pet's weight loss

Dear Dog Lady,

My elderly aunt who has dementia often forgot whether or not she fed her 10-year-old Cairn terrier and would over-feed him constantly. He currently weighs in at 38 pounds.

Because my aunt recently had to move into a nursing home, my husband and I have taken in her dog. He is obviously eating a lot less now and he gets a lot more exercise than he had before. Do you have any other advice about how to slim him down? — Chris

A: Wow, 38 pounds is quite corpulent for a Cairn. A half cup of kibble a day is more than enough for this dear porker. Keep the treats to a minimum, although it will be tough because this Cairn must be so cute. Consult a veterinarian about how much weight the dog should shed.

Substitute walks for food. Exercise is so important in any weight-loss campaign. Is there a doggy playgroup somewhere in the neighborhood? Also, there are games to encourage a dog to work for food. Kyjen Kibble Drop Dog Game Puzzle (available through Amazon.com) is one.

You were very kind to take in your aunt’s dear Cairn. You are very thoughtful to seek solutions for his care and feeding.

Dear Dog Lady,

When I moved to a basement apartment from my old house, I asked the landlord if I could have my bird come with me. He agreed. At the time, I didn’t have a dog but now I would like to have a female Boston terrier. They are the cleanest and quietest dogs in creation. They do not shed or smell (even when wet). They are super-obedient and make good watchdogs.

On the Internet, I found a dog cage that is divided into bathroom and bedroom compartments. This can be used for potty-training and for “indoor dogs” such as Boston terriers. I am disabled (arthritis in both knees). I feel a cage of this nature would suffice for bathroom breaks if kept scrupulously clean. I am willing to do that.

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