Saturday, January 5, 2013

Show Off Your Dog's Waistline: Jasmine

Jasmine was kind enough to model her waistline to kick of the Show Off Your Dog's Waistline Campaign.

Jasmine January 2013
Name: Jasmine
Sex: female
Breed: Rottweiler
Age: 9.5

Young Jasmine
When Jasmine was young, she was quite a skinny girl.

It wasn't until the age between four and five years of age, when she started filling in. At least that's what we were led to believe. Everybody was marveling at how nicely she was filling in. After all, Rotties are supposed to look beefy, don't they?

Well, we didn't know better then. 

And side by side with our 150 pound male rescue, she always looked quite small.

It wasn't until we were desperately trying to find a diagnosis for her episodes, when her weight became significant. 

Only then, when considering hypothyroidism as a possible theory which could explain her problems, the vet mentioned her weight for the first time. We haven't heard a word about that before, in spite of our frequent vet visits. She was at about 130 pounds at that time. Only then we became aware that she should not look like that.

And we weren't over-feeding her; in fact, she was a very fussy eater and it was difficult to get her to eat at least something.

As it turned out, Jasmine indeed had low thyroid hormone levels.

She was put on medication and her weight started going down. Quite nicely at first. As we were working our way down the scale, suddenly we hit a plateau. We were feeding her less and less but could barely keep the weight steady. We re-tested the thyroid and her levels, again, have dropped.

Adjusting the meds helped some.

Meanwhile, her health problems had escalated. One cruciate ligament after another. Arthritis all over. IBD ... The IBD was likely there all along; only never got diagnosed. Was it any wonder, between the IBD, hypothyroidism and extra weight, that her joints didn't do so well?

Jasmine January 2013

Of course, the restricted exercise, which came with each of the surgeries, was not helping.

Jasmine's weight settled at around 100 pounds. At the teaching hospital they told us they felt she should be at around 90. This seemed completely impossible then, given the hard work we put into keeping her at 100.

What do you know, somehow, we made it.

We got her down to 90 pounds, while not losing muscle mass, and it's been holding there. Jasmine actually looks quite skinny now. And that is even comparing her to her 5 years younger, skinny house mate.

We have learned how important being at optimal body condition is for Jasmine's health.

Not only for her joints, which can use all the help they can get, but for the rest of her body as well.

Did you know, that just by keeping your dog thin, you can extend their lives by up to two years? Did you know, that by keeping your dog thin you're helping to prevent serious diseases, even cancer?

Today, we know what our dogs' bodies SHOULD look like, and why.

But there was a time when we had no clue. That made me wonder, how many of well-meaning pet parents don't have a clue either. Maybe, if we all really understood this, we could end the obesity epidemic. So let's show off our dogs' waistlines!

Who's with me? It's your turn!

Take a photo of your dog's waistline, and share your story about how you're keeping them fit. If you have a blog, blog it. If not, email me and get your dog's photo and story featured on Dawg Business.

Join the Show Off Your Dog's Waistline Campaign.


  1. My Suki started gaining weight, even though I was cutting back on her food and walking her more. In addition, she started showing some mild aggression, which she never had before. I specifically asked my vet about testing her thyroid, and he agreed it was a strong possibility and tested her. Sure enough, she has hypothyroidism and was put on medication. She's lost the weight she needed to lose plus is acting more her normal, loving self. She's got her "spunk" back, too!

    1. Hypothyroidism is, unfortunately, quite common. The good part is, it is easy enough to treat.

      Glad you caught it and got it under control.

      Are you going to join the campaign?

  2. I love this!! As a dog trainer, when I walk into a family's home to work with them and their dog, among the first things I am silently evaluating is the dog's body build. Appropriate weight is SO easy to see! And unbelievably important. Thank you for raising awareness. On a personal note, we have a rescue Lab who came to us morbidly obese. That was two years ago. She is 7 now, weighed 122 lbs. when she arrived and weighs 88 lbs. now. And - woohoo! - she has a waist.

    1. Hi Dee, thank you. Yes, it IS so easy to see, once one know what they're looking for. So I'm hoping this campaign will help.

      Will you be joining by showing off your rescue Lab's waistline on your blog or mine?

  3. What a great campaign Jana! I am defintley on board with this and will have a post up this week! Pet obesity is one thing in pet health that I feel very strongly about and I would love to see the number of fat pets decline! I have worked very hard at keeping my dogs at an idea body weight because it is so important to their health. Which is why I am so devastated with Sherman's recent issues!

    1. Hi Jen,

      so awesome! Thank you for participating, looking forward to seeing your article!

      Yeah, so sorry about Sherman. Thing is, there are more factors behind ACL injuries besides weight. Starting with the gut, to thyroid gland, to actually even early neuter ... The other thing is that the dogs' knees have quite an unfortunate design and the forces the ligament has to withstand are huge.

      With the one being bad already, it was a sign the ligaments were weak ...

      I'm here for you if you want to talk about the options etc.

    2. Thanks Jana!
      I'm leaning towards weak ligaments. Thyroid has been checked once a year for the past few years and he's intact:(

    3. I mainly meant that there are a number of factors behind the ligament failure.

      Either way, got a clear picture about how you want to deal with this? Surgery? Conservative?

  4. Our Sydney gained a lot of weight last winter. Fewer walks and more treats did it to her. Rodrigo gained some too, but he's so naturally active that it was easy for him to drop the weight; especially when we adopted a third dog (playmate).

    With Sydney, we had to cut back on servings and treats, introduce carrots and other healthy treats, and more exercise. And then she pulled a muscle and exercise became more difficult.

    It's been a balancing act, but we've been able to work around her injury and help her lose weight. She still has some more to go and she'll get there. What's helped me is to measure out the food we serve instead of just dumping it into the bowl. Even though I cut back on servings, I was still over serving until I started measuring.

    Thanks so much for sharing your post. I learned a lot.

    1. Hi Kimberly,

      yeah, sometimes it's not easy, we had our struggles with Jasmine's shape also, and her injuries and surgeries weren't helping.

      Will you be participating in the campaign?

  5. I have heard so much through the years about how thin my dog is and how I must not be feeding her enough. Really it's been a challenge keeping the weight on. But our vet has always said she looks great, especially considering her high activity level, so I try not to worry too much. It's so hard to know exactly how many calories she needs, especially with so much conflicting information out there!

    Thanks for spreading awareness but a very serious issue.

    1. Hi Kristine. Unless emaciated, it is always better for the dog to be thinner than not. So as long as she's keeping her muscle mass, nothing wrong with looking thin.

      Plus, we all seem to have the ingrained notion that thin is bad. And when our dogs look thin, we feel they are skinny. But I haven't seen a healthy dog who was too skinny. I have seen many who are obese.

      There is such a thing as too thin, typically when there is some kind of disease. But that doesn't happen very often.

  6. Striking actually how much your Jasmine looks like the foster I had over the weekend. He for sure has a Rottie head!

    It's really great how you've managed to get her weight down and hopefully alleviate her health issues. I love Rotties, especially when they are fit and athletic :)

    1. Rotties are awesome. We got the weight at a good place, that doesn't make he invulnerable to medical disasters, though :-(

  7. Great job Jasmine losing the weight! We're glad you got some help for the hyperthyroidism. The first step to fixing any problem is becoming educated and aware that there is a problem-great job spreading awareness.