The 1 Pound Challenge

Tuesday we had a visit with Yuuki’s cardiologist, one of the best vet’s I’ve ever met. As owners of a tiny dog with a heart murmur- pretty common in the land of little dogs, as witnessed in the waiting room full of chihuahuas and yorkies- we asked if there was anything else we could do to help prolong his precious little life. The vet squinched up her face and asked as gently as she could if he could possibly lose a pound. It sounds simple enough, but our story is somehow not so simple.

Let the judgement rain down on me. I have an exceptionally fat chihuahua (and equally cute, dare I say!)- one of the millions of Americans loving their dog literally to death through food. Since this is our story, and since the vets never want to hear excuses- or at least indicate as much when they get that glazed-over look in their eyes as they think in their head “yeah, right”- we’re going to defend ourselves here. Yuuki’s been on a diet for 2 years now. Chilly and Shizuka in no way struggle with weight, and I’ve helped several foster dogs lose weight through the obvious methods. Somehow, Yuuki’s just different. We say it’s his body-type, but I don’t really know what it is. If he smells food, he will get fatter. We’ve yo-yo-ed through different weights, but I’m pretty convinced his lowest weigh-ins are the result of a broken scale or bad measuring techniques. I keep a calorie diary, all of his food intake is carefully weight and measured and we give him regular exercise every day.

Enough excuses. The vet has asked for 1 lb, so we’re going to deliver. 1 year from today, at his annual exam at the cardiologist, Yuuki will have lost one pound. Ideally a little more. He is currently 10.6 lbs– I’d like to see him at 9 lbs in June 2013 and I want this blog to hold me accountable to his quest. I know, you’re thinking “A 9 lb Chihuahua? That’s still pretty fat.” He’s not built to be a 6 lb dog- even when emaciated from giardia at the Animal Control where I found him, he weight in at a solid 8 lbs, skin hanging off and entire rib cage showing. When we get to 9, we’ll see if we can get him down a little more. We’re following the book Chow Hounds by Ernie War, DVM to help get him on a diet and exercise regime to achieve our goals.

In addition to whatever our daily exercise plan turns out to be, we’re on a quest to hike all of the Virginia State Parks (they have a program to earn badges along the way) and also to eventually feel comfortable swimming (with life vest). We were going to chip away at those goals this weekend, but a heat wave has hit the area and Yuuki’s not supposed to be out in anything over 85 degrees by order of the cardiologist. We’ll have to think of some creative ideas to exercise indoors in the meantime. Any ideas? Until the next check-in…