Last night I picked Yuuki up and realized something horrible. I don’t need a scale– I know he’s gained weight. This always happens. The little bugger is doing fine, and then we have a major set-back. This time, Yuuki’s learned to work the system of humans in the house who are no match against his pitiful barks and hunger loops (see his Yuuki vs. the Pizza Crust video if you don’t know what I mean). He’s gotten to the point that every day at 8 pm, he pretty much demands some kind of treat.
I’ve been a little indulgent myself (maybe alot) and given him a granulated rawhide every few days. I know that some people are against rawhides and some are for them, and I have no idea what the calorie count for a little stick is (anyone know??) but, he would get 1/2 a stick every other day or so, unless he was really demanding and then he might get a whole stick. I kind of hope he gnaws some of the plaque off of his teeth. Not really happening… So, yesterday I put the brakes on the treats, because I suspect that others have been doling them out as well. Dr. Ward, in Chow Hounds, says you should “…trash your treats unless they are low in calories or swap them with some healthy alternatives. There’s simply no room for those empty calories and brain-altering chemicals in your dog’s new healthier lifestyle.” Which sounds great on paper, but alas, I am weak when it comes to this grumpy dumpling. Last night he got a baby carrot.
Let the tantrums begin.
Holy cow, he did not want that carrot. He cried (like in the video) and then he pouted (he goes to the edge of the bed facing away from us and lets out tiny whimpers until someone acknowledges him). After being ignored, he starts the hunger loops again with intermittent barking that escalates into throaty WOOFS! He’ll drink some water, and then come back again. Chilly ate her carrot and his because he wouldn’t touch it. I know he’s not above vegetables. He actually loves green beans, but I’m out at the moment.
After about 1.5 hours of tantrums, I went and got him another baby carrot. While he refused this one as well, he immediately stopped barking and turned to his staring technique. He will look me in the face– I swear he makes himself look fluffier– until I ask him “What?” and he begins the loops all over again (this time less assertive, more cute). I know some trainers/behaviorists would say I put too much stock into Yuuki’s communication strategy, but…he’s pretty convincing.
Ultimately, the compromise was that I would hold the carrot while he ate it. What does that mean in the doggy kingdom? While I feel like I came out on top, he may have in fact won that battle.
Today I ventured to my favorite dog supply store and stocked up on some new treats. I know, I know. Real doggy dieters say never to have any treats in your house, but that’s just not me. Not yet, anyway. So, I’ve added to the arsenal: Honest Kitchen Pecks (with less than .6 calories per treat); Small Dog Himalayan Dog Chews (I know, 435 calories! But, low in fat and he only chews a corner at a time); some American-made tiny rawhides; and some Zukes Mini Z-Bones (only for very rare occasions). I know that those last three items shouldn’t be part of a fat dog’s pantry, but sometimes a dog needs to chew– even little, fat Chihuahua dogs with the worst set of chompers you’ll ever lay eyes on.
Here’s what Yuuki generally eats in a day:
Breakfast: <1/4 cup Acana Light & Fit = (350/4) = 87.5 kcal
Dinner: <1/2 cup (maybe closer to 1/4 cup) Chicken & Rice recipe from Chow Hounds by Dr. Ernie Ward = (176/2) = 88 kcal
8pm snack: 1/2 granulated rawhide stick (calorie count unknown) and/or 1 baby carrot (2-3 kcal per carrot)
Throughout the day: 2-3 Wellness Pure Reward jerkies–they tear nicely into training treats = (3×4) = 12 kcal
Total: 87.5 + 88 + 3 (on a carrot day) + 12 = 190.5
According to Dr. Ward’s book (pg 96, if you’re keeping track), if Yuuki wanted to weigh 9 lbs (he doesn’t, but I want him to) then he’d have to eat no more than 193 kcals per day. Being generous above in the measurements for his food, he still comes in under the bar. And we were doing fine…but I guess his tactics of begging different people at different times of day is working. Time to cut back again. Let the howling and crying begin…