Addiction is no laughing matter. People that are addicted to substances, behaviors, etc. seek those items relentlessly until they either find them or they control or subdue their urges. As humans we have the ability to acquire things that we don’t possess. Our pets are not so fortunate, speaking here of household pets. If they want food, we have to either supply it on a regular basis, they have to “beg” for it, or they seek out another source. They can’t take out a personal ad in the local paper in search of uneaten food.
So, when someone tells me that their dog or cat “seeks out food”, “can’t stop eating”, or “eats everything in sight”, I have to ask myself the obvious – how do these animals procure all of this extra food? By “extra”, of course, I mean above what they are supplied in their food bowls. Trust me, if my dog could drive himself to the store, select food from the shelves, pay for the food, and bring it home, he’d be running chores and making my grocery runs on a regular basis. That is most definitely not the case.
Our pets eat what we provide them. If we want them to lose weight, we have to increase their exercise and activity level, cut their calorie intake, or both. Our pets cannot eat more than we provide them, no matter how hard they try. So, when I hear someone say their dog eats everything in sight, I think “get that stuff out of sight”. Find it hard to not give in to the begging? Then master the art of ignoring, or put your pet in another room while you eat or snack. Dog eating the cat food? Then put the cat food out of reach, or don’t leave it out when the cat isn’t eating. Rocket science? No Common sense? Yes. Difficult, because no one wants to feel that their pet is going without, or not being treated as well as possible? Absolutely. But it’s worth the effort in terms of their weight, health, and longevity.
- Todd Worrell, DVM