Puppy Sitting! & A Doggie Diet

Meet Carter!


She is 18 months old, 40 pounds, a lab mix, an endless ball of energy, and I got to spend the entire weekend playing with her!

Carter belongs to my pal Julie. When J mentioned that she had a lot of travel on deck this month, I offered my dog-loving services. If there’s one thing I can do, it’s dog sit.


Carter is younger and smaller than Geronimo, but it’s no surprise to me that she is the boss. Geronimo is a baby in a big body and very submissive. (I think this is a trait he leached from me.) He let her take the lead on most everything. With her energy, she was happy to literally run circles around the house, around the yard, and around the park. Geronimo and I mostly sat back and watched.

Twice we went out for a run as a trio. They both did great, and we were all tired afterwards, which was the goal. The other big event was sitting in the yard. I pulled a chair up to our fire pit, propped my feet up, and read while they did whatever it is dogs do. In Carter’s case, that meant a little bit of rolling in the dirt. I guess a dirty dog is a happy dog.

Carter is very go-go-go, so I’m sure she thought all the lounging around that Geronimo and I did was boring, but we sure loved having her for a few days.

In other dog-related news, I took Geems to the vet this week to get an update on some of his meds. The number that flashed up on the screen as he stepped on the scale made my eyes bug out. He weighs  how much?! I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the doctor’s words were “borderline obese.” I’ll just be over here hanging my head in shame.

Not happy to be at the vet.

Not happy to be at the vet.

I know my dog is a big boy, but his body is buried under a lot of fur so it’s hard to gauge exactly how big he is. Plus, he is large all over: tall, long, huge brisket. That’s normal for him. That requires a big body to go with. But not this big.

The doctor’s concern is that at his age (he’ll be 8 in a few months) this weight puts a lot of strain on his body. He’s running the risk of major hip problems. We cannot have that! I value Geronimo’s health more than my own. I would step into traffic for him without hesitation. I would fight off ninjas on his behalf. I would walk 500 hundred miles, and I would walk 500 more. You get the idea-  I want him to live a long, happy life, and I’ll do whatever is necessary.

Blood was drawn and tests were run. We have to make sure that it isn’t a thyroid problem, which is a possibility in older dogs. My gut tells me that’s not what it is, though. Assuming the thyroid isn’t the issue, Geronimo will be on a very strict doggie diet. No treats, no people food (not that he was getting much anyway), lite dog food, smaller portions. Exercise doesn’t impact weight loss in dogs, but he will continue to walk and run with me regularly as it’s good for his overall health. If we don’t see some changes on the scale in a month, then it will be time to bust out the prescription weight management food. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that, but see above where I said I’ll do whatever is necessary.

Geronimo during what we dubbed his "teenage years." He's definitely not that skinny anymore, but who is?

Geronimo during what we dubbed his “teenage years” back in 2007.  He’s definitely not that skinny anymore, but who is as skinny now as they were as a teenager?

I’m feeling a lot of guilt over the whole situation. Stephen knows so much more about this stuff than I do (he studied to be a veterinarian during undergrad), but as Geronimo’s mother, I should be capable of taking care of him. I spent all of yesterday beating myself up over it. Now my focus is on getting Geronimo healthy and keeping him that way.

20 thoughts on “Puppy Sitting! & A Doggie Diet

  1. Aww, he’s not fat; he’s furry. I’m sorry you’re beating yourself up over Geronimo’s girth, but I can relate. Every time we take Kirby the cat to the vet, we’re told he’s too heavy, even though, he’s clearly not fat. He’s on prescription vet food (um, $$$$) for a urinary problem, but it’s also ‘moderate calorie’ food. For what it’s worth, whether you’re a pet mom or a human mom, or both, there is always guilt. ALWAYS. The best thing to do is brush it off and blame some one else. Ha ha!

    • If this is how I feel about my dog, I can only imagine the type of guilt I may one day feel as the parent of a human child. Haha! I like your idea of blaming someone else. :)

  2. my dog is full of energy too. He’s 10, but we get asked all the time if he’s a puppy just bc he’s so energetic. I laughed about the puppy diet bc my friend’s dog is heavy too. My dog has a lot of fur too. He only weighs 35 pounds but ppl think he weighs a LOT more bc all his fur makes him look bigger.

    • I had no idea your doggie was 10 years old! Although, I’m not sure why I thought your pup was younger. Guess he’s just got that youthful look!

  3. Don’t beat yourself up. You can’t change the past, but you can (and obviously will) change what lays ahead. I’m sure he’ll be fine. Paulchen weighed too much too, but we got that under control – and you have no idea how annoying that cat can be when he’s hungry ;)

    • I have heard my mother-in-law’s cats when they are wanting their food, and omg, cats take the cake on that one. Geronimo might wimper or pout or breathe heavy, but nothing like the crazy mewings of a ravenous kitty cat.

  4. Aw, we all put on a spare tire in middle age! When I worked at a vet’s office we were told that 90% of pets can be considered overweight — it’s not like they’re wild wolves any more. They live good lives, and the love shows! Try not to feel too bad about it!

    • Wow! 90% is crazy! They’re like people, all comfy in modern convenience and fatty foods. Stephen is actually the one who usually spoils Geronimo, so it’s totally taking me by surprise that it’s on my watch that the weight gain took place. But knowing that 90% stat makes me feel a lot better!

  5. Thank you SO MUCH for watching Carter for me! She had an absolute blast. When we got home, she could barely keep her eyes open. Y’all wore her out good!

    Oh no! I hope Geronimo gets his weight under control! Smaller portions and zero people food helped Matt’s parents dog a lot.

    • You are so welcome. Any time you need my services, I’m happy to oblige!

      As for the weight, it is so stressful. For me, that is, no one else seems too concerned. But I’m thinking that if he goes on a diet there is no way that he won’t lose weight.

  6. Sounds like Gmo had a good time and a new friend with Carter.

  7. How nice of you to do this! I know I’d feel a million times better knowing my dog was with a trusted friend, rather than a kennel.

    Are you on Twitter? You leave such great comments on my blog and I generally read them on my phone, which is a pain to comment with!

  8. Aww, try not to be too hard on yourself. I know our pets are just like our dogs, and when one of my kiddos is sick, having a rough time at school, or just anything negative really, I feel as though I must have somehow failed them. Fortunately the puppy hasn’t had anything too drastic happening in her life. You’re doing the best you can for Gmo! And now that you know he has a bit of a weight problem, you’re doing everything you can to help him. Ignoring it would make you a bad mommy, and that is obviously not the case!

    • Well, I’m definitely not ignoring the problem, so it’s reassuring to hear that I’m doing okay. I was so shocked to see his weight when it flashed up on the scale. I think I would have been less upset had I been the one to gain 10 pounds!

  9. Clearly G-mo ate Miss Kitty. That’s how she met her demise.

    Look, you might be feeling guilty, but you are inspiring others! To talk about this, to take their pets to the vet, to make sure their pets get exercise, etc. Pet health for the win!

    I guess that means I should take Lexie to the vet. John lovingly calls her Lard Muffin because she’s a chubster and waddles low to the ground like a groundhog when she’s scared. (We do call her groundhog too, and joke that we see her “cousins” out on the streets). Anyway, she’s fat because she’s scared and hides all the time. At least, that’s what I assumed. Now I’m thinking it’s because she’s eating too much which is because we let her. Foolish owners, we are. Thank you for sharing your experience!!

    • You might be on to something with the Ms. Kitty theory! LOL! He could seriously have 3 Ms. Kitties in there!

      It was really embarrassing for me to share that Geronimo’s gained so much weight. I’m glad to know that maybe someone will find the information helpful.

  10. What a cutie!! Labs have sooooo much energy. My pup’s bff in our last neighborhood was a lab and he def could not keep up with that crazy pup! Don’t worry about Geronimo… a few weeks on smaller portions and I’m sure he’ll slim right down!

  11. I think when something goes wrong with your pet, we automatically blame ourselves. The first time Grace got sick was right after we fed her people food for the first time. Tom was mortified for about a month there because he thought he had poisoned her with peas. What’s important is now you know so you can help him out! (and dog sitting is so much fun!)

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