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Cairn so, so fat


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I am writing in for my mom who is 81! She has a Cairn and she is SOOOO Fat. I do not know her exact weight, but her tummy feels so taught and so FULL....absolutely NO give. Just FULL and hard. Of course I encouraged my mom to have her get a CBC. But I wanted to write in here to see if others have experienced this problem. My mom insists that she only eats 1/4 cup of food/day. She has always been fat, but now it is absurd. She can barely walk.

Help please. 

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A bloated stomach as tight as a drum might be a veterinary emergency. Of course random non-vets on the internet can't know these things. I put that out there as a concern I have based on your description of her abdomen as taut.

Also true is that it is *very* easy to overfeed these cute little devils. And to lie to ourselves about how much we are feeding them. Unfortunately fat Cairns are common and it's not good for their health. Assuming no underlying veterinary issues it is usually easy to get their weight under control by simply measuring what we feed them (accurately and honestly) and reducing that by small increments and giving the adjustment at least two weeks to see what affect it has.

Our guys (typically) eat a quarter cup in the morning and quarter cup in the evening. If one is getting chubby we simply adjust that dog's portion to a *scant* quarter cup and see how it goes. If six months later when the seasons change (along with activity level) we might boost it back up to a level quarter cup, or a rounded quarter cup, all depending on how the dog is looking. These are just examples.

Good luck. It's really hard not to spoil these guys. 

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I’m confused. Doesn’t the amount of food depend to some degree on the size/weight of the dog? On this site, cairns have been reported to range approx. between 12 lbs to the mid 20’s. Ruffy was thin and underweight at 17 lbs when I adopted him. He’s now basically been 20 lbs since  then on 1/2 cup twice a day and is not chubby.

Edited by sanford
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A check with the vet is certainly in order if nothing else to make sure that issues like diabetes etc isn’t the issue. If all checks out no doubt someone is getting far to many snacks.🤭 My DH is good at saying, look it’s just a tiny piece of cheese, or look it’s just a tiny piece of a cookie ....tiny pieces each day add up to a big piece. I know that....just get me around a Cheese board! 🤸‍♂️

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Until one has loved an animal, a part of  one's soul remains unawakened.  - Anatole France

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Agree a visit to the vet needed especially since you cite how taught her stomach is. She might not just be fat she might have a medical problem.

Suggest no treats. I know it is almost impossible not to share a little.😄 

As a general rule I have done like Brad - give less if dog getting fat give more if dog losing weight. And different dogs need different amounts as he says. 


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Pepper (9) and Brodie (3) only et 1/4 cup of food in the morning and 1/4 cup in the evening.  Their treats are 1/4" carrot bits that I cut up and give on walks.  They do get in the morning a peanut butter bit in their rubbery nylabones...So far they both are 15.5 lb but have vet checks next month so we will see.  Pepper is still acitive and fast chasing a ball, hunting for vermin on walks, finding live rats in our rat traps, ect....Brodie has no interest in ball chasing or rats but will play with other dogs and is very friendly and no escape artist.

Pepper's Mom

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