Making Your Dog Sick in Pursuit of Thinness

Lynne Murray says:

Laurie pointed out a Minneapolis Star Tribune article reporting FDA approval of “the first drug for obese canines….” She asked if I wanted to guest blog about it because of the parallels with my post on my fat cat’s experience at the vet. [Laurie and Debbie got this link from betsy.]

Frankly, I hesitated because it angers me so much when I see innocent animals being injured through their caretakers’ obsession with body size and hatred of fat. It’s one thing if a human decides to endure the sick-to-the-stomach side effects this sort of drug produces. But your pet did not sign on for this, and isn’t being given a chance to turn it down. Dogs have very little control over what they can eat or how much exercise they get. Most dogs I’ve know would love to run around a lot more than their owners let them (unlike cats, who would wrestle and skulk around in high grass with the occasional sprint after prey if given their druthers).

Called Slentrol, the Pfizer Inc. doggie diet drug:

…appears to reduce the amount of fat a dog can absorb. It also seems to trigger a feeling of satiety or fullness, according to the FDA.

The prescription drug also can produce some unfortunate side effects, including loose stools, diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite.
Because the dogs can’t tell us, I have to wonder if the “feeling of fullness” isn’t identical to the “vomiting, lethargy and loss of appetite.” Nausea will kill your appetite as a rule, and in our current totally screwed up mindset over body issues a sickly appetite is the only good kind.

[Along with the issues from the dog’s point of view, Betsy points out: “if you’ve ever had a dog who was sick, would you then VOLUNTARILY feed it something that would cause diarrhea and vomiting?”]

Whenever I see people mistreating their animals “in the name of health” without trying to really see what the dog or cat needs, it fills me with rage I have to remind myself that there are many more pets needing homes than there are people willing to care for a pet. And these owners, neurotic and fatphobic as they may be, are mistreating their animals out of love and timidity in the face of veterinarians who may also believe that “fat is evil.”

Slentrol is not a cure for obesity; its effects cease within a day or two of stopping treatment. Sound familiar? Right, just like most diet drugs for humans, except that usually they don’t outright induce vomiting, probably because the humans have a choice in the matter, unlike the unfortunately dogs.

Dogs, like people, grow fatter as they eat more and exercise less, said Bonnie Beaver, a professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Beaver said the drug would appeal to dog owners who want a fast and simple way to slim down their paunchy pooches.

Excuse me, Dr. Beaver, was that a cash register I just heard ringing or are you just glad to see me and my fat dog? Well, I don’t have a dog, my cats won’t allow it, but you get my drift.

Dr. Beaver continues:

…”It’s easy to say we will feed them less and exercise them more. Well, we know how well that works for us,” said Beaver, a past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Okay, taking a deep breath so as not to scream here. Dieting doesn’t “cure” obesity in humans, or in dogs, so let’s give them a pill to make them feel too sick to eat. I remind myself that owners who starve their dogs or put them on this pill to make them too sick to eat are offering the dog a better alternative than being euthanized—which may be the alternative.

But I’ve had dogs, both portly (dachshunds) and muscular (boxers and great Danes), and my experience is that so much of fatness is about not getting enough exercise, and dogs so love to walk and run—they’ll follow you anywhere, they were born to run in packs. Why can’t these owners either spend the time to take their dog for extra walks, or take the money they would have paid to the vet and to buy this stupid drug and hire a reliable dog walker to take their dog for a walk a few extra walks a week?

dogs, diet, fat, body image, size acceptance, Body Impolitic