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Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter…
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Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter -A Vet's Plan to Save Their…

by Ernie Ward

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Dr. Ernie Ward, a veterinarian who has authored or contributed to more than 45 veterinary journal articles worldwide, has written a book which just may save your dog’s life. Chowhounds is a user-friendly manual for dog owners that not only gives you the frightening statistics around canine obesity (in 2008 nearly half the dogs in a pet obesity study were found to be overweight or obese), but tells you how to slim your dog down to a healthy weight.

The book is divided into several sections – beginning with the statistics around the problem, then taking the reader through the complicated maze of pet food labeling, then helping the layperson assess their dog’s weight, and finally giving the answers to the problem: choosing a good commercial dog food, supplementing your dog’s diet with home cooking, exercise (for you AND your canine), and troubleshooting.

Before I read this book, I thought I knew a good deal about dogs and how to feed them – I’ve raised five German Shepherds from puppies and none of them were overweight. But I was amazed to discover that weight itself may not be the key to a healthy dog. Dr. Ward’s section on deciphering the label on a bag of commercial dog food was very interesting to me, although I must admit the complexity of it made my eyes glaze over a bit.

Not surprisingly, the pet food companies have figured out what to add to dog food to make our dogs want to eat more food: sugar, fat and salt are the primary additives which increase the desire for a dog to eat more than is healthy for them.

The primary concern is that sugar and fat contribute greatly to weight gain because they are higher in calories. However, even more dangerous is that when many animals eat foods rich in sugar, fat, or salt, they want to eat more, regardless of whether or not they should. – from Chowhounds, page 11 of the ARC -

Sounds like dogs are not that much different than people, doesn’t it?

Some of Dr. Ward’s advice is just commonsense – such as tracking how many “treats” you give your dog. I did enjoy his comparison charts in this section which show the reader the effects of dog treats in human terms. For example, if I give my dog Raven (who weighs approximately 60 pounds) one Good-Life wholesome bone, it is like me eating FOUR Kentucky Fried chicken breasts. Yikes!

One of the most helpful sections for me was the section on choosing a commercial dog food. Dr. Ward breaks down the contents for the reader in easy to understand terms: Calories, Fat, Protein and Carbohydrates. He also specifies what to avoid (such as artificial colors – dogs don’t see color like we do!). Following this section, is a fun section on how to supplement your dog’s food with home cooked meals. I enjoyed looking through the recipes and have decided to try out a few of these with Raven who is a picky eater! For example, check out this recipe:

Turkey Meatballs (makes 30)

6 oz. lean ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup ground quinoa or oatmeal
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Pinch of kelp

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place beef and carrots in food processor and process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until mixed. Roll into 1 inch balls and place on nonstick cooking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. (calories per meatball = 17)


Overall, Chowhounds is a useful book for dog owners who care about the health and fitness of their pet. Some sections may be a little too technical for readers…but that is really a minor complaint. Understanding the caloric needs of our dogs, as well as their fitness requirements, is essential to preventing early onset arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases related to obesity. Even if your dog is NOT overweight, Chowhounds is a good reference tool for selecting healthy food for your dog.

Highly recommended for dog owners. ( )
  writestuff | Apr 28, 2010 |
As much as I didn’t want to have the information Ward gives in Chow Hounds (because ignorance really is bliss sometimes), I’m very glad I read it so I can now cut through the B.S. on dog food packaging and understand how to make smarter choices for my dog. And what’s not to like about having real, solid research to provide me the motivation to take her for her walk even when I’m tired? She’ll be four this Friday, and I’ve thoroughly convinced myself that she’s going to live forever, but if I want that to happen, I have to do my part. After all, when left to her own devices, she eats poop. So it’s not exactly like she can be trusted to make healthy decisions for herself.

Whether your dog is healthy or obese, you’ll find helpful information in Chow Hounds.

Read my full review at The Book Lady's Blog. ( )
  bnbooklady | Apr 20, 2010 |
Chow Hounds by Ernie Ward DVM is an excellent reference guide for those dog owners seeking the best nutrition for their pets. The number of dogs considered obese or overweight in 2007 was 43 percent, but that figure increased to 45 percent in 2009, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Dr. Ernie Ward discusses how Americans have not only impacted their own health and well being, but that of their pets.

He says that following his prescriptive plan can restore any dog back to health within about six months. The book begins with information about how to read through the fluff on food labels to get to the real composition of the meals being fed to pets across America. There are complicated breakdowns that the average pet owner may not take the time to complete. Beyond that, the book offers some some simple common sense pointers for pet owners, including making sure that animals are given enough exercise and playtime.

Please read the rest of this review at http://savvyverseandwit.com/2010/04/chow-hounds-by-ernie-ward-dvm.html ( )
  sagustocox | Apr 18, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0757313663, Paperback)

Is Your Dog Big Boned, Overly Fluffy . . . Or Does He Need a Doggy Diet? 

Almost half of the dogs in North America are overweight or obese, putting them at risk for major medical problems and untimely death. Is your dog one of them?

Esteemed national television veterinarian and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, Ernie Ward has helped hundreds of dogs reclaim their optimum health with his comprehensive plan, and now he can help your dog, too. In this unprecedented look at how we care for our pets, Dr. Ernie opens our eyes to the shocking truth about why we have unknowingly created a Perfect Storm of Portly Pets. For example, did you know that many pet foods are so spiked with sugar and fat that they actually cause your dog to eat even when she isn't hungry? Or that many pet formulas are so loaded with carbohydrates that they're causing a nation of carboholic canines? And even worse: Most well-intentioned pet owners are overfeeding their dogs by 25 percent every day. The good news is there are simple ways you can turn the tide for good—and for the good of your dog. You'll discover:

Must-know tips for stocking a healthy pet pantry Homemade meals and healthy treats that won't pack on the pounds How to avoid the unscrupulous marketing and packaging of some pet foods, supplements, and weight-loss formulas The best activities and exercises to maximize your pet's fitness without maxing out your time.

With cutting-edge science and ultra-practical tips, Dr. Ernie will help you give your dog the gift of great health that he or she deserves.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:50 -0400)

Discusses the obesity epidemic in American dogs and how it puts them at a high risk for medical problems, and describes proper diet and exercise regimens that best accommodate both dog and owner.

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