Sat 13th March: About food and feeding

This sweet boy was given the name Ketamine by his owner, and his cat friend was also named after an illegal drug. Now both are being abandoned.

The usual merry-go-round of dogs in and out of the office continued today.  While the new Maltese fluffball, Cash the poodle and Kiki the pom left for their new homes, pug Debbie was surrendered and we have another peke arriving tomorrow.  We are also expecting a one year old labrador, hopefully another in-and-out dog.

It’s always been the same, but we seem to get breeds in groups and there’s no doubt that it’s peke season right now.  Previously we’re been overrun with pugs, cocker spaniels and even bulldogs, but the Pekingese rule right now.  I remember in the early days of HKDR we used to see a lot of miniature pinschers coming in, but then none at all until recently when we had three in a row, including the tiniest one ever, Minnie, who was adopted from her foster home yesterday.  Now there’s another one waiting at AFCD having been surrendered by his owners for bad behaviour.  He is so thin, like a skeleton, that I’m sure he was so desperate for food that he tried to eat someone’s hand.  I’ll have a good look at him on Monday.

I know from talking to many vets that underfeeding is something that is common, and it’s something pet shops do to keep the puppies small for as long as possible.  Depriving a dog of food certainly does stop it from growing, but I’ve been at vet clinics where dogs have been brought in as sick when they were simply just starving to death.  The only medicine they needed was food.  The little pieces of kibble are counted out, just enough to keep a dog (barely) alive, but with no energy to be a nuisance, or nutrition to grow any bigger. 

I have to admit that I go the other way, and I feed my puppies a lot.  A puppy that has a good appetite is always reassuring, and seeing heads down, tails up when I put a bowl of food down tells me that all is well.  If there’s a puppy that isn’t in there fighting for space, then I know something isn’t right. 

We’re often asked “how much should I feed” when a dog is adopted.  In my experience, unless a dog has been deprived of food early in life it will only eat what it needs.  This doesn’t apply, by the way, to breeds like labradors or beagles, both of whom seem to have no “off button” when it comes to food.  My sharpei crosses also tend up end up like barrels, but mostly my dogs are slim, and not because they don’t have the opportunity to overeat.  When they’re full, they just leave the food.  So my advice is always to let the dog be the judge of how much it needs, then adjust the food levels accordingly. 

The big problem is snacks, as the market here seems to cater to all sorts of outlandish and bizarre tastes.  If you have to give snacks or treats, keep them healthy and small, and use as training rewards only.  A little piece of chicken is cheap and won’t make a dog fat.  The multi-coloured, flavour-enhanced, fruity-smelling rubbish is made to appeal to humans, and the bin is the only appropriate place for them.

There was an unexpected adoption today.  Where I live on Lamma there are very few houses, and even fewer people as most of the houses are holiday homes only.  One of the irregular visitors is my landlord and his wife, who have been building themselves a home in the bay.  Every time they come over they like to borrow a dog, and for the past year it has always been Derek, the mad cocker spaniel.  Today they told me that they will be moving over pemanently, and want to adopt Derek.  I never thought tha day would come, and while I’m not pleased about the propect of having a full time neighbour, to see Derek in a home of his own might almost be worth it.


3 Responses to “Sat 13th March: About food and feeding”

  1. Abby and Lou Says:

    That’s fantastically good news about Derek!

    re: treats – you can also make treats yourself, like baking a comb of meat, veggies, tofu, eggs, with some rolled oats though some people don’t like giving their dogs oats. More treats, less food at meal times or else a tubby dogs it makes…

    I think my two must have been starved as puppies! I don’t think they have an off button either. One is a GR who came to us underweight and she eats everything in sight. A garbage troll as well. Thank goodness not a poop eater!

  2. Norma M Says:

    A friend of mine had to go away and her dog was at the vets after surgery for a few days, so I volunteered to keep an eye on her dog for her. One day whilst visiting her dog I was speaking to one of the vet techs about a Husky they were treating. The poor dog had been starved so that it would stay small as the owners told the vet they only lived in a 700sf apartment and could not have a large dog. The mind boggles!!!
    I just hope they took action and reported the owners. At the time I was pressing them to take action.

  3. Carol Lee Says:

    I am with you on feeding the dog as much as they
    need. Well-fed, no snack, lots of exercise and fun have been the best measures to keep dogs in good shape and save us from paying big bill of vet’s clinic. My dog is 15 year-of-age, touch wood, never ever a single time I had to take her to the vet out of illness, apart from some white hair she got now, she is as fit and active as she was a puppy. She is very tiny, but gene is the only factor, regardless she’s never in short of good food in her whole life.

    Eventually I made it to go to the kennel this noon to buy bricks, it’s our honour to have our names ( me and my Ying Ying ) on the wall of the brand new HKDR kennel in Tung Chung \(^O^)/, I wish I can do more for HKDR, like one of the wonder ladies was seen today walking 3-4 dogs a time back and forth, I recalled once I came to walk the dogs, only one at a time, when I finished with the 8th dog, my legs were shivering like a 120-year-old, me sucks.

    By the way, many thanks to you, staff and volunteers of HKDR for all the dogs I’ve asked you for help, all of them went to wonderful families, among all, LuLu (now Lucas )’s case is the most spectacular and admirable one. This morning, LuLu’s cousin : the handsome K-Zai ( colloquial Cantonese for Ketamine, the pic above ) also seeks shelter from HKDR, I wish Ketamine shares the same luck as LuLu’s.

    I have faith on you, HKDR, Keep it up ! Amitabha !

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