Before Oscar was afflicted with SARDs, we were able to keep his weight at around 18 pounds. Considering that he is a bit on the larger side of a ‘Tweenie, that weight was acceptable to us, as well as Oscar’s veterinarians.
However, since the onset of SARDs, Oscar has gained a significant amount of weight, and currently weighs in at a portly 22 pounds. While this is only 4 pounds, the percentage in weight gain is quite significant.
While the blindness caused by SARDs it not life threatening, the signifcant weight gain is a very real threat to Oscar’s health. The additional weight gain can lead to other diseases that we humans are very well aware of, such as diabetes and heart disease.
With Oscar’s health in mind, we purchased a product that we never thought we would ever purchase — a doggie treadmill.
While we could go into a consumerist mode and discuss why we chose a particular brand and model over another, we decided to make that kind of posting at a later date. For this particular posting, we’d like to show you how Oscar adapted to the treadmill as a supplemental method of exercise.
But, before we show you Oscar’s adaptation to the treadmill, we want to let you know that Oscar does go out at least twice a day for outside walks. When Oscar was able to see, those two walks were sufficient to maintain his weight. However, after losing his sight to SARDs, his confidence diminished, and the environmental audible noise was too much for him, and he was unable to focus on brisk walks necessary to provide him sufficient exercise As a result, even the normal amount of walking that Oscar had done in the past was insufficient to bring down his current excess weight.
Anyway, that’s enough of an introduction. Many of you have been waiting for this post so let’s get down to it.
In the video below, you see Suzie introducing Oscar to the treadmill by trying to coax him onto it using one of his favorite treats. Before this exercise we left the treadmill around for Oscar to smell so that he could get used to its presence through his olfactory senses. We then used food to lure him onto the treadmill. Have a look at the video to see how it went.
Coaxing Oscar onto the treadmill....
After his relatively good experience on the treadmill (associating his favorite treat with being on the treadmill), we introduced him to his first walk at the lowest speed setting of 0.3 mph.
Oscar's first walk on the treadmill.
The smile you see above is after the conclusion of his first walk. We think he really enjoyed it.
Now, the next video is quite long. It is approximately 19 minutes long and is over 150 MB. Those of you with dial-up connections will have a very difficult time viewing the video. Perhaps you can view it at work with a faster connection?
During the first few seconds of the video, you’ll notice Oscar’s wagging tail as he anticipates his moderately strenuous work-out. There’s no need to see the entire video, as it shows Oscar walking at various speeds (from 0.8 mph to 1.4 mph), unless you want to see the exact timing sequences/duration of his walks at particular speeds.
In general, we think you’ll see that Oscar is having some pretty positive experiences with the treadmill, and that he is really looking forward to the good exercise that he gets on the machine.
Oscar's treadmill workout.
We’re only into week three of Oscar’s workout with the treadmill. Starting tomorrow, we will weigh and measure him, and start to collect empirical data about his weight, so that we can see objectively if the exercise on the treadmill is actually having any positive change to his weight and overall health.
We’ll publish his workout schedule and frequency, and will share with you his progress as the weeks and months go by.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please email us.
We’d like to thank Bonnie for her advice with changes to Oscar’s diet. Bonnie, maybe you’d like to have a “Nutrition Column” on the site? (hint hint) :-)
Also, we’d like to thank Link for always reading our site and providing positive comments. While his dog has not been afflicted with SARDs/IMR, he’s always thoroughly reading the site and spreading the word with others.