View Full Version : Greedy Glutton!

14th February 2008, 09:27 PM
My mother recently got a beautiful 2 yr old cavalier(Thanks Karlin!;)).From the moment he darted out of his crate the parents fell in love with him and he settled very happily into his new life.He's very handsome and affectionate and has really made them very happy.
He has just one major eccentricity, basically he'll do anything for food! He's currently on a diet, he gets nothing but half a slice of home baked brown bread for breakfast and 180 grammes of diet nuts in the evening but he's a compulsive food stealer.
His list of theft is as follows:
One tub of butter from table.
My mother's breakfast when she left him alone to answer the phone one morning,he appeared by her side with a fork hanging out of his mouth(There was originally a sausage on the fork).
Approx 2 lb boiled bacon which was stupidly left cooling on the table which he consumed behind the couch.
He opened the fridge and helped himself to a loin of roast pork..and then on Sunday evening last.......
My mother left the chip pan in the bottom of the gas oven. He opened the cooker door and guzzled the contents of the chip pan.Thankfully it was cold oil but he was ruined.His lovely ears were covered in oil and his snout and head was smeared with oil too.
Of course he was washed and blow dried and shortly after regurgitated cooking oil (and nuts)all over the couch.He was cleaned up and while Mother was getting ready for bed, he pounced into bed with my Dad(who knew nothing about the oil guzzling) and promptly spewed cooking oil all over the bedclothes and sheets.
Thankfully he's perfectly ok now and has had no ill effects from his awful diet.
Soooo, parents aren't particularly bothered about it, this dog can do no wrong in their eyes and apart from locking cupboards and keeping food locked out of reach, they don't think there's much else they can do.Does anyone have any suggestions as to why he's doing this and what can be done to break off this obsession with food?

Claire L
14th February 2008, 09:40 PM
I'm sorry I don't have any advice to offer. I just wanted you to know that I haven't laughed so hard in such a long time.Your descriptions just cracked me up:rotfl:

I'm sure someone will come on to offer you advice :hug:

14th February 2008, 09:42 PM
That really does not sound like much food ? Perhaps his hunger is contributing to some whacky food stealing?

I would perhaps introduce a few low calorie snacks such as fruit and veg throughout the day so he is not so desperately hungry ? Once you know his diet is adequate (maybe need to talk to your vet to make sure ?) and you know he can't possibly be hungry if he gets jumpy for food distract with a toy or better still some exercise a quick walk or came of fetch ?

Another thing I would suggest is if unsupervised (long enough to eat a loin of pork or 2lb of bacon) maybe he needs a safer space to be in, or a gate for the kitchen ?

Sounds like one smart dog to be able to open the oven and the fridge I bet he is a real character :luv:

14th February 2008, 09:49 PM
OMG thats hysterical! I mean how awful for your poor parents!
He does sound to be alittle rascal but I can just imagine that hes adorable with it!
Arent all Cavs greedy guts?

14th February 2008, 11:11 PM
Oh dear, it does sound like he is a glutton (and he is one of the fattest cavaliers I'd ever seen -- fatter I think than Lily, even).

To be honest, I do think this now indicates this is a serious problem (beyond an occasional one-off incident) and poses a serious risk to his health (and his life) -- and that they will really need to manage him so that he cannot get into any of these things -- even if that means confining him to a crate when he isn't directly being watched, or gating off the kitchen or always keeping that door closed. A dog could actually die from the fat ingestion of any of those things, singly as a one off -- it is amazing he has not ended up with an emergency trip to the vet yet -- and he is really now a serious candidate for a potentially fatal bout of pancreatitis given that he has eaten stuff like this several times. A dog can build and build toward this problem from overeating fatty food and then have a fatal incident from eating just a small amount of a fatty trigger food. If they need to keep a muzzle on him while he is in the house, I would also do that, if all food cannot be kept away from him. I'd also consider putting those childproof latches on the fridge and the cupboards. I'd also consider having a blood panel done on him or other tests that will indicate if he is already at risk and his diet needs to be managed in additional ways. Not that I am not saying he has signs of this; I am saying he is at serious risk given his weight and the bouts of getting into these heavily fatty foods.

I would guess he has probably been doing this all the time when he was left alone in the house all day with his original owner as when I went to get him, he had the run of the house, and that is why he is so obese.

Veterinary Q & A: Pancreatitis in Dogs and Cats
From Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM,

What is the pancreas, and why is it needed?
The pancreas is a glandular organ that is tucked under the stomach and duodenum (first part of the small intestine) in the dog and cat. It has two functions: 1) exocrine - to produce the enzymes needed to digest food, and 2) endocrine - to produce hormones, including the hormone insulin, which facilitates the uptake and storage of glucose (sugar) and amino acids (proteins).

What happens during a bout of Pancreatitis?
Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas, causing leakage of the digestive enzymes whereby the pancreas literally starts to "digest itself". Pancreatitis can be acute (sudden) or chronic (happening over a course of time).

Both acute and chronic forms are serious and can be life-threatening, especially the acute form.

What causes Pancreatitis?
For the majority of cases, the cause is unknown. Pancreatitis can occur in both dogs and cats, but is generally more common in dogs, especially the acute form. Cats more commonly have the chronic form, and it can be difficult to diagnose. In dogs, obese middle age to older animals have a higher incidence, as do females. Even though exact causes are not known, there are identifiable risk factors. Here are some potential risk factors:

Hyperlipidemia (high fat content in blood)
High fat meal (trigger for hyperlipidemia)
Obesity (especially dogs)
Concurrent disease - i.e. Cushing's, Diabetes
Contaminated food or water
Certain drugs and toxins - i.e. some types of diuretics, antibiotics, and organophosphate insecticide
Bacterial or viral infection

What are the signs of Pancreatitis?
The signs can vary from mild gastrointestinal upset to collapse and death. Most animals present with common gastrointestinal signs of upset, such as:

Not eating
Painful abdomen, hunched appearance (more common in dogs
Fever or below-normal body temperature
Dehydration, evaluated by noting sunken eyes, dry mouth, and increased skin turgor (skin tents when pinched)

These signs are not specific for Pancreatitis, and can be seen with many gastrointestinal diseases and conditions. All or some of the signs may be noted in an individual patient with Pancreatitis. Cats can be especially difficult to diagnose due to the vague signs they exhibit with chronic Pancreatitis - depression/lethargy and poor appetite are seen with regularity, and gastrointestinal signs of vomiting, diarrhea, and / or pain are seen intermittently.

How is Pancreatitis diagnosed?
Your veterinarian will evaluate your pet's history (i.e. getting into the garbage, eating a lot of "people food", etc.), do a thorough physical examination, and likely do blood tests to rule out other diseases and to check pancreatic enzymes. Radiographs may also be done to rule out a gastric or intestinal foreign body or other GI diseases or conditions.

What is the treatment for Pancreatitis?
Treatment for this disease is supportive, meaning that there isn't usually a direct cause and cure, but supporting the animal while allowing healing. The veterinary team will take care of the animal's nutritional and fluid needs, pain management, and addressing any other disease processes (infection, diabetes, etc.) while letting the pancreas heal on its own. Resting the pancreas and gastrointestinal system is key, and this means no food or water by mouth for 1 to 5 or more days. This is dependent on the severity of each case, and the animal must be on fluids and other support to survive and heal the pancreas while off of oral food and water.

What about follow up care post-recovery, and what is involved in the management of chronic Pancreatitis?
Your vet will likely prescribe a low-fat, high-fiber diet to aid in your pet's recovery and to prevent future bouts of Pancreatitis. Depending on your pet's case, the diet recommendations may be for life for optimal health and preventative care.

From: http://vetmedicine.about.com/cs/dogdiseasesp/a/pancreatitis.htm

For tsts and treatment, also see: http://www.judithstock.com/Speaking_of_Animals/Pancreatitis_in_Dogs/pancreatitis_in_dogs.html

15th February 2008, 01:33 AM
Good grief. And I thought Amber was bad for stealing food!!!

Hear, hear re the crate. And, oddly enough, they really do like frozen green beans. At least mine do, and they're cal-free or near enough.

Maybe he's also bored? A big bone perhaps (with no meat)... or would that be fatty too, I've never given them because of the mess.

Cathy Moon
15th February 2008, 01:51 AM
How much is 180 grams of kibble? I wouldn't feed a dog bread, as it doesn't seem very nutritious.

I would feed perhaps 1/3 - 1/2 cup of a high quality (not diet) kibble in the morning and evening, with fresh or frozen green beans and carrots for a snack.

15th February 2008, 09:48 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions, The parents find his antics funny but are aware that this could seriously damage his health.My mother had a chat with the vet about his diet and he's been on a "lite dry food", but feeding at the recommended amount for his weight leaves him very hungry.I'm afraid in his past life he's just been used to eating large volumes of food and he's constantly crying for food.This is why she soaks bread in water to give him the feeling of fullness.
In over forty years of owning dogs of all kinds, they've never encountered a dog who could open a cupboard to raid food.
It just seems to them that the moment they fence off the food, he finds an even more inventive way to get to it.The first six weeks were really a "getting to know you time" and they weren't fully aware of the lengths he's prepared to go to to eat.They've basically stopped leaving any food on the table and placed everthing on high shelves.This dog has even leaped into the sink when she washing potatoes to try and eat them!!!!
This is something more than boredom,he has toys,parents are in their early 60's and are at home with him all day, he has short walks, he even goes to the pub with Dad when he meets his friends for lunch and he has the company of an 11 yr old labrador.
The parents clearly adore him and are willing to be patient and try everything to get him over this obsession, unfortunately the poor old Labrador is an even greater priority, as he's heart is rapidly deteriorating and he's going to the vet this weekend to discuss medication for him, he's coughing badly now........
Perhaps they can take the cav as well and get him checked out.

15th February 2008, 11:13 AM
He sounds like a handful :)

We had a similar problem with Honey - she was able to open cupboard doors too and got into things such as bird peanuts and noodles. It always meant a trip to the vet but thankfully she was ok. It is a matter of keeping the food away from him - nothing left on the table and everything on high selves in cupboards (which you are already doing).

To keep hunger at bay you could try a treat ball and put his kibble in there - this will keep him amused for a while and also give him some excercise. Honey loved carrots and celery as snacks.

Hopefully your parents will be able to get him sorted out and lose a bit of weight :cool:

15th February 2008, 11:35 AM
Sorry to hear this - really it's beyond being funny and a serious health risk as Karlin has posted.

Try soaking 2/3 of the kibble and put 1/3 on dry, that slows them down a bit and fills them up. Bread is somewhat fattening so I would swop that for some kibble.

Rice cakes are good - you can get low salt ones and mine love them - they do seem to fill them up.

He obviously is obsessed with food - Cavaliers can have some kind of Obsessive Compulsive disorder and may this could be involved- it's very important to get the vet to understand the full picture, and maybe change to a different food if this isn't working. I found Burns was good at getting the weight off without them being hungry, and actually worked better than the diet food from the vet.

Wishing your parents well and hoping things improve for their Labrador too - please do add him to the Paws across the world if you would like

Daisy's Mom
15th February 2008, 03:17 PM
Wow! And I thought our Daisy was bad! She is very food-obsessed, but hasn't gone to the lengths your parents' dog has, thank goodness!

I've been trying to cut back on Daisy's food and treats and it is VERY hard because she seems like she is always starving! She goes to the pantry where we keep her food and treats and just digs at the door. Or if it is open, she roots through everything trying to find some opened bag where she can get something, anything, to eat!

Daisy is overweight (about 5 pounds, which is really bad given that she is less than 2 years old). It scares me and we are trying to up the exercise and cut down on the food. But it is torturous on the food part because she acts so hungry all the time and becomes even more obsessed with food. I think she and I have that in common. The minute I go on a diet, I think about nothing but food.

I will try the rice cakes. She's a little picky about what she will eat. She will eat cooked green beans but not raw. So I sometimes cook her some green beans or broccoli, which she also likes a lot. The vet told me to give her green beans daily to help with the anal glands and scootching (as we like to call it).

Good luck!

15th February 2008, 11:08 PM
For weight loss, I'd give 80-100 grams a day, depending on the dog's frame. Holly has lost a kilo in the past year as a result of religiously giving her 60-80 grams of kibble, with only a very few high quality treats and plenty of frozen green beans. Running around after Amber probably helped too :D

16th February 2008, 09:58 AM
I'm sure Oakley would be the same if he had the opportunity- he LOVES food.

I'm very good at not giving in to the eyes though!

My two seem well on 110 g of Burns a day - if they have had more exercise than normal I add an extra 10g and if they have done nothing much ( say if I have been ill or something) they get 10g less. This seems to keep them at a good weight with nice slim waist and ribs that you can feel.:)

26th February 2008, 04:29 PM
I think most cavs are food obsessed! I know this is very serious and I hope your parents can get it sorted,but i was laughing out loud at your discriptions and my dogs thought I'd gone mad

26th February 2008, 05:09 PM
Cavaliers will ALWAYS act hungry. But guess what: we don't need to feed them treats and extra food, simply because they try to persuade us otherwise! :lol: So if you have a dog that needs to lose weight, just don't give treats, or only give veg or fruit, and cut way back on food.

A truly food obsessed dog will *very quickly* larn to love carrots when they are all that is on offer. Or to put it another way -- how hungry (rather than MANIPULATIVE) do you think a dog is who is supposedly starving, but highly selective about what foods it is 'starving' for?

Right. Not very starving at all, but has learned that staring at you (or whatever is done) tends to bring forth stuff to eat!

All four of mine would eat nonstop all day given the chance. They do not get the chance -- I just ignore them because I know perfectly well they have plenty to eat and are not actually hungry or in need of more food.

Lily lost nearly a third of her body weight in four months by one simple rule: lower caloric intake, increase exercise. She got a third a cup of food a day. She got vegetable and fruit treats and before bed, a very small piece of dog biscuit. She was as (un!)happy with that as she would be with the whole darn biscuit -- either way she virtually swallows it in a single gulp and isn't 'enjoying' her food so to speak. She just wants to stuff herself if she can. She is happy to eat a small piece or a large piece -- so she gets a small piece if any piece at all.

It's my job to make sure she doesn't stuff herself as it shortens her life and increases the risk of heart failure to have an overweight dog (a study recently noted thst overweight dogs die on average THREE YEARS before their fit counterparts. Cavaliers on average only live 10 years. We risk losing nearly a third of our dogs' lives by letting them gain weight!

Keep them slim! I am a fanatic on this issue. :blabla:

Daisy's Mom
26th February 2008, 05:21 PM
One problem we have with Daisy vis a vis treats is the Obedience class we are currently taking. The trainer says "Treat them! You can't overdo the treats!" etc.. If I don't give her tons of treats for every tiny thing she does right, I hear about it from the trainer. It was the same way in the other two courses we took. I don't give Daisy dinner on the day of class, so that she will be hungry and so that we don't double her food intake on those days. But still she gets LOTS of treats during the class. I do freeze-dried liver cut up in tiny pieces, home-made liver treats, and Cheerios coated with liver dust. (I tried Cheerios by themselves one time and it was hilarious. I would give them to her and she would literally spit them out and look up at me in disgust!) Plus, sometimes if we have chicken for dinner, I'll shred up a tiny bit of breast meat and put it in my treat bag for the class. That REALLY gets her attention!

I do think she's getting too many treats, but I'm not quite sure what to do about it while we are in class. I also give her some treats in her Kong in her crate when I leave for work. I would feel horrible just putting her in there with nothing and walking out the door!

26th February 2008, 05:28 PM
Oh my god, that is so funny, I thought Prince and Lucy were bad! Ok, this is probably a really stupid question, but I have seen on several posts about giving frozen green beans, I take it you thaw them out first????

26th February 2008, 05:32 PM
On training treats -- do what you are doing -- don't feed on the day, keep them very small, and maybe give extra exercise that week to compensate. If it is just a day or two a week, then it won't really make a difference. I taper off the treats fairly quickly when training once the dog has the basic idea so they get praise rather than treats most of the time. CLicker training also allows you quickly to move away from constant treats as the dog already understands the click as 'praise' for getting it right.

26th February 2008, 05:55 PM
:badgrin::badgrin: I really had to laugh at your descriptions of your parents dog. I know it is a really serious issue though and it has to be stopped. Sounds like your parents are doing the right thing putting things on high shelves but I'd definitely have to buy some safety cupboard locks. We've been watching Sally's weight recently as I don't want her getting overweight and being at a greater risk of heart failure. I was in the pet shop yesterday and mentioned this to the owner. He said I could try her on a senior food as it has less protein but she is only 1 year old. It doesn't seem right to give them senior when they are only just an adult! He said most light and senior feeds are similar in nutritional value and many brands are starting to combine them. In the end I have decided to stick with the adult James Wellbeloved and add light naturediet or veg. She now has a less amount and carrots as treats. We have also increased her off the lead exercise to burn more calories which she loves. I have to be very careful though because she has a tendency to run off to other dogs.