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Aussie Lab Weighs in at 187 Pounds
Rescued pup became obese from a junk food diet

At 187 pounds, Samson, a recently rescued Black Labrador in Australia, is easily the most obese dog in the country. Unsurprisingly, Samson is showing signs of high blood pressure, a common side effect of packing on the extra pounds. Making matters worse, Samson can't even safely exercise until he looses some weight.

Samson got to his current state because his previous family fed him a diet of burgers, pizza and other unhealthy foods. Fortunately, Samson was rescued by the Animal Aid shelter in Coldstream who immediately put him on a strict diet. They hope to get him to a healthy weight by the end of the year so he can be adopted.

Many people ask me if it's okay to feed their dogs human food and are ashamed to admit that they feed table scraps as treats. I always find it funny because I liberally feed leftovers as treats. In fact many human foods are healthier than commercial dog treats! Unfortunately, stories like Samson's give human food a bad reputation for pups.

Do you feed your dog human food?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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Submitted by Michelle | June 28 2011 |

My gosh this story is horrifying! That poor dog! I hope there's a followup to show him running around happily once he's lost the weight.

As for human food? Yes I feed my dog human food: pieces of chicken, ground turkey, beef, etc. I mix in some meat with her meals on occasion and she loves it. But do I feed her unhealthy human food? No. She's a lean 50 pounds, you can sort of feel her ribs (admittedly this is harder when your dog has a thick coat, but I can tell they're there even through all that hair), and she has a nice waist and tuck-up. I may be overweight, but I keep a close eye on my dog's weight and keep her healthy. I want her to be with me as long as she can!

Submitted by Melissa | June 28 2011 |

We usually eat everything on our plates (house rules...take less and get more if you are still hungry), but we let our dog lick our 'empty' plates so he gets a taste and feels like we are sharing. He does a lovely job prepping the plates for the dishwasher! Of course, we don't eat junk food ourselves, so neither does he!

Submitted by Rabbit Hill | June 28 2011 |

I feed "human" food from time to time, however, I also make sure her doggie treats only have ingredients that I would eat myself. So if I wouldn't eat it, I don't feed it to her. The same goes for her kibble. I have tried some of her treats before, but I don't find them especially tasty, so I am just glad that she does. :)

Submitted by Anonymous | June 28 2011 |

The human food we feed our dogs are: carrots, apples, blueberries, an occasional strawberry, cantaloupe, watermelon, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, an occasional spoonful of cottage cheese or plain yogurt, rice, and chicken.

Chicken and rice are used when they are having digestive upset to settles their guts. Any of these can be added to the organic grain free dog kibble they eat for main meals or given as treats.

Of course we never give anything in the onion family, cucumbers, or grapes - all of which are toxic to dogs.

Submitted by Sue | June 28 2011 |

I feed my dogs a homemade raw diet, and while I'm a vegetarian, I'd have to say, yes, they eat human food!

Submitted by Mich | June 28 2011 |

OMG, what is wrong with people? That poor dog.
I give my Goldens table scraps on occasion, usually in the form of saving them a small bite of chicken if they're good while we eat. But I keep a watchful eye on their weight. And I make sure it's nothing too fatty or salty.

Submitted by Anonymous | June 28 2011 |

The only human food Max gets (purposely) is a tiny piece of chicken or fish. Nothing fried and lightly seasoned. But while I'm cooking- if it hits the floor he is on top of before can tell him 'no!'. He is half chihuahua, so he gets porky fast!

Submitted by Susan | June 28 2011 |

Labradors can be food "monsters"! I am very careful with what they eat and How much they eat. My sisters and I all have Labradors, one says, a lab believes winter is always coming :)

Submitted by Frances | June 29 2011 |

Mine are fed raw/home cooked, but any suitable leftovers get turned into treats or incorporated in their meals. For some reason they are particularly fond of green beans! With a papillon and a toy poodle I am very, very careful not to overdo it though.

Submitted by Janet | July 1 2011 |

Our dogs get leftover plain cooked rice, vegetables if there are any and an occasional "pizza-bone" or crust. We view table food as treats or "dessert" if you will rather than a staple in their diet. In moderation and not dripping with butter or sauces we see nothing wrong with the leftovers we choose to give them. Bailey is 11 and Sparky 3, neither of them are overweight and have just received clean bills of health from the vet.

I read somewhere that owners who say their pooch only eats people food have been well-trained by their dog!

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