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Hello everyone! I'm new to this forum, and will hopefully get some insight on my problem....so...here goes.

My 4 yr old shih tzu (Pepper) has lived with my parents since we got her when she was a pup. I had to attend school out of state and we all agreed that she would be better off with them. So, I left for school and Pepper stayed. Within the first year of my parents having Pepper they noticed she kept running into things in the house and eventually she went blind that same year. I went back and forth to visit my family from school and each time I went back Pepper was bigger and bigger. See, the thing is, my parents also have another dog (Sammy) who is a 10yr old medium sized mutt and he had been with our family since I was little. They love the dogs very much, they just don't know how much they are hurting them by what they are doing. Also, they don't feed them dog food, they feed the dogs steak, eggs, and some dog treats. Food is always available for the dogs. There is constantly some type of food on the floor for them.

So anyways, I went over to their house this weekend and Pepper was the biggest I have ever seen her, she had to weight at least 25lbs. I'm so scared she is going to die, that I am thinking of taking her without my parents knowing (they would never let me take the dog if I told them) and bringing her to my house for a couple of months so she can lose some weight. But there are quite a few concerns I have.

I have tried to take Pepper for walks and she never walks. Once she gets out the front gate, she just lays there on the ground unwilling to move for anything or anyone. I don't know if it is because she is scared or she can't see or both. I also took her to my apartment for a few days a couple years ago and she didn't eat, drink, go to the bathroom or anything she just lays there. She doesn't walk around AT ALL. So after a few days of her doing nothing at my apartment I ended up taking her home. Once she gets home she is barking and wagging her tail and everything, but once you take her out of that front gate she is stiff to EVERYTHING. I have tried taking her on walks on and off the leash, she just lays there. I have tried to take her on walks with Sammy, same thing. I have tried everything I can think of to help her lose weight, but nothing is working. My only option is to steal her from my parents house for a few months and put her on a diet here. If I do that, I'm worried she will be depressed and not eat, drink, or anything if she comes here. My parent's over feed her, and baby her, they are just blind of what they are doing to her. Please let me know if anyone has faced something like this before.

I would like to make it clear that Pepper gets very minimal exercise, she can hardly walk anymore, she lays down and sleeps most of the day. Please, any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Here's a old picture of Pepper


And here's Sammy and Pepper
 

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If you decide to take her, I would try to be honest (at least mostly) with your parents. Maybe you could tell them that you miss her and maybe she can make you feel at home again. Tell them you don't want another dog, you want her. If she goes back to your parents, she will go back to the exact same way.

I would try to bribe her to walk with food to get her to walk. I would try to find a nutrious treat (all natural) and try to use that to convince her to walk. However, she's use to having alot better foods so she may not be interested. You may need to start with bad foods just to get her going. Or alternate one good treat to one bad treat etc. to keep her going. I've never had a blind dog so I don't kow for sure, but I would make noises so she knows where you are. Dogs LOVE kissy noises to try to get her to keep going. I would do short training times but a lot of them. Give her lots of rest.

Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Believe it or not, food does not bribe her to walk. Nothing does, I have made noises, I have given her a bone, treats, you name it...I tried it. I'm at the end of my rope here!
 

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Do you put the food right infront of her? So she can actually eat it? Wrap your hands around it so she can actually lick it. Slowly move your hand forward.

Does she like squeeky toys? Aww, the poor thing I can't imagine!! :(
 

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Feed less until she starts losing weight. If your parents won't do that, there's really nothing else that can be done unless you can convince them of how very dangerous it is to have her so fat.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well, when we are in my parents house she mildly plays, eats, barks, and everything but once you take her past that front gate it's like she is dead weight. She doesn't move or anything. I have put the treat in front of her and all she does is put her head down. As for toys, she has this little crab toy she plays with, but rarely, she doesn't play much anymore...It's so hard for me to see her like this...:-( I am looking for "professional" help online right now. Whatever that may be...
thank you for replying, I am in need of any advice I can get.
 

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Is she scared of the outside? Is it normal for her to never leave your parent's property?
 

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Treadmill?

Or what about getting her clipped short, and filling a tub, and supporting her body with your hand, and have her "swim"/tread water in 3 min intervals, with a couple min break in between. Start with about 3 sets a dayevery other day for a week or so, and start increasing the sets. Make sure she isn't over exerting herself, and do not leave her unattended. Swimming is good exercise and won't stress her joints. Most dogs will naturally dog paddle when their feet hit water. Keep a hand under her to support her and keep her from actually swimming (moving forward).
keeping her clipped short will make drying easier.

can you buy her some low calorie dog food? Make chicken jerky, which is easy and low fat, as treats?
 

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Well, when we are in my parents house she mildly plays, eats, barks, and everything but once you take her past that front gate it's like she is dead weight. She doesn't move or anything. I have put the treat in front of her and all she does is put her head down. As for toys, she has this little crab toy she plays with, but rarely, she doesn't play much anymore...It's so hard for me to see her like this...:-( I am looking for "professional" help online right now. Whatever that may be...
thank you for replying, I am in need of any advice I can get.
Treats and food have no value to her because it is abundant. If it was scarce it would once again have value.
 

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Or what about getting her clipped short, and filling a tub, and supporting her body with your hand, and have her "swim"/tread water in 3 min intervals, with a couple min break in between. Start with about 3 sets a dayevery other day for a week or so, and start increasing the sets. Make sure she isn't over exerting herself, and do not leave her unattended. Swimming is good exercise and won't stress her joints. Most dogs will naturally dog paddle when their feet hit water. Keep a hand under her to support her and keep her from actually swimming (moving forward).
keeping her clipped short will make drying easier.
I think that is actually a pretty good idea. It's something that won't be too strenuous for her and doesn't require her to leave her home.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Treadmill?

Or what about getting her clipped short, and filling a tub, and supporting her body with your hand, and have her "swim"/tread water in 3 min intervals, with a couple min break in between. Start with about 3 sets a dayevery other day for a week or so, and start increasing the sets. Make sure she isn't over exerting herself, and do not leave her unattended. Swimming is good exercise and won't stress her joints. Most dogs will naturally dog paddle when their feet hit water. Keep a hand under her to support her and keep her from actually swimming (moving forward).
keeping her clipped short will make drying easier.

can you buy her some low calorie dog food? Make chicken jerky, which is easy and low fat, as treats?
SpottedNikes,

That is the best idea yet, and my parents just took her to the groomers yesterday so her hair is much shorter. I always had trouble giving her a bath because she would move around in the tub, I never thought to make her "swim." I don't have a treadmill in my house nor do my parents, but I did think of that. I will try to bathtub idea, I think that is the best idea I have heard yet. Thanks! Keep em' coming!

I couldn't agree with you more...:-/ It's quite sad actually.
 

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Let us know how she does. You might want a spray detangler to spritz her with afterwards, while she's wet, to keep her from matting. Start slowly with the exercise, as she isn't used to it and you don't want to overstress her heart or make her muscles too sore.

I'd also print out info for your parents about the dangers of dogs being overweight. Try buying low calorie dry food to feed her, and encourage your parents to give her pieces of that as a treat.

If you haven't had a vet do bloodwork on her in the last yr or so, it might be a good idea. Sometimes a low thyroid will make them gain weight. Do you know what caused her blindness? Some diseases will cause loss of eyesight as a symptom.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Let us know how she does. You might want a spray detangler to spritz her with afterwards, while she's wet, to keep her from matting. Start slowly with the exercise, as she isn't used to it and you don't want to overstress her heart or make her muscles too sore.

I'd also print out info for your parents about the dangers of dogs being overweight. Try buying low calorie dry food to feed her, and encourage your parents to give her pieces of that as a treat.

If you haven't had a vet do bloodwork on her in the last yr or so, it might be a good idea. Sometimes a low thyroid will make them gain weight. Do you know what caused her blindness? Some diseases will cause loss of eyesight as a symptom.
We did do a full panel of blood work a few years ago, and they said she was healthy. No thyroid problem, but if I take her I will get another done. We also took her to a dog eye doctor, and all they did was confirm she was blind! I could have told them that, so we don't know why she is blind. It may be genetic, there was another puppy in the same litter that went blind, and another who had seizures, so maybe we just picked from a bad litter?
 

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My husband's old dog went blind. Blackie was fine because he knew where everything was located in the house. Just be patient and don't move any furniture, try not to leave anything on the floor that is normally not there shoes, newspaper, clothes etc. The only things that Blackie would walk into were the kitchen chairs because they would get moved from people sitting in them. If you develop a routine every day it will make her feel more secure. Time and patience is the key.
 
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