Weather Updates

Pet needs fitness plan

Q. My elderly aunt had to move into a nursing home, my husband and I have taken in her dog, who weighs 38 pounds. Do you have any other advice about how to slim him down?

A. More than a ½ cup of kibble a day — quarter cup in the morning, quarter cup at night with teaspoon dollops of canned food on top at both feedings — is more than enough for this dear porker. Keep the treats to a minimum, although it will be tough because this shaggy bundle probably has the most irresistible face. Resist. Consult a veterinarian about how much weight the dog should shed. And substitute walks for food. Exercise is so important in any weight loss campaign.

Q. When I moved to a basement apartment from my old house, I asked the landlord if I could have my bird come with me. He agreed. At the time, I didn’t have a dog but now I would like to have a female Boston terrier. They are the cleanest and quietest dogs in creation.

On the Internet, I found a dog cage that is divided into bathroom and bedroom compartments. This can be used for potty-training and for “indoor dogs” such as Boston terriers. I am disabled (arthritis in both knees). I feel a cage of this nature would suffice for bathroom breaks if kept it scrupulously clean. I am willing to do that. My brother is trying to discourage me.

A. Everyone should have the dog of their dreams. However, when you start off by saying you’re not able to give a pet the exercise and training it requires, you’re setting yourself up for a troubled relationship and disappointment.

A dog should not eliminate in its cage. This is unnatural for the animal because instinctually it wants to keep its living area clean. No dog should be trained to go indoors. This only leads to mess and regret. Like every dog, aBoston terrier requires fresh air and sunshine to thrive. Your heart is in the right place for a dog but the conditions do not seem favorable.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.