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Dear Annie: Could gift be a subtle hint?

Dear Annie: I read your response to “Loving Mother,” whose children bought her gift cards to clothing stores rather than generic, credit card-type gift cards. Though I agree that honesty is the best policy, perhaps her children were actually trying to give her a subtle hint that she needs new clothing. My mother started to lose weight as she got older but insisted that her clothing was still adequate, even though it was hanging off of her. Not to mention the fact that after many years, clothing simply wears out. Perhaps her children were just trying to be kind and not point out that her attire is old or worn. After reading so many other letters you receive from parents who are ignored, I hope “Loving Mother” takes the opportunity to open a real conversation with her children. — Loving Daughter

Dear Loving Daughter: Thank you for sharing your story with us and promoting open and honest conversations with family members.

Dear Annie: In response to “Dad of a Dieting Doggo,” I’d like to share some thoughts about an overweight dog’s beginning an exercise program.

Just like an out-of-shape human, a dog needs to build up endurance for any type of exercise. The dog may wear out quickly and need a rest. The owner may want to consider doing shorter walks more often, increasing the distance and/or time gradually. In a dog’s world, slow is fast. Building up a dog’s heart and muscles takes time, just as it does with humans.

The owner might also talk to the vet to make sure the dog is on the best food. There are some prescription diets that can help dogs lose weight more aggressively. Additionally, cutting down on the food given per meal and adding low-sodium green beans or other healthful vegetables for a dog can help dogs sense fullness with a lot fewer calories. Finally, the serving size on the dog food’s label is a recommendation, not a requirement. A dog may not need as much food as the bag recommends. The owner needs to learn more about the dog as they are together and play around with portion size to figure out what would be best long term when the dog gets to an ideal weight.

It can be done, but the owner needs to expect gradual weight loss, as that is way healthier than having a dog drop weight quickly.

Love reading your advice! — An Experienced Dog Lover

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Dad of a Dieting Doggo” and would like to share my experience. I thought my rescue dog was lazy because she lagged behind on walks and had no energy. A friend suggested thyroid testing. It turns out that my dog had such an underactive thyroid that it barely registered on the test. After a few days on the thyroid medication, she had plenty of energy and was enjoying her walks. The dad of the overweight dog might consider having his pup tested. — Concerned Dog Lover

Dear Dog Lovers: Thank you both for these great letters regarding the sweet overweight dog.

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