TLC Book Tour and Giveaway – Chow Hounds

Chowhounds, by Ernie Ward, DVM
ISBN 978-0-7573-1366-0
Published by Health Communications Inc (March 2010)

Many thanks to TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to tour Chowhounds, by Ernie Ward DVM.


Read my review.

From the Press Release:

As a practicing vet and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, Ernie Ward, DVM exposes why we, as a nation, have created a Perfect Storm of Portly Pets: pet food manufacturers have tweaked their foods to the point that they have addicted our dogs to sugar and fat; pet food labels are so confusing that most owners overfeed their pets by 25 percent; some pet food formulas are too high in carbohydrates, causing and escalating number of “carboholic” dogs; and our sedentary lifestyle has turned active dogs into couch potatoes.

Read more reviews by following the links for the TLC Book Tour.


Dr. Ernest Ward, DVM is a practicing veterinarian who has appeared regularly on the Rachael Ray Show, and has been featured on Animal Planet, NBC Nightly News, and CNN. He has authored and contributed to over forty-five veterinary journal articles in North America, England, Canada, Japan, and China, and has published two training videos. He lectures extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, and China, and was awarded the Speaker of the Year award from the North American Veterinary Conference in 2004. Read more about Dr. Ward and his work by visiting the author’s website.


*click on photo to enjoy a larger view

I thought it would be fun to do a little piece on Raven related to what I learned by reading Chowhounds. Some facts about Raven:

  • She is a purebred German Shepherd.
  • She is 15 months old.
  • She weighs approximately 60 pounds (which is on the small side for a female German Shepherd).
  • She suffers from allergies, for which she is treated with a combination of herbal remedies, acupuncture and diet. These interventions have been successful in managing her allergies.
  • She is VERY active. Normally she spends two days a week at a day care center for dogs where she plays all day with other dogs on a fenced property. We take her for daily walks. She plays ball, tug and “find it” games every day.

I calculated Raven’s caloric needs (based on Dr. Ward’s recommendations) and found she needs 1400 K-Cals per day (which comes out to 3 cups of her dog food). Raven is a picky eater – sometimes (if she has had a more sedentary day) she only eats 2 cups per day, sometimes (especially on days she spends at the day care) she eats 4 cups. I think she pretty much averages out to 3 or 3.5 cups per day.  Since she is actually pretty thin, I am not concerned about her eating too much at this time. But, we’ll monitor her as she gets older.

We feed Raven a high end commercial dry dog food which is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for All Life Stages. It is Nature’s Variety Instinct (a grain-free Duck Meal and Turkey Meal formula) which has no artificial colors (the carbohydrate comes from Tapioca). I am pretty happy with Raven’s diet right now. But I plan on supplementing it with some of Dr. Ward’s home cooked meals.

In Dr. Ward’s book, there is a section on how to assess the weight of your dog. He recommends viewing your dog from the side, rear, and above…and feeling your dog. Below are photos I took of Raven with a brief descriptor of my assessment.

**Click on any photo to enjoy a larger view.

Step 1: View Your Dog From the Side

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the neck and shoulder region disproportionally large compared to the head?
  • The chest should be wider than the stomach (ie: you should see a gradual sloping of the body as you look toward the hips)
  • Do you see rolls of fat and fur around the neck?
  • Are the size of the legs relative to the body (ie: do the legs looks too small when compared to the torso)? Fitness can be determined by the amount of muscles and size of the legs, especially the rear legs.

My Assessment: Raven has good overall proportions when viewed from the side. Her chest is definitely wider than her stomach (and she does not have any fat on her stomach). In that first photo you can really see the outline of her rear leg muscles. She’s a powerful little dog!

Step #2: View Your Dog From the Rear

A lean healthy pet should look sleek and streamlined when viewed from the rear. Any bulging that you see should be from the upper legs, and not the hip and lower back region. – from Chowhounds, page 74 of the ARC –

My Assessment: Raven has a cute little waist – her bulges are from the strong rear leg muscles. German Shepherds have large torsos, and you can see that clearly on Raven…but there is no fat there!

Step #3: View Your Dog From Above

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does the neck seem too wide for your pet’s head?
  • Does the chest seem to be disproportionately large when compared to the size of your pet’s head?
  • Do you see a waist when viewed from above?
  • Does your pet have a slight hourglass figure?

My Assessment: Raven appears proportional when viewed from above. She definitely has a waist (you can see this especially in the second photo), in fact, she is a little on the thin side. Her “hourglass” is easy to see.

Step #4: Feel Your Pet

With your pet standing, feel the ribs. You should be able to easily, with very little pressure applied, feel and count your pet’s ribs. In very lean, muscular, and fit pets, you may even see the faint outline of three or four ribs. – from Chowhounds, page 75 of the ARC –

Dr. Ward also asks that you feel your pet’s stomach. There should be no loose, sagging belly. You should also be able to feel your dog’s backbone  and hip bones easily.

My Assessment: Raven is very muscular. I could easily feel her ribs, backbone and hip bones. She has no flab on her belly. Her muscles are well developed, especially in the rear.

Based on the overall assessment, I would classify Raven as Thin-Normal.

Have you assessed YOUR dog? If so, is he/she too thin, normal, or overweight? If you don’t know, it is time to find out!!



Thanks to the generosity of  book publisher Health Communications Inc., I am happy to offer TWO copies of Chowhounds for giveaway.  It is simple to enter:

  1. Leave me a comment on this post telling me something fun about your dog (if you don’t have a dog, tell me why you want to win the book!)
  2. U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only please.
  3. Comments will close on May 4th at 5:00 PM (PST)
  4. I will draw TWO winners using on May 5th and announce their names here on my blog. Please make sure that when you complete the comment form, you leave a legitimate email address so I can contact you for your snail mail should you win.

That’s it!! Good Luck!

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  1. My dog, Fender, likes to wait until I get into the shower then he steals my undies off the bathroom floor. He takes them out back and hides them around the yard. Gotta love him!

    Thanks for the contest!

    • JoAnn on April 27, 2010 at 03:48

    I’d love to win a copy of this book! We’re adopting a retired greyhound next month, and the rescue group was stressing how important weight control is to the breed.

    • Lindymc on April 27, 2010 at 05:56

    I don’t currently have a dog, but I’d like to have this book to share with my daughter, who not only has a dog and a couple of cats, but serves on the Board of her county animal shelter. Also her best friend and co-board member has dogs and cats, would share in the information from this book. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • Lisamm on April 27, 2010 at 09:29

    Raven looks super-healthy and yes, on the thin side. Good job, mom!

  2. I’d love to be entered in your giveaway! As for the fun fact, my dog actually snorts like a little pig when eating!!


  3. No need to enter me, my friend (even though I have a friend who’d probably really like this. She’s getting a new service dog this week!). I’m dropping in to say thanks for the e-mail. I’ve got this posted at Win a Book for you.

    • Paula on April 27, 2010 at 14:58

    I really enjoyed your review of this book – especially when you used Raven to show examples of what the Doc talks about when assessing your dog ! My boyfriend Gene has an 8 month old golden retriever, Annie, who is also very active ! I’d love to win a copy of this book for him so he can make sure Annie grows to be the best dog ever ! Thanks for a chance to win.

    • AmandaSue on April 27, 2010 at 19:24

    This book sounds great! and so useful since I’m always worried that I’m not feeding my dog the proper amount. Something fun about my dog, well she loves playing outside, but when she runs she actually hops through the fields sorta like a bunny rabbit (and looks like one too since she has big floppy ears lol) Thanks for the chance into this giveaway!


    • Dawn M. on April 28, 2010 at 01:29

    I have 2 blue heelers and boy can they be sneaky. Shyla loves to stay inside but doesn’t always like to share us with Pepper. So when she decides it’s time for Pepper to go outside, she goes and stands at the door. Pepper, thinking something big is going on outside, will shoulder her way past Shyla and rush outside. Shyla, in the meantime, goes and lays back down. Mission accomplished. LOL.

    Thanks! :0)

  4. What a great review! I love how you showed us how to assess your dog. Great idea. I love interesting reviews like this.

    I’d love to be entered. My dog is a healthy weight but is only 6 months old and I’d like to keep him that way. My dog chases his tail daily which is so cute! He also likes to be a scarf which was fine when he was 1 month old but now that he’s over 45 pounds he’s too heavy! When you’re sitting on the couch he’ll climb up behind you and drape himself around your neck and over both your shoulders just like a scarf. He thinks it’s comfortable I guess.

    callista83 AT cogeco DOT ca

    • anne on April 29, 2010 at 12:44

    What a great book and wonderful review. I have an adorable dog that I rescued. 16 pounds, energetic and loveable. Bogie is fearless and would run forever. He is though, wary of men in general until he knows them well. Thanks for this post.

    • SUSAN on April 30, 2010 at 04:31

    my dog is my best friend.. he know me so well, and he is so much fun!

    • Laura on May 2, 2010 at 09:29

    How did I miss this giveaway?
    Since I have two dogs, I’ll give you two fun things (but no, I don’t expect two entries in the giveaway!)
    – Woody, my 2-year-old yellow lab, is the son of two dogs in the shop where my husband buys wood for his woodworking projects. Hence the name … and the fun thing about Woody is, he recognizes my car coming down the driveway and demands to be let outside to greet me.
    – Lily, my 7-year-old Chocolate lab, is British. We got her when we were living in the UK. Her name is short for Lilabet, which was the childhood nickname of Queen Elizabeth II. She loves water (I know, most labs do). There’s a little spring on our property and if she gets a little warm while we’re out playing, I can guarantee she’ll go for a dip!

  5. Maisie, my 6-month-old Old English Sheepdog, *loves* celery. She’ll act crazy to get us to give her some.

    • Wendy on May 5, 2010 at 08:20

    THANK YOU ALL for dropping by and entering!!!

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