Obese Beagle's Weight Loss Journey Continues To Inspire Healthy Food Choices For Dogs And Humans

Losing weight can be difficult for anyone, even our pets. The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention showed that  59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs overweight in the United States, a shocking statistic for our furry friends. In addition to being unhealthy, obesity in pets harms their quality of life by hampering their ability to go out and play with both their four-legged and two-legged companions.

It was the goal of simply being able to go out and play that led to the incredible weight loss journey of a dog in Arizona.

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Wolfgang the beagle has had his share of ups and downs in life. The five-year-old pooch now lives in the lap of luxury after being rescued off the streets as a stray by Arizona Beagle Rescue according to TODAY.  

Wolfgang obviously has an interesting story to tell as to when he was found, the big guy weighed a massive 90 pounds. Erin McManus, a lawyer in Phoenix and Wolfgang’s adoptive mother, told TODAY, "Wolfgang was found as a stray, but you know there has to be a backstory. How does a 90-pound dog that can barely walk wander the streets?”

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Erin and her husband, Chad Shatz, seemed like a match made in heaven for poor Wolfgang. The couple had previously fostered dogs and even assisted other special needs animals to lose weight. They began Wolfgang’s weight loss regimen with a trip to their local vet. Wolfgang’s vet said that the canine’s weight problem was rooted in a thyroid condition. With a prescription in hand and the recommendation of a strict 600-calorie a day diet, Erin and Chad were prepared to help Wolfgang lose the weight.

The young pup’s meals are prepared by his mom from a selection of turkey and vegetables. Erin told the news station, "He doesn’t beg for food between meals, the vegetables are helping him stay fuller.” 

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Exercise is also a big part of Wolfgang’s routine. Erin says that Wolfgang is very playful, often tussling with their other dogs, 16-year-old Fred, and 12-year-old Andre. Erin feels that the beagle’s playful nature is helping keep their two elderly dogs young. Due to Phoenix’s hot summer temperatures, Erin and Chad can only walk Wolfgang in the early morning and when the sun goes down.

During the day, Wolfgang exercises a bit in the family’s pool, although Erin confesses that he mostly just likes to float and let the water run over him. Wolfgang’s real water exercise comes in weekly visits to the vet, where he runs on a water treadmill for twenty minutes. Despite the workout, Erin says that Wolfgang has a good time, even carrying a toy in his mouth during the weekly sessions.

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Thus far, Wolfgang has had amazing success in his weight loss journey. Erin says that the big guy has lost about a pound a week since he came into their home in May. Having lost 18 pounds in total, Wolfgang is only 7 pounds away from his 25-pound goal. Erin and the vet will reevaluate Wolfgang’s objectives once the pooch reaches 50 pounds.

In terms of other goals, Erin hopes that soon Wolfgang will no longer have to use the special doggy-door that they installed in their home and will instead use a regular one. Erin and Chad are also hopeful that Wolfgang will be strong enough to enter Four-Legged Running in November, a fundraiser that will require the big guy to walk for an entire mile.

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Erin and Chad grew so close to Wolfgang in helping him lose weight that the couple formally adopted him in August. "We had a real special connection with Wolfgang and really wanted to see him reach his weight loss," Erin told TODAY

In his time with Erin and Chad, Wolfgang has also become a social media star. The couple set up an Instagram account for the pooch originally to bring attention to Arizona Beagle Rescue. Since then, the internet has fallen in love with the sweet pup, who has garnered over 28,000 followers. Many of Wolfgang’s admirers say that his example has encouraged them to lose weight themselves. 

What do you think of Wolfgang’s weight loss journey? How do you keep your pets in healthy shape? Tell us in the comments and be sure to pass this article to your friends or family who need inspiration.