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Is Your Dog Fat? How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

fat dog

Elmo is a big dog, but the vet says 109 pounds is just a bit too big. He’s not yet into the obesity stage, but he has joined the 54 percent of dogs in the U.S. who are officially overweight.

A handy chart at the vet lets you spot check if your dog is fat. The thing looks something like this:

dog weight chart

The chart says if your dog is a healthy weight, you’ll be able to easily feel his ribs. If his ribs are protruding, he’s underweight. If his ribs are covered by a slight padding like Elmo’s, he’s overweight. If his ribs are covered by enough padding to stuff a couch, your dog is obese.

Tips for Helping Your Dog Lose Weight

Even though most of us think “diet” is a nasty four-letter word, your dog doesn’t have to suffer while losing weight. These tips helped Elmo shed pounds once, and they can help once again.

Don’t quit treats cold turkey.

Dogs that have come to expect treats on demand will have a hard time accepting their demands are no longer being met. This counts triple if their demand involves cornering you near the kitchen counter by the treat jar and jumping up and down while wildly barking.

Rather than foregoing a treat altogether, try cutting the treat in half. Or thirds. Or even quarters. Reducing the amount of food given per feeding time can also work better than trying to cut out a feeding time completely.

Do try broccoli.

Broccoli comes with a calorie count lower than spring temperatures in Michigan. And most dogs spit it out the minute it hits their mouth. That means your dog gets zero calories and you still get points for giving a treat.

I remember reading somewhere that dogs don’t really care what you give them, as long as you give them something. I’m not sure if that’s true, but giving them broccoli can result in a notable dog weight loss if your dog doesn’t eat it. P.S. Elmo has since learned to eat it.

Don’t let the soulful eyes get to you.

When you hand over broccoli instead of, say, beef, your dog is likely to give you “that look.” It’s a sad look with soulful eyes that pierce your heart, wrenching it in half in a deeply powerful bid to please hand over some beef. Just. Say. No.

Do have a general idea of calorie counts.

While you don’t have memorize the calorie count of every food in the kitchen, like I did during my high school dieting phase, you should have a general idea of how many calories you’re feeding your dog. Some of those treats can pack a hefty punch.

Calories in Common Dog Snacks

  • 732 – Busy Bone, large
  • 672 – Beggin’ Chew, large
  • 443 – Busy Bone Dental, large
  • 182 – Pig’s Ear (Elmo’s favorite)
  • 115 – Milk Bone, large
  • 94 – Tbsp. Peanut Butter (Elmo’s second favorite)
  • 40 – Beggin’ Strips
  • 20 – Pup-Peroni (Every dog’s favorite)
  • 3 – Good ole Charlee Bears

The calorie chart also noted a bite of a McDonald’s cheeseburger adds 330 calories to a dog’s diet. Ouch.

Do have a general idea of how many calories your dog needs.

Just like people, lazy dogs need fewer calories than dogs that are always on the move. Low-calorie Charlee Bear has a chart that shows how many calories it takes to sustain certain weights.

Dog Weight: Calories Needed per Day

  • 20 pounds: 420 to 680
  • 50 pounds: 830 to 1,350
  • 100 pounds: 1,400 to 2,270

Don’t count rolling over in bed as exercise.

Increasing your dog’s exercise is another way to help him reach his desired weight. And no, much to Elmo’s dismay, rolling over in bed does NOT count as exercise.

Jumping around for his treats counts a little bit, and Elmo’s new trick of spinning in a circle counts even more. We’ll also add extended weekend walks to the list, after which he’ll be keenly rewarded with a big, juicy hunk of broccoli.

Want more fun dog info and facts? Get the Rynski Doggie Dictionary.

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How to Turn an Old Window into New Stained Glass Yard Art

stained glass old window

Old windows are always alluring. Not only do they have an innate charm, but they can stir up fond memories of living in a farmhouse somewhere in Kansas – even if you’ve never set foot in Kansas in your life.

They also make for an incredible art project that can add a pop of color and coolness to any home or yard. Mine ended up in my yard just because I really have no more room in my home. But the stained glass project can look equally as dazzling propped in front of a kitchen window as it can hanging on the side of a backyard archway.

What You Need

  • Old window
  • Sandpaper and scraper
  • Painter’s tape (invest in the blue one already)
  • Glass cleaner and degreaser
  • Rags
  • Patience
  • Paint for window frame
  • Paint for window glass
  • Hanging hardware
old window for stained glass project

What You Do

Your first step is to somehow obtain an old window. Prying one off a farmhouse in Kansas is always an option, although you’ll probably do better scouring shops that sell used building materials. Betcha Tucson’s Gersons has a few.

I lucked out by inheriting my old window from the Tucson Citizen prop room when the newspaper folded in 2009. Think they used to put in the background to make photos look like they were taken near a farmhouse in Kansas.

Putting the old window in the garage where you can ignore it for at least nine years is an optional step. I finally dug out my old window for good during the last garage cleaning spree when I tidied up so well I had nowhere left to hide it.

Window Preparation

  • Sand and scrape the crappy old paint off the window frame.
  • Clean the glass panes with cleaner and degreaser.
  • Put painter’s tape around the front and back perimeters of every single pane.
  • Tape pieces of paper over the center areas of the glass if using spray paint for the frame.

Window Painting

  • Spray the pane wildly with paint.
  • Peel off painter’s tape before frame paint fully dries.
  • Make sure panes are free of smudges.
  • Use glass paint on the panes.
  • Add hanging hardware.
  • Hang in backyard.
  • Make your boyfriend admire it at least three times on the first day and regularly thereafter.

 Additional Stained Glass Window Project Tips

Picking the frame paint: Select a paint with a hammered finished to help hide the multiple imperfections and wood chunk chinks old windows are known for. If you want to retain that beat-up look, keep it alive by using contrasting paint in the frame’s chinks, dents and dings.

  • Rust-oleum is my spray paint of choice. I used flat black mixed with hammered bronze for the window frame.

Picking the glass paint: I’m a big fan of Pebeo Vitrail paint, particularly the transparent paints for stained glass effects. Use a combination of at least three different colors in the same color family to add interest to the project.

  • All the Vitrail colors blow my mind. Well, except maybe the brown. My old window project mingled Turquoise, Apple Green and Green Gold.

Applying the glass paint: Using a paint brush with glass paints can be tedious and leave brush marks. I prefer to use an eyedropper to blob or draw thick lines with the glass paint, and then mush with a sponge to cover all areas of the glass.

Hanging your stained glass project: Propping it against a wall or low on the ground doesn’t do justice to what you’ve just created. Hang or prop it somewhere at least eye-level where sun can shine through to reveal it’s true beauty.

Also opt for heavy-duty hardware. Those old windows are heavy!

My old window came with two eye-hooks embedded in the top corners of the frame and a quadrupled-up piece of picture wire looped through them. It’s hanging on a metal archway where the sun filters through in late morning, so my boyfriend can admire it every single day.

Hope your old window project comes out just as dandy!

old window stained glass project

Love the rynski stained glass window project? Just wait until you see what she does with sheet metal.

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Art Therapy Project: REBIRTH

floating goat illustration

The art therapy topic of REBIRTH immediately brought to mind born-again Christians, which brought to mind all sorts of religions, which brought to mind cults.

This then prompted me to think of the creepy cult episode of Netflix’s Encounters with Evil where the Heaven’s Gate guy said humans need to remove their genitals so they can be more like aliens and then everyone killed themselves.

And I just didn’t feel like going there.

So I took another path with the rebirth topic instead.

  • Topic: Rebirth
  • Result: Rebirth painting alternatively known as “The Mystery of the Floating Goat.” Acrylic, glass paint and paint markers on canvas. Note the floating goat is in an orb of light, protected from all the demonic things writhing around him.

Artist Q&A

What’s with the floating goat?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been convinced that if I were ever reborn I would come back as a goat. For some reason, reincarnation/rebirth always makes me think of goats – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The goodliness of it all was reinforced when a Gen Xer pal pointed out that the letters from GOAT stand for:

  • Greatest
  • Of
  • All
  • Time

Pretty cool, no?

What’s with the demonic things?

The demonic things represent evils of the past. These evils include less-than-boastful behaviors and the horribly negative mindset I used to succumb to on a regular basis. Self-care, therapy and lots of love have helped me escape the demonic things of my past to become reborn as, well, a floating goat.

Anything else we should know?

Changes throughout our lives cause us to be reborn constantly. Whether it’s with a new job, a new relationship or an entirely new mindset. This is a good thing.

Coming back as a goat would be a good thing, too. I had five pet goats in New Mexico and they’re tons of fun. They hop. They play. They climb trees. And it sure beats being reborn as a gnat or something.

Where can we get more Rynski goat artwork?

Oh, I love that question!

Check out a whole goat collection of goodies on Zazzle.

Enjoy!

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egg haiku (emblem poem)

egg emblem poem

NOTE: This poem is both a haiku and an emblem poem. It carries the overall message of get off your duff and take action.

The universe isn’t going to do it all for you (no matter how much positive thinking you send streaming up to the stars).

dig fun illustrations? get more from a rynski book.

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6 Things to Do before You Do Your Taxes

rynski help monster

Every tax seasons we’re inundated with tons of articles giving us list after list of savvy tips for taxes. But this particular list goes one better. Instead of serving up suggestions for doing your taxes, it serves up suggestions for avoiding them.

Welcome to the master tax procrastination list. It even comes complete with rationalizations so you can tell yourself these activities are actually going to help you with your taxes in the long run.

Clean Your Closet

This one was always my go-to activity when I didn’t feel like studying for final exams in college. My Grandma G also used to do it on holidays. While we thought grandma’s closet cleaning schedule was strange at the time, in hindsight it’s the perfect way to avoid having to make small talk with a bunch of guests. It’s likewise the perfect way to delay your taxes for hours, if not days on end.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

A messy closet makes for a messy mind. And you don’t want a messy mind when you’re trying to add up 32 pages of numbers.

Feed Your Dogs

Fed dogs are happy dogs, and it’s important to surround yourself with happiness when you’re sadly drudging through your taxes. Besides, you can easily turn this activity into an extended project if their dinner comes with dessert and a post-meal playtime at the dog park in Phoenix.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

It’s impossible to concentrate on anything, especially taxes, when you have hungry hounds begging at your feet.

Feed Yourself

Remember how great it felt to clean out your closet? Do the same for the fridge. Perhaps you have a half-carton of eggs expiring tomorrow, or salsa that’s sure to go bad by next week. Whip up a Mexican omelet. Now’s also a great time to try one of those new, complicated recipes that takes at least two hours to create.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

It’s impossible to concentrate on taxes when your stomach is churning, burning and growling for an omelet with salsa.

Take a Shower

Taxes are a job, which means you want to perform the usual lineup of pre-job activities before you start. Taking a shower is one of them. You can stretch this activity out by deep-conditioning your hair, cleaning the shower stall, and mixing and mingling different salt scrubs and body washes until you find the exact combination that suits your mood.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

You need to be sharp, clean, invigorated – and lightly scented by vanilla-rosemary-peppermint-sea salt – for best results with taxes.

Take a Walk

Walk around the block. Walk to the nearest bus stop. Take a quick hike in the desert, or head to that little shop down the block you always wanted to check out. It doesn’t matter if the block happens to be five miles long. In fact, that’s even better.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

With the power to boost your mood and alleviate stress, taking a walk is an ideal way to prep for the hours of sitting that your taxes ensure are in store.

Take a Nap

Taking a nap is not only logical, but imperative at this point. After all, you’re kind of tuckered out after cleaning the closet, feeding the dogs, making an omelet, taking a shower and walking 10-miles round-trip to that little shop down the block.

How to rationalize that it helps with taxes:

You definitely need to be well-rested and sharp if you have any hope of properly adding, subtracting, or determining if you’re eligible for that farm tax credit thing.

Now that you have some creative ways to procrastinate on your taxes, along with solid rationalizations, you should have no problem putting them off without feeling the least amount of guilt. All these activities are definitely essential for ensuring you get your taxes done right, although they can’t guarantee you’ll get them done on time.

Need another fun tax procrastination activity? Shop Rynski on Etsy.

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