Portion control

I watched as my cube farm colleague folded the top of the bright yellow candy wrapper and place it in her desk drawer.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“What?” she said.

“That’s a half full bag of peanut M&M’s,” I said.

“It is,” she said. “Smart girl. Is that how you made it so far in the company?”

“But,” I said.“How can you eat only half a bag? What is that? Like six of them?”

“It’s all I want right now,” she said. “I’ll save the rest for tomorrow.”

“How are we even friends?” I said.

There are two kinds of people in the world

Two kinds. People who fill up on half a chicken salad sandwich and the rest of us wondering how we can score that other half.

Actually there may be a third kind. Those who keep stoically nomming on even when we know there will be some deep gastronomic regrets in our near future. Remember when they came out with single serving microwavable popcorn? I can’t be the only one who thought the regular size bags weren’t big enough to share. That’s not so terribly bad, I suppose. It’s not like when we go to the Chinese buffet and take on all-you-can-eat like you’re going to be graded on your performance and, stand back y’all, you’re not going to break that 4.0 GPA tonight.

Sure, this may not be you. Maybe it’s someone close to you.

mighty micron

Hope you don’t mind I packed my lunch. A guy gets hungry around here, you know.

Like your dog.

Oh, who am I kidding. I’m talking about both me and my dog. I’ve proven myself to have the same sketchy level of self-discipline as a golden retriever. I know, some of you just leave dog kibble in a bowl all day and your four leggers stop by the snack bar to get their munchies on at intervals throughout the day. I say, if these dogs were people, they’d have a half bag of M&Ms in their desk drawer.

But Micron and I both live in denial about the cause and effect of overindulging in the good stuff of life. While one of us forgets how pasta tends to expand in the innards (why you gotta do me like that, ziti?), the other falls prey to the siren call of his dog kibble.

Even though the two of us are twin spirits in enjoying our respective comfort food, there’s a big difference in the result of our overeating. A potentially fatal one at that. The human anatomy doesn’t put us at risk for gastric torsion.

Bloat in humans: clearing a room with SBD’s*

Bloat in canines: Veterinary emergency

Big difference, right?

So we really messed up this week

The gate that closes off the basement was left open and unattended for who knows how long. Micron took advantage of the opportunity to slip down there and fix his own dinner of kibble-in-a-bag. Who needs portion control served in a stainless steel bowl? Not this dog. It’s kind of like eating spaghetti-o’s straight from the can. We’re not fancy around here.

Once dinner was out of the way, he moved right onto getting a head start on the next few meals. Hey, this food isn’t going to eat itself, you know. By the time we discovered him, we could only guess how much he actually got down the gullet. And that, people, is the really scary part.

It was apparent Micron was overfull and uncomfortable, but so far he wasn’t showing any overt signs of distress. He wasn’t restless and was actually able to lie on his bowling ball side to began the task of digesting his sinful behavior. His gums were a healthy pink and had a good capillary refill (press a section of the gum with your finger, then release to see if the pink color immediately returns). No panting, but not much moving around either. His heart rate was a bit faster than normal, yet not hinting of tachycardia.

Still, my deep-chested large breed dog had added yet another risk factor for canine bloat with the kibble overload and I was on yellow alert. And so, a sleepless night was ahead for us as I watched for the danger signs, which I know to be restlessness and pacing, pale gums, excessive panting, and dry heaves.

I find it’s not difficult to cross the threshold from basic vigilance into full-blown overreacting during a health situation. As the hours pass by while in wait-and-watch mode, especially in the wee hours, I’m aware of every time the dog merely shifts positions.

Should I have made him vomit right away? Or would that make things worse? How much did he eat anyway? Why didn’t I call the vet for advice? Because it was after hours, that’s why. Did he just moan? Time to palpate the belly again. Still hearing gut sounds? Yeah? Ok, let’s go ahead and check the gums while you’re at it.  

And so it went. Micron was still visibly uncomfortable during the next morning. As the day went on, though, he was able to process some of the ill-gotten goods by dropping some impressive patties that would give a heifer pause. And as he found relief, so did I. I don’t recall ever being so happy to see a dog poop, even in the sad pudding-like quivering state it showed up as.

And so thankfully everything came out OK in the end, so to speak, this time.

The next few days consisted of a couple of missed meals, followed by the obligatory boiled chicken and rice diet, before we transitioned back to the regularly scheduled kibble. The mighty Micron is fine, just fine indeed, with the homemade comfort food and is now requesting it every night. The problem though? Like the Chinese buffet, he’s hungry again in an hour.

Is your dog at risk for GDV?

Gastric dilation and volvulus syndrome (GDV) is an emergency situation. The stomach dilates and twists causing a block in blood supply, quickly resulting in a life threatening event. Veterinary treatment is needed immediately.

The causes of GDV canine gastric torsion are not fully understood, so the experts tell us that any dog is at risk. But some breeds more so than others, particularly the deep-chested large and giant breeds, which include Great Danes, Labradors and Goldens, German Shepherds, and Boxers.

Be aware of these signs in your dog:

  • distended abdomen – bloated look
  • drooling
  • pacing, restlessness, panicky behavior
  • attempting to vomit, but only drool/mucous
  • pale gums
  • excessive panting
  • rapid heartbeat or weak pulse

Any pet owner knows this to be true … only the biggest of emergencies happen outside normal business hours. Have that talk with your veterinarian now so you have a master plan of how to react quickly should this happen with your dog. Our own vet at Brookville Animal Hospital offers this information on GDV.

Articles referenced:

PetMD “Bloat or stomach dilation in dogs

Brookville Animal Hospital “Gastric Dilatation Volvulus

American College of Veterinary Surgeons “Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus

DVM360 “Gastric dilatation-volvulus: Controlling the crisis


*SBD – “Silent but deadly.” You know … gas. Stinker. Fart. Don’t light a match. Crop dusting. Chocolate shart. Honestly, did you not ever live with a guy? Or a geriatric dog? Or lord help us all this dog has a serious problem – a boxer?

Categories: Micron

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2 replies

  1. Interesting story Donna. I saw all these symptoms in my 10 month old Boykin Spaniel…only she eats socks (whole) and other favorite items like paper towels, toilet paper, and loves hair ties. Scary. I will ask the vet about bloat next time.


    • Hi Katie, puppies have that special palate for socks. And underwear and other things bad enough to handle even before the dog spit coating. See what your vet says. I wonder if a bowel obstruction would present similar to GDV, especially with the restlessness and tender abdomen.


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