Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Friday, August 13, 2010
Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in pets. 25% of the pet population is obese. A pet that weighs 15% above the optimal body weight is considered obese. The best way to figure out what the optimal body weight for your pet is, is to consult your veterinarian. Below is a chart that shows what a normal weight, over weight, and obese cat and dog looks like.
Obesity, due to several causes, can lead to many illnesses but can also be prevented or eliminated.
Breed: Certain breeds are more prone to be overweight than others. In cats it's mostly the mixed breeds that draw the short stick. In dogs it's often breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Bassets, and I hate to say it, Cocker Spaniels.
Life style: In nature, animals hunt for their food. Our pets get their food served to them and really don't have to do much in order to fill their tummies. Many pets have become couch potatoes. Their exercise routine is less than the calorie intake.
Feeding: In nature, animals only eat what they need. Pets often get portions that are bigger than they need. Other times, the food we feed is not appropriate for the age or life style of the pet.
Spaying and neutering: Spaying and neutering is absolutely necessary to keep the pet population under control and is very important but it does result in a decrease of the metabolism and thus, can cause a pet to become overweight.
Diseases: Some diseases such as Hypothyroidism or Cushing's disease can cause a pet to gain a lot of weight. Luckily, they occur in small percentages only and can be controlled by medications.
Medications: There are many medications that can lead to weight gain. For example, Corticosteroids, Anticonvulsants and Appetite Stimulants are just a few of them. Talk to your veterinarian about the side effects of the medications your pet takes.
Obesity can also cause many unwanted diseases. Here is a list of just a few.
- Heart Disease
- Bladder Cancer
- Fatty Liver (Hepatic Lipidosis)
- Respiratory Issues
These are all serious health issues that are a result of obesity and can be prevented. There are simple ways that can prevent your pet from gaining unwanted weight. It is always a good idea to ask your veterinarian what his suggestions are to prevent a weight gain. In general, it's best not to feed table scraps to your pet. Multiple small feedings are better than one large feeding. Measuring the food in exact amounts is very helpful. Make sure your pet is not eating too fast. And most of all, add in lots of exercise on a daily basis.
Well, that all sounds great but sometimes the best intentions can fail and your pet still ends up being overweight. All hope is not lost! There are things that can be done to shed those unwanted pounds. Importantly, talk to your veterinarian about the issue. The goal should be a 1% weight loss per week. Don't over-do it and starve your pet. That could lead to other health issues all together. The way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. Let's talk about the diet first.
Diet: We should feed a low calorie diet. Almost every brand sells a Low Calorie food and it is usually marked on the package or can as such. Most foods also have a chart on the package that tells you how much to feed. If you can't figure it out, ask your veterinarian for the correct amount you should feed your pet. Read the package. The food should have a slightly higher amount of protein, a low amount of carbohydrates, and a low to moderate amount of fat. And we all know that all good pets deserve a treat now and then. Well, veggies such as carrots and fruits such as apples make excellent low calorie treats.
Exercise: A diet doesn't do much if your pet is lounging around all day. So, get your pets enough exercise on a daily basis. Cats exercise differently than dogs. It's easier with a dog. You can take your dog for long walks, play fetch the ball, or let your dog swim. There are also many interactive toys such as Kongs where the dog has to work on getting that carrot treat out of the Kong. They also make interactive toys for cats now where the kitty can chase a toy mouse in a circle or other varieties. You can throw a toy mouse to the top of the stairs so the kitty has to run up and down stairs to fetch the mouse or simply wave a wand with a feather on the end to get kitty running and jumping. You can serve the food on top of a cat tree so kitty will have to do some climbing exercise to get to the food.
Once we have our pet down to an ideal weight, we have to make sure to maintain the weight. The best way to do this is to switch the food gradually to a maintenance diet and to continue with the exercise routine. Also, check the weight on a regular basis. You can do that with kitties or small dogs by holding them and stepping on your bathroom scale. Then weigh yourself without the pet. Subtract the last number from the first and you have your pet's weight. With larger dogs you might have to coax them to sit on the scale. Good luck!
So, as you can see, there are many things you can do to prevent and eliminate obesity before it leads to unwanted health issues. Just remember - keeping your pet healthy and in good shape is rewarding in so many ways.
Alrighty then, lets strap on the sweat bands and nibble on carrots. Till next time. Yours truly,
Monday, August 9, 2010
I would like to tell you about my human's worst night mare. As you all know, she takes care of all kinds of critters when their humans are on vacation. Well, she came to a place on the first day of a 10 day long assignment and there was no key at the spot were it usually is. HORROR! She got a really bad feeling in her stomach. When she tried to reach the owner of the two kitties, the phone said: "The person you are trying to reach is out of reach, call back later". She left a note on the neighbor's door, hoping she would have a key but the neighbor didn't call her. So, the only thing she could do was to call a locksmith. Many hours later and $250.00 later, the locksmith was able to open the door and replace the lock. HALLELUJAH!
Everybody was fine and there was still a little food and water in the dish but it was a very scary situation for my human.
This story inspired me to give you all some guide lines how to make my human's life much easier. So, here we go:
If you go away, please let my human know at least three or four days in advance unless it is an emergency. And by the way, a good deal on a trip to Cabo is not an emergency!
If you leave a day later or come back a day earlier or later, let my human know. There is nothing worst than walking in on someone taking a shower.
If you told my human that you would leave a key at a certain spot, please leave it there. Don't change the location at the last minute without telling my human about it. Also don't forget to leave it! Otherwise, your vacation might cost a lot more than you expected (see above about the cost of a locksmith). And most importantly, make sure it's the right key and it works properly. I hate for my human to get arrested for breaking and entering.
Please leave a payment on the counter so my human can pay her bills and buy me new toys. She remembers to show up, so please, remember to pay her. If you forget anyway, try to mail it to her as soon as you get back. Don't wait a month or two because we have to pay our bills and if we can't pay our bills, my human has to get another job and can't take care of your babies anymore.
Make sure you have enough food, litter and if needed, medication on hand to cover the entire time you are gone plus a little extra in case you can't make it back on time. That includes bird, fish, hamster and any other critter food as well. My human hates to go shopping and besides, it cuts my walking time short.
Let my human know if there are any changes in your pets health, behavior, food, medication, walking schedule, your contact information or anything else that is important. She needs to know that in order to do her job properly.
And since we are talking about health, inform her of any contagious diseases such as ringworm, kennel cough, FIV and anything else that can be carried over to the next place. It's not fair to hide that and put the next kitty or doggy in danger of getting the same disease.
If anybody else is coming to the house while you are gone, let my human know because it scares the living daylight out of her when someone is in the house that she didn't know would be there.
Make sure your neighbor's know that my human is coming to visit your pets. I don't want them to call the police on her because they think she is a burglar.
Please don't be upset when my human does not want to let your kitties outside. There is a reason for it and that is how she is running her business. She is not telling you how to do your business, so don't tell her how to do her's. Kitties can be attacked by other kitties, by dogs, can get hit by cars, and can encounter many other dangers on the street. If they come back injured, my human might not be around and bring them to the veterinarian right away. A lot can happen in 24 hours. By the time of her next visit, your kitty could be very ill. So, please don't fight with my human about that. She does not want to be difficult but only cares about your pet's well being.
Let my human know if your doggy doesn't like other doggies or people. That is a very important thing to know when taking your pooch for a walk. We don't want any surprise attacks.
Well, I think that'll cover about everything. If you keep those things in mind, it will make my human very happy. And if my human is happy, I am happy too!
So, until next time, yours truly,