Cut the Fat: Dispelling the Top 5 Pet Weight Myths

We’ve long known that obesity is one of the biggest threats to our health. Unfortunately, this problem is no longer limited to humans – pets are also suffering the effects of being overweight or obese. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.

The Pet Experts care deeply about all pets, and we believe that owner education is the key to correcting and preventing pet obesity. Let’s start by tackling the top 5 pet weight myths!

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A Healthy Framework: Running With Your Dog

Running with dogs is good pet exercise for you and your dogSometimes, a dog owner is already a runner and trains their dog to run with them. Other times, a person becomes a runner in order to provide the type of exercise their canine companion needs. Whatever the case may be, running with your dog can be done the right way or the wrong way (i.e., ineffectively or dangerously). To help you discern between the two, The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital have some helpful tips to keep you and your pup jogging along for years to come.

Baby Steps

Before hitting the pavement, it’s worth having your dog checked out. Some breeds simply aren’t cut out for strenuous exercise, while others show enthusiasm for the sport, only to get injured or ill. It’s important to get a clean bill of health prior to running any great distances or on difficult routes.

Also, most younger dogs need to grow up a bit before adding strenuous endurance training to their repertoire. Continue…

Share the Good Vibes and Your Mat with Pet Yoga

Pet yoga is great pet exercise and good for pet healthEveryone can agree that exercise in all forms is a good thing, regardless of one’s shape, size, age, gender, or species. When pets and people work out together, a sort of magic happens. The bond between them is almost tangible when walking, hiking, playing, or swimming, but it’s also common during a pet yoga session. The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital can see why pet yoga is taking off!

Let’s take a closer look.

The Impact

It is well documented that physical exercise is important to support the body’s functions, but there is no match for the direct impact on mental health and well-being. Indeed, we all feel better, more relaxed, or rejuvenated after a workout, and so do animals, no matter their age.

The ancient practice of yoga hinges on a central idea: being in the moment. Pets are excellent at being in the moment, and dogs, because they’re pack animals, thrive in moments of union with their pack leader. Continue…

Finishing Strong: The Benefits of Exercising a Senior Pet

exercising senior petPets age faster than humans and begin slowing down between 7 to 10 years old. Because of their age and associated health conditions, it might seem more compassionate to allow/encourage them to lay around the house. After all, they’ve earned their place on the couch, right? However, a sedentary lifestyle not only exacerbates age-related issues, it can also decrease an animal’s quality of life. Let The Pet Experts of Wheaton Animal Hospital review some fun, safe ideas for exercising a senior pet!

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The Big Question in Pet Nutrition: Can My Pet be Vegetarian/Vegan?

pet nutritionIt’s been well documented that a plant-based diet is healthier for humans. Many veterinarians and veterinary professionals are vegan or vegetarian for health, environmental, or animal cruelty reasons. Could this also be a good approach to pet nutrition? The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital are exploring vegetarian and vegan diets to learn if our pets can benefit as much as we do.

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Bad Weather Blues? Have Some Fun With These Indoor Activities for Dogs

indoor activities for dogsThe rainy days of autumn precede the cold, frosty mornings of Old Man Winter. Knowing that inclement weather is just around the corner, it can be difficult to find ways to entertain your pet inside. Those skipped walks to the park or strolls around the neighborhood can take its toll on your dog, who needs exercise and stimulation each day.

When weather is at its worst, what can you do to keep your pet from bouncing off the walls? The Pet Experts at Wheaton Animal Hospital have some great tips for indoor activities for dogs and for chasing away those rainy day blues.

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Is my Pet Overweight? Pet Obesity and What You Can Do

Fat Cat“Pleasantly plump” may describe your adorable fur friend, but how do you know if a few extra pounds is actually detrimental to his or her health?

On a pet, extra pounds are sometimes hard to discern. After all, we’re conditioned to see chubby pets as cute, but 2-3 pounds for cats or small dogs can be a large percentage of total body mass.

Unfortunately, overweight and obese pets are far too common, and they’re at risk for many secondary diseases and shortened lives. Continue…

A Spotlight On The Prevention Of Pet Diabetes

iStock_000011052942_Large.jpgOur nation’s adorable, loyal, and steadfast pet population is battling a formidable foe: obesity. In fact, over half of America’s companion animals are considered overweight, and while a chubby cat or pudgy pup can certainly elicit a smile or two, pet obesity is no laughing matter.

Aside from decreased quality of life, an obese pet can suffer from associated illnesses or disease, such as pet diabetes. This is a common diagnosis in an overweight or obese pet, but with your dedicated involvement and regular wellness visits, your pet’s fate may become much brighter. Continue…

Is My Pet Getting Fat?

dog begging for foodObesity is a huge problem in this country, and our pets are no exception to this condition. With over 50% of America’s household pets considered overweight or obese, it is more important than ever to recognize that your pet’s is overweight and address it accordingly.

Pets who are at a healthy weight live longer, healthier lives. Just like us, the extra pounds your pet may packing can affect their heart, overall cardiovascular system, bones, and joints, resulting in serious health problems and a shorter lifespan.

So how can you tell if your pet getting fat? Here are a few clues that your pet may have a few pounds to lose… Continue…

Fat Cats: the Issue of Cat Obesity

 

The pet obesity epidemic is a big concern in this country, and the problem is growing worse.  Weight loss is not easy for anyone, human or otherwise.  When it comes down to it, the solution seems simple:  Eat less, exercise more.  This is easier said than done, however, particularly in the cat.  But there are important reasons for us to strive to reach a healthy weight for our feline companions.

Overweight cats are prone to illness and shortened lives

Overweight cats are prone to some serious medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and certain forms of cancer.  Overweight cats live shorter lives than normal weight cats.  Also, these cats tend to be “lazier”, not moving around as much, which makes it harder to detect early signs of serious illnesses.  Fat cats are no laughing matter.

What can you do to help your cat slim down?

So how do we accomplish safe, successful weight loss for our furry felines?

  • Cut the calories.  This sounds simple enough, but there is more to it than just not eating as much.  Fat cats are prone to developing a serious liver disease called hepatic lipidosis if they do not eat enough.  Kitty diets should only be started under the guidance of your veterinarian.  He or she can help you to calculate your cat’s daily calorie requirements.  Don’t be tempted to use a self-feeder.  Instead, measure out portions daily.  Pet or play with your kitty when it begs–some cats are literally starving for attention!  Feed small meals frequently and freshen the water bowl often.  These little changes can make a big one!
  • Change the food.  For some cats, simply changing the diet can make a drastic difference.  For instance, most canned foods have a lower caloric content than their dry counterparts.  Light or diet foods are also available.  Be sure that you are not cutting calories too drastically by calculating caloric needs with your veterinarian.  Cats can be finicky about new foods, so be sure to gradually introduce the new diet over a 1-2 week period.  You can try to make new foods more palatable by warming them slightly or adding a little oregano or a splash of salmon juice or omega-3 fatty acid supplement.
  • Get that kitty moving! No bones about it–it is harder to increase your cat’s activity level than your dog’s.  It takes some creativity to get your cat burning calories.  Make your cat “hunt” for its food by moving the bowl frequently.  Try putting it at the furthest place from kitty’s sleeping spot to encourage movement.  Use interactive toys such as flashlights, laser pointers, paper bags–anything your cat likes to chase to have a short activity session daily.   You may need to change it up frequently.
  • Keep track of progress.  Rechecks and weigh-ins can help tell you if you are on the right track.  Monthly weigh-ins are ideal.  If you are not making progress in a month’s time, it is time to try another food or technique.