Posts in Category: Exercise Nutrition & Obesity
Sometimes, 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.
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.
Everyone 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.
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…
Pets 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!
It’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.
The 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.
“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…
Our 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…
Obesity 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…
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.
It’s no secret – dogs and cats love treats! Many of the popular treats that you buy at the store are very high in fat and calories and low in nutrition though. So what’s a great way to treat your fur-baby while still being sure that the treats their eating are as nutritious as they are delicious? Make them yourself!
Making your own pet treats is fun and easy, and you can feel good about giving them to your pet. (Although you should still feed them sparingly — treats are a sometimes food, not an always food). Here are some simple recipes for pet treats that will keep your furry friend’s tail wagging.
Peanut Butter Molasses Dog Treats
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup reduced fat milk
- 1 cup peanut butter (unsalted & sugar-free)
- 1 tbsp. blackstrap molasses
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
- Whisk the flour, oats, and baking powder together in a medium bowl
- Gradually stir in the milk, peanut butter, and molasses
- Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until a soft dough forms
- Roll out to 1/2″ thickness and cut with a cookie cutter
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Cool completely before feeding to your pooch.
These biscuits bake up nice and hard and will last for 2 weeks in a dog treat jar and up to 4-5 weeks in the refrigerator.
Yummy Tuna Treats
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup nonfat powdered milk
- 1/2 can tuna fish
- 1 tsp vegetable oil or cod liver oil
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease cookie sheet
- In a large bowl mash the tuna into smaller pieces
- Add flour and milk to the tuna and mix well
- Add water and oil and mix some more
- Beat the egg in a separate dish until the egg is foamy and then add to the mix
- Mix everything well — the dough will be really sticky
- Using your fingers shape the dough into small balls, about the size of a marble and put them on the cookie sheet
- Bake for 20 minutes
- Let treats cool completely before feeding to your cat
- Store treats in an air tight container in the refrigerator
If you have any questions about your pet’s nutrition, feel free to contact us. We’ll be happy to discuss it with you.
We accept walk-ins during our Doctor’s Hours to meet your busy lifestyle. If you’d prefer to make an appointment, we offer those too!
News & Events
Keep Your Pet Healthy All Year Round!
We offer plans for puppies, kittens, adult dogs & cats. With affordable monthly payments and our convenient hours, it's the best value in helping your pet live a longer & healthier life! Call us at 630.665.1500 for details!
Meet Our Adoptable Animals!
We are currently fostering some great pets available for adoption! Visit our Featured Foster page HERE to view all animals available for adoption and make an appointment to meet them at our clinic by calling us at 630.665.1500!