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My Top 5 Pet Themed Holiday Movies

Many of us will be busy with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, working extra hours, driving amongst angry drivers, and dealing with the holiday blues.  Before Scrooge gets you in his sights pop one of these movies in for an instant feel good, and a friendly reminder of what the holidays are really about.   I hope you enjoy the list, and if you have any to add feel free to leave your recommendation in the comment box below.  Happy Holidays!

 

5)Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973)

charlie-brown

I know what you’re thinking, Thanksgiving over Christmas?  As cute as Charlie Brown’s Christmas is, I’m partial to the bond of man and man’s best friend in this adorable Thanksgiving movie.  Snoopy even tries to save the day when Peppermint Patty invites herself as well as two others over for a Thanksgiving feast.  For those who have seen it, their dinner is the sweetest, funniest, and cutest concoction that Snoopy can come up with in a pinch.  At the end of the day, it’s dear Marcie that helps to put the true meaning of the holiday into perspective.

“We should just be thankful for just being together.  I think that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.”

 

4) Addam’s Family Values(1993)

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Perhaps this isn’t your typical holiday movie and Thing probably isn’t what you would consider a”pet,” but I think we can all appreciate the similarities between Thing and some of our four-legged friends.  The Addams Family is by far what you would find in a Sears catalog, but it’s their loyalty and ability to stay calm and collective while making personal sacrifices for their loved ones that really gets you in the feels. The Thanksgiving feast is beyond comical in this film, and I would say personally favored over the first television to film adaptation The Addams Family  in 1991.  While Raul Julia is sadly no longer with us, his depiction of Gomez Addams was genius and wise.  It’s literally the Addams Family values that draws you into this movie, and leaves you longing to be an Addams too.

 

3) The Muppet Christmas Carol(1992)

There muppetare so many adaptations of Charles Dickens Christmas classic, but the Muppet Christmas Carol is my second to 1988’s Scrooged.  I realize these aren’t “real” animals, but you can’t get more pet/animal friendly than the muppets.  Kermit plays poor mistreated Bob Cratchit while Sir Michael Caine leads with a grumpy brute force as Scrooge.  This timeless classic story pulls on your heartstrings no matter how many times you may have seen it (regardless of version), or read it.  It’s simply not Christmas without it.   What makes Muppet Christmas Carol standout over other renditions are the beautifully written songs in true Jim Henson style.

 

 

2) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

national

Due to strong language, I wouldn’t recommend watching this movie with children that are easily influenced.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is a nonstop laugh riot.  What adds to this families nonstop disastrous holiday are a rottweiler named Snot (for very obvious reasons), a cat who was accidentally wrapped as a present by a delusional Great Aunt, and a squirrel that makes it into the house under some very hilarious circumstances.   At the end of the movie you have an almost broken and defeated Clark Griswold about to swear off Christmas for good, when he finally realizes the importance of his family and what they mean to him as well as what he means to them.

 

1)Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas (1977)

jugband

Christmas can’t officially begin in the Ries household if Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas isn’t playing.  A holiday tradition since I can remember, this Jim Henson classic features a plethora of woodland critters singing, dancing, and even playing in a rock and roll band.  What makes this movie stand out to me, is the fact that I’ve seen it at the bare minimum 35 times and it still melts my heart to this day.  Christmas isn’t always about what you receive, it’s way more than that.  The holidays are about coming together, committing personal sacrifices just to see your loved one happy, and enjoying some beautiful music.  It’s an amazing movie that should be enjoyed by everyone.

Spring Fever – Fun Ways to Include Your Pet in Your Wedding Planning

Spring has sprung, and love is in the air.  Most of us have that special pet in our lives, but some of us are lucky enough to have a special someone else in our lives.  Perhaps you both got your pet together, and now you are ready to take that next step with regards to your future.  Don’t let your pet miss out on being a part of your forever and ever.

 

The Proposal

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Proposal image referenced from Huffingtonpost.com, and can be found here.

There are honestly so many ideas that you could come up with to include your pet with your proposal.   Get creative and jot some ideas down, and see what works best for you.  A few suggestions would be to get a name tag engraved with “Will You Marry Me” or, teach your pet to balance a ring on their head. The fact of the matter is, you know your pet best.  Have fun with it, and them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Engagement Photos, Save the Dates, and Invitations

Resourced from theknot.com

Engagement photo referenced from theknot.com, and can be found here.

 

I love the idea of pets being in engagement photo’s, just remember that pets can be unpredictable.  In the event that you hire a photographer, be sure to give them a heads up so that they are also prepared.  It probably wouldn’t hurt to bring some extra treats with you the day of the photoshoot.  Invitations are another great way to include your pet.  Sites such as Shutterfly make creating your own invitations and save the dates a breeze!

 

 

 

Ceremony

Resourced from Brides.com

Wedding image referenced from Huffingtonpost.com, and can be found here.

There is nothing like man’s best friend being the best man, flower girl, ring bearer, or maid of honor! Your pet can have any role at your wedding.  Be sure to check with the venue that they are pet friendly.  If you plan on including your pet, do your homework and check out sites such as BringFido.com for a list of pet friendly attractions.  Receptions can become pretty hectic, and maybe even scary for some pets.  Do not assume that your drunk uncle is keeping an eye out on your pet, hire a pet sitter!

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

The Reception

Resourced from Topweddingsites.com

Image referenced from Topweddingsites.com, and can be found here.

The ceremony is over, and now your pet sitter is keeping an eye on your furbaby. Time to get the party started!  Do not feel bad if your pet can’t be a physical part of the festivities. Have your guests find their seat at a table marked with your pets picture!  There are a lot of cute ways you can include your pet in your decor, such as name place cards, centerpieces, cake toppers, table favors, and so much more!  We understand that some pets may have crossed over the rainbow bridge, but they are forever in your hearts.  Include your beloved pet with a beautiful pet memorial, guest book, or let your guests know that money from the dollar dance will be donated to your favorite rescue in memory of your pet.   It’s your day, make it special.

 

 

 

 

 

Have you included your pet in your wedding?  Please share how in the comments below!  We would love to see pictures too.  Please feel free to post your pictures to our Facebook page!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Social Media Animals of 2015

Let’s face it, the majority of us spend our time on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   I personally have the pleasure of using these platforms to help keep people in the loop of all the exciting events, sales, and pets that come to That Fish Place – That Pet Place.  Throughout my day I can’t help by getting a little distracted by some of the awesome pets that everyone has.  Some of these pets have even skyrocketed to social media fame.  In honor of those pets, I would like to share with you my top five favorite pets from social media.

 

Photo Courtesy of facebook.com/HamiltonTheHipsterCat

Photo Courtesy of Hamilton the Hipster Cat’s Facebook.

Hamilton the Hipster Cat

Hamilton the Hipster Cat grew a catstache before it was cool.  This adorable little guy was a rescue that currently resides in San Francisco, California.  With over 115,000 followers on Facebook and 340,000 on Instagram, Hamilton is a force to be reckoned with. I just can’t get enough of that cute little catstache.

 

 

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Boo the Pomeranian’s Facebook.

Boo the Pomeranian 

I didn’t think it was humanly possible to squeal for five minutes straight without collapsing from exhaustion, but that is exactly what I did when I first saw Boo.  One look at Boo, and you can see why he holds the title of “World’s Cutest Dog.”  Boo is by far the cutest little ball of fluff that I have ever seen, and with over a million followers on Facebook and Instagram, I know I am not the only one who feels the way that I do.

 

 

 

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Photo Courtesy of Grumpy Cat’s Facebook.

Grumpy Cat
You might be living under a rock if you have yet to experience the majesty of Grumpy Cat, aka Tardar Sauce (yes, that is her real name).   Grumpy cat got her famous face likely due to feline dwarfism. She doesn’t let that stop her, and with over 8 million followers on Facebook, 1 million on Instagram, and 50, 000 on Twitter it definitely shows.

 

 

 

 

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Photo Courtesy of Marnie the Dog’s Facebook.

Marnie the Dog

Marnie is what love at first sight means.  Found on the streets in dire need of some TLC, a wonderful woman came and swept Marnie off of her feet and into all of the affection she could ever need.  Though Marnie walks with her head tilted to the left (a result of Vestibular Syndrome), she is perfectly healthy and full of life! Marnie has even recently starred in some commercials for Fresh Pet. With over 300,000 followers on Facebook, over a million on Instagram, and 100,000 on Twitter, it’s very obvious that Marnie has melted the hearts of many, and is sure to be around for a long time to come.

 

Photo Courtesy of Facebook.

Photo Courtesy of Lil Bub’s Facebook.

Lil Bub
Last, but certainly not least, my favorite furry kitty of social media fame is none other than Lil Bub.  One look at her, and you just can’t help falling in love.  Lil Bub was born with several genetic mutations, one of which causes her tongue to always stick out. What makes Lil Bub a lil extra special is that her owner, Mike Bridavsky and Bub partnered with  ASPCA, to create the Lil Bub’s Big Fund.  Money raised by merchandise, appearances, and other events are split up by the ASPCA and in turn donated to animal rescues all across the country.  Lil Bub is living proof that special needs animals are equally awesome to any other pet.   You can see more of Lil Bub on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube.

Do you think you have the next big social media star?  Feel free to share pictures of your stars on our Facebook page!

My Funny Farms Christmas List

We have a trio of guest bloggers today! With all of the hub bub of the holidays, my two adorable cats and my rat wanted to make sure that they weren’t left out from all of the excitement. They’re telling me that they deserve to be on the nice list, and I guess they do 🙂  They asked if they could share their Christmas lists with all of you, and I’m just not one to disappoint.

Sushi McHoneybadger

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Mommy and daddy tell me everyday that they should have just named me Nermal, because I just love being cute!  Puck even tried to mail me to Abu Dhabi once. I don’t need more than what I already have, but mommy insisted I make a list anyway.  I really love sitting on the bed and watching all the birds and squirrels in the yard, so a nice new kitty sill would be a dream!  Sometimes I do get in trouble for clawing up the furniture, so I wouldn’t mind trying a new scratching post. Lastly, I love the refreshing taste of ice cold water.  Sometimes mommy finds me in the sink in the morning licking the faucet.  If I get a water fountain for Christmas, I’m sure it would get plenty of use 🙂

 

 

 

Dahmer

Well, I’m no longer the newest member of the clan, but I get along with everyone wonderfully!  I stay in my cage during the day, but when mom and dad get home I like to sit on their

11124701_10204378083952891_1761663797_nshoulders while they watch television, or cook dinner.  I know that mom and dad can’t keep an eye on me all of the time, so for Christmas I would like to ask Santa for a playpen.  I can be out of my cage for longer periods of time, and stay out of trouble!  I do love to explore but I can’t really do that on my own, so I am hoping that Santa also brings me a runabout ball this year, so that I can go on an adventure!  I can’t get enough of the Yogies yogurt drops either.  I think if Santa brought me a stocking full of those, I would just squeal with excitement!

 

 

Puck

dahmer

I’m the newest addition to the Ries household, and I am still just a baby.  I certainly don’t act like a baby!  I have so much energy to expense during the day and at night, that I can hardly sit still!  That’s why I need a toy that’s going to keep my attention, something like the Petlinks Mystery Motion Cat Toy.  This toy is sure to keep me on the edge of my seat, well…until sister walks by then I have to mess with her (of course).  I know it may be asking for a lot, but I love to climb so much!  If I promise to be good, I would really enjoy a new Kitty’scape Deluxe Playscape. I can climb and play on this for hours!

 

 

There you have it folks!  I’m hoping that my pets gave you some inspiration for that special pet in your life this Christmas.  If you have any questions about some of the products mentioned, please leave them in the comment field below.  Happy Holidays!

How to Prevent Diabetes in Your Cat by Learning from My Mistakes

Growing up I watched as my father tested his blood before meals, and I remember sitting there watching, and jumping right as the needle “snapped” into his finger to test his glucose levels. I grew up thinking that diabetes was just a dad disease. I was too young to understand what the disease meant, how people can get it, and how it can (in some cases) be prevented.  It wasn’t until our cat Roo turned 6, that we found out that she had diabetes. While some pets may be predisposed to the disease, it was by our actions that caused our cat to get the disease that eventually took her life.

Roo the Cat

We got Roo from a sweet lady up the street. All of the neighbor kids would stop by Patty’s house on the way home from the bus stop for milk and cookies. One day, we were beyond ecstatic to discover the kittens her cat had birthed a few months earlier. My sister and I immediately ran home, grabbed my mother’s hand, and ran back to Patty’s house. It took some foot stomping and crying between my sister and I, but we finally convinced my mother to allow us to take Roo home. My sister and I agreed on the name, because of the way she pounced around on her little kitty feet. Looking back on it now, we definitely were not ready for a pet of our own.

How it Started

It started with just a friendly gesture of “here Roo, would you like to try some?” to setting our dinnerware on the ground to allow Roo to lick it clean. We thought it was hilarious watching her lick the plates and bowls. We let her have anything from tastes of our food, to small bowls of ice cream, and shared licks of our popsicles.  Sugar in itself is not toxic to cats, though it is never recommended to allow your cats to have sugars as it leads to obesity and diabetes. We never knew we were doing so much harm. Our cat had Insulin-dependent-Diabetes-Mellitu (IDDM), and it was our fault.

We first noticed the heavy increase of dander by her tail.  We brushed Roo daily, but due to her increase in size and lethargy, she just couldn’t clean herself as well.  After awhile we noticed that the once a day water bowl fill wasn’t cutting it, and we were filling the bowl 2-3 times a day.  My mother who is now a retired RN, knew right away that something wasn’t right.  She called and made an appointment for for Roo the very next day.

Becoming Better Pet Owners

As soon as we received confirmation from the blood tests, we all began to make a plan of attack.  My mother made the decision to do the insulin injections herself, to which I didn’t have any issue with, and neither did my sister.  In case of emergency we watched, and learned how to inject the insulin ourselves.

We habitually ate in the living room so that we could watch television.  We tried to eat more at the kitchen table, but that unfortunately didn’t last very long.  If we ate in the living room we made sure that we took our plates to the kitchen when finished instead of leaving them lie. Roo was put on a weight management formula food, and her feeding instructions were held to a tee.

My best advice to everyone is take care of your pets by feeding them the proper foods, and in the correct serving proportions.  Our cat had to trust an 8 year old and an 11 year old, she didn’t have a choice.  Our pets look to us for love, compassion, and companionship.  They deserve to be taken care of.

Thank you for reading, and if you have any questions please leave them in the comments below.

If you would like more information regarding feline diabetes, please check out these educational resources:

 

What does a Veterinary Technician do?

In honor of National Veterinary Technician Week, we wanted to take the opportunity to get to know a local Veterinary Technician and answer a few questions that we all had. Erica VMC graduated from Wilson College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Veterinary Medical Technology, and has been happily employed with Veterinary Medical Center of Lebanon, Inc. since November of 2003.

What is the difference between a vet and a vet tech? The difference between a vet and a vet tech is that a vet goes to school for longer than a vet tech and a vet can diagnose, prescribe medications, and perform surgery, which a vet tech cannot do.

What was schooling like? What can others expect if they want to become a vet tech? When I went to school I had to take a 4 year program to be able to take the boards to become a certified vet tech. Now there are a lot more programs available where you can go to school for a lot less time and still be able to take the test to become certified. I went to Wilson College, which did offer a lot of hands on learning. I would definitely recommend a program that offers a lot of hands on experiences because a book can only teach you so much.

Why did you want to become a vet tech? Besides that you love animals? I’ve always had an interest in medicine and was always drawn to animal medicine. At first I thought about being a veterinarian but then found that a vet tech seemed to be more hands on with the animals.

What is one piece of advice that you would like to offer others who may be looking to become a vet tech? I would recommend shadowing at a vet clinic to see what exactly vet tech’s do.

Tell me about any training you’ve had in a clinic? In the clinic that I work at I’ve been trained to work the front desk, assist the vet with exams, assist with anesthesia and monitoring during surgery, and perform doctor assigned treatments on hospitalized patients. Every clinic is different, so not all clinics may have their technicians do as much.

Tell me about the animals you cared for and rose in your life? Growing up, my family had dogs. We had a husky mix, then a german shepherd than a shepherd mix. Now I currently have 3 cats, 2 of which I rescued.

erica skunk

What if a client comes in to euthanize a perfectly healthy animal? This question is a hard one. We typically won’t euthanize a healthy animal. Of course there can be exceptions such as if an animal has gotten severely aggressive and all resolutions have been exhausted (medication, working with a behaviorist, possibly re-homing if the issue is just aggression with other pets, etc.) then euthanasia may become an option but we really don’t want it to come to that if at all possible.

Have you had any terrifying experiences with animals? Yes, in the past I have been bitten severely enough to need stitches.

Out of your vet tech experience, what do you enjoy the most? I think I enjoy the fact that every day is different. You never know what exactly you’re going to get each day so it never gets boring.

Tell us about a particular animal’s case that stuck with you? It’s hard to pick one, I would have to say it would have to be a C-section case where the dog had been in labor for hours and we weren’t sure if any of the puppies were still alive but we were able to save mom and all the pups. That was a really awesome feeling when all the pups were nursing off of mom and everyone was okay.

Thank you Erica for taking the time to answer all of our questions. If you would like to know more, feel free to reach out.

Preparing Our Pets for an Emergency or Disaster

We rarely see natural disasters in the state of Pennsylvania, so when they hit it often sends people into a state of panic. Like troops, we assemble at the grocery store at the sheer mention of snow. During flooding we evacuate after moving our most valued positions to the second floor. The outcome is never certain, but one thing that is certain; in a state of panic our pets can be forgotten. How do we keep our pets safe and prepared during these stressful times? It is best to be prepared for these various situations, and it is a lot easier than most people may think.

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Storm image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Gewitter

What to do First
Start by getting your pet microchipped. Microchipping is one of the easiest ways to identify your pet in case it should be separated from you. Collars with ID tags are great, but pets can get out of a collar. Microchipping can be done at veterinary offices, pet supply stores (when a clinic is held), and some local shelters. In the event that you have your pet microchipped, make sure that the information is current! If you move, change your name, change your phone number, or change ownership update the microchip. Some people may do this service at no charge or a small fee, but you can easily do it online at no cost to you. Most microchips do not cost very much ($15-$20), so it is a small price to pay in order to protect your pet.  Learn more about the importance of microchipping here.
Be sure to keep vaccines current too. Pets may roam for a while before they are discovered by a passerby, or show up in a public location. During this time, your pet is at the mercy of the wilderness. Your pet could be exposed to wildlife, various food and water sources, and a wide range of viruses. Stress also creates a weakened immune system. While having your pets up to date on vaccinations is not a guarantee of their safety, it is extremely beneficial to their survival.

teddy-242851_640Build a Pet Emergency Kit
Emergencies can happen at any given time, so it’s best to be also prepared for these given situations. Come up with an evacuation plan, and have drills with your family and pets. In case of injury, or loss of shelter, purchase a ready-made first aid kit or make one on your own. Be sure to place the kit in an accessible area. If you would like to make your own kit, here is a list of materials that you will need.

 

 

 

 

Emergency Contacts List
• Pet’s regular vet contact info and address
• Emergency vet contact information, in case your vet is not available or close by
• Poison Control Phone Number

Supplies
• Clean towels (both cloth and paper)
• Cotton balls and swabs
• Disposable Gloves
• Heat pack or hot water bottle
• Lubricant jelly (mineral oil, KY)
• Nail Clippers
• Kwik-Stop powder or gel
• Hemostats
• Small penlight or flashlight
• Rectal Thermometer
• Scissors
• Syringes of different sizes
• Tweezers
• Wire Cutters
• Bandage Wrap
• Gauze of different sizes
• Band-Aids
• First Aid Tape
• Non-stick pads
• Unflavored Pedialyte
• Saline Solution
• Triple antibiotic ointment for skin
• Probiotic gel (BeneBac, LactoBac, Probios, or Fastrack)
• Wound Disinfectant (Betadine, Povidone)
• A plastic bag of their food
• Blanket
• Favorite toy
• Crate/carrier
• Spare leash and collar
• Any current medications

Some of these items may expire over time, so be sure to check your first aid kit often so that items can be replaced or replenished. While this kit serves as an emergency kit, it can also be used while traveling. Be sure to get your pet proper medical attention as soon as you are able to. Remember that our pets will feed off of our energy. If we are calm, our pet will be calm. In the event that your pet appears to be anxious, be sure to give them their space. Scolding your pet at this time will not benefit either party.

No one wants to be involved in a disaster of any kind, but they do happen.  It is best to be prepared, remain calm, and ensure the safety of yourself and all of your loved ones.

 

Common Pet Parasites and Pests – Warm Weather Worries

Parasites can afflict pets any time of the year, however during the spring and summer months, they tend to be more prevalent. Our pets spend a lot more time outside when the weather is warm, and parasites breed more readily. Even if your pets spend all or most of their time indoors, it is possible for parasites to find them whether carried in on our clothes or by crawling through our screen doors. Here are some common parasites to look out for and ways to combat them this summer. Read More »

Tips for Keeping Your Pet Hydrated – Cheers to Hydration Month!

Water is Essential to Our Pets' Health It’s no secret that your pets need fresh clean drinking water every day for optimum health. It’s also no secret that cats and some dogs are very finicky about, well, pretty much everything! With the warmer weather approaching I want to talk about your pet’s drinking habits.

Water is an essential ingredient to life. All animals need it to help flush out toxins and to keep organs hydrated. Cats especially need to take in an adequate amount of water to prevent kidney problems, most notably kidney stones and kidney failure.

How Much Water
Does My Pet Need?

The amount of water that your pet needs to drink daily depends on his or her weight, activity level, and diet. Dogs are generally pretty good about regulating their water intake. As long as fresh, clean water is provided they will usually drink the amount their body requires. Keep in mind that with the warmer temperatures around the corner, your dog should also be drinking more to stay fully hydrated.

Cats get most of their water intake from their food. In the wild this is not much of an issue since raw meat contains up to 70% water. Dry food, on the other hand, only contains about 10% moisture. Some cats will supplement their food with extra drinking water and others are a little pickier.


Symptoms of
Dehydration in Pets:

    • Sunken Eyes
    • Lethargy
    • Loss of Appetite
    • Dry Mouth
    • Depression

Any sudden change in behavior can be cause for concern. Contact your vet if your pets’ drinking habits change suddenly; if they starting drinking an excessive amount of water, or stop drinking it altogether it could be a sign of a serious illness.

What if I Suspect
Dehydration?

      • Perform the skin test: Gently grab a fold of skin on the back of the neck or between the shoulder blades & release. If the skin snaps back into place, your pet should be okay. If the skin slowly returns to place, your pet could be dehydrated.
      • Have your pet checked by a vet.
      • Provide fresh, clean water daily.
      • Monitor your pet’s water intake, especially in the hot summer months.


Tips for Keeping
Your Pets Hydrated

If you are having trouble getting your pet interested in water there are a few things you can try.

        • Change the type of pet bowl. Some prefer ceramic (lead-free glazed, of course) over metal bowls and vice versa.
        • Try a pet fountain. Clean, fresh, running water might be more enticing for your pet, while others will appreciate the water being filtered (thus tastier) and kept cooler.
        • Change the location of their water dish. Be sure it is far from the litter box and/or out of direct sunlight.
        • Consider adding a wet food to your pet’s diet, or add water to their dry food. Wet cat foods usually contain around 80% water. Just be sure to adjust your portions of dry food to ensure you aren’t over feeding your pet.

Pet Hydration Infographic & Resources Referenced from PetSafe: http://www.petsafe.net/learn/pet-hydration-month

5 Simple Steps to Prevent Pet Obesity

4153580157_7000b383d1_mAccording to leading veterinarians, pet obesity is becoming an epidemic and should be a top health concern for pets. It is estimated that 54 million cats and 34 million dogs in the US are clinically obese. Many pet owners struggle with keeping their pets at an ideal weight.

We’ll admit, it can be sometimes hard to deny those puppy dog eyes and we just want our pets to be happy, right? So why can’t they have a few extra treats if they want them? Unfortunately, a few extra pounds can be detrimental.

The excess weight on our pets can cause a variety of other health problems, the same way obesity can have adverse effects on human health. A few extra pounds on a dog may not seem like anything to worry about, but the added weight can exacerbate arthritis, cause joint and bone issues, and it can greatly increase the possibility that your pet will develop diabetes or cardiac/respiratory disease. Thier immune systems can be diminished, making their ability to fight off other illnesses and disease.

It’s best to learn how to prevent pet obesity before weight related complications arise, because even if your pet loses weight, the damage may be irreversible.

Is My Pet Obese?

The easiest way to tell if your pet is overweight is to feel the ribs. If you can feel the individual rib bones easily your pet is most likely not overweight. The Healthy Weight Calculator from PetMD.com is also a great tool that can help you determine your pet’s proper healthy weight.

 

11273378_177099ccde_mCauses of Obesity

There isn’t just one cause of pet obesity; there are quite a few factors involved! Our pets rely on us to feed them properly and give them the proper amount of physical activity to stay fit. They don’t think about what they eat, if they are overeating and how it may effect their health. If your dogs are like mine, they will accept any treat or table scrap offered without hesitation.

Most pets, including cats, need a fair amount of physical activity each day in order for them to stay fit; a sedentary lifestyle combined with poor nutrition is the number one cause of pet obesity. When deciding what and how much to feed your pets, keep their activity level in mind. The amount of food listed in the instructions on pet food labels may contain too many calories for your pet, especially if they aren’t very active.

Many pet parents ‘free feed’ their animals, in other words, their animals have constant access to food throughout the day. Some pets, though few and far between, are good at self-regulating and stop eating when they are full, while others will scarf down food whenever it’s available. It’s important to measure out the amount of food that your pets eat in a day (including treats and table scraps!), so you can monitor their intake.

Some specific breeds may be more susceptible to obesity. These breeds may be predisposed to conditions including naturally slow metabolism and hormonal disorders that make them more likely to gain weight.

Having a pet spayed or neutered also causes metabolism to slow, and after the procedure many pets gain weight, but the benefits of spaying and neutering your pets far outweigh the negatives.

 

5 Simple Steps to Prevent Pet Obesity

1. Know Your Pets’ Caloric Requirements

The average human needs a 2000 calorie diet to maintain their weight and receive adequate nutrition, our pets need far less. Refer to the following chart to estimate the number of calories that your pets’ require. For a more accurate estimate of your dog’s require caloric intake, visit the Dog Food Advisor’s Dog Food Calculator.

2. Portion Control7362339338_b348e6b8ec_n

Use a smaller scoop and a smaller food bowl. Studies have shown that the size of your pet’s bowl and food scoop affects the amount of food that you feed your pet. If you have a Chihuahua and you are using an 8 inch bowl, you are probably going to overfeed Chico quite a bit. It all has to with how much food you perceive is in the bowl. If you used a small dish, you would perceive that you were feeding more food. If you are trying to help your pet lose weight, using a smaller bowl and a smaller scoop will go a long way towards helping them reach their goals.

3. Keep Track of Snacks

Many people are feeding the right amount of kibble for their dog’s appropriate weight, but they might also be feeding them a dozen milk bones or bites of “people food” throughout the day. Don’t forget that the treats and snacks that you feed your pet throughout the day should also count towards their daily calorie intake. That includes treats used for training! If you pet isn’t a picky eater, try using carrot sticks, apple slices or celery as a substitute for high calorie treats. They’re natural, whole foods and low in calories, and most pets love them.

4. Several Smaller Meals

If you feel that your pet seems hungry throughout the day, try dividing up your pet’s meals into smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. Before you schedule your pet for 4 meals a day, a word of caution: your pet has probably trained you into feeding him when he does something specific. For example: Bear knows that if he sits next to the treat jar looking sad, I will probably hand him a cookie or if my cats meow at the top of their lungs for an hour, I’ll provide them with a scoop of kibble or two. My pets are likely not actually hungry, but they are repeating behaviors that in the past has been rewarded with a treat or extra meal. Try not to give in, redirect them with a game or go for a quick walk if they’re particularly relentless.

3835373704_1db968f4ff_m5. Veggies!

Supplementing meals with fresh or frozen vegetables or low calorie fruits can be a big help. The added fiber in the vegetables will help your pet feel fuller, longer. Don’t feed your pet foods that may be toxic, like tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, garlic, avocados, raw or green potatoes, grapes, raisins, or any pits, stems or seeds from fruits. I also tend avoid corn, since it is a common pet allergen.

You should always consult your veterinarian before putting your dog on a special diet or exercise program. The first, most important and often most difficult step is is to control the amount of food your pet is allowed to eat. If you cannot excercise your pet as often as necessary or if your dog has a condition that hinders activity and natural weight maintenance, your vet can often make recommendations to help with your situation.

A slow and steady approach is the healthiest, just as with people in the same predicament. Make slow changes to your pet’s diet and exercise regime. Your pet shouldn’t lose more than 1-2% of body weight per week.

Maintaining a healthy body weight and an active lifestyle will help you keep your pet at it’s happiest and healthiest for years to come!

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