Healthy Joints in Dogs and Cats Article

Joint Health in Dogs and Cats (Article)

by Rebecca Rose, President of In Clover and Consultant for OnlyNaturalPet.com

Have you noticed that your dog is not able to jump into the car or onto the couch? Does he have difficulty with stairs or does not want to finish a walk? Has your cat stopped grooming, especially her back end? Are her nails long and overgrown? All of these symptoms could mean that your pet is experiencing the discomfort of joint disorder. Joint disorder is the #1 chronic condition affecting up to 25% of dogs and 20% of cats. Yet research shows that less than 1 in 7 dogs with joint disease actually receive care. The good news is that there are easy and effective treatment options available, if you do your homework.

When the Healthy Joint Becomes Unhealthy

In healthy conditions, the natural joint building blocks, cartilage and synovial fluid, reduce friction and act as a shock absorber. The body makes these joint building blocks normally by producing glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs. These GAGs consist of glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and hyaluronic acid. Injury, repeated stress, excess weight, poor diet, and genetic predisposition can contribute to unhealthy joints. In the unhealthy joint, production of these joint building blocks is impaired. The animal’s body is unable to keep up with demand for building blocks, resulting in irritation, inflammation, pain, and decreased mobility.

Treatment Options

Pet guardians have many options to treat unhealthy joints in their dogs and cats, but they fall primarily into two different categories. There are pharmaceutical or drug options and there are natural alternatives. Drug options include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which block the production of prostaglandins associated with pain and inflammation; COX-2 inhibitors, which target specific prostaglandins, and Maxx and Marley the Labrador MixesAspirin/Ascriptin(R), which reduces pain. These drugs are very good at blocking pain and decreasing inflammation. They do not, however, add to the body’s joint lubricants or biochemical process. Work closely with your veterinarian when considering NSAIDs, cats do not metabolize aspirin like dogs and can be toxic, over the counter human products, such as Tylenol(R) cause destruction of red blood cells and should never be given to cats or dogs. Because of the often unacceptable side effects of NSAIDs, there has been a market shift toward natural alternatives.

Natural treatments, used alone or with a drug option, has benefits your pet will feel and you will see. The natural process supplies the body with the joint building blocks- glucosamine, chondroitin and hyaluronic acid. This is what the pet’s body would provide in a healthy situation. Complete natural alternatives also provide select ingredients such as herbs to increase circulation, decrease inflammation and slow oxidative damage allowing the body to repair and rebuild the affected joint. You should notice your pet moving more easily, completing walks, jumping up on the bed or into the car and being more vibrant and happy overall.

Key Active Ingredients in Natural Treatment Alternatives

Joint Building Blocks: Glucosamine and Mucopolysaccharides (Glucosamine, Chondroitin Sulfate, Hyaluronic Acid)
Anti-inflammatory: Yucca, Devil’s Claw, Black Cohosh, Cayenne, MSM
Anti-oxidant: Turmeric, Ginger, Alfalfa, Vitamin C
Circulatory stimulant: Nettle, Celery Seed, Ginger

Non-complete vs. Complete Formulas

If a dog or cat with unhealthy joints receives no treatment, recovery is not likely due to continuing pain, swelling and the body’s inability to produce enough of the joint building blocks. This will lead to a less comfortable and less active life for the pet.

If a dog or cat with unhealthy joints receives an incomplete formula, containing only glucosamine and/or chondroitin sulfate or less than effective amounts of ingredients, repair of the joint may be enabled but many pets will see slow and only partial recovery.

If a dog or cat with unhealthy joints receives a complete formula that combines the joint building blocks with ingredients to decrease inflammation, increase circulation, remove free radicals and enhance absorption, optimal and accelerated recovery will result.

About the Author: Rebecca Rose, President of In Clover, Inc. Ms. Rose is a biochemist and the developer of animal health products. She is the author of three patents on the composition and method for treating joint disorder in vertebrates. In Clover is the maker of Connectin(R), a clinically-tested joint supplement for dog and cats.

(Reprinted with permission from OnlyNaturalPet.com)

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Dealing With Pet-Related Pests Naturally Without Pesticides

By Amber Kingsley

Chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides can be dangerous for our dogs and cats, as well as other animals and wildlife. The toxins found in some of these deterrents and ingredients used to increase a harvest of vegetables and fruits can decrease the lifespan of our pets or cause them unnecessary illnesses and health risks.

When we think of pests, we usually imagine flies and mosquitoes which can be pesky enough in their own regard. But they also carry a number of Casey the Black Labrador, Dalmatian Mixdiseases, like heart-worm or the Zika virus that can be deadly in some cases. But our feathered friends can also be problematic when it comes to our pets. Birds also carry parasites and diseases, along with their feces, they can also damage our property, invade our dwelling space and irritate our animals.

Luckily there are some methods of keeping these flying menaces away from our property and our animals without harming us or the environment. For example, there are some visual deterrents that can keep these animals at bay. Putting out plastic birds of prey, like an owl or falcon, will not only make other flying predators think twice before flying by, they can also curb the rodent population from moving into the area.

Food and Treats

Another way of keeping unwanted animals and pests from encroaching into your space is to ensure we’re not inadvertently feeding them in some way. Don’t feed or give your pets treats outdoors if at all possible, but if you do give them food outside, be sure to bring in the bowl and any leftovers. If you have fruit bearing trees or a garden, keep ripe or fallen foods off the ground.

Don’t store pet foods or treats outdoors, and make sure that garbage cans and other sources of potential meals are either tightly sealed or kept in an outbuilding or other indoor location like a garage. Speaking of outbuildings, be sure these are closed at all times to keep unwanted tenants from taking up residence inside.

There’s No Place Like Home

Doug the Bernese Mountain Dog, Poodle MixMake your yard, garden or other outdoor area less likely for critters to move in. Use items as hiding places or shelter from a storm. Overgrown bushes, shrubs, wood and compost piles are a common attractant for animals. Keep this shrubbery well-groomed and trimmed and be sure things like compost and piles aren’t easily accessible to your pets.

When it comes to flies, mosquitoes and other flying pests, make sure that exterior doors, windows and screens in your home are all in good working order. Screens with holes can be patched, windows and doors can be better sealed or efficient weather stripping can be installed to prevent intrusion through these small spaces. You can also use citronella candles and other natural ways to keep these flying critters away.

Don’t forget to rid outdoor areas of standing water in barrels, buckets and puddles to keep baby mosquitoes (larvae) from forming in the first place. Swimming pools should always be properly maintained, and report abandoned or neglected pools to local health officials. If you have a bird bath, be sure to wash them out every few days to stop larvae from sticking to the bottom.

We can keep our pets safer and our property less inhabited by flying pests and pesky forms of destructive wildlife by using some of these preventative measures. Don’t pick up a spray to keep them away, instead utilize some simple practices to make them less welcome in our environment.

 
Chihuahua Pincer Mix

Addressing Eye and Ear Disorders Holistically (Article)

by Dr. Larry Siegler, Consulting Vet for OnlyNaturalPet.com

Eye Disorders

The eyes have been called “a window to the soul.” You know when your cat is giving you “the look” by the way he holds his head and seems to glare. Your dog can melt your heart with her adoring big brown eyes that assure you she loves you from the tip of her wet nose to the end of her wagging tail. Our companions find many ways to communicate with us without words, and their eyes can be a fascinating and important communication tool for them. Eye health is important for more than just vision, but vision is of course our primary concern.

The following are the most common eye problems veterinarians see. Any time you suspect a vision problem due to a change in behavior, or you notice your companion squinting or showing signs of eye discomfort, it is important to seek veterinary advice promptly.

Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. The lens is made up of mostly water and protein. A cataract is formed when protein begins to clump together in an abnormal way and clouds a small area of the lens.

Cataracts often require surgery, though the timing of the surgery may or may not be urgent. When a younger dog develops cataracts it is typically due to congenital issues and the cataracts often progress more rapidly requiring surgery sooner rather than later. This is also true for cataracts caused by diabetes. For an older animal, however, you may be able to slow the progression enough to delay or even eliminate the need for surgery, depending on the extent of vision impairment at the time of diagnosis and the age of the animal.Chloe and Isabel

Prevention and treatment both begin with the basics: a very high quality diet supplemented with additional vitamins and minerals. Diet is the foundation of good health and this is the most important thing you can do for your companion. Many chronic degenerative diseases such as cataracts develop over time as a result of inadequate nutrition and exposure to toxins in the food and environment.

Some people are not comfortable with feeding raw food. If this is the case for you, consider dehydrated or freeze dried food to supplement the diet, or a very high quality canned food — or even better yet, home-made food or healthy leftovers. Basically, the fresher the diet, the better it is for an animal’s health and immune system.

Herbal supplements (I recommend the herb Bilberry) can be extremely helpful for cataracts. Bilberry is believed to improve circulation to the eye and thus the delivery of needed nutrients to eye tissue. The dosage for cats is approximately 20 mg. per day, and for dogs 40-280 mg. per day depending on the size of the dog. In addition, a high quality antioxidant supplement may slow the progression of cataracts.

Homeopathy can be helpful in some cases of cataracts. The choice of remedy, however, is very specific for each animal and needs to be guided by a veterinarian trained in homeopathy.

Conjunctivitis

Eye inflammation, or conjunctivitis, generally occurs more often in animals with pre-existing immune or allergy-related problems. When your dog or cat shows symptoms of sore, red eyes with a discharge, the first thing to do is determine the cause. This may be as simple as a minor scratch or irritating foreign matter, a result of environmental toxin exposure or airborne allergies, or more serious issues such as feline herpes or glaucoma. A trip to the veterinarian is crucial when you see signs of eye irritation, as waiting too long can mean the difference between saving the animal’s sight and losing it. Eyebright is a very common herb used for eye irritations. Eyebright eye washes are often helpful to control symptoms and minor infections.

If allergies are suspected as the cause of conjunctivitis, it is best to change to a hypoallergenic diet. Nutraceutical allergy formulas can also be quite helpful in battling airborne allergies. They act as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory agents.

Feline Herpes

If a cat’s eyes are watering and producing a thick whitish discharge, feline herpes may be the cause. The inside lining of the eyelids become inflamed, and shallow, painful ulcers develop. The eyewashes containing eyebright mentioned above can assist in cleansing and soothing the eye.

Feline Herpes is generally a result of a weakened immune system, so diet and immune support need attention. To help control the virus the amino acid L-lysine may be helpful. L-lysine can be found at any natural food store. The dosage for cats is 500 mg. twice a day. Several products contain L-lysine along with other vitamins and herbs to help support the immune system during infection and on a long-term basis.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This condition involves a shrinking or degeneration of the retina of the eye. Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) is more common in dogs. PRA may develop slowly, initially resulting in night blindness. If you notice your companion hesitating to go outside at night or down a darkened hall or stairway, suspect vision problems and see a veterinarian.

In cats this disease is most commonly related to Taurine deficiency, which is now less of a problem than previously as all commercially available cat foods are formulated with added Taurine. Raw diets that include organ meats provide the most natural source of Taurine. For those feeding a home-prepared diet, Taurine supplementation is important. Taurine is readily available at health food and vitamin stores. Cats can receive up to 500 mg. or more per day.

Doug the Bernese Mountain Dog, Poodle MixAs with any degenerative disease, diet is the place to begin in stopping or at least slowing this condition. Bilberry is useful for PRA for the same reasons it may help with cataracts — increased circulation and nutrients to the eye tissue.

Zinc and/or Vitamin E deficiency is thought to affect PRA. Supplementing the diet with zinc is important if your dog is from a breed predisposed to PRA. Vitamin E in a high quality antioxidant formula is also valuable in preventing and treating PRA.

Essential fatty acids, particularly DHA from fish oil, may also play an important role in preventing or slowing the progression of PRA. I recommend essential fatty acids be a daily part of every companion animal’s diet as it plays such an important role in maintaining health in a wide variety of ways.

Ear Disorders

Chronic ear infections and yeast problems are frequently a sign of allergies. Allergies are becoming more and more common and troublesome in both dogs and cats. Diet, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and essential fatty acids are the basics for treating allergies and chronic ear problems from the inside out.

Many animals with food sensitivities and allergies have seen dramatic improvement on raw, freeze dried, or dehydrated food. As discussed previously, the fresher the diet, the better it is for your companion’s health & immune system. Dry food is just not a good option for cats, especially those with allergies. Dry kibble can be part of a healthy diet for dogs; however dogs with chronic ear problems or allergies require hypo-allergenic food, which means no wheat, corn or soy. Sometimes it may mean no beef or chicken too, due to a protein sensitivity. This usually can be accomplished with grain free foods.

Most animals with food allergies have unhealthy gastrointestinal systems that are not able to digest food properly. Leaky gut develops and then molecules that are too large for the body to process are allowed through the gut wall, setting off allergic reactions and creating the optimal conditions for yeast infections. The symptoms may appear in the ears, but you have to heal the gut to really get rid of the allergies. Digestive enzymes help break down Soft and Maple the Curly Coated Retrieversthe food so that there is less of a chance of the larger molecules passing through the intestinal walls, probiotics help restore a healthy balance of flora in the gut and aid digestion, and fatty acids help reduce inflammation and heal the gut as well as nourish the skin.

Supplement every meal with digestive enzymes to aid digestion and assimilation of the nutrients in processed foods. Digestive enzymes must be added at every meal of cooked or processed food. The enzymes do not remain in an animal’s system beyond digestion of the food immediately present in the digestive tract. A raw diet does not necessarily need digestive enzyme supplementation once an animal has been fully transitioned to raw food, although the addition of enzymes can enhance the healing quality of the raw diet.

Probiotics are especially important for an animal that has been on steroids or antibiotics as they kill the healthy gut flora and set up conditions for the allergies to worsen. Probiotics are helpful for any animal that has had chronic gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting or diarrhea as well.

Essential fatty acids, preferably fish oil, are vital to nourish the skin and coat and help reduce inflammation in the animal’s system. Allergies involve inflammation of the gut and often can affect the joints as well. You can increase the dosage above what is recommended on the bottle, but if you see loose stools, then reduce the dosage a bit until stool consistency normalizes. If the change in diet and adding enzymes and fatty acids do not completely solve the issue, then consider a supplement.

(Reprinted with permission from OnlyNaturalPet.com)

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Exercise for Dogs and Cats (Article)

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by Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM, Veterinarian Advisor for OnlyNaturalPet.com

We tend to emphasize nutrition, and rightly so because it truly is the foundation of good health. However, one of the other great cornerstones of vibrant health and long life is exercise. Moderate, regular exercise will help keep your pet at a healthy weight and keep the joints flexible. It also provides mental stimulation, which is important for all pets, but especially those who spend most of their time indoors.Doug the Bernese Mountain Dog, Poodle Mix

Exercise for Dogs

Big dogs make great hiking companions, especially here in rugged Colorado, where we’ve joked for years about the Labrador Retriever being the “state dog.” Most medium-sized and large dogs seem able to handle all kinds of weather. But it’s easy to let a smaller dog become a couch potato, going out only to answer the call of nature and hurrying right back in. They’re not built for long treks, and they can disappear completely in a foot or two of snow!

The first step with any dog is to make sure you have the right collar or harness. Studies have shown that excessive pressure from a neck collar can damage a dog’s trachea (windpipe), so a walking harness may be a better choice for dogs that pull. Small dogs do exceptionally well with supportive harnesses. Of course, a good leash that’s sturdy and easy to handle is always a good investment!

Exercise for Cats

Cats need exercise too, and while it’s possible to train a cat to walk with a cat harness and leash, at-home interactive play is the best way to keep your cat’s mind and body engaged and resilient. A 15-minutes session once or twice a day is ideal.

To help your cat get the most from these interactive toys, the key is to “BE the prey.” Use your imagination, and have fun! If you’re a mouse, run, jump and hide; if you’re a bird, flutter and dive. Always let your cat catch the prey in the end, and follow up with a high-protein treat such as canned food. This not only exercises your cat’s physical side, but also satisfies the mental/emotional “hunter” part — an important consideration in multi-cat homes to prevent aggressive behavior. It’s also a terrific way to help chubby kitties lose weight, as well as to prevent boredom and the unwanted behaviors that sometimes go with it!

Importance of YOU in Playtime

Jackson the Terrier MixWhen you start an exercise program for your pet, use the same common-sense precautions you would with any other new activity. Don’t go hog wild all at once; your pet can get sore muscles and even cause damage to joints, because they don’t know when to stop and will usually keep going as long as you can. Build up your pet’s endurance gradually, and watch for signs that he’s had enough — wanting to lie or sit down, or showing any degree of labored breathing.

You’ll notice that all of these suggestions have one thing in common: you! Sure, you can leave toys out for your pets to play with, but their greatest joy is to play with you, so please make room for that quality time with your best buddy.

(Reprinted with permission from OnlyNaturalPet.com)

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Hey pet parents… You should know who makes your pet foods

By Rodney Habib — Pet Nutrition Blogger

Believe it or not, most pet parents today have no idea who makes their pet foods. In fact, they also have no idea that most of the brands out there are owned by the same companies! Check it out:

Know who makes your pet's food

Mars Inc. — Mars Petcare creates 41 brands in total, including four billion-dollar brands…

Pedigree
Iams
Whiskas
Royal Canin
Banfield (vet clinics)

Other leading brands include:

Kitekat
Cesar
Nutro
Sheba
Chappi
Catsan
Frolic
Perfect fit
Greenies
Eukanuba
California naturals
Innova
Evo

Nestle — Purina’s significant brands and product lines include…

Alpo
Beggin’ StripsBakers
Beneful
Busy
Chef Michael’s
Deli-Cat
Fancy Feast
Felix
Friskies
Gourmet
Just Right
Merrick Pet Care
Mighty Dog
Purina Beyond
Purina Cat Chow
Purina Dog Chow
Purina ONE
Purina Pro Plan
Purina Veterinary Diets
Secondnature
T Bonz
Tidy Cats
Waggin’ Train
Whisker Lickin’s
Zuke’s

 

13 Seriously Crazy Pet Laws That You Can’t Believe Are Real (Infographic)

For pet lovers, there’s nothing more important than keeping animals safe and secure. But, most people don’t know the extent that some governments actually go to protect their pets, not to mention other wildlife. It’s always wise to learn how to properly care for your animal from the pros, but you may also need to check out these crazy laws to ensure you keep things legal.

Common Pet Laws

Now, there are plenty of pet laws that are by-the-book, very important rules put in place to protect animals and to help safeguard the rights of pet owners. These are valuable pieces of legislation. They often govern things like how many pets a home can have as well as the proper living conditions for animals. These laws are very serious and should be followed by every pet owner.

Wacky Pet Legislation

Sometimes, laws get a little out of hand. Carrington College found 13 existing U.S. laws that will surely have you scratching your head and wondering exactly why anyone would go through the trouble to put them in place. These are real laws — you can’t make these up! And they cover just about every type of animal in all types of circumstances. From llamas to camels, there are plenty of pretty interesting rules you need to follow as a pet owner in certain corners of the country. In this infographic below, take a closer look at some of the strangest pet laws currently on the books throughout the U.S.

Crazy Pet Laws Infographic

 

What To Do If Your Dog Eats Your Stash Of Chocolate (Article)

By Cecilia Casillas @ ColourPetStudio

Chocolate is a common treat that most humans adore. Unfortunately for our pet dogs, this simple and yummy treat can be dangerous and life No Chocolatethreatening for our four-legged best friend. Why is this you ask? Commonly chocolate contains two major chemical ingredients which can cause your dog’s heart to race and their nervous system to be on high alert. Theobromine and caffeine, when consumed in high amounts by your pet, can cause their organs to go into overdrive resulting in organ failure.

This generally starts with the kidneys failing first. This is why it’s very important to keep your chocolate stash away from your pet dog at all times. But what happens when they happen to get into your stash? This quick guide will give you some of the things you need to do when you suspect your pet has consumed chocolate. But first what are the symptoms of chocolate poisoning?

Chocolate Poisoning In Dogs: What Are The Signs

Generally chocolate poisoning in your dog will begin between 6-12 hours after they’ve ingested it. It can last anywhere up to 72 hours. The most common and noticeable signs include:

Seizures
Elevated heart rate
Tremors
Diarrhoea
Restlessness
Vomiting
Increased urination
Collapsing
In severe cases death

What To Do If Your Pet Finds Your Chocolate Stash: Stay Calm And Don’t Panic

When you suspect that your pet has eaten chocolate, it’s important to stay as calm as possible and don’t panic. In a situation such as this, panicking can cause your pet’s heart to race more as they notice your stress. Calming yourself and staying focused can really help your pet greatly.

Assess What Chocolate They’ve Eaten

Some chocolates are more toxic than others so it’s important to take note of the type of chocolate they’ve eaten. This can help the vet to work out a plan of treatment when treating your pet. Dark chocolate or the ones with a higher amount of cocoa powder are the ones that are more dangerous to your pet. As a guide:

Milk chocolate that’s eaten in abundance of 0.5 ounces per pound of your pet’s body weight can be dangerous.
Ingestion of baker’s chocolate is dangerous at any amount and your pet should see a vet immediately.

Take Note Of How Much Was EatenChocolate Bad for Dogs

The amount of chocolate that was eaten also needs to be recorded if you can. The more the dog has eaten, the higher the severity of poisoning will be. However, this does depend on your dog’s size as well. If you have a larger pet dog and they’ve eaten a couple of squares, you only need to monitor your pet for a while. Some larger dogs can overcome eating a few smaller pieces of chocolate so it’s not necessary to take them to the vet.

Call A Veterinarian

A vet should be called when your pet has eaten a large portion of chocolate. Your vet will be able to give you advice on what to do and any treatment options they may be able to perform to help limit the effects of the poisoning. Sometimes your vet may induce vomiting to help remove any chocolate that’s been recently eaten. Your vet may also give your pet activated charcoal to help reduce the dog’s ability to absorb the toxins. Pets that have a medical condition or are elderly should be seen by a vet immediately when you suspect they’ve eaten chocolate.

Conclusion

While chocolate may be a great treat for human, unfortunately for a furry friend, it can cause major problems when ingested. The best way to keep your pet away from eating chocolate is by placing it in a high, enclosed cupboard out of reach. By doing this you’ll reduce the risk of your pet getting sick while still saving your chocolate stash.


About the author: Born in Mexico, a country of vivid beauty and colorful people, Cecilia Casillas brings the passion of her country of birth into her current artistic work with pets. Cecilia has painted since childhood, and studied with Mexican painter Paul Achar and Chilean painter Carlos Arias. In 2014, she came to Melbourne to continue refining her artistic skills, and finishing her bachelor’s degree. Founding Colour Pet Studio in 2014 has allowed her to share her pet painting skills with people from all over the world. She now brings pet owners joy through her painting.

 

The Rising Problem of Dog Obesity (Article)

By Joe Thomas @ VetSure

As man’s best friend, dogs should be loved, praised and treated to a good life. But at what point does pampering turn to serious harm? According to the Pet Foods Manufacturers Association, nearly half of all dogs seen by vets are overweight. Far from being cute and cuddly, obesity in pets causes much the same problems as it does in humans, shortening their life span by around two years and causing a myriad of physical and medical problems.

The Problem

Obesity is much easier to prevent than it is to cure, so it’s important that all pet owners are aware of the causes of dog obesity and how best to avoid them. The main factor is overfeeding. This can be the result of too many treats from the owner or simply a lack of awareness of the calorie count in dog food. A small dog that weighs 22 pounds (10 kg) or less, for example, requires around 392 calories a day. An average tin of wet dog food contains 350 calories. One of those, plus a doggy treat or two, and your dog has had more than enough food for the day.

It’s the giving of treats, however, that hits dogs the hardest and also, how we misuse these treats, too. Rewarding your dog is to be encouraged in pet owners, for dogs need to understand when they’re behaving well and to know that it is beneficial to them (and others) to do so.

The best way to do this is with specially produced dog treats that improve health at the same time as reward. These ensure there is nothing toxic in the food and that fat levels are kept low. When dogs are treated to food from the table or off-cuts of last night’s roast it is easy to forget how fatty and calorific these things are. One roast potato, for instance, is 137 calories. Whilst that’s just 5% of a human’s daily calorie intake — a slight amount — it is 35% of a small dog’s. That’s over a third of all their food for the day. (See infographic below.)

The Effects

The consequences of overfeeding your dog are quite dire. As with humans, obesity in dogs can lead to serious health problems that are not only going to cost you a lot in terms of vet bills but will also lead to premature death. A few of these conditions are orthopedic disease, diabetes, cardio-respiratory disease, urinary disorders and anaesthetic complications, not to mention the discomfort and lack of energy that will impede your dog’s happiness.

A study that monitored the food intake and lifespans of two groups of Labradors found that those who were given a 25% restricted diet lived significantly longer (13 years to 11.2) than those who had more food and the onset of chronic diseases was delayed and less severe.

The Study

Denial plays quite a big part in dog obesity and it’s an issue that needs to be addressed. Dog owners fail to see the danger of a few extra pounds or think that they are spoiling their dog by giving it extra food or fatty meats, when in reality they are simply substituting their time and love with treats.

A study of the human-animal relationship in normal and obese dogs found that often obese dogs were “over humanized” by their owners, where the natural characteristics of the dog, such as being sources of work, protection and exercise, were ignored in favor of gaining a human-like companion. Such dogs are given lots of treats, allowed to sleep in the bed with the owner and are talked to regularly. Such an attitude goes against the natural disposition of the dog and damages its quality of life, producing overweight and under-exercised dogs.

The Solutions

Combating obesity requires regulation and control. Research how many calories your dog needs based on weight and breed and source wholesome, healthy food that will satisfy all of your dog’s nutritional requirements. It’s also important to establish set meal-times, for this will teach your dog when to expect food and when not to, as well as stabilizing their metabolism and digestive system. Low-fat treats should be used only to reward for good responses and practices.

As well as a good diet, dogs must be exercised regularly. On average, your dog will need lots of 30-minute exercises in one day but, again, this will vary depending on the size and breed of your dog. Different breeds have different requirements, too. Pointers, for example, need open fields to gallop around and hunt out wildlife, whilst a Labrador will depend much more on you to throw balls and play with him.

It’s also important to be aware that Labradors and Golden Retrievers are notoriously prone to gaining weight. Adjust your dog’s lifestyle according to what its breed requires and you will find that its weight will balance out and its energy will be long-lasting, making a very happy dog and a highly valuable pet.

Human Food for Dogs: A Translation

Source of infographic: VetSure.com