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

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Ten Pet Myths (Article)

by OnlyNaturalPet

Sorting through pet myths and pet truths can be a difficult task, but understanding the difference can be vital for your pet’s health and well being. Let us help you separate the fact from the fiction and help your pet live the healthy, happy life he deserves.

1. A warm or dry nose means a sick dog

Regular fluctuations in the temperature and moisture of a dog’s nose are normal. Canine distemper used to be a prevalent virus which caused a thickening of the nose and footpads. A cold, wet nose indicated the dog didn’t have distemper. Today distemper is uncommon due to vaccinations.

2. All cats are loners

Many cats love company and spending time with their humans. It’s not unusual for a cat to follow you around and try to ‘help’ with whatever chores you’re doing — from typing emails to wrapping packages.

3. Eating Grass = A Sick Pet or an Upset Stomach

It’s believed that grass is a normal part of the ancestral diet for both dogs and cats, consumed in the belly of their prey. Many pets eat grass because it tastes good, or because they crave certain nutrients missing from their food. While some pets vomit after eating too much grass, this is generally a side effect, not an intended result. If your dog or cat regularly eats too much grass and vomits, you should probably discourage eating grass and look for ways to enhance their diet.

4. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

You’ve heard it said a million times. But while this might be true for humans, it’s definitely not for dogs! Fifteen minutes a day is usually enough to teach the most stubborn dog to sit, stay and a few other fun tricks.

5. A purring cat is a happy cat and a wagging tail means a happy dogPet Myths

Cats purr when they’re happy, but also when they’re anxious or nervous. In the same way, dogs wag their tails to show happiness, but also excitement, stress, or even aggression. Pay attention to the overall body language of dogs and cats to fully understand a wagging tail or a purr.

6. Giving supplements to pets is a painful & difficult process

Not true! Many supplements come in powders, tasty chewables, or even treats – and pill pockets can work wonders.

7. When pets lick their wounds, it speeds up healing

Licking a wound too much actually slows down the healing process. Speed up the healing process and ease irritation with all natural herbal ointments.

8. An itchy pet is always a sign of fleas

Allergies are the most common cause of itching and licking, and there are other skin irritants and diseases which need to be ruled out as well when tracking the source of the itch.

9. MYTH: Pets get stiff when they get old (FACT: They get old when they get stiff!)

Just like humans, you’re not old till you feel old! Keep your dog playing like a puppy and your cat playing like a kitten with joint health support.

10. Changing foods is bad for your pet’s digestion

Would you want to eat dry cereal 3x/day every day? And changing up foods means overall better nutrition too, as long as it’s healthy, high-quality foods.

(Reprinted with permission from OnlyNaturalPet.com)

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Caring for Your Senior Pet (Article)

by Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM, Consulting Vet for OnlyNaturalPet.com

Getting older… it’s happening to all of us every day, including our pets. And just like humans, dogs and cats are prone to a number of medical problems as they get older. With diet, supplements, and extra care, many of these conditions can be prevented, delayed, or managed, to give your pet the best possible quality of life throughout the senior years. Here are a few of the health issues you may run into as your pet ages, and some things you can do treat them naturally:

Arthritis

Most older pets eventually develop arthritis. What is usually considered “slowing down,” or “a little stiff,” or even sleep disturbances (because they just can’t get comfortable) may be a sign of significant joint disease. Extra weight makes arthritis that much worse, so an older dog may need a good weight loss program (older cats tend to lose weight by themselves). A high protein diet helps protect lean muscle mass while shedding fat. Proper weight and moderate exercise are the keys to comfort.

Joint protectors and anti-inflammatories can help, and they include glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, and MSM (methyl-sulfonyl-methane); all of which can be added to wet food. Other herbs and minerals may also be helpful. Antioxidants provide good anti-inflammatory action and pain relief. It may take 3-5 weeks for improvement to be noticeable.

Digestive Slowdown

AbigirlAs they age, pets experience a decreased ability to digest and metabolize protein and fat that occurs with age. Older pets need more and better quality protein. Wet foods are ideal for older cats and dogs — this includes food in cans or pouches, as well as frozen raw diets. They’re easier to digest, and much more palatable. Adding digestive enzymes and probiotics will help your pet get the most nutrition from food, and there are specific digestive support remedies available for more severe issues.

Kidney Disease (Chronic Renal Failure, CRF, or Chronic Kidney Disease, CKD)

The kidneys have a lot of responsibility, and they work hard 24/7. Over time, cells die and are replaced by scar tissue. Only when 75% of kidney function is irreversibly lost will signs of kidney disease occur. CRF is very common in older cats, but dogs can also develop the disease.

One thing you’ll hear from friends and even from vets is that protein is bad for the kidneys. But dietary protein has nothing whatsoever to do with the development of kidney disease (in dogs or cats). In fact, in older pets without pre-existing kidney disease, canned food or other high protein, high moisture diets are recommended.

Antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil or cod liver oil) are proven to be highly beneficial for pets with kidney disease. There is new evidence that probiotics can also be helpful. There are also specific kidney support products available.

Dental Disease

This is the most common problems that vets see in dogs and cats. It often begins by the tender age of 3 – and gets worse from there! Many dogs and most cats are relatively stoic about pain, and problems such as abscessed teeth and oral tumors can easily be missed. One solution is to take your older pet in for a thorough checkup twice a year instead of just once. (But don’t let the vet vaccinate your older pet, unless the rabies vaccine is required by law.) Try to brush your pet’s teeth at home, or use one of the products that help minimize plaque.

Cognitive Dysfunction (Senility)

Both dogs and cats can develop cognitive (learning and memory) problems as they get older, which are increasingly recognized as a form of dementia or even “Alzheimer’s.” Antioxidants and Omega-3 fatty acids (cod liver oil is best for this condition) are valuable in keeping your pet’s brain functioning at its best.

Cancer

Half of dogs over age 10 will develop cancer, the most frightening diagnosis of all. At its most basic, cancer is the result of immune system failure – itself the result of poor diet, over-vaccination, genetics, and environmental factors. Keeping the immune system in peak condition is, of course, fundamental to good health overall, but given the role it may play in so many degenerative diseases, including cancer, is just good sense. Besides exercise, fresh air, and great nutrition, there are supplements especially designed for immune support. Antioxidants and Omega-3s are vital to the immune system. There are also ancient healing remedies such as herbs and medicinal mushrooms that have been used for generations or even centuries to deal with serious health issues.

(Reprinted with permission from OnlyNaturalPet.com)

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Consumers And Veterinarians Should Take Note of New FDA Decision

By Susan Thixton, Pet Food Safety Advocate

The latest Pet Food privilege announced by the FDA is regarding prescription cat and dog food. All pet food consumers and veterinarians should take note of this recent FDA Compliance Policy…

For decades the FDA has strictly enforced their idea that drugs are the only cure or treatment for illness — refusing to allow any food to make health or wellness claims. A claim such as “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is forbidden.

But in the FDA’s infinite collusion with Big Industry, the agency allows pet food the same privilege of a drug (to claim it can cure or treat disease) without any of the requirements of a drug. Pet food is allowed to claim it can cure or treat disease without having to prove the effectiveness or even the safety of the pet food.

Below are the ingredients of a prescription dog food — Purina Veterinary Diets NF Kidney Function Canine Formula Dry/Kibble. This dog food, sold through a veterinarian, is allowed to make the claim of treating kidney disease in dogs:

Ingredients (bold added for emphasis): “Whole grain corn, brewers rice, dried egg product, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), sugar, dried whey, sodium caseinate, animal digest, calcium carbonate, vegetable oil, potassium chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, fish oil, salt, potassium citrate, choline chloride, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, garlic oil, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.”

The FDA believes that “Whole grain corn” — certain to be GMO corn, certain to contain glyphosate (recently classified as a “possible carcinogen” by the World Health Organization) — can cure or treat kidney disease.

The FDA believes that “Animal Fat & Animal Digest” — products of the rendering industry, allowed through their legal definition to be sourced from diseased or non-slaughtered/dead animals — which is a violation of federal law (the same laws FDA is supposed to enforce), these same ingredients FDA testing determined are “from animal sources that could include euthanized animals” (and include the lethal drug used to euthanize the animal) — can cure or treat kidney disease.

Never to be held accountable, the FDA admits in their Compliance Policy Guidance document that “Animal health may suffer when dog and cat food diets intended to treat or prevent disease, but which are not approved as new animal drugs, are fed to pets. These products have not been evaluated by FDA for safety, efficacy, or nutritional adequacy.” In other words, FDA states pet foods that are allowed to claim they treat or cure disease have not been tested to assure consumers the product can actually treat or cure any disease and — even worse — the agency states they might not be safe.

In an interesting (and serious) twist, the FDA places the responsibility of safety of these prescription pet foods on veterinarians.  The new Compliance Policy Guidance states (bold added):

“Because these products have not been evaluated for safety and efficacy, veterinary oversight is especially important to provide periodic assessment of how the animal is reacting to the diet and to discontinue the product’s use when warranted.”

The FDA is telling veterinarians THEY are responsible for this “food drug” because it has not been tested for safety and effectiveness.

Below are the ingredients of another prescription pet food — Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary ST/OX Feline Formula Can. This cat food, sold through a veterinarian, is allowed to make claims of treating kidney disease in cats:

Ingredients (bold added for emphasis): Meat by-products, water sufficient for processing, liver, chicken, poultry by-products, rice, calcium gluconate, oat fiber, guar gum, sodium bisulfate, potassium chloride, caramel color, carrageenan, salt, taurine, Vitamin E supplement, calcium phosphate, zinc sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, copper sulfate, niacin, Vitamin B-12 supplement, riboflavin supplement, calcium pantothenate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), Vitamin D-3 supplement, folic acid, potassium iodide, biotin.

The FDA puts veterinarians in a position to learn the legal definition of “Meat by-products,” which allows it to be sourced from animal intestines or diseased animal parts rejected for use in human food.

The FDA puts veterinarians in a position to learn the legal definition of “Poultry by-products,” which allows it to be sourced from ground whole poultry – including feathers, feet and intestines – and including ground alive spent laying hens (hens no longer producing eggs).

The FDA puts veterinarians in a position to learn the research on “Caramel Color,” which is linked to cancer.

And the FDA puts veterinarians in a position to learn that “Animal studies have repeatedly shown that food-grade ‘Carrageenan‘ causes gastrointestinal inflammation and higher rates of intestinal lesions, ulcerations, and even malignant tumors.”

And should a veterinarian not invest the time to learn the risks of many ingredients used in prescription pet foods — because the FDA dumped responsibility of the safety and efficacy of these pet foods into the lap of veterinarians — it appears the the FDA just set them up for consumer lawsuits (should the prescription pet food cause additional illness to the pet).

Every practicing veterinarian should carefully read the FDA Compliance Policy regarding prescription pet foods.

One more thing…

Are prescription pet foods really different than other pet foods? Below is a comparison of the first 13 ingredients of Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets UR Urinary ST/OX Feline Formula Can and the first 12 ingredients of Purina Friskies Classic Page Country Style Dinner Can…

Purina RX Friskies

As you can see, the ingredients of the two pet foods are almost identical. Identical except for the price…

Purina Rx Friskies cost

Source of pet food prices: Chewy.com. Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diet. Purina Friskies Diet.

Nicely done FDA. The new Compliance Policy provides your friends in Big Pet Food another easy way to profit; selling Rx pet foods that include illegal/waste ingredients while putting the sole responsibility of the safety and effectiveness of the Rx food on the shoulders of practicing veterinarians.


Learn much more at TruthAboutPetFood.com

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Abby the English Setter Mix

Health Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Pet

Coconut Oil Benefits

Source: Rodney Habib, Pet Nutrition Blogger

The health and nutritional benefits that can be derived from consuming coconut oil have been recognized in many parts of the world for centuries. Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil is the richest natural source of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).

Fed to pets it may have multiple benefits including…

Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
Helps control body and breath odor
Aids in elimination of hairballs and coughing
Aids healing of digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel syndrome and colitis
Contains powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal agents that prevent infection and disease
Prevents and treats yeast and fungal infections, including candida
Promotes normal thyroid function
Helps prevent or control diabetes
Aids in arthritis relief
Reduces allergic reactions
Improves skin health and hair condition
Disinfects cuts and promotes wound healing
As an antioxidant, it is 50 times more potent than Vitamin E, 15 times more potent than carrots, and 300 times more potent than tomatoes.

Most of coconut oil’s health benefits come from medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs), also known as medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). According to former University of Maryland biochemist and dietary fats researcher Mary Enig, PhD, “The lauric acid in coconut oil is used by the body to make the same disease-fighting fatty acid derivative monolaurin that babies make from the lauric acid they get from their mothers’ milk. The monoglyceride monolaurin is the substance that keeps infants from getting viral, bacterial, or protozoal infections.”

Coconut oil’s capric and caprylic acid have similar properties and are best known for their antifungal effects. Like lauric acid, capric acid helps balance insulin levels.

In addition to protecting the body against infection, medium-chain fatty acids are efficiently metabolized to provide an immediate source of fuel and energy, enhancing athletic performance and aiding weight loss.

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Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil available at Only Natural Pet Store in 15 oz (approximately 30 tbsp) and 29 oz liquid (approximately 59 tbsp) >>

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Abby the English Setter Mix

Homemade Itchy Dog Spray

Homemade Itchy Dog Spray

This body rinse can be useful to restore skin pH, soothe itchy skin, calm rashes and welts, and has some added benefits for keeping biting flies, fleas and gnats at bay.

Mix the following ingredients together in a bottle/jar with cap and shake well before use:

Apple Cider Vinegar: 1/2 cup
Brewed Green Tea (cooled): 1/2 cup
Distilled Water: 1 cup

Apply to clean skin and coat, massage, rinse, and pat dry.

Source: Pet Nutrition Blogger, Rodney Habib

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Abby the English Setter Mix

Heads up to avoid Blue Buffalo brand pet food…

Blue Buffalo pet food class action lawsuit

It seems that even so-called “trustworthy” alternative pet food brands are deceiving the public into believing that they use only the best ingredients. Is this really a surprise to anyone? My advice is not to protest, but to simply avoid this brand, and do your own research as to which brand of food you should feed your dog or pet. Read this article below about Blue Buffalo’s class-action lawsuit settlement of $32 million dollars. Be sure to share this…

A Heads-Up to Fellow Pet-Owners!

The fastest growing major pet food company in the United States, selling dog and cat food has been accused of lying to pet owners. BLUE is a billion dollar brand based on sales at retail and is the #1 brand in the Wholesome Natural market.

“Pet-food maker Blue Buffalo will pay $32 million to settle 13 consumer class action suits, the company announced last month.

The consolidated action centers on Blue Buffalo’s “True Blue Promise” labels, which allegedly appeared on all Blue Buffalo products. Blue Buffalo’s True Blue Promise was that its brand of pet food contains “Only the Finest Natural Ingredients,” with real meat first ingredients, “NO Chicken or Poultry By-Product Meals,” “NO Corn, Wheat or Soy,” and “NO Artificial Preservatives, Colors or Flavors.”

These True Blue Promise claims were allegedly restated on the front and back labels of every Blue Buffalo product and in other Blue Buffalo promotional materials. The class action plaintiffs also asserted that they paid a higher price for Blue Buffalo’s products because of the True Blue Promise.

But according to the class action plaintiffs, independent tests showed that some Blue Buffalo products did, in fact, contain chicken and poultry by-products. In addition, the tests indicated the presence of rice and corn in some products, including products from Blue Buffalo’s “Wilderness” and “Freedom” product lines, which were advertised as being grain-free.” National Law Review

Sources: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/…/blue-buffalo-to-pay-32-mil…

http://www.natlawreview.com/…/true-green-true-blue-blue-buf…

Rodney Habib – Pet Nutrition Blogger


And in case you did not already know, avoid Purina brand dog food like the plague, especially its “Beneful” line, which according to the label is “100% Complete & Balanced Nutrition.” Do you think that Kellogg’s Fruit Loops is a healthy cereal? Well, Beneful looks like Fruit Loops for dogs…

Avoid Beneful Purina Brand

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