What is Considered Obese for your Pet?

by Brandon on February 25, 2015

When it comes to pets, chubbiness can be pretty darn cute. Chubby pets are so fluffy and irresistible, owners and others can’t help but cuddle them! Plump pets may seem excusable and taken to mean a pet is well-loved, cared for, and oozing with cuteness. However, humans have been warned about obesity and the adverse health risks associated with it. Is this also true for pets?

The “Fat Pet Gap”
The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) says that millions of pets in America are too heavy for their own good. 53% of dogs and 57% of cats, a combined total of 179 million pets, are currently overweight or obese. However, many pet parents don’t even realize that their pets are tipping the scales. Pet owners surveyed said their pets were normal weight when they were in fact overweight or obese. APOP founder, Dr. Ernie Ward, refers to this lack of awareness as the “fat pet gap,” where pet parents have normalized pet obesity. This means fat pets have become the new norm. This should not be taken lightly!

What is obesity?
Like in humans, obesity in pets is defined as having excess body fat. If a pet is obese, not only does it weigh more, but it has more fat in its body than considered healthy. Weight is some indicator of obesity. In dogs and cats, being overweight means weighing 10 to 15 percent above the ideal weight. Obesity, on the other hand, is weighing 15 percent or higher than the ideal weight. 10 to 20% over the ideal weight may not mean much on the scale. For example, if a pet’s ideal weight is 20 pounds, it will only need to put on 4 pounds to be considered obese.

shutterstock_113408662Could your pet be obese?
Most pet owners would be hard put to determine whether their bundle of fur is obese. The onset of obesity can be barely noticeable – at least to some – and when it is, the pet may have already grown extra fluffy. Determining the ideal weight for pets and weighing them regularly will help in keeping healthy pets in healthy form.

Experts have also developed a way of determining a pet’s body condition by visual and hand inspection. In order for a pet owner to tell whether their pet is in the ideal range of health, they should feel for their pet’s ribs. In normal dogs and cats, the ribs should easily be felt, but not sharp against the skin. For both animals, when looking from the side, a waist should be defined, and the belly not sag.

What (or who) causes pets to grow out?
Quite simply, obesity usually results when pets are overfed and under-exercised, have conditions like hyperthyroidism or Cushing Disease, or are neutered/castrated. Overfeeding is the main cause of pet obesity, and pet owners are largely to blame. After all, it is the humans who do the feeding. Free feeding, where food is freely available in the bowl, is one main cause. Pets who are allowed to eat as much as they want, whenever they want, are more likely to become obese.

Another reason is a lack of exercise. The simple rule of “calories in, calories out” with humans also applies to pets. If pets get more food than exercise, they are more likely to plump up. Treating excessively is yet another contributing factor. Treats should be given in moderation and not replace a dog’s regular meal.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Dog Training Methods

by Brandon on February 5, 2015

Origins of Modern Dog Training

give me your pawModern dog training developed dramatically during the 20th century. Most notably, advances in psychology furthered dog training and led to the creation of new training methods.

In recent years, older training methods have been labeled overly aggressive or unnecessarily physical. In some instances this may be the case— we encourage all dog owners to use their discretion in the matter. Just be sure to avoid any training methods that are outright abusive.

Corrective Training

A training system that would fall into this category is the Koehler Method. The cornerstone of the Koehler Method is to let dogs make their own mistakes. In doing so, it gives the owner the opportunity to provide consequences for both desirable and undesirable behaviors. The punishments of the Koehler Method are generally more physical, sometimes advocating “alpha rolling,” where a dog is pinned on his back to assert dominance.

It should be noted, this “alpha rolling” technique, while still used today —and even by big name trainers— the “natural” action it is supposed to mimic is an action where submission is actually given, not forced.

Dominance-based training methods like the Koehler Method rely on the theory that dogs are in fact wolves and there are hierarchies in their pack with an alpha-figure at the top. However, the Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) has argued against this idea of aggressive-submissive positions. Additionally, attempting to physically exert dominance could cause your pet to lash out.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

Pet Facts 101: Celiac Disease in Dogs

January 30, 2015

ShareHumans and dogs can both suffer from with celiac disease, a genetic small intestinal autoimmune disorder. Those who are diagnosed with celiac disease have an intolerance to gluten, a protein present in wheat, barley and rye. Gluten allergy can cause damage to the small intestines and prevent food from being properly absorbed by the body. […]

Read the full article →

How to Cope with the Loss of a Pet

January 22, 2015

ShareIts never easy to say goodbye to someone you love, especially a family member. The same is true & just as heartbreaking when its a beloved family pet & fur kid with whom you share a unique bond. If you are like many pet parents & owners you probably carry a mug shot of your […]

Read the full article →

How to Stop your Dog from Barking

January 15, 2015

ShareIt must be an unwritten rule somewhere that all dogs love to bark, because it seems like they really do! Well it’s a perfectly natural thing for your dog to do, just as it’s normal for us humans to speak. But sometimes you would like your dog to turn down the volume a bit, and […]

Read the full article →

Canine Diabetes: What to know

January 8, 2015

ShareCanine diabetes, is when a dog’s body is unable to make enough blood sugar to survive. Dog diabetes is nearly identical to Type II diabetes in humans. Known as a silent killer, if not detected is a serious disease that strikes both people & dogs and if left untreated can cause serious health complications. The […]

Read the full article →