How to Help Your Fat Dog Lose Weight

Dog ObesityEveryone knows about the obesity epidemic among humans in America, and our dogs are not immune. In much the same ways our food has become more decadent and readily available, dog food has become richer, tastier, and in many ways more nutritious. However, dogs, like humans, did not adapt to a world in which nutrient dense food was always just sitting around, waiting to be eaten.

Some dogs can learn to “free feed” in a responsible way, but others are primed to satisfy the urge to eat whenever they can or even stress eat. Dachshunds, beagles, terriers and cocker spaniels tend to fall into the latter category. Moreover, any canine that lies around throughout the day has a high risk of becoming husky.

It might surprise you to learn that 33% of owners of overweight dogs are unaware that it has become a problem. A quick way to check if your pooch is getting too chunky is to feel of his rib cage with the palm of your hand. If you can’t feel individual ribs, there’s a chance he’s getting on the heavier side. An overweight dog is more susceptible to diseases like diabetes and cancer, so to give your dog a long, healthy life, keeping a healthy weight is important.

Treating Obesity in Dogs

  • Don’t Give Your Dog Diet Pills!We’ve heard of some dog owners slipping diet pills into their dog’s food to curb their appetite or increase their metabolism. This is foolish to say the least! These pills and supplements are meant for human adults and often contain stimulants that can be lethal to dogs, especially considering the weight difference between an average dog and human. If your dog should be taking anything to promote a healthy weight, it must be prescribed by a veterinarian.
  • Choose Dog Food WiselyDogs are not meant to eat a human diet. Nevertheless, many brands of dog food are based on grains like rice or corn. Not only can such ingredients cause digestive distress, but they can also increase insulin resistance in dogs, causing weight gain, and even diabetes. When selecting a dog food, get one with meat or vegetable meal ingredients in the first three places in the ingredients list. Blue Buffalo is an exceptional brand.
  • Toss the Table Scraps!
    Folk wisdom says dogs were made for table scraps, but human foods can actually be one of the reasons for obesity in dogs. It is also harder to screen the quantity and quality of food your dog eats when the family regularly indulges his tableside begging.
  • Monitor Food Intake
    Some dogs learned how to “free feed” as puppies, meaning they know when to stop eating even while food is available. However, dogs raised among other dogs competing for food may never learn to free feed properly. In that case, the total daily food requirement for your dog should be divided into two or three feedings a day. Programmable automatic feeders make this very easy.
  • Discuss Weight Management with Your Vet
    Edmond is known for its reputable vet clinics for dogs. If your dog has existing medical conditions, see your vet for the best advice for keeping a healthy weight. Keep in mind that even spaying or neutering your dog can affect how he or she gains weight throughout life. Some medications may be necessary in cases where your dog has a thyroid or other metabolic condition.
  • Get Plenty of Exercise
    Edmond offers dog owners plenty of sidewalks and parks to give your dog a good daily workout. Thirty minutes a day, three times a week is enough to keep most dogs lean and healthy. For those dog owners who don’t have the time or energy to ensure their dogs receive adequate exercise, there are dog daycare centers normally associated with dog groomers or boarders in Edmond, where your dog can play with others under constant supervision.

Why Your Dog Needs Regular Grooming

dog groomingPet owners know the significance of pet grooming sessions. Some prefer to groom their pets themselves whereas others use a professional service. There are many pet grooming salons in Edmond that offer quality services, but many pet owners aren’t convinced it’s worth the money. Here are some reasons pet grooming is important:

  1. A clean dog is a healthy dog – for your family as well. Dogs roll in nasty stuff. They track in dirt and dust. Their skin sheds dander and hair. Then we pet them, hold them, allow them to snuggle with the kids and even get on furniture. Without regular grooming or at least bathing, dogs can introduce some pretty gross elements into your home.
  2. Matted fur can cause skin problems and hide underlying health problems. We once had a dog owner tell us she found a three-pronged fishhook in the coat of her collie; though that’s an extreme example, keeping a dog’s coat clean can prevent skin infections, flea and tick infestations, and pain from matted fur. A clean, brushed and maintained reduces the time it takes to shed the winter coat and also helps the vet identify underlying health concerns such as lumps and growths under the skin.
  3. Regular professional grooming allows your groomer to understand your dog’s normal health status, helping to spot changes in health early. Dogs age much faster than humans, which is why semi-annual vet checkups are recommended. However, monthly visits to a professional dog groomer can allow an experienced person to keep an eye on your dog’s health and behavior to note changes well before you see the vet next.
  4. Neglected nails can cause scratches, damage, and pain to the dog. As a dog’s nails get longer, they become susceptible to splitting, especially now that they walk on hard floors and pavement so often. Splitting or cracking nails can lead to infection and pain. Moreover, long nails can scratch hard wood floors and even human skin. The hair growing between toepads can also collect stickers and debris.
  5. Well-maintained dogs are more likely to be returned to their owners if lost. If a dog is found, the first sign that there is a concerned family out looking is its collar. Next, is whether it looks like it has been taken care of. Not only is good grooming a sign of a loving family, strangers are more likely to take your lost dog in and help find you if they believe the dog is clean and disease-free.
  6. A clean dog is a more enjoyable pet. Grooming helps a dog build trust in humans allowing for a deeper bond to develop with its family. Cleanliness also makes the family dog more snuggle-able, so owners will be happy to rub his belly when he asks. Well-groomed pets get more positive attention from others too, which is good for both mental and physical well-being.

Recommended Blog Post

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Dogs and Cancer – Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Signs of Cancer in Dogs and What to Do.

dog suffering from cancer

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With good vet care, our dogs are living longer; but with longer lives, comes a higher risk of developing cancer, just like in humans. Cancer is a leading cause of death among dogs, especially those who are 10 years and older Many of us are not aware of it and as such hardly pay attention to the symptoms. Most of these cancers are treatable, however, but only caught early.

Q: What is the frequency of cancer in dogs and which types are most common?

A: Nearly 50% of dogs over the age of 10 years suffer from some form of cancer. Common types include malignant lymphoma of the lymph nodes and mast cell cancer of the skin. Since dogs are mammals, breast cancer is also common, along with bone cancer and soft tissue sarcomas.

Q: What are some of the symptoms?

A: The signs and symptoms are quite similar to the ones that we notice in people suffering from cancer. They may include: a bump or lump that refuses to heal; swelling of the lymph node or bone; excessive bleeding; and weight loss. However, during the initial stages, symptoms are often difficult to detect. If your senior dog starts to act unwell or begins showing these signs, see a vet immediately and express your concerns.

Q: What is the cause behind rising cancer rates in dogs?

A: As we have become more attentive to the health of our canine friends, keeping them well-groomed and up to date on vaccination, we can enjoy their company for as much as 15 years! However, dogs age much faster than humans, so the longer they live, the more genetic errors they accumulate, until some cells become cancerous. Canine cancers can also be caused by genetic tendencies depending on breed and certain types of viruses. Naturally, carcinogens in the environment can cause cancers in dogs just as they do in humans.

Q: Are some dog breeds more or less prone to cancer than others?

A: There are certain breeds of dogs that are found to be more prone to cancer. Common among them include:

    • Golden retrievers
    • Flat-coated retrievers
    • Boxers
    • Bernese Mountain dogs

Mixed breed dogs are actually less susceptible to cancer at least genetically, because variation in their genes allows for a safety net in case some genes fail.

Q: What can I do to help prevent my dog from getting cancer?

A: There are preventative measures depending on the type of cancer. For instance, the best way to prevent a female dog from developing breast cancer is by getting her spayed. If this is done before she goes into heat for the first time, her chances of breast cancer later in life are reduced by as much as 80%.

Just like humans, dogs too need oral care if you wish to minimize the chances of oral cancer developing from persistent bacterial infections of the mouth.

If you are choosing a pure-bred dog, ask the breeder for its pedigree to find out if any dogs in its line suffered from cancer or not.

Q: If my dog is suffering from cancer, is it best to put him to sleep?

A: Not necessarily. Many cancers can be surgically removed, and medications can help with recovery and prevention. Just as cancer is becoming less and less a death sentence for humans, medical care for dogs is advancing likewise.

Q: What kinds of treatments are available?

A: Conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are available for dogs in select animal hospitals. Immunotherapy is another promising option. Treatment costs are significantly lower than for humans from around $1,000 to as much as $15,000.

Q: What’s the cure rate for dogs with cancer?

A: Nearly 60% of dogs diagnosed with cancer are cured. However, if left untreated, the chances of survival fall considerably.

Have you noticed any symptoms of cancer in your dog? It is always best to consult with a vet when in doubt. Cancer is curable provided you take your dog to the veterinarian at the right time.

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