Studies suggest that up to 40% of our pet dogs are overweight or obese. The statistics are similar for cats, and in both species, the effects of excess weight can be debilitating. Arthritis can make their daily walk uncomfortable, and they may find it hard to jump onto the couch for a cuddle. Overweight dogs and cats are more likely to develop diabetes, and they can suffer from infections in the folds of excess skin. Overweight dogs have a shorter lifespan than than their leaner counterparts so they don’t share their owners’ lives for as long as they could.
Causes of Obesity
There are some medical conditions that can cause weight gain in dogs, such as hyperthyroidism or Cushing’s Disease. However, an Australian study found that only 3% of dogs had such a reason for their generous waistlines. Most of them were overfed and/or under-exercised.
Cats are carnivores, and a high carbohydrate diet will lead to weight gain. It’s not easy to encourage a cat to exercise; after all, you can’t put a leash on them and take them for a run. Weight loss in cats is therefore more of a challenge than in dogs.
Your pet’s skin is the largest organ of their body, and has many important functions. It acts as a barrier, shielding their insides from infection and dehydration. Temperature and pressure sensors in the skin give them information about the world around them. The hairs that grow from its hair follicles keep them warm.
There are a number of medical conditions that affect the skin of both dogs and cats. What can you do to keep your pet’s skin in good health, and reduce the chances of them needing veterinary care for a skin disorder?
Here are four things that you can do, that will keep your pet’s skin and coat looking and feeling good.
Read More on “Skin & Hair Care for Your Pets” »
Our dogs and cats are carnivorous, and their teeth are designed for the raw meat diet of the wild canine and feline. Their sharp canine teeth grab at their prey, while their premolars tear it into bite sized pieces. The large molars in the back of the mouth are very effective at crushing hard food such as bones or dog biscuits.
As adults, dogs have 42 teeth. Cats only have 30 permanent teeth. Even though pets eat processed pet foods and their teeth are less critical to their survival, a healthy mouth is still very important to their well being.
Most veterinarians would agree that allergies are being diagnosed more frequently in their four legged patients. These conditions make life miserable for dogs and cats, and their constant scratching eventually becomes annoying to their owners too. Who likes to cuddle up on the couch with an itchy, fidgeting companion?
Your dog’s immune system is designed to protect him from bacteria and other invaders, and it does this very well. However, sometimes it gets it wrong and over-reacts to substances that are harmless, such as pollen, or an ingredient in his kibble. The result is an allergic reaction.
The main allergies in our dogs and cats are flea allergy, food allergy and atopy.
Summer is almost over, but this doesn’t mean we can become relaxed about our flea control regime. With our warm and cozy centrally heated homes, fleas have become a year-round problem. Our toasty warm homes allow flea eggs to survive in carpet, and then hatch when their time has come.
Fleas are the bane of every pet owner’s existence. These tiny parasites love to live on your pet, often hiding out in his coat. And in addition to causing him to itch and self-traumatize his skin, they can also jump onto you and bite your skin too (although they don’t actually live on people). These reasons alone are enough to motivate you to start a flea control regime as soon as possible!
How to get rid of fleas
Since the flea’s life cycle involves time spent on and off the animal’s body, it’s important to remember that both your pet and his surroundings must be treated in order to gain control. Both cases tend to involve a two-sided approach.
The chaos of relocation can be very traumatic for cats and dogs – the whole process of packing, moving boxes, and suddenly arriving somewhere new can leave them confused and anxious. Some forward planning, however, can greatly reduce their stress levels, as well as yours!
Before The Move
- If possible, take your dog to your new home a few times before you move in – bring some of his toys and treats too, and allow him time to play and acclimate to the new place.
- If your new home needs to be made pet-proof, make the changes before moving. It’s also a good idea to investigate the local area in advance for a new veterinarian. Order new pet identity tags at this time too.
- If your pet needs to be transported in a crate, order it a few weeks before moving. This way you can introduce him to it so that it isn’t new on the day of the move. Leave it in the living room and allow him to wander in – place his favorite blankets, toys, and treats inside to entice him in. This will prevent it being yet another stress for him on moving day.
Bringing a new pet home is an exciting prospect, but it can still require some adjustment for you and for him. A little planning, however, can help to make this a smooth transition for both of you! Here are a few things to consider:
Before He Arrives
Timing: If possible, plan the homecoming for a time like a weekend when someone will be home all day with the new pet.
Pet-proofing: Be sure to lock away toxic products like chemicals and medications, as well as other things like human food, breakable objects, plants and small objects like jewelry.
Vaccination: Arrange a vet visit for him to have any necessary vaccinations before bringing him home – especially if you already have pets.
Usually by the time your new kitten reaches your home, he will already be toilet-trained courtesy of his mother. You may have to take control of litter training, however, if you have adopted a kitten who was either orphaned or removed from his mother too soon.
- Cat litter box
- Fresh, clean litter
- A litter scoop
In general, you need at least one litter box per cat in the house, and if possible “plus one extra”. Initially a basic, plastic tray type will suffice – a smaller tray may be good enough for a kitten, but an adult cat will need a larger box. Regardless of size though, its sides should be low enough to allow the kitten or cat to hop into it. Most cats tend to prefer litter that is unscented, fine- grained, and clumping – so choose a variety with these characteristics initially. A two-inch thick layer of litter in the box is a good starting point.