How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?
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If there is no significant weight loss after one to two months on their calculated RER, then I recommend cutting back your dog`s total calories by 10 percent (most veterinary nutritionists recommend a 10–20 percent calorie cutback).
Work up to high-impact activities slowly and be sure to talk with your veterinarian before starting any new activity with your dog. Running. Increasing speed from a walk to a run is the most effective way to burn additional calories.
When your dog needs to shed a few pounds, some turn to wet diets as a solution. Because canned food has a much higher water weight than kibble, canned occupies more space in the bowl (and the dog`s stomach), and can provide an easy way to scale back on calories.
Dogs love to beg, but fatty treats and table scraps contribute to obesity. Treats should make up no more than 10 percent of her calorie intake. Feed carrots, cooked sweet potatoes, or green beans as treats between meals.
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There are many weight loss food options to help pets reach their ideal weight. Your veterinarian can help make a ideal weight recommendation. Here are some tips to help your dog lose weight in a healthy and safe way:
1. Diet: Providing a healthy and well balanced diet is essential to your pet’s overall health. Finding the right food for your dog can be a challenging process. For those overweight animals many commercial dog companies offer weight loss diets, but it is important to evaluate food labels for adequate nutritional content.
You want to ensure you are not missing other essential vitamin or mineral content. Volume of food is also important and the amount of food that works for one breed of dog may not be the same for another breed of dog. Portion control as opposed to free-choice feeding can help your dog to drop a few unnecessary pounds.
There are also prescription weight loss foods designed by veterinary nutritionists, such as Hill’s r/d (http://bit.ly/1AoENSd). Some pet owners find that home cooking is the best option for helping to provide a well-balanced and realistic diet plan. There are websites such as balanceit.com that offers recipes to fit your dog’s specific needs. Consulting with your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist to find the appropriate diet is a great way to help your dog be as healthy as possible.
2. Exercise: Another great tactic for weight loss for your dog is exercise. Whether this is through running, walking or playing with a favorite toy all of these are wonderful types of exercise to help keep your dog at a lean and healthy weight.
For those pet owners with busy schedules utilizing professional dog walking services or playtime through dog daycare services is another option. It has been shown that those pet owners that exercise regularly with their pets generally live a healthier lifestyle.
3. Physical therapy: As animals age pet owners offer encounter their favorite canine having more difficulty walking and have a dwindling desire to play with toys. Physical therapy, specifically hydrotherapy is a wonderful way to help older and arthritic animals gain more mobility and lose weight. Hydrotherapy has been proven to have several therapeutic effects on the body including, muscle strengthening, relief of swelling, decreased joint pain, less stiffness in limbs, improved circulation, weight loss, and increased tissue healing to name a few. For more information on the benefits of hydrotherapy:
4. Veterinary visit and blood work: Weight gain can also be related to underlying health concerns such as hypothyroidism or other endocrine disorders. Scheduling a veterinary evaluation and routine blood work can be another important component in increasing the longevity of your dog’s life. Conditions such as hypothyroidism that predispose dogs to gain weight can be treated with a daily medication to improve hormonal balance. If feel that your dog is unnecessarily overweight there can be an underlying health condition that needs to be addressed.
5. Healthy treats: Pet owners love the chance to reward their favorite canine companion with treats and most dogs jump at the chance to consume these delicious products. The problem is many treats, which can include commercial dog treats or table scrapes can add many unnecessary calories to your dog’s daily intake. Reading labels and making note of the calories in these treats is an important component of understanding your dog’s overall health. Treats should not exceed more than 10 percent of your pet’s daily calories. There are healthier treats that can be offered to your pet to keep calories lower yet provide a fuller sensation. A pet owner can add steamed or pureed vegetables, such as carrots, green beans or sweet potato to add more fiber and thus a fuller feeling for your dog.
You need to treat your home environment. If you use a pest control service, tell them you are having a flea problem and they can adjust their treatment. Use a premise spray that also contains an IGR, insect growth regulator. This keeps eggs and larvae from maturing into adults and helps break the life cycle. Also, vacuum EVERY DAY, throwing out the bag or emptying the canister every time into an outside receptacle and spraying the contents with insecticide to kill the fleas youâ€™ve vacuumed up.
Treat your yard too, since fleas are opportunistic and will hop a ride into your home on your pant leg without you knowing it. Concentrate on areas under bushes, in the shade. Fleas are less likely to be located in open sunny areas where it gets hot.
If chemicals are a problem, you can use borax. Sprinkle it into rugs, into corners and under furniture, use a broom to work it into the fibers and let it sit for hours, days even. It won’t hurt you or your pet to have it present. Then vacuum it up, reapply as needed. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be gotten from a health food store and worked into the rugs and corners in the same way as borax. These treatments aren’t as fast and effective as chemical insecticides but they can help.
You might want to consider boarding your pet for the day at your vet, to give you the opportunity to flea bomb your house without having to worry about your pet being exposed. They can bathe your pet and give a dose of Capstar while you treat your home.
Be patient, you may have to repeat these steps multiple times 10-14 days apart to help break the flea life cycle.
Skin problems can have a variety of causes, sometimes more than one. It is important to have the problem checked by your vet to determine if there is a medical cause for your petâ€™s skin issues and treat accordingly.
In pets of all ages, fleas, food allergies and exposure to chemical irritants such as cleaners and soaps can be a cause. Any one of these may not be enough to trigger the breakouts, depending on how sensitive your pet is, but a combination can be enough to start the itch-scratch cycle. Finding out the cause and eliminating it is the best course of action. With flea allergies, if your pet is sensitive enough, a single bite can cause them to break out scratch enough to tear their skin.
Check for fleas with a flea comb. Look for fleas and/or tiny black granules, like coarse black pepper. This is flea feces, consisting of digested, dried blood. You may find tiny white particles, like salt, which are the flea eggs. Applying a good topical monthly flea treatment and aggressively treating your house and yard will help break the flea life cycle.
If you use plastic bowls, this is a possible cause for hair loss, though this tends to be on the chin, where their skin touches the bowl while they eat. If you suspect this to be the culprit, try changing the bowls to glass, metal or ceramic.
Food allergies are often caused by sensitivity to a protein in the food. Hill’s Science Diet offers some non-prescription options for sensitive skin as well as prescription hypoallergenic foods for more severe cases. Royal Canin carries limited protein diets that may also offer some relief. Your vet can recommend a specific diet that will help.
If there is no relief or not enough, consider getting your pet checked by a veterinary dermatologist and having allergy testing done.
To help your cat accept the new food It is important to do a transition. There are two reasons to do a transition:
1) Occasionally a pet will have a GI upset when switched to a new diet,
2) A pet will accept a new food better when a transition is done to allow the pet to get use to the new texture and flavor.
There is more of a chance with a hydrolyzed protein or different (high or low) fiber level food to cause a GI upset. Transition recommendation:
1) Recommend ¾ old diet – ¼ new diet
2) Do this for a few days; if no GI upset, go to the next step
3) ½ old diet – ½ new diet
4) Do this for a few days; if no GI upset, go to the next step
5) ¼ old diet – ¾ new diet
6) Do this for a few days; if no GI upset, go to the next step
7) End with 100% of the new food.
Sometimes a transition should be longer, especially for cats. Use the same recommendation, but instead of a few days, recommend doing each step for a week or more. If you cat is still not interested in the new diet you can research other non-prescription diets focusing on the labels for appropriate levels of phosphorus and protein.
Also, home cooking may be an option but make sure to provide adequate nutrients. A good website to consult is balanceit.com. This website helps you to create well balanced home cooked recipes and offers supplements to add into the diet.
Foods require a balanced level of nutrition that is made up of proteins (your meat source and “slow” energy), carbohydrates (short-term energy and needed for brain health), and fats (for stored energy as well as flavor). Carbohydrates can be in grain form which is most common in commercial diets, or in non-grain sources such as potatoes, peas or sweet potatoes (more common now in “natural” or “holistic” diets). Proteins can come from plant sources, but are most commonly found in animals, and fats can be from many things.
When starting a homemade diet, it is always a good idea to add in an extra vitamin supplement to fill in any gaps or holes in the diet while you find the right balance for your dog. Working with your local veterinarian is also good as they can monitor your dog’s weight and overall health, and may also recommend bloodwork to check for any nutrient deficiencies.
While homemade diets are a nice alternative to commercial ones, they are not under the same standards as commercial diets. For a diet to be fed as a commercial product, it must have an AAFCO certification on it. This is usually listed as a statement on the packaging which mentions whom the food can be fed to (adults, seniors, all life stages, puppies, etc) and ensures that the food is nutritionally balanced. This means that your dog would be able to survive fully on eating only this food. While it may seem the food is balanced, it does not mean the food is healthier than others, and may still contain ingredients that dogs with sensitivities or allergies can have a reaction to.
There are many options for weight loss foods. There are restricted calories and fat foods; typically calories are replaced with fiber, water or air to give a feeling of fullness. The pet can eat the same amount, but receive fewer calories. There are weight loss foods that alter metabolism. High protein foods have been used successfully to alter metabolism to burn fat. Research has been completed using neutrogenomic technology to alter metabolism in dogs and cats.
Current methods of estimating ideal body weight (body condition score/ guessing) are most likely to underestimate % body fat and therefore overestimate ideal weight, which leads to overfeeding. Pets are being overdosed on food because of inaccurate estimations of ideal body weight.
To determine body condition score it’s often helpful to have a scale from 1-5 to compare to: http://www.hillspet.com/weight-management/pet-weight-score.html. This scale is based on your ability to feel or see the ribs, the size of your dog or cat’s waist, and the appearance of the abdomen.
An overweight animal can be predisposed to several health conditions including high blood pressure, arthritis, endocrine disorders such as diabetes, and hypothyroidism. This is why it is important to determine an ideal weight for your pet and work hard to maintain a healthy weight.
Weight loss can refer to the actual loss of fat and weight on your dog, or may also be due to the loss of muscle tone in the body. If there is a problem with one of the limbs, it may be that the weight loss you are seeing is actually loss of muscle in that area. Weight loss can again be caused by a wide range of problems from neurologic disease, illness, parasites or disease. Making an appointment with your vet is best.