Fat Facts: How Obesity Impacts Your Pet’s Health and Happiness
When it comes to our pets, it can be difficult to resist pathetic puppy eyes and piteous kitty mews. We’ve all found ourselves giving in and handing over “just one more” treat or “just a taste” of our leftovers, but these small indulgences can have a huge impact on your pet’s health.
While having a chubby companion may seem harmless, your pet’s weight significantly affects their wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy size and weight can keep your dog or cat from suffering from a wide variety of weight-related issues like arthritis or diabetes. Read on to learn about how extra pounds impact the pawed members of your family.
Overweight Pets Have a Higher Risk of Serious Health Issues
Obese pets are more likely to develop diabetes, kidney disease, and some types of cancer. Additionally, they tend to suffer from respiratory problems. Overweight and obese dogs and cats have more problems with joint pain, arthritis, bone injury, and muscle soreness. Many overweight pets also struggle with skin disease and high blood pressure.
Extra Weight Can Make Having Fun Impossible
Chubby cats and dogs may get a lot of likes on Instagram but excess pounds hold your pet back from enjoying life as much as they could.
Weight affects your pet’s ability to move and breathe. They will be easily fatigued and will lose their breath quickly. Joint pain can make walks and time outdoors less enjoyable and make pets reluctant to partake in activities they once loved. A dog that may have once played for hours at the dog park may only be able to engage for a few minutes once obese.
Obese Pets Have Shorter Lifespans
Your pet’s weight is directly tied to their life expectancy. Carrying around extra pounds can reduce a dog’s or cat’s life by more than two years.
What Can I Do to Help My Pet Lose Weight?
It’s easy to feel guilty about your pet’s size. After all, as pet owners, we’re responsible for their meal size, treats, and exercise. If your pet is overweight, you’re not alone and we’re here to help you get them fit.
You’re also not the only pet parent with an overweight cat or dog. Almost one in five canines is obese and over 50% of dogs and cats are overweight. How can you help your pet reach their ideal weight?
Identify and Recognize the Issue
Pet parents are frequently unaware of their pet’s weight problem. How does this happen? You see your pet every day and weight gain happens gradually, making it easy to miss the change in their body.
If your pet’s ribs are hidden behind a layer of fat, they may be overweight. Want to find out for sure? Make an appointment and we will weigh your pet, analyze their body condition, and partner with you on a plan to lose pounds.
Updating Your Pet’s Diet
Considering a change in diet? We can help determine if your pet’s food and treats are helping or hindering weight loss, or if you can simply change the portion size and their feeding schedule. If your pet does need weight-control food, we’ll help you find a variety that works for your companion and budget.
Beginning An Exercise Regimen
Well-meaning pet parents may try to begin a rigorous exercise routine with their overweight pet but this is often a bad idea. Since excess weight causes breathing problems and joint issues, these can be aggravated by too much exercise too soon. If you’ve ever tried running a 5k after spending five (or more) weeks on the couch, you can relate.
Obese pets need to start slow but get moving. From a hide-n-seek dinner to short walks, there are many ways to get your pet’s heart rate elevated. Low-impact exercise like swimming can be fun for overweight pets and provide a low-impact exercise alternative.
Remember to make it fun and stay positive as your cat plays or your dog enjoys their exercise. Pets love play, so look for ways to challenge their minds and their bodies.
We’re Here to Support You and Your Pet
If you’re looking for answers and solutions for your pet’s weight loss, call us and we’ll ready the scale. We’re committed to helping you keep your pet healthy, happy, and living their best life.
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5 Eggcellent Tips for a Safe Easter and Spring with Your Pet
Does your dog believe in the Easter Bunny? Is your cat enjoying watching the birds return from their trip down south? Whether they watch the season changing from their favorite window perch or they’re bursting through the front door for fresh air, we hope that everyone gets to experience lots of sunshine this spring.
While this year’s celebrations may be a bit untraditional, we still want to share some tips to have a hopping good time with your pets and family while keeping everyone safe.
1. Smell the Flowers, Don’t Chew Them
As we find ourselves staying at home, fresh air and gardening can be a great relief. It’s one of the healthier ways to stay busy while social distancing, as opposed to sitting on the sofa snacking. (No judgment, whatever you choose.)
Whether it’s your green thumb’s time to shine or you’re hoping that this is the year you keep a plant thriving for more than a week, keep these poisonous blooms out of chewing distance in and outside your home:
Keep pesticides, herbicides, and other gardening chemicals stored out of reach of your pets.
2. Spring Allergies Are in the Air
Have you noticed your dog or cat with itchy, watery eyes? Or maybe they’re sneezing a bit more than usual? Canines and felines can both experience seasonal allergies from pollen, mold, and dust.
When you’re spring cleaning, dust in the air can become a temporary but unpleasant allergy trigger for pets. Open a window and let in some fresh breezes if the weather is nice or let your dog play in the yard as you collect Easter dust bunnies.
For pollen allergies, wipe your dog or cat down with a damp towel after an outdoor romp. Pay special attention to their paws and watch for redness, rash, and excessive grooming.
If you suspect your pet has seasonal allergies, we can help. From allergy tests to antihistamines, we can help your pet breathe clearly and soothe itchy skin.
3. Silly Kitty, That Grass is for Kids!
Cats often love to play with the gifts and filler in an Easter basket, finding the glint of plastic green grass hard to resist. When it comes to those adorable mini stuffed animals and eggs filled with jelly beans, can we blame them? They’re often the same size and shape of popular pet toys and offer a playful rattle when rolled.
But what happens when your cat swallows a mess of green plastic strings or gets tangled in a nest of Easter glory, tearing their claws? Dogs are no less likely to eat the filler in search of food, potentially leading to an intestinal blockage.
A simple fix: Keep supplies stored in a closet with a closing door, on a high shelf, or in pet-proof containers. Store or dispose of baskets promptly after the kids have absconded with their treasures, or at least toss the decorative extras.
4. Easter Candy, Chocolate, and Decorations
There’s little that beats seeing kids’ eyes light up on Easter morning when they discover their Easter baskets. And little is worse than waking up to find that your dog or cat discovered the Easter basket before your kids had the chance.
This Easter-ruiner is more than just a small misfortune. Chocolate, candy, and other goodies can seriously injure your pet. Xylitol-sweetened foods can cause kidney failure, seizures, and even death.
Dogs are notorious for finding their way to food so be particularly careful about where you hide the goods. After the big reveal, talk with your kids about responsibly storing their bounty and what’s not safe to share with their furry friends.
5. Shoo Flies! and Other Bugs
Walking is a popular spring pastime and is a great way to get out of your house and exercise while social distancing. But, there is one… well, more like one-thousand bugging issues that can make outdoor activities less enjoyable: insects!
Stings and bites from hornets, bees, and wasps are itchy and painful and can send your pet into anaphylactic shock, while fleas, ticks, and mosquitos can harbor deadly diseases.
Keep your pet protected with flea, tick, and heartworm preventative and keep an eye out for the signs of an allergic reaction to bug bites or stings. These can include:
- Swollen face or muzzle
- Trouble breathing
If you’re seeing any of these in your pet, please contact us right away.
Have a Hoppy, Healthy Spring, and Easter!
As pet owners ourselves, we know that companion animals bring great comfort in uncertain times, and we hope your spring is filled with good memories of staying home with your furry friends. But if your pet needs a vet, give us a call. We’ll hop on the phone to help.
Image credit: feedough / iStock / Getty Images Plus
7 Frightening Facts About Canine Lyme Disease
Ticks love our dogs. As a concerned dog dad or mom, you don’t want these tiny arachnids making a meal of your pet, as these disgusting, creepy, and dangerous bugs can carry diseases. One of the most common tick-borne illnesses that affect dogs is Lyme disease. While you’re probably familiar with this painful condition, there are some details you may not have heard. What do you need to know about Lyme disease?
1. Ticks Aren’t Just Found in the Woods
While many people rightfully assume that ticks live in heavily wooded areas, ticks tend to go where their hosts take them and where they’ll find new victims. Since ticks can’t fly or jump, they will wait on leaves or grass for a potential host to brush past them and then attach themselves to skin, fur, or clothing.
Where are some areas people report finding ticks?
- Trails and nearby sidewalks
- Bushes and shrubs
- Tall grass
- In and around trees
- Backyard play structures
- Around standing water and streams
2. Bacteria Cause Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the result of bacteria spread by a tick feeding on its host. While there are two forms of bacteria that cause Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi is the one found in Virginia. These bacteria look like microscopic spiraled worms.
The other form of bacteria that spreads Lyme disease has yet to be discovered in our area. We hope that it stays this way!
3. Not All Regions of the U.S. Are Equally Affected
Cases of Lyme disease can be found all over the U.S. but are highly concentrated on the East Coast, and in 2018 our Commonwealth had the second-most reported cases in the South Atlantic region. If you’re planning your spring break or summer vacation, other eastern coastal states, the Midwest and northern California are also areas with elevated rates of Lyme disease.
4. Dogs Often Hide the Symptoms of Lyme Disease
It’s frightening to think that your dog can be silently suffering and harboring a disease that can cause long-term pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, this is often the case, as many dogs don’t show any symptoms of Lyme disease for months. Some even go more than a year without showing any signs.
What are some symptoms of Lyme disease?
- Sore and swollen joints
- Lack of appetite
- Limping and lameness
- Reluctance to play
5. Lyme Disease Affects the Whole Body
When the bacteria that cause Lyme disease are transmitted by a tick bite they circulate through the bloodstream. While joint stiffness and pain is often an early sign of infection, the ability for the bacteria to move throughout the body means that the heart, kidney, and other internal organs can also be affected, causing significant and long-term damage, even after treatment.
6. People Can Get Lyme Disease Too
While you cannot catch Lyme disease directly from your dog, you can be infected by a tick with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. If a tick were to feed on an infected animal and then bite you or a family member, you are at risk of contracting Lyme disease.
7. Lyme Disease is Easy to Prevent
We can treat Lyme disease but treatment is most effective when paired with early detection. Because of the nature of the condition, this is rarely the case. Instead, Lyme disease often gets ample opportunity to permanently damage your dog’s health.
How do we diagnosis Lyme disease? We use blood tests to detect the antibodies the dog’s body produces to combat the bacteria associated with Lyme disease. Because it is bacteria-based, we often prescribe antibiotics for treatment.
We always recommend prevention as a first step. When you can prevent your dog from contracting Lyme disease, you save your dog the agony of joint paint and save yourself the worry and cost of treatment.
Prevention can be as simple as applying a topical ointment, adding a new collar, or giving your dog a tasty chew. These solutions kill ticks before they are able to transfer Borrelia burgdorferi to your dog’s body, as it can take up to 24-36 hours for a feeding tick to infect its host.
Don’t Risk Your Pet’s Health
Ready to protect your pup? Make an appointment today and we’ll work together to find the right preventative medicine for your dog. When you don’t give Lyme disease a chance to harm your pet, you’re protecting them, your wallet, and your family. We’re ready to help keep your dog free of Lyme disease so give us a call today.
Image Credit: Pexels
Why Choosing Your Pet’s Pharmacy Carefully Matters
Your pet’s health and wellbeing are two of your top priorities as their human guardian. Many pet parents read and re-read their pet food’s ingredient list, add child-proof locks to their cabinets to keep curious companion animals out of trouble, and use an ID tag to keep their pets safe if they happen to run away. But they may overlook the importance of where they fill and how they store their pet’s prescriptions. Choosing your pet’s pharmacy is an essential step in keeping your pet safe and healthy.
Why Should You Choose Us to Fill Your Pet’s Prescriptions?
1. Your pet’s prescription is more than just a transaction
A prescription is more than a piece of paper or electronic consent. When we provide your pet with an Rx, we carefully consider your pet’s health, medical history, and needs. We know your pet better than a big-box pharmacy, which means we can address any questions or concerns you may have with a holistic view of their care.
We are here to help you and your pet. You can always call to ask if something is normal or not, if your pet’s medication is safe to use with OTC supplements, etc. We can also suggest other products that aid your pet’s recovery or improve their day-to-day life.
2. Trust in quality and safety
With the rise in online pharmacy marketplaces, we’ve also seen a rise in mishandling and counterfeit medications.
Many prescriptions need to be kept in a temperature-controlled environment and stored away from direct sunlight. When ordering your pet’s prescription online from another source, you may be risking that the medication isn’t shipped properly or has expired. We never cut corners when it comes to your pet’s safety.
When you order from our online pharmacy or come into our clinic, you can trust that your pet’s medication has been safely stored and handled correctly.
3. Save time and money
We’re just around the corner from many of our patients so stopping by to pick up your pet’s prescription is easy, saving time and shipping costs.
Our online ordering system is just as convenient to use. You can find all the products and prescriptions you need to keep your pet healthy and they can be shipped directly to your home, often for free.
Need the same medications every month? EasyDoseIt! is a subscription service that ships single doses of your pet’s medication directly to your door. Never forget an important preventative again.
The Pharmacy You Choose for Your Pet Matters
Whether it’s time to refill your pet’s prescription or you’re looking to have their medications shipped to your home, we recommend ordering directly from our store. As your veterinary clinic, we care about your pet, and choosing a local business supports our community.
Our in-clinic pharmacy and online pharmacy will save you time, money, and the stress of uncertainty when it comes to your pet’s prescription drugs. If you have any questions or need to make an appointment, just give us a call - we’re here for you and your pet.
Image Credit: Pexels
Older Pets & Cold Weather: What Should You Consider
Pull out that granny sweater--it’s winter and your elderly dog is great to tell you how many miles (both ways) she used to walk uphill to get to the dog park. Just kidding! But your senior dog really may need a sweater. As our dogs and cats age, the cold winter weather and icy outdoor conditions affect them more than it once did.
We won’t keep you on ice any longer! Learn more about how the cold affects your older pet and what you can do to help.
How Does Age Relate to Cold Weather?
Your pet ages a lot like a person, just quicker. As your pet enters her senior years, her joints weaken, scar tissue and minor issues can ache, and her bones weaken. And of course, we all slow down a little as we age.
If your pet has arthritis, the cold weather can make her extra stiff and cause her joint-related pain.
And while older pets feel the cold more, they’re also more susceptible to injuries from slips and falls on icy surfaces. They also get the sniffles easier as well.
What Can You Do to Help Your Older Pet Cope with the Cold?
1. Provide Your Dog or Cat with a Comfy, Warm Bed
Cup-style beds are perfect for senior kitties. Keep a few fluffy blankets around as well.
For senior pups, find a thick bed with memory foam. Why memory foam? It insulates your dog from the cold ground and cradles her hips and joints for extra support.
2. Avoid Ice Patches on Your Walks
Older dogs still enjoy and benefit from walks. Daily exercise will help your dog maintain strong muscle tone and support her joints. Daily exercise can also help her stay trim to take the burden off her joints.
You don’t want her to slip and sprain her ankle or suffer another injury, though.
3. Bring Your Senior Pet by for a Check-Up
Senior dogs and cats should receive exams about twice per year. If you haven’t brought your pet by before winter, bring her in.
We can help with
- Managing any chronic cold-related pain
- Assess your pet’s mobility
- Determine if a supplement can help your senior pet get around a bit easier
- Find the right diet to support her health as she ages
4. Improve Your Pet’s Mobility
When the air’s dry, your pet’s paw-pads don’t cling to the floor quite as well. This can cause extra slipping and sliding inside and outside. A lack of traction puts extra strain on your pet’s joints. To make it easier for your pet to get around this winter you can.
- Invest in pet stairs or ramps to help her get up and down
- Put extra rugs down on slippery floors
- Lift your pet up and down rather than encouraging her to jump onto your lap
5. Sweaters, Boots, and Blankets
Some pets adore their sweaters while others cannot stand them. If your senior pet loves her hipster-chic sweater, let her wear it.
If your bot will wear boots when you walk her, then lace her up. Most dogs can’t stand them, but boots can keep her from slipping and keep her feet toasty warm. Be sure to take them off when you get home, though. Otherwise, they might turn into chew toys.
Senior pets can never have enough snuggly blankets to curl up in. If you have extra throw blankets put them in her favorite spots. Or go by a secondhand store and pick some up.
Bundle Up with Your Best Buddy!
Enjoy the snow and cold with your pet this winter while keeping in mind that they get cold more easily than they once did. Break the ice and pick up a sweater for your senior dog, find a fluffy blanket that’s perfect for your cat, and make an appointment with us so we can help you find the right plan of action to keep your pet happy all winter long.
Image Credit: Pexels