Overweight Pets

o0verweightIs your pet a Usain Bolt , muscular fit and active or is it Mr Blobby in a fur coat? Chances are it’s somewhere between the two. Not many of us can expect to run a sub 10 second 100 metres, but we should be able to run it without collapsing halfway for a rest and half a bottle of oxygen. Our pets are the same and whilst not every dog is going to catch the rabbit or win the 4th race at Romford Dogs, they should at least be able to run faster than the average person and get a ball back to you before you get bored waiting for them.

Sadly obesity in pets is all too common and we see a lot of them at Cherrydown every month. Last year a major survey was done to find out more about obese pets and there were some interesting statistics:

There are approximately 2.9 million dogs and over 3 million cats in the UK that are overweight.  However, 84% of owners believe their pet is the correct weight.  This shows there is a big misunderstanding when it comes to a pet’s ideal weight, or more people need get down to Specsavers!

Some other facts include:

Rabbits have a worse diet when compared to cats and dogs.  42% of rabbits do not get enough hay every day and they are fed too much rabbit muesli.  This contributes to obesity and is linked with painful dental disease.

90% of dog owners have admitted giving their pooch cheese, crisps, cakes, biscuits and takeaways.

If dogs were meant to eat crisps there’d be photos of Gary Lineker on dog food packaging. Thankfully there aren’t, and Nigella Lawson isn’t on them either so that must mean the product from cake & biscuit baking is not meant for dogs either. So why do we do it? Well…….

48% of owners say they give their pet a treat because they believe it makes their pet happy.

29% of owners say they give their pet a treat to make themselves feel happy.

100% of dictionary writers would say the important word here is ‘treat’. If you have something regularly or all the time it’s not really a treat is it? Would Christmas be as exciting if it happened every day? Would we Brits get the same pleasure from a beautiful sunny day if we were guaranteed them every day through the summer? Of course not, it’s the fact that it’s a treat that makes it so good. Giving your pet a treat is fine, but just remember that a treat should be a very occasional thing to make it special; a bit like Gary Lineker scoring from outside the penalty area.

The serious bit here folks is that obesity in pets often leads to other health issues. Too much strain is put on important organs like the heart, on bones, joints and muscles. Incidence of disease rises and life expectancy decreases. I wonder what percentage of pets that would make happy?

If you want to make your pet happy play with it, exercise it and have fun with it. When you get the lead out and walk to the door most dogs go nuts, and that’s because they’re excited and happy because they know they’re going out for some exercise. They know it makes sense which makes them smarter than some of us!

So what is the ideal weight for your pet? Can you play a tune on their ribs, if so then they’re probably too skinny. Can you actually feel their ribs, if not then they’re almost certainly too fat. Our vets and nurses can help you to realise what the ideal weight for your pet is and they can give advice on nutrition, diet and exercise to help them keep to that weight. We even have two nurses that run FREE weight clinics for your pets. All you have to do is contact us and ask for an appointment with Sarah or Rikki.

As this blog draws to a close, I’m going to ask a question that I think may not be too tricky…… would you prefer an overweight pet that is more likely to get sick, die younger and cost you more in vets bills, or would you like a fitter healthier pet at the right weight that will almost certainly cost you less in the long run and live longer? Bit of a no brainer really. Not only that, but you can get the help and advice you need to achieve this for Free (but please don’t tell Jonathan!).

Prevention is better than cure as the saying goes, and preventing obesity is easier than getting a pet to lose weight.  A good healthy diet and plenty of exercise from a young age will help your pet stay trim and make it less likely to become fat when it gets older. At Cherrydown we strongly believe good preventative care is essential to your pet’s health and that’s why we not only run free weight clinics, but keep the price of the nutritional pet foods we sell to less than our competitors. So please give us a call or pop in and see us so we can help keep your pet as healthy as possible.

healthy pets

The Vet Says – Beware Heatstroke in Pets

sunUnless you live in Liverpool or John O’Groats, you may have noticed Summer has finally arrived, and with vengeance. Record temperatures over the weekend look set to continue, and it poses a real threat to your pet’s health. With that in mind here are some tips from Jonathan on keeping your pet cool in the sweltering heat.

With the sudden increase in temperature, it is important to be aware that our pets are at risk of heat stroke (hyperthermia). We see this most commonly in dogs but rabbits and guinea pigs kept outside in hutches or in sheds are also at risk. Cats are less susceptible to the effects of heat as they will adapt their lifestyle accordingly. However, I have seen cases in cats where owners had shut them in a conservatory and they had no ability to escape.

Dogs can overheat in a number of ways. The most obvious is when they are left in cars in the hot weather. They will very rapidly overheat and leaving a window open a couple of centimetres DOES NOT HELP. It never ceases to amaze me that despite all the hard work by the RSPCA to highlight the risks of leaving your dog in the car, it still happens. If owners do not believe how dangerous it is to leave their dog in a car for even a few minutes, I invite them to park their car on a hot day, put on a nice thick coat (because that is what their furry friend is wearing) and see how long they can sit comfortably in it with the window open a couple of centimetres.

Conservatories are similarly as dangerous. However, the commonest reason I see dogs suffering from heatstroke is that owners will insist on taking their dogs out for a walk despite the hot weather. And in some cases still throw a ball for them to chase! Please be sensible and only walk your dog when it is cool very early in the morning or late at night. If in doubt- do not walk them because animals can die of heatstroke.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • •Rapid Panting and Drooling
  • •Bright red tongue
  • •Red and Pale Gums
  • •Thick Sticky Saliva
  • •Hyper ventilation (gasping for air)
  • •Glossy eyes •Fever (103 +)
  • •Vomiting
  • •Weakness
  • •Diarrhea

Some breeds are more susceptible than others to heat stroke, particularly short-nosed breeds like Pugs, Boxers and Bulldogs. Of course if you’re concerned call us for advice on 01268 533636. For further information on heat stroke in dogs visit the Dog Squad website.