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What is 1 Good Reason to Exercise Your Dog?

Pet Exercise

Walkies!

Summer boredom impacts not only your two-legged kids but your four-legged kids as well. Bored kids and dogs spell “t-r-o-u-b-l-e”! One way to address summer boredom is by keeping your dogs exercised and plumb wore out! All kidding aside, did you know that exercising your dog is important ALL year long – not just during the summer?  It’s true.  Exercise promotes good health and reduces problem behaviors in your dog.

We all want our dog to be healthy, right?  Well, a good daily dose of exercise will definitely promote good health. Exercise builds strong bones and muscles in dogs just like it does in you! Strong bones and muscles are essential building blocks for good health.  They keep your dog protected against illness and injury.  Those long lean muscles will keep your dog flexible and mobile so he can continue to run, jump and play.  Exercise also prevents diseases that can plague aging dogs.  Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer and obesity are three such diseases that can result from poor exercise habits.  Starting good habits now will last your dog a lifetime, literally. Exercise your dog today! First start with a trip to the vet for an exam to make sure your pup is healthy enough to increase physical activity. Then you can adjust the intensity and duration according to your dog’s level of fitness.

What happens when your kids get bored?  If they’re like most kids, they’ll either nag you or get into mischief! A dog will do the same if he is bored!  Destructive and problematic behaviors are often times a direct result of a bored, unexercised dog.  A dog is an inquisitive creature, by nature.  He is always up for some type of challenge whether it is physical or mental – and believe me, if you don’t provide the challenge, he’ll create his own.  Your dog’s predatory instincts demand that he explore the world in which he lives.  A nice long walk or romp at the dog park will fulfill those demands. Say good bye to problem behaviors such as jumping on people, chewing your favorite shoes and even aggressive behavior.  Again, poor behaviors are often masking a deeper issue and we can often point to boredom and lack of exercise. Exercising is imperative to keep your dog healthy and quite frankly, out of trouble. When exercising in the heat always take precautions and look for these signs of your pet overheating.

Remember to be safe, healthy and have a happy Summer!

Next Article: Invisible Fencing Can Keep Your Pets Safe

Exercising your pets? It depends…

Do you exercise on a regular basis? If you do, way to go! Physical fitness is essential for a long and healthy life, the same goes for exercising your pets. Even cats need exercise, especially now that obesity in domestic cats and dogs is on the rise. In a 2010 study on canine obesity, only 35% of dogs were considered to be “normal” weight. Of the remainder, 5% were underweight and a full 60% were classified as overweight or obese. The numbers for cats and humans are similar.” See the remarkable story of Skinny the 42 lb cat who lost… (more)

Exercising pets
It is a common misconception that since many animals are built to run, they can jump right into it. However, just like us, dogs and cats need to work up to being fit, where to start depends on fitness level. Before exercising your pets, take a trip to the vet where body condition and overall health will be assessed. Getting a medical OK can rule out hidden underlying conditions that may cause problems later. For instance, pets suffer from arthritis, they have joint and muscle aches just like humans. Plus, if they carry extra weight, like the 60% of the subjects in that study, it puts additional strain on their joints. Unfortunately, animals are very good at hiding pain and discomfort, it’s a survival instinct. So even a short run with stiff muscles may be too much but Fido can’t verbalize that. Get a medical check up then find an exercise routine that fits your level starting slowly and advancing with improvement.

Hiking is a popular exercise people do with their dogs. It’s a fabulous way for both of you to stay in shape but there are some things to consider before setting off in that direction with your pup:

With cooler weather on it’s way, you will be enjoying the outdoors exercising your pets. Let’s make the most of it for everyone’s benefit!

Next Article: 5 Safety Tips For Pets in Winter

Is Your Pet Included In Your Disaster Preparedness Plan?

Disaster Preparedness

First Aid for pets

Having a back up for our pets during a disaster will save time and heartache if anything horrible were to ever happen. This blog will be a guest post from Dr. Brittany Barton of HEAL Veterinary Clinic in Dallas, TX. Her blog, Pet Pause With Dr. B, has a wonderfully worded, easy to read post on disaster preparedness and pets which also contains an extensive list of everything you need to protect your beloved pets as you would your human family (see below)

The recent devastating tornado activity in Oklahoma may have you scrambling to create a Disaster Plan for your family….but wait, what about your pets? Dr. Barton goes on to advise:

All of your pets should have collars with identification information, including your cell phone number and a back-up number of someone who lives outside of your area. But DON’T rely solely on this.  Approximately 60% of lost pets are found without their collar present.  Permanent identification is imperative in pets. Pet microchipping is an invaluable identification tool.  Members are able to list contact information, emergency secondary contact information and veterinary hospital information for each of their pets.  You can even list chronic medical conditions in the event your pet needs regular medication or special considerations.
Remember: If you move or any of your pet’s important information changes, you need to update the information with the microchip database. (This is simply done on-line)

Next Topic: Luxury Pet Accessories

Pets eat rocks?

Does your pet eat bizarre things? Some pet owners don’t have to worry about their fur kids eating out of the trash or gobbling up inanimate objects, but others have to keep everything out of reach from their chow hound. When your pet eats table scraps, garbage, or spoiled food, also known as dietary indiscretion, they can develop symptoms similar to food poisoning in humans such as vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and lethargy. Sometimes the symptoms pass on their own with rest and a bland diet. More severe or longer lasting symptoms need veterinary treatment as pancreatitis is a major concern with gastrointestinal illness caused by eating spoiled or high fat foods.

Sometimes inedible household items are eaten and intestinal obstruction is a danger. A foreign object can lodge itself in the intestinal track causing blockage and your pet may require surgery to remove it. Socks, rocks, toys, plastic, wood, metal, jewelry, coins, silver ware, and Christmas ornaments are just some of the items pets have ingested, the list goes on and on. Linear foreign bodies like string, ribbon, yarn, and rubber bands can get caught up and stretch or tear the intestines. Cats often play with and eat stringy items so keep them out of reach of your feline family. Go to your vet if your pet is lethargic, has a painful abdomen, is vomiting, having difficulty defecating or has any other signs of illness. X-rays often reveal the offending object. Some of the most amazing things I’ve seen while working for veterinarians are x-rays of foreign objects in the intestines of pets. You can never predict what a pet will eat, take a look at the x-rays here, the belly is full of rocks! I’ always amazed, I bet you will be too!

Dogs eat rocks

Next Topic: Toxic Plants

Foods That Are Toxic To Your Pets

toxic food

 

Now that the holidays are here, there will be a lot of opportunities for your pet to have access to foods that are toxic to them. Who hasn’t been tempted to throw their pet a table scrap now and then? I mean, look at that face! How can you resist those puppy dog eyes or that kitty cat purr? Unfortunately, our pets can’t decide what is good or bad to eat so we have to do it for them. Below are some people foods that are toxic to pets and should be avoided.

Many pet owners know that chocolate is toxic and keep it out of reach. Sometimes the sweet temptation is too hard to resist and our pet ends up consuming it despite our efforts to prevent it. When this happens a trip to the vet is almost always necessary. The level of toxicity depends on the size of the pet, how much and the type of chocolate ingested (dark, milk, unsweetened bakers…) Different types contain different levels of Theobromine, the toxic chemical in chocolate. Contact or go to your veterinarian as soon as you find your pet has eaten chocolate no matter how much or what type.

Although once thought to be an urban legend, grapes and raisins are toxic to dogs. Many pet owners have used them for treats or snacks but the toxin, which is not known at this time, can potentially cause kidney failure. Some dogs may be more sensitive than others so the amount consumed can be a handful of raisins (more concentrated) or a pound of grapes. Some dogs will seek them out, keep them out of reach of your hungry hound!

The toxin in Macadamia nuts is also not known and, like grapes and raisins, the sensitivity of the pet to the toxin and the number of nuts causing toxicity may vary. Signs to look for are, weakness and inability to walk, especially in the hind legs, vomiting, staggering gait, depression, tremors and elevated body temperature.

Xylitol, a common artificial sweetener found in sugar-free gum and mints, nicotine gum, chewable vitamins, and oral-care products, can be fatal if ingested. In addition to causing a sudden sharp decrease in blood glucose, liver failure can occur within 12 to 24 hours of ingestion. Increasing use of the sweetener in our diets has, of course, increased the number of xylitol poisonings according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. Seek veterinary attention right away if your pet consumes xylitol.

When in doubt, don’t feed it to your pet. We love to spoil them but when it comes to treats, pet appropriate ones help keep our fur kids happy AND healthy. As I always say, better safe than sorry!

 

Next Topic: Dietary Indiscretion

What is the Pet Oxygen Mask Project?

Exceptional Pet Sitting in on a mission to equip as many fire/rescue trucks with Pet Oxygen Masks (POMs) as possible! This is a nation wide project aimed at equipping every truck in the US and I’d like to do my part here in Texas. All of the fire stations in DFW have them so I looked a little further out of the area for stations in need. I came across a fireman in Rhome, TX (about 50 mi NW of Dallas) and he told me they have one set of POMs but 5 trucks to equip. He was very grateful when I offered to help get the other 3 needed masks! (I already have one set to donate.) Now I’m asking for your help to accomplish this goal. I’ve set up a PayPal account for POM donations, anything will help me help the city of Rhome and will be greatly appreciated! The goal is $225 for three more sets of masks. If you happen to know of a business that might be interested in sponsoring this cause, please let me know.

October is Fire Safety Month and fire safety applies to our pets too. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, an estimated 500,000 pets are affected by home fires each year. Additionally, “Pet oxygen masks are crucial at the scene of a fire to prevent the harmful effects of smoke inhalation. The access to oxygen can mean the difference of life and death for a pet,” advises Dr. Ernie Ward of Seaside Animal Care in North Carolina.

These facts and more can be found in this article: Fire Safety Month

More about the POM Project: Pet Oxygen Mask Project

Where to donate:

Oxygen Mask

Pet Oxygen Mask

Next Topic: Chocolate Toxicity