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March 2009

Helping Your Overweight Dog or Cat by Dr Jane Bicks

As pet parents, our companion animals depend solely on us to make important decisions for their health and well-being.  Choosing the right food is a critical part of our responsibility to provide the best care possible.  But just as crucial is the amount of food that we feed our precious pets.

We know that when dogs and cats are overweight, their health can be jeopardized.  Current estimates indicate that more than half of all companion animals are overweight or obese.  And health challenges resulting from obesity account for the majority of veterinarian visits.

An overweight pet carries too many pounds of pressure for a healthy skeletal system to withstand. This excessive pressure is a contributing factor in the development of bone and joint issues, which are believed to afflict nearly 90% of all senior cats.  An overweight pet’s heart must work much harder to circulate blood, putting unnecessary stress on this vital organ.  And unregulated blood sugar has become much more prevalent in both dogs and cats, and some believe that excess weight is the singlemost important contributing factor.

With all of the evidence indicating that good health is much more elusive when animals are overweight, one wonders why more pet parents fail to commit to feeding their sweet companions a healthier diet.  

One reason is that weight gain is usually so gradual that pet parents really don’t realize that their pet has become overweight.  And the second major reason?  By and large, we are resistant to change our routines.

Many employ a free-feed method, where food is left out all day for the pet.  Rarely is the food measured, and it’s often more than our pets require.  Then, after returning from work, we reward our companions with several treats, not keeping track of how many we provide.  

And pets have become more sedentary, just like their pet parents.  It is not uncommon to see dogs and cats lounging on the couch, keeping their people company while they watch TV for hours every night.

So, we have pets being overfed and not getting sufficient exercise.  I think we can all agree … this is a classic recipe for excessive weight gain.

The first step to any successful weight loss program is accepting that your pet is overweight and embracing a willingness to alter established patterns of behavior and consumption.

For starters, you need to determine whether or not your companion animal is overweight.  Most of us don’t weigh our companion animals, excluding vet visits which typically come only once a year.  But this is easy to do at home, using your bathroom scale.  First, weigh yourself.  Then, pick up your pet and step back onto the scale.  Subtract the first weight from the second, revealing your pet’s weight.  You’ll need to do this periodically, so keep track of the weights in a journal or on a piece of paper that you leave posted on your refrigerator (or another handy spot).

Don’t worry if your pet is too heavy for you to comfortably lift, because there is another way to check if your pet is overweight.  Simply place your hands on the ribcage, with your fingers pointed toward the feet.  If you can feel ribs, your dog or cat is probably within the normal (average) weight range.  If you can feel approximately one inch of fat between the skin and ribs, or if the ribs are hard to locate, your pet could be packing excessive pounds.  If, however, you cannot find the ribs at all, your pet could be obese, and you should make weight reduction an immediate priority. 
 

Figure out the optimal amount of food you should be feeding.  If you have trouble making a determination from the information included on your pet’s bag and or can of food, consult with your veterinarian.  The amount shown on the label may not always be suited to your particular pet, and may need to be adjusted depending on how overweight your pet is.  You should start with feeding the amount that is on the bag and after two weeks you can adjust the amount.

If you want to free-feed, check to make sure that you’re not pouring more than the recommended amount into the bowl.  Some dogs and cats may cry or pester you, hoping for more food, but after a few days they will adjust to the new portions.  

You should also determine how many treats you give your pet on a daily basis.  As long as you are already tracking your pet’s weight, leave space in your journal to record the number of treats you provide.  Every time you give them a cookie, make a mark.  Within a week, you should have a pretty clear idea of the number of treats you’re providing.  If you find that you’re providing more treats than indicated on the label, you might consider using food from your pet’s recommended daily feeding as treats.

Select and pursue at least one method of exercise that you can do with your pet.  For ideas about how to incorporate exercise for your companion animal in your routine, be sure to read both of the articles below (one focuses on dogs and the other on cats).

To track the progress of your new weight-loss program, weigh your dog or cat at least once per month, and possibly weekly, as metabolisms can change quickly.   

With a little extra effort, you will be able to foster a healthier life for your furry friend.

Thank you for all that you do to make the world a better place for companion animals.

Very best regards,

Dr. Jane Bicks

A Change in the Way We View Fat

Body fat, or adipose tissue, has long been thought as just a storage center for the excessive fat consumed in a diet.  Today, some leading experts now view fat as an organ, on par with other bodily organs, like the heart, brain and the liver.

Some, including Dr. Jane, regard fat as an active complex organ that regulates a host of hormones, including adipokines.  Adipose tissue also regulates a series of complex chemical events in a coordinated effort to keep the body lean.  When some of these systems within the fat cells ago awry, obesity can be the result.  

Additionally, adipose tissue helps to regulate other tissues and processes in our body, including immune cells, fat metabolism, carbohydrate and protein metabolism, blood clotting and blood pressure.

Canine Exercise

The importance of exercise in our lives is undeniable and really cannot be understated.  This is no less true for our canine companions, too.

Leading experts recommend an hour or more of exercise every day for our four-legged best friends.
Of course, the duration depends on several factors, including breed, size, age and state of health.

So what should be your guide in determining how much exercise they should have?  Let your dog help you decide.  Any new exercise routine is a discovery process.  Pay close attention to any potential signs of early fatigue, like panting or slowing down. 

Environmental factors, like excessive heat or cold, should definitely influence the duration of outdoor activities on any given day.  If you’re planning a hike or some other kind of day trip, be sure to bring along plenty of water for your dog, and provide several opportunities to drink.  Additionally, pay attention to your own feelings about exercise periods – in you feel like you’re spending too much time on an activity, and you become anxious about other items on your to-do list, your pet may not enjoy the time (and you might be less likely to commit to further activities in the future). 

Exercising with your dog is an important opportunity for you to bond with your companion, so make sure it’s fun for both of you.  Together, you can both enjoy a healthy new year.

Feline Exercise

Indoor cats, especially those who are the sole companion animal in a home, tend not to get adequate exercise.  So what can you do to ensure this necessary component of your cat’s life?  Here are just a handful of easy exercise tips:

Use a laser pointer and shine the light all around the room.  Be careful not to point the beam directly in the eyes.

Purchase a cat-toy fishing pole and attach something fun to tantalize your cat to begin an exciting chase throughout the house.

Walk or run up and down stairs, dragging a thick rope for your kitty to try and catch (this will get both of your hearts pumping). 

Make your cat work for his or her food.  Instead of putting a meal on one plate, put small amounts of food on several plates throughout the house.  This will require your cat to get some much needed exercise in order to eat.

When you first begin an exercise program with your cat, start with only five minutes of activity, and then subsequently add an extra minute or two to the routine.   Any of these activities, in combination with a healthy diet that’s low in carbohydrates, will help your cat shed some unwanted pounds.

Life’s Abundance Weight-Loss
Formula for Adult Dogs

Obesity is the most common nutritional issue among dogs and cats.  And many veterinarians attribute being overweight or obese as the leading contributing factor in other health challenges for companion animals.

Helping your companion animal to lose weight is an excellent way to help them lead a more healthy life. 

That’s why we are so pleased to provide your dog with an excellent option in the fight for better health – Life’s Abundance Premium Weight-Loss Formula for Adult Dogs. 

Weight-Loss Formula is made with high-quality ingredients like premium chicken and catfish meal, eggs, flaxseed, oat groats, rice bran, B vitamins, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, vegetables and much more.  This incredible mix of superior ingredients works to support strong muscles, a healthy heart and digestive system, a strong immune system and overall wellness.

According to clinical trials, our Weight-Loss Formula resulted in successful weight losses, increased vitality, decreased hunger and healthier skin and shinier coats.  Weight-Loss Formula is a complete food for dogs, and is especially recommended for breeds with a tendency toward weight gain.

Help your dogs live a healthier, longer and happier life by beginning a new diet of Life’s Abundance Weight-Loss Formula for Adult Dogs today.

Our weight loss formula food was studied in two different tests. The first study was conducted to determine if the food made significant contributions to overall canine health, how effective the food helped dogs lose excess weight, and how well the recommended amount of food curbed hunger.  All dogs had families who took them to their own veterinarians for blood work and general physicals. Our findings were nothing short of remarkable – older dogs had more energy, all of the dogs developed wonderful and lustrous coats, and they all lost weight. The study was repeated later, and the results were the same as the first study. 
– Dr. Jane Bicks, DVM

Instinctive Choice Premium
Canned Health Food for Kittens & Adult Cats

At HealthyPetNet, we focus on what a cat really needs for good health, rather than just on keeping down costs.  Additionally, we refrain from the temptation to feed them ingredients we ourselves might want to eat.  For example, while other companies have chosen to feature excessive carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables and grains simply because they sound appetizing to pet parents, we believe that they aren’t exactly what cats need in order to thrive over a long and happy lifetime. 

The Instinctive Choice recipe reflects the fact that cats are metabolically adapted to use protein and fat as their primary sources for energy.  To make this unique formula as natural as possible, we use absolutely no glutens, artificial flavors or food colorings.  Not only that, our premium canned cat food is nutrient-dense, which means that you can feed less of Instinctive Choice than many other brands of canned cat food, while still providing the superior nutrition they deserve.

This recipe was formulated to address the needs of the whole body, in order to promote overall feline health.  That’s why Instinctive Choice contains high-quality proteins from organic chicken, turkey, chicken liver and shrimp.  This prime selection ensures that your cat will receive a full array of the protein components that true carnivores need to live a healthy life. 

Additionally, Instinctive Choice includes a guaranteed amount of added omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil and omega-6 fatty acids.  There’s also a guaranteed amount of added vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant important to long-term health.  We’ve also included minerals, antioxidants, and Inulin, which supports a healthy intestine, a healthy immune system and improved nutrient absorption.  And, to top off this delicious recipe, we added a guaranteed amount of Taurine, an amino acid found in meats that supports a healthy heart, eyes and muscles.
 
And to make this premium canned cat food not only nutritious but tantalizing, too, we’ve flavored it with a hint of rosemary, for a taste that cats hunger for, meal after mouthwatering meal.

Provide your cat with a feast that was created to fulfill their natural instincts.  When you feed your cat Instinctive Choice, you’re giving them the exceptional nutrition they need to enjoy a lifetime of health


Antioxidant Health Bars For Dogs, Oatmeal & Apple Recipe Improved Formula!

Antioxidantbars Dr Jane Bicks is always on the lookout for ways to improve her superior formulas.  Well, she's done it again! Our Antioxidant Health Bars for Dogs are improved!

Packed with premium ingredients, Life's Abundance Antioxidant Health Bars have always been a fantastic way to nutritiously reward our lovable pups.  But now there’s even more reason to celebrate this formula for better health!  In the new formula, Antioxidant Health Bars – Oatmeal & Apple Recipe, I’ve added hefty helpings of vitamin E, vitamin C and beta-carotene for a serious jolt of antioxidants to help support and maintain their immune systems.

These delicious snacks have the great taste of apples, peanut butter and honey.  Dogs just can’t resist them!

And just like before, they feature wholesome ingredients including oatmeal, stabilized rice bran, brown rice, ground flaxseed, rolled oats, flaxseed oil, dried whole eggs, cranberries and carrots, all of which help to round out this satisfying and healthy treat, for a taste sensation that can’t be beat.

And like all of our products, they have no artificial flavors or colors, so you can rest assured that you’re providing the best possible product to your customers.

Learn more about the Antioxidant Health Bars For Dogs


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