Category Archives: overweight

How to Tell if Your Pet is Overweight

By Suzanne Alicie

Responsible pet owners have the job of making sure their pets stay healthy and fit. Besides regular vet visits and exercise, it’s also important to make sure your pet is at the proper weight. Overweight animals, just like overweight people, tend to develop other health problems. Some people think it’s cute to see a big fluffy cat or pudgy pooch, and you may believe that a full bodied animal is healthy. But there is a limit to just how big a dog or cat should be allowed to get. This has nothing to do with height or length; the determination of whether a dog or cat is overweight is generally based on their appearance. There are several visual indicators that let you know it’s time to discuss your pet’s food intake with the veterinarian.

Overweight Cats

Felines are known for their lithe bodies, and cat owners can help their kitties watch their figure by keeping an eye on the following areas.

• Ribs should be easily felt but not sticking out prominently.
• From above, your cat should have some indentation between the ribs and the hips; this is the feline hourglass shape that is healthy.
• The cat’s belly should not protrude to the sides or hang down.
• Feline hips should be covered with a light fleshiness. If you have to really search to find the hip bones, your cat is likely overweight.

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Obesity in Pets: It’s No Laughing Matter


By Julia Williams

People who aspire to be compassionate and/or politically correct wouldn’t dream of laughing at an obese person. Most of us are evolved enough to know this just isn’t funny. Yet, to my dismay I recently discovered that some people do think fat cats and pudgy pooches are hilarious. A simple Google search brought up countless pictures of morbidly obese dogs and cats, as well as Youtube videos, cartoons, caricatures and blogs, all poking fun at these roly-poly pets.

As an animal lover, I didn’t laugh. In fact, I gasped. I was saddened at the sight of these poor pets that were allowed to become so shockingly huge. For me, this sort of thing is the opposite of amusing. It’s certainly not what any caring, responsible pet owner would do. Our pets do not become fat of their own accord; they simply eat what (and how much) is given to them by their human guardian. Our pets don’t control the amount of calorie-burning exercise and playtime they get either. When these two things are out of balance, weight gain is the inevitable result. And according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, fat pets are becoming more prevalent every year. Their 2008 study estimated that 44% of all dogs and 57% of all cats in the U.S. are overweight, with around 14% qualifying for obesity.

But fat pets are not funny. The reality is, obese pets suffer, and many die prematurely due to weight related health problems. Like humans, overweight pets are at risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, liver malfunction, digestive disorders, high blood pressure, damage to their joints and bones, and many other conditions that endanger their health. I think it’s unfortunate that people who allow their pet to starve (intentionally or not) are charged with animal cruelty, yet owners who allow their dog or cat to become morbidly obese are not held accountable. It doesn’t really make sense to me. When your pet becomes so big it can’t walk and has difficulty breathing, isn’t it rather obvious this is a serious health problem which requires human intervention?

Ignorance is no excuse for letting a pet suffer, either. Even when it’s not so clear cut, such as when a pet is merely overweight rather than morbidly obese, a responsible owner would be made aware of this when they took their pet in for a yearly checkup. Then, they could discuss with their vet the proper way to go about helping their pet lose weight. Just as with humans, there is no “quick fix” for weight gain in pets. Many different factors may be contributing to a pet’s excess weight, and owners need the guidance and knowledge of trained professionals to safely and effectively combat pet obesity.

Helping an overweight pet shed excess pounds is not an easy task, to be sure. The ideal solution is not to let your pet get fat in the first place. But if and when it happens, a responsible owner takes action immediately to remedy the situation, because untreated obesity in pets can have devastating consequences. No one who loves their dog or cat would allow their health and quality of life to be diminished by excess weight.

If you think your pet is overweight, let your vet help you determine the best course of action. By helping your pet to lose weight, you will likely be adding years to their life – which means there will be a lot more kitty kisses or doggie hugs in store for you!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Helping Your Overweight Dog Lose Weight


By Ruthie Bently

When you have an overweight dog, this can affect their health in many ways. They can become diabetic, have heart issues, as well as develop arthritis or joint issues in later years. So as our pets’ care givers, we need to be aware of their weight and help them lose weight if they need to. When you have a dog that needs to lose weight, how do you go about it without making everybody’s life miserable?

When I first adopted Skye I thought she was too thin, unfortunately I needn’t have worried. Because of the medication Skye is on she is ravenous all the time, and I do mean all the time. I never thought I would be living with an animal that is food driven, and it was difficult in the beginning. You see, I had never lived with a “counter surfer” before and now have first hand knowledge of how crafty they can actually be.

Skye is a master at the art of “counter surfing,” and may have perfected things that I was too dense in the beginning to figure out on my own. After all, I assumed that “counter surfing” meant just that; stupid human. Skye has climbed on her crate to get to the cats’ food; she has climbed over gates to get to food in unopened bags and to get to the new bag of cat litter (I use wheat-based); all because of her hunger issues. The only saving grace in my house is that Skye hasn’t figured out how to get into either the refrigerator or the microwave yet. Don’t laugh; I have a friend with Labrador Retrievers who have learned how to open the refrigerator for their favorite pizza leftovers.

Not only that, how can we help our dogs to feel fuller and not feel the hunger that is driving them in the first place? This sounded tough to me until I began doing my homework, and I found lots of healthy things to add to Skye’s food that will not compromise the value of the food she was eating at the time, which was not CANIDAE®. I found a document on the USDA’s website, titled Nutrient Value of Foods, Home and Garden Bulletin #72. It has been an invaluable source of information. It shows caloric values for many kinds of foods: raw and cooked, as well as many commercially produced human foods. These caloric values will be the same for your dog as they would be for you.

I started experimenting with different vegetables, because Skye didn’t need any carbohydrates or sugars added to her diet. Vegetables were a good choice, because the body usually has to work harder to digest them, and Skye could actually lose weight having veggies added to her diet. Skye loves asparagus, green beans, peas, tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, zucchini, summer, acorn and butternut squashes. We give her the rind of the squashes after we have scooped them out and she (and the cats) love them. We use butter on our squash, but don’t add anything to what we give Skye. I stay away from foods like corn or noodles, or anything that can add extra carbohydrates or sugars.

As an extra treat after I have exercised Skye sometimes I will give her fruit. While they do have sugars they are natural sugars, and I don’t give her enough to add too many calories to her diet. Skye’s favorite fruits are strawberries, bananas, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe. Those are the only ones I’ve tried so far, but Skye continues to surprise me with her likes. I am happy to report that now that Skye is on the CANIDAE Grain Free All Life Stages, she is losing weight and we don’t seem to have the counter surfing issues that we had before.

Those of us who live with dogs that need to lose weight live with another quandary; how do we provide our dogs with a treat without adding to their weight, especially if they need to lose weight to start with? As to the treat, see my article on CANIDAE Snap Bits, a wonderful smaller treat, which is just fine to give your dog whether they are large or small, and doesn’t add much to their daily calorie count.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

I Found the Perfect Dog Biscuits!

By Ruthie Bently

Finding a healthy biscuit that your dog loves can be hard to do, not because there is a lack of dog biscuits on the market, but I have to be calorie conscious as Skye’s caregiver. Those of us who live with dogs that need to lose weight live with a quandary; how do we provide our dogs with a treat without adding to their weight, especially if they need to lose weight to start with?

I found the perfect dog biscuits to fit the bill. CANIDAE® Snap Bits and Snap-Biscuits. Skye is very intelligent and knows her commands, but she still likes to be bribed to do things better. I actually walk around with a “Bickie” (biscuit) bottle in my pocket, and when I want to get Skye’s attention I will take it out of my pocket and shake it so the biscuits in the bottle rattle and make noise. It doesn’t matter where Skye is, she will come running when she hears the sound.
The Snap-Bits are great for my bottle and they come in three different flavors (Original Chicken, Turkey and Rice; Lamb and Rice; and Platinum), so Skye will never get bored. They are made with all natural ingredients, fruits and herbs, and Skye likes all three flavors. Not only that, their calorie count is very low and ranges from 5.79 calories for the Original and Lamb and Rice to 5.44 calories for the Platinum. Snap-Bits come in little bite-sized pieces, perfect when you just want to give your dog a little treat. This picture is roughly the actual size of the Snap-Bits.The Snap-Bits are available in 8 ounce and 1 pound boxes in all three varieties. I use the Snap-Biscuits at bedtime or when I need to kennel Skye because I can’t take her with me. They are made of the same all natural ingredients as the Snap-Bits, and Skye loves them as well. The Snap-Biscuits also come in the same three varieties that the Snap-Bits come in, and are scored for easy breaking. They can be broken into four separate biscuits, which is great if you want to treat your dog, but not add lots of calories to their diet. The calorie count for the Snap-Biscuits is very low also and ranges from 32.5 for one “snap” to 130 calories for both the Original and Lamb and Rice varieties; and 31.5 for one “snap” to 126 calories for the Platinum version. Snap-Biscuits are available in three sizes: 1 pound, 4 pounds and 12 pound boxes.

When researching Snap-Bits and Snap-Biscuits on the CANIDAE website, I found out something that is not on the packaging I got, but no less important to me personally. Both varieties of dog biscuits are produced in a plant that uses 100% wind generated electricity. I like doing business with a company that is forward thinking in their use of energy, and that will keep me coming back for more.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Humans Aren’t the Only Ones with Weight Issues

Humans aren’t the only ones with weight issues these days. Our companion animals are fighting obesity too, but with proper feeding, exercise and the right food they can lose weight too.
This is the success story of Rubie a medium sized lab/chow mix that had a weight problem. She should weigh between 65 to 70 pounds according to her owner, Shari. In November of 2006 during a vet visit, Rubie stepped on the scale and weighed a whopping 105 pounds.
When Rubie joined Shari’s household she was a four month old stray that had been dumped after Christmas of 1998. There were two other dogs in the household that Shari was free feeding and as that seemed to work for them, she continued doing it for Rubie too. After two moves and adding a few more dogs, Rubie’s weight kept climbing steadily. Shari jokes about catching her older brother feeding Rubie a sandwich and wanting to blame him for Rubie’s weight gain. Every time her brother had a sandwich he felt the need to give Rubie one also. Shari’s heart would break when friends would come over and comment on how heavy Rubie was.
The breaking point came in 2006 after her chart topping 105 pounds. Rubie now had arthritis, and struggled with walking up stairs, standing and just reaching around to clean herself. Shari knew she had to take a hand in Rubie’s weight loss if she wanted to have Rubie around for a while. The vet at the clinic put Rubie on a prescription diet and told Shari that she had to stop free feeding and feed only twice a day. In December of 2006 Rubie was down to 102.6 pounds, but Shari had expected to see better results than she did. The problem
was that Rubie was the only dog on the prescription diet and she would try and bully the other dogs away from their bowls so she could have what they were eating. So Shari had to watch her like a hawk to make sure that didn’t happen. By February of 2007, Rubie was down to 97.8 and then in August she was at 96.6 pounds. However that was only a weight loss of 8.4 pounds and Shari felt that something else had to be done.
So Shari contacted her local pet shop Paw Prints, to have them help her research different foods to see if she could change Rubie’s situation. Shari wanted a food that she could feed all the dogs that would promote good health for all of them and one that they would all like. Shari decided to try feeding CANIDAE Platinum. She was feeling bad about having to cut down Rubie’s ration of food to 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup in the evening, so she added green beans to add fiber and try to fill Rubie up. Rubie loved the green beans and thought she was getting special treatment. According to Shari, Rubie has a lot to say when it is time to be fed.
Shari continued to feed the CANIDAE Platinum and began to notice a difference. Rubie’s weight began to drop, not only that her energy level increased and Shari also noticed that Rubie along with getting healthier was feeling better. Instead of looking like a walking shelf, Rubie now had hips again and her skin and coat improved too.

When Shari took Rubie back to the vet’s office on October 3, 2008 and Rubie got on the scale, she was down to 71 pounds, a weight loss of 34 pounds. Shari and the vet were amazed and very excited. The vet praised Shari and told her that it was her efforts on Rubie’s behalf that made the difference. Rubie was back to the vet for another weigh in on January 17, 2009 and she is now down to 67.2 pounds, which is a total weight loss of 37.8 pounds.
There have been other benefits for Rubie as well. She is now playing with her ball like a soccer player, can climb stairs with ease and running and playing like the puppy she used to be. Shari feels that because of Rubie’s weight loss, Rubie has gained back several years of her life. Not only that, Shari feels that CANIDAE Platinum has helped her other dogs as well. The vet has told Shari that she can now level off Rubie’s food, as her weight is perfect now.
And Shari has a few words for the rest of us, “I just have to say to all of you out there that think you are depriving your family’s pets, because you think you are starving them, GET OVER IT. I did, and it paid off big. We as pet owners really need to take a better look at whet we are feeding our animals and whether we are doing what is in their best interest. Rubie is truly a success story for our family and we wanted to share our story with you.”

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

What the Terms on Your Dog Food Bag Mean

There are many terms on the dog food bag. Do you know what they mean and what their function is?
As I mentioned in my last article, every dog food label has the same basic information. The guaranteed analysis lists protein, fiber, fat and moisture contents along with vitamin and mineral information. Some of the words may look like a foreign language to those of us who have no chemistry background, but I assure you they are real words.
Protein breaks down into over 20 amino acids in your dog’s body, and these are responsible for bone growth, skin and coat condition, and proper organ function, and this isn’t even the whole list. So you want to have a meat protein listed as the first ingredient. Some of the amino acids in my Canidae dog food are: Arginine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine Cystine, Phenylalanine-Tyrosine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine.
Fat is a concentrated form of energy that the dog’s body uses and has about 2-1/2 times the amount of energy that protein and carbohydrates have. It is also a source of essential fatty acids. Polyunsaturated essential fatty acids are used for healthy skin and your dog’s hair coat, and assist the immune system in its normal function. Some vitamins even need dietary fat for their utilization by the body. So even a dog that may be overweight needs a certain amount of fat in their diet to remain healthy, they just don’t need to be eating a food with 30% protein and 20% fat.
Fiber is the part of the carbohydrates in a dog food that is hard for a dog to digest. So why is it in there? Well, fiber helps give a more solid form to your dog’s stools for one thing. It promotes healthy cell function and is used by the intestinal tract walls as a source of energy, and a certain amount of fiber is needed to combat constipation. It is also sometimes added to senior and less active diets, to add bulk to the food to make the dog feel fuller and reduces the amount of calories an overweight dog eats.
Carbohydrates are no less important for your dog and can make up to 55% of some dry foods. Carbohydrates tend to come from cereal grains like rice, barley, wheat, sorghum, corn, or oats. They are usually cooked to make them more digestible for dogs. CANIDAE of course contains no corn, wheat, soy, or grain fractions at all.
Vitamins fall into two classes, water-soluble and fat-soluble. The water-soluble vitamins are the B vitamins and Vitamin C, and help the body metabolize the proteins, carbohydrates and fats in your dog’s food. The fat-soluble vitamins include: Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E. The fat-soluble vitamins are necessary for growth, reproduction, vision, proper absorption of calcium and phosphorus and as antioxidants.
Minerals are necessary for normal nerve and muscle function, as well as oxygen transportation by the blood, enzyme function, bone growth, blood clotting and hormone production. These include Calcium, Chloride, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Sodium and Zinc.
Now the next time you look at a bag of dog food, you will understand what some of the ingredients do and how important they are to your dog. Skye loves her Canidae and so do I.
Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.