Category Archives: pet

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.

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Doc, How Long Will My Dog or Cat Live?


By Dr. Melissa Brookshire, DVM

This is a common question asked in veterinary practices every day. We all know that most pets don’t live as long as humans, but we want to know if we will have 10 good years, 15 good years or even longer with our special pet.

A 34-year old cat? Wow! While this number may sound extreme, the average life span of 15 years for a cat far exceeds the 4-6 years that was typical just 30 years ago. Dogs also are living longer now too, with significant variability in the average lifespan based on breed size.

In the Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice – Geriatrics, an article by Dr. Dottie LaFlamme says that 40% of dogs and 30% of cats in the United States are 6 years or older. Thirty years ago, we would not even be talking about this population because dogs and cats were simply not living that long.

So why are our pets living longer than ever before? Dr. Johnny Hoskins, in Geriatrics & Gerontology of the Dog and Cat, attributes the increased lifespan of our pet dogs and cats to veterinary research and care, and improvement in diet.

Did you know that the feline requirement for dietary taurine was not even identified until the 1980s? Research into the ideal diet for dogs and cats has identified beneficial nutrients that many premium pet foods now contain. Antioxidants, joint care supplements, probiotics, prebiotics and many others, are new ingredients that improve your pet’s well-being.

So, what can you do to help your pet live a longer, healthier life? Besides regular check-ups and preventive care at your veterinarian, your pet’s diet and body condition are two of the most important factors for longevity. A 14-year study done with a group of Labrador Retrievers showed a 1.8 year advantage for dogs that were maintained in lean body condition over dogs that were slightly overweight. The Labs were not allowed to be obese, as many pets are. Obesity has an even more detrimental impact on overall health and longevity, leading to chronic diseases that are difficult to manage.

Feeding your pet a premium food with high quality beneficial nutrients and keeping him in lean body condition will provide him with the nutritional advantage he needs to be happy and stay healthy.

Read more articles by Dr. Melissa Brookshire

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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.

Being Your Pet’s Advocate

As pet owners, we are responsible for our pet’s care and feeding. This includes veterinary care as well. While we don’t actually provide the care itself, we are responsible for making sure our pets have regular vet visits, that their vaccinations are up to date and that their overall health is good. You don’t need to use the most expensive vet you can find, but you need to make sure the vet you pick understands your pet and their specific individual needs. 
If you have children, you probably looked long and hard to find a pediatrician to fit their needs. You should look at your pet’s veterinarian in the same light. For example, will the office hours fit in with your schedule? Do they have emergency hours or are they open on Saturdays? Are they open to alternative forms of treatment, if that is what you are interested in? Will they listen to your explanations or will they expect you to follow what they want you to do?
On Easter Sunday evening I found a lump the size of a medium sized egg under Skye’s jaw. I was flabbergasted as I had just put a new collar on her four days before and there was no lump there then. After calming myself down, I immediately called the breeder to discuss the situation. The breeder felt that it was probably an enlarged lymph node. We discussed the options, as Skye’s regular vet is about an hour an a half away. So we decided that I would call the local vet I had used for my other dogs and see if he could see Skye on Monday morning. 
Here is where being your dog’s advocate comes in. I kept Skye’s original vet because they knew her history and when I had an initial interview with my local vet about Skye when she first came to live with me, he was questioning why she was not on more modern drug therapies for her seizure issues. The local vet felt that Skye would be better served if she was on a more modern drug and not one that had been used since the turn of the twentieth century. I felt that you use what works and if an older drug was keeping her from having seizures, I was not going to play with her medications. So I personally felt more comfortable with going back to the original vet Skye had and we go back to him every six months for her blood tests.
I was able to get Skye in to see my local vet on Monday afternoon. I have gotten to know Skye’s body language pretty well and she was uncomfortable about being at the local vet’s office. While we were waiting to see him, Skye began pacing around the exam room like a tiger in a cage at the zoo. Not only that, she began to shed profusely, not just a few hairs here and there but lots of hair. It looked like I had never brushed her at all. Pacing and shedding are both signs of stress, so Skye my normally calm, people loving dog was not having a good time; and we hadn’t even seen the vet yet.
When we got to see the vet, he aspirated the lump under Skye’s jaw and after looking at a slide determined that it was not a lymph node, but an encapsulated abscess with no draining tracts, as he found pus in the sample. In laymen’s terms, Skye had gotten something under her skin and her body trying to protect itself, walled the foreign body off much like an oyster with a grain of sand in itself does. I was told that it had probably been there for two to three weeks. I found this hard to imagine and explained about the new collar and the fact that I would have notice something to the vet but he felt that I could have missed it.
Now I am having doubts about my care of this wonderful dog and how could I have not seen something? I asked the vet what he would suggest and he felt that the lump should be removed. The vet put Skye on amoxicillin for the infection. So I scheduled Skye for surgery for two days later and went home with her. I called the breeder as soon as I got home to discuss what the vet had mentioned. I discussed my misgivings and feelings and she said she would call the vet that Skye had been seeing and would get back to me.
Please remember this: As your pet’s advocate you are entitled to a second, even a third or fourth opinion, whatever it takes to get and keep your pet healthy. Don’t stop at just one if you are having doubts or issues with what you are being told. The hardest part is that you have to get past your own emotions and do what is best for your pet, and if you are not happy with the first diagnosis or have questions, get a second opinion. As your pet’s advocate you have this right, and this is the most important thing to remember.
This story has a happy ending. I was able to get Skye in to see her regular vet. It was not an abscess, it was an enlarged lymph node and Skye did not have to go under anesthesia, which could have sent her into a seizure, though I did not know that at the time. We still don’t know what caused the infection, but now my little girl is just as sassy and demanding as she was before she got sick, and I learned first hand what being your pet’s advocate means.

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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.