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Science & The Supernatural: A Discussion of the World Around us - Based on Science with an Interest in the Supernatural ...
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PostPosted: 15 Apr 2010, 18:45 
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Grand Poobah
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Location: Buffalo, NY
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By Timm Otterson, DVM, PEF President, NFVS Board Member:

Ever notice how people often look like their pets? The tall, skinny couple with the Greyhounds? The stocky guy with the English Bulldog? The stylish lady with the well-groomed Bishon Frise? Unfortunately, as people in our society have gotten heavier and started to suffer the associated health effects, so have pets. Veterinarians know this, and that's why the American Veterinary Medical Association has designated the theme of this year's National Pet Week as "People and Pets Healthy Together." The focus is to make all of us more physically fit.

As vets, we see overweight pets almost daily, and we discuss weight control on a regular basis (see last summer's BRO article by Jennifer Stachnik, DVM). Controlling weight is certainly different in pets than it is in people, but the consequences of obesity are the same. As with people, overweight pets are at higher risk of diabetes mellitus and arthritis, and pets can even have coat problems if they are so fat they become unable to groom themselves. Limiting calories can be easier for pets (especially if you only have one pet) as you can feed a set amount of food every day, and pets can't snack on that bag of chips your colleague left in the lunch room.

The difficult part of weight loss (for people and pets) is often getting enough exercise and that will be the focus of the upcoming event from 11am until 2pm on May 2nd at the Barkyard in LaSalle Park (www.thebarkyard.org). The Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society (NFVS) has partnered with BuffOLA (the canine-loving volunteers who manage the Barkyard) to hold Get Fit and Sit, an event at the off-leash area to demonstrate fun ways to exercise your pets. Pets will compete in canine "sit up" contests, agility, flying disc catching and more with prizes going to the participants. The Canine Sports Complex agility team will also attend to demonstrate how to train your pet to maximize its potential. It should be lot of fun whether you are competing or just hanging out with your dog and enjoying the antics.

As for weight loss in cats, my recommendations remain: laser pointers, cat dancer toys and cat nip.


ayup. :(

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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010, 13:10 
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It is unsurprising that people that have no self-discipline also are apparently incapable of feeding their children and pets in a healthy manner.

There are a ton of dogs in our neighborhood, and most of them never get walked. Of those that do, few are being walked properly or consistently. Walking properly is as much a mental exercise for the dog as physical. It isn't just wandering a few feet, sniffing, and wandering a few more feet. It should be migrating with the pack. Letting them go crazy at the dog park is no substitute for regular walking.

Our miniature dachshund is five months old and weighs all of eight pounds. She walks at least an hour every day: at least a half hour in the morning, and then at least another half hour in the evening. People are astonished when they see us walking her long distances on the recreation trail, asking how such a little dog with short legs can walk so much. She loves it! And she keeps up easily. I've taken her on walks as long as 75 minutes, going over four miles. We walked her in the winter, too, even when it was cold outside; we just put a jacket on her. Dogs don't stop needing exercise just because it is cold outside.

It is so easy to properly feed pets, too. If you feed them the correct amount, you can buy the better food that is more expensive, and it won't cost any more than overfeeding them cheaper food. Give them the proper amount for their size and age, and don't give them table scraps. If they never try human food, they won't beg for it. And it isn't as if they can go into the refrigerator and help themselves whenever they want.

Both dogs and cats should have a visible waist above their hips when you are looking down at them from above. If they don't, they are probably overweight.


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PostPosted: 19 Apr 2010, 13:22 
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Grand Poobah
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I spy a dog person!

we offer unlimited food, with meat as a first ingredient. We do occasionally offer human food as treats. We've never had an overweight dog.

I think for dogs, it's a lot to do with boredom, you are right. Not just lack of walks, but nothing to stimulate, and probably a 'monkey see monkey do' attitude of 'well, you're sitting on the couch and eating, so will I'.

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PostPosted: 20 Apr 2010, 08:24 
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Location: West Virginia, USA
I have to say Sadie our golden was getting a bit heavy. We got a younger dog and she is back to normal weight. They drive me crazy though. Can't wait to see if the new one is a swimmer too. She's part flat coat retriever so hopes are high.


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