Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Health of our Pets

I closed last night with a teaser - obesity in pets. I had not read the article that I intended to talk about at the time, I read it just now. It is actually someone else's blog post from a site called pet-articles.blogspot.com.

Anyways, WOW I was taken aback when I read it. Not that I was naive about the weight thing. I know that we have a problem with overweight animals and in the post it was said that half of all dogs and cats are overweight or obese. So that is 60 percent humans to 50 percent pets, in the USA anyways.

The cause of their weight and the outcomes from it are just the very same as ours. That is consuming too many calories which lead to excess weight which leads to arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung or breathing problems, and high blood pressure. Indeed, animals end up on the same sort of chronic disease medications as people do.

That information was not new to me. Indeed, though I do not have any pets at this time, I did have a cat who was very large, and she did have a chronic heart problem for which she had to take a pill every day and then she died what appeared to be a rather painful death - no wait, I misspoke, I had her put to sleep when it seemed she would suffer even more if I did not.

I have had one cat after her and did NOT give that cat any table food whatsoever, nor milk, but some treats now and then. Interestingly, last week my brother was saying how he did give his current dog table food because he did not do so with the dog before and it died of a cancer, I think he said. He was angry about that.

I absolutely believe that table food is bad for pets, and for birds and ducks and squirrels and bears and dolphins and heck, people some times. But what the article emphasized was simply the calories. CALORIES count! Calories may need to be moderated if your pet is overweight. Now, we don't do such a good job of reading labels for ourselves or our children, but we need to and we need to read them for our pets too. That includes the dry or canned food label or the Internet site of the company AND the labels on any treats we give them. [and not all brands or flavors will be the same!]

Here was the jaw dropping part - most cats are the same, where as dogs differ greatly in size, activity levels, and metabolism - but the average cat weighs ten pounds and needs 275 calories a day to maintain that weight. Since dogs can be under ten and over a hundred pounds the calorie need might be 300 to 1200 a day. I have to tell you , there is just about NOTHING from the table that you can give your pet without putting him or her over the limit. And you have to count that. That and the things he or she might scavange, steal from the kids or kill outright. My my my - ain't that something>

Oh some advice was given about how to judge if your pet is overweight. Sort of made me laugh - I mean we won't admit it when WE are overweight and it is the same sort of assessment. It begins with LOOKING at the pet. The pet should have an hour glass shape (!) The you see if the belly is sagging and if you can grab any fat, oh and can you feel the ribs easily or are they hard to find?

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