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Pet Obesity: How to Prevent it


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Last week we addressed Pet Obesity– the widespread prevalence of the disease and how it happens. In the second part of this topic by guest contributor Jordan Walker, we want to address prevention, because after all, obesity is highly preventable. 

So how do you prevent obesity in your pet?
While some pets do look cute when fat, owners shouldn’t allow it if they truly love their pets. The excess fat and weight can put tremendous pressure on a pet’s heart, lungs, and joints, thereby lowering their quality of life. On top that, obesity is known shorten the life expectancy of pets. Meow, a cat publicized for his obesity and efforts to slim down, lived only two years before suffering heart failure. Obesity can result in many kinds of health complications, including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, breathing problems, to name a few. No pet owner should put their pet through that kind of suffering.
The main ways pet owners can keep their pets’ weight down include regular exercise and feeding meals in intervals. Human food that is high in fat, fried, and/or processed is generally a no-no for pets. Healthy at-home treats you can give your pet include natural peanut butter and vegetables.

Best Bully Sticks’ blog has many healthy Drool Dog Recipes– be sure to browse through them!

 
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As you and your pooch make plans to be more active, eat leaner, and enjoy more quality time in 2015, be on the lookout for pet obesity– a healthy dog makes a happy dog!

For more on Pet Health, see the following Healthy Dog Blog posts:

 Caring for a Sick Dog

9 Easy Ways to Show your Dog Love

12 Crucial Facts about your Canine’s Canines

 

Jordan Walker

 

Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages and other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter.

 

Peanut Butter Dog Treats by The Cookie Rookie

scout PB cookies

 

 

Happy New Year’s from Best Bully Sticks! Many of you probably made cookies this holiday season and maybe consumed more than you planned! But let’s face it, those cookies weren’t fit for Fido.

The recipe we’re featuring today, however, is:

Peanut Butter Dog Treats by The Cookie Rookie.

This vegetarian treat can be made hypoallegenic, too. If your dog is allergic to wheat, you can substitute other flours.

 

 

 

 

PB cookie rookie

 

Ingredients:

2½ cups whole wheat, rice, or coconut flour (the latter 2 may have a slightly different consistency)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup natural peanut butter

1 cup water

2 tablespoons honey

1 egg

For instructions on how to make these fun and easy dog treats (and many cute photos of a yellow lab named Scout), visit The Cookie Rookie’s Peanut Butter Dog Treats!

 

Many thanks to Becky at The Cookie Rookie for sharing her dog treat recipe with us!

Bone Appetit!

Here are some more Drool Dog Recipes to bake up this winter:

 

Doggie Pupcakes for someone special’s Birthday or Gotcha Day!

Mighty Dog Mutt Balls from the Canine Chef Cookbook

Fresh Apple Dog Treats

 

Pet Obesity: What’s considered Obese for your Pet?

dog on scale cropAs we head into the New Year, many Americans are thinking about what they would like to do differently. These New Year resolutions extend to our pets as well. What, and how much we are feeding, our pets, has a significant impact on their waistline and overall health.

Guest contributor Jordan Walker of Coops And Cages offers insight on the obesity epidemic in pets and what we can do about it!

When it comes to pets, chubbiness can be pretty darn cute. Chubby pets are so fluffy and irresistible, owners and others can’t help but cuddle them! Plump pets may seem excusable and taken to mean a pet is well-loved, cared for, and oozing with cuteness. However, humans have been warned about obesity and the adverse health risks associated with it. Is this also true for pets?

The “Fat Pet Gap”
The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) says that millions of pets in America are too heavy for their own good. 53% of dogs and 57% of cats, a combined total of 179 million pets, are currently overweight or obese. However, many pet parents don’t even realize that their pets are tipping the scales. Pet owners surveyed said their pets were normal weight when they were in fact overweight or obese. APOP founder, Dr. Ernie Ward, refers to this lack of awareness as the “fat pet gap,” where pet parents have normalized pet obesity. This means fat pets have become the new norm. This should not be taken lightly!

What is obesity?
Like in humans, obesity in pets is defined as having excess body fat. If a pet is obese, not only does it weigh more, but it has more fat in its body than considered healthy. Weight is some indicator of obesity. In dogs and cats, being overweight means weighing 10 to 15 percent above the ideal weight. Obesity, on the other hand, is weighing 15 percent or higher than the ideal weight. 10 to 20% over the ideal weight may not mean much on the scale. For example, if a pet’s ideal weight is 20 pounds, it will only need to put on 4 pounds to be considered obese.

shutterstock_113408662Could your pet be obese?
Most pet owners would be hard put to determine whether their bundle of fur is obese. The onset of obesity can be barely noticeable – at least to some – and when it is, the pet may have already grown extra fluffy. Determining the ideal weight for pets and weighing them regularly will help in keeping healthy pets in healthy form.

Experts have also developed a way of determining a pet’s body condition by visual and hand inspection. In order for a pet owner to tell whether their pet is in the ideal range of health, they should feel for their pet’s ribs. In normal dogs and cats, the ribs should easily be felt, but not sharp against the skin. For both animals, when looking from the side, a waist should be defined, and the belly not sag. 

What (or who) causes pets to grow out?
Quite simply, obesity usually results when pets are overfed and under-exercised, have conditions like hyperthyroidism or Cushing Disease, or are neutered/castrated. Overfeeding is the main cause of pet obesity, and pet owners are largely to blame. After all, it is the humans who do the feeding. Free feeding, where food is freely available in the bowl, is one main cause. Pets who are allowed to eat as much as they want, whenever they want, are more likely to become obese. 

Another reason is a lack of exercise. The simple rule of “calories in, calories out” with humans also applies to pets. If pets get more food than exercise, they are more likely to plump up. Treating excessively is yet another contributing factor. Treats should be given in moderation and not replace a dog’s regular meal. Best Bully Sticks natural, single-ingredient dog treats are low in calories and high in protein for a dog chew owners can feel good about.

Check back with us next week as we continue on the topic of Pet Obesity and measures you can take to prevent obesity and undo the extra pounds!

Jordan Walker

 

Author: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages and other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for ‘attempting’ to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter.

 

Cinnamon Roll Dog Treats by Gone to the Snow Dogs

husky cinnamon rollThis week we are featuring YouTubers Gone to the Snow Dogs (GTTSD) and their Cinnamon Roll Dog Treat recipe! Jessica and Jamie own 3 beautiful huskies named Shelby, Oakley, and Memphis. The “girls” recently tried Best Bully Sticks treats with great success and regularly help their mom and as taste testers!

What you’ll need to make Cinnamon Roll Dog Treats: 

 2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Cream cheese frosting
1/4 cup cream cheese
1-2 Tbsp water

husky rollSee the video for complete instructions.

 

Thanks to Gone to the Snow Dogs for sharing their delicious dog treat recipe with us!

We hope that their recipe will inspire you to bake or make something homemade for your pup during the winter months:).

Bone appetit! 

Lessons Learned: How to Have Happy Holidays with the Hound

shutterstock_113454991This week’s post is by our guest writer and dog trainer, Deborah Rosen of Good CitiZEN Dog Training, whose franchises span from coast in coast in WA State, Denver, and Florida.

 Every year Deborah shares her list of helpful tips for the holidays, also known as “how to stay out of the emergency Vet Clinic” with your favorite canine companion! Make sure your holidays stay positive and mishap free, this year and every year!

 Tip #1 – Stow presents until Christmas morn!
Young dogs have energy to burn and enjoy exploring novel things. So, DO NOT put holiday presents under the tree until it’s time to open them. We love to display presents, but keeping them hidden beats the disappointment of a present destroyed before it’s been opened. And it’s certainly better than making a trip to the emergency vet to surgically remove whatever was ingested. No harm, no foul!

shutterstock_154188704Tip #2 – It’s All About the Food, Bout the Food, No Begging!
We know feeding the dog from the table will encourage begging. And, there’s nothing worse than a dog begging at the holiday table. And an occasional bit of turkey or holiday fare should be no big deal. But, if you multiply that bit by the number of people likely to be present you’ve got a serious problem. Of course, no one will admit to slipping the dog just a little tidbit. The only one who knows is the poor puppy with her belly stuffed with rich foods she’s not accustomed to eating. End result? You’re up with a sick dog and your merry holiday is now a wretched one involving you cleaning the carpet in the middle of the night. Good times!

I suggest the following with just a tad bit of mocking. Hang a sign above the dining table that says, “Human Food is for Humans Only!” When queried about this tell your guests that if the dog gets sick in the night, each person at the table will receive an immediate phone call to come help with the cleanup. Problem solved – on with the merriment!

shutterstock_124417567Tip #3 – Exercise and a little training!
Whether it’s raining, snowing, cold, or sunny and warm, exercise the dogs before your guests arrive. A dog that has not been attended to will be much more difficult to handle when your guests arrive. Dogs that jump up on guests will jump more if not given any exercise.

Better yet, do some advanced training leading up to your holiday event. Have someone ring the doorbell and insist that the dog “sit” at the front door before opening it. If the dog does this fairly quickly, deliver a treat along with a verbal praise. If necessary, put a leash on the dog and step on that to prevent the dog from jumping. Practice this every day for a week leading up to your event and, along with a good long walk, you’ll have a better chance of guests arriving without incident.

Tip #4 – Keep the licks and kisses coming up roses!
Are you a household with a variety of pets – perhaps cats? If so, the holidays are a busy time and the pets are often neglected while cookies are baked and presents are wrapped. Remember, if you do not attend to the kitty litter, the dog will! Whether the dog is hungry or well fed, cat poop (known in the dog training world as “kitty rocha”) will attract many dogs and your guests may be the unfortunate recipients of a kiss delivered shortly after feasting on kitty rocha. Eck! Do everyone a favor and put “clean the litter box” on the “to do” list for the day the guests arrive.

Tip#5 – Tidy Fido will make guests happy!
Store a dog towel by the doors where the dogs go in and out. When your guests arrive in their holiday finery, nothing will make you feel worse than having muddy paw prints all over your guests’ new clothes. People are good-natured, but why put a damper on the holiday by “muddying” things up? Attend to your dog’s comings and goings and wipe their paws when they come inside, especially when you live in wet areas like in the Northwest.

shutterstock_107786723Tip #6 – More About the Food, Bout the Food, No Trouble!
By now everyone knows that certain foods will make dogs sick. Chocolate, raisins, grapes, onions, and garlic are some of the common foods that most people know will make dogs unwell.

Here are some others that are more obscure, but very dangerous, if consumed by dogs. Macadamia nuts and nuts, in general, may be toxic. Raw bread dough is another food that can make dogs very sick. According to the ASPCA’s website, “the warm, moist environment of the stomach provides an ideal environment for the yeast to multiply, resulting in an expanding mass of dough in the stomach.” The stomach may become so distended it becomes difficult for the dog to breathe. Keep bread dough that is rising in a safe place where the dog cannot reach it.

Christmas labsWhile you are preparing your holiday foods, it’s best to give dogs something to do. A frozen marrowbone or a bully stick or a stuffed toy is something that will keep most dogs occupied and happy and not looking for things that might make them ill.

 

In general, the holidays are a time when family is home, people are happy and the family dog is enjoying attention from everyone. By taking a few precautions and making time for a bit of extra training, the holidays can stay happy and healthy for everyone!

Feliz Navi-Dog!

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.
 

Gingerbread Dog Biscuits

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With Christmas just a week away, we thought our fans would appreciate a Gingerbread Dog Biscuit recipe using many of the same ingredients used for a Christmas classic: Gingerbread Men. This recipe comes to us courtesy of Erica at Comfy Belly

If you don’t have dog bone or other cookie cutters, you can use the lid of a glass to create circular biscuits or cut them into rectangles or squares.

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (230 g) oat flour (or brown rice, or other flour)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120 g) cooked, pureed squash (butternut, pumpkin, or other kind)
  • 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses

 

 For instructions, visit Comfy Belly’s Gingerbread Dog Biscuits.

 Bone appetit! We hope your dog enjoys :).

 

 Christmas labs

Ginger Yaps Dog Treat Recipe

December is a time of year when many a kitchen counter are covered in a delightful, floury mess! While making gingerbread men for family, friends, or coworkers, indulge your furry friend with this dog-friendly recipe by The Foodie Army Wife: Ginger Yaps!

This dog treat recipe has all the goodness of gingerbread cookies without the sugar that Fido can’t tolerate, so roll up those sleeves and get baking!

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Ingredients
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1½ Tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ c applesauce
  • ¾ c molasses
  • ½ c honey
  • ¼ c vegetable oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

 

 

For instructions on how to make these homemade dog treats, visit The Foodie Army Wife.

We love the shape of these biscuits, but feel free to unleash your creativity and use Christmas cookie cutters or even cute dog breed ones!

Thanks to Constance, The Foodie Army Wife, for sharing this fantastic recipe.

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 Happy holidays from BestBullySticks! May your days be merry and bright.

Dogs & Kids: Introducing your Dog and Baby, Part 2

This week’s post is by our guest writer and dog trainer, Deborah Rosen of Good CitiZEN Dog Training, which has franchises in WA State, Denver, and Florida.

In the last blog post we discussed the need to take great care when introducing a new baby to your family dog. These may be precautionary measures since many dogs take a shine to children and will not behave badly; however, even the most socialized of dogs may have difficulty with a new baby and it’s always best to put safety first.

There are often things that children do, naturally, that may provoke anxiety and reactivity in dogs. A child may start crying, emit a scream if excited or upset or even throw something from a high chair or crib that could be viewed as hostile to your pup. While it is difficult to know what might irritate a dog, it’s best to get a “jump start” on desensitizing him before trouble presents itself.

dog baby cropBabies are Good Things!
Always start with the dog and baby at a safe distance from one another. The instant the dog observes the baby, be ready with a treat and effusive praise. It’s important to deliver the treat and praise quickly since dogs have a limited attention span. Wait patiently and allow the dog to look at the baby without prompting. Once again, deliver the treat and praise as an “unexpected surprise” to the dog.

What the dog comes to quickly understand is that the baby is a “predictor” of good things. This simple exercise results in the dog feeling that the baby is a terrific new addition to the family. In the mind of the dog, we are creating a positive connection to the baby, or what we call a “conditioned emotional response” of the most pleasant kind. Now it’s important to do this at several different times during the day. Start when everyone is in a good mood and do it many times until the dog looks at the baby and then, automatically, back at you for his or her treat. It’s important to keep this going. As the baby starts to emote, as babies often do, keep treating and praising the dog.

Crying Babies – not so bad!
Once you have done this multiple times and moved to a distance much closer than where you first started, you may begin the exercise when the baby is not so happy. A crying or screaming baby can irritate and arouse much deeper and darker instincts in a dog. It is important when working with a crying baby to have two people present – one to work with the dog and another to administer to the baby.

shutterstock_111940151Start the process again, first at a safe distance (8 – 10 feet) and then slowly, moving closer. Allow the dog to look at the baby and then interrupt the look with a high-pitched happy praise and a high-value treat. Once you have repeated this many times at a distance, you may begin to slowly move closer. By doing this slowly and repeatedly, you are helping the dog to understand the baby, although upset and crying, is not a threat or a thing to be viewed negatively. You are helping to turn an otherwise unpleasant occurrence for the dog into a more positive experience.

Even if you have no concerns about your pet dog, doing these exercises will help instill in the dog the right set of emotions and skills needed to withstand the onslaught of the new addition to the family. And, it’s still best to never leave a dog and a baby alone. Although it’s hard to imagine our beloved pet doing anything that might harm a child, it’s always best to be safe!

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.
 

Dogs & Kids: Introducing your Dog and Baby

Guest blog post by Deborah Rosen, Dog Trainer and Owner of Good CitiZEN Dog Training.
 

shutterstock_191635586In the last few blogs, we’ve been discussing the best ways for dogs and kids to interact, especially when first meeting. What has not yet been addressed is a discussion of how to best introduce dogs to new babies. And, once the baby is inserted into the family unit, what are the best practices for daily interaction with the family dog?

You may be surprised to know that as a small child, I was actually bitten by a dog. This is a common occurrence that can be avoided. My unfortunate experience, combined with what I now know as a dog training professional, has heightened my understanding of how to keep children safe from potential bites – and also how to keep the family dog safe from losing its place with his or her beloved family.

 

 

Help! My Dog Doesn’t Like Babies!
Over the years, I have had many panicked calls from clients telling me “we’re expecting our first child and the dog seems to be scared of or reactive to babies.” They describe a variety of different behaviors such as a low growl, raised hackles, baring of teeth or even a snap at the unassuming baby. The dog is actually giving a loud warning, “I do NOT feel comfortable – make this go away!”

I will typically ask the owner to describe the dog’s history of socializing with kids and newborn babies and, invariably, the owner tells me that the dog had no prior experience – there were simply no kids around.

If this case, it is best to take the side of caution and start very slowly, if possible, before the baby is born. By exposing the dog to some of the noises made by a newborn baby like crying, screaming, giggling or even gurgling sounds, you may at least be able to partly habituate the dog to some of what he or she might hear when the real thing arrives. Play a tape of a baby crying. Start low and, over time, raise the volume.

To some dogs, the baby may appear as an annoying intruder and could trigger anxiety. To other dogs, the crying and helpless baby may seem extremely vulnerable. Without the right early exposure, to include positive and corrective feedback, it would be easy for a dog to mistake a newborn for the young of any animal. Never forget that a dog is an animal, and, as well adapted as we think they pet is, when confused or upset he or she will behave in ways that harken back to being in the wild.

beagle baby cropDon’t Leave Babies and Dogs Alone – even for a minute!

That said, never leave a baby alone with a dog, even one that has been with you for a very long time. If you must leave the room, even for a short time, either take the baby with you or secure the dog in a crate for everyone’s safety.

Tune in next week for additional tips on about baby and dog interaction. I will take you through a desensitizing process that can help a dog adjust to a newborn child and some daily practices to keep things moving in the right direction.

 

Deborah Rosen_small About the Author

Deborah Rosen is President and Founder of Good CitiZEN Dog TrainingⓇ, a dog training franchise business based in Tacoma, WA. Deborah is known within the industry for her innovative ZEN dog-training methodology and her commitment to using positive and progressive techniques to teach clients the science of canine behavior. Deborah is now spreading her training philosophy of “peaceful living with your dog” from coast to coast through her Good CitiZEN Dog Training franchisees. In addition, Deborah also authors blogs, magazine articles, and is working on a book. For more information about Good CitiZEN Dog Training, see www.goodcitizendog.com.
 

 

Your New Dog: Settling in at Home & Crate Training

We hope everyone had a fun and safe Happy Howl-o-ween last week!

This week we continue our Dog Training series with guest writer, Deborah Rosen of Good CitiZEN Dog Training.

 

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Home prep is a really critical piece of the puzzle when bringing home a new puppy or older dog.

Most folks know that a great deal of preparation goes into bringing a new puppy into your house. It is important to make the house “puppy safe” by closing off parts of the house with baby gates, or limiting access to cabinets where the puppy can get into food items or other things that might pose dangers. It is helpful to do the same thing when bringing home a puppy or an older rescue dog. By preparing the house and setting things up for a “successful experience,” you are limiting the chances for your dog to get into a world of trouble.

Be Safe, Not Sorry

Anything and everything you value (expensive rugs, electronics, shoes, breakables, favorite children’s toys, etc.) should be removed and put in a safe place and introduced later. When you bring home a young untrained dog or even an older dog with a checked history of training and socializing, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. If you have children with stuffed animal toys, put them out of sight. A new dog that comes in and immediately start destroying your family’s favorite possessions will quickly fall from grace.

shutterstock_1393388Acquire a Crate – Begin Crate Training

Assuming the dog was receptive to everyone outside the house, we can proceed to engage with the dog inside the house. Instruct children to stay as calm as possible. Coming into a new home can be a frightening experience for a new dog. Dogs do not change very much, and any shift in their living situation can provoke stress and anxiety. While kids of various ages will be difficult to control, setting up “Rules of the House” with the children concerning the new dog will help them to understand how to maintain a calm demeanor until the dog is well situated. Also, by introducing a crate, a dog may go to his or her crate when things get too boisterous with children playing and making a great deal of noise.
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