Tag Archives: pets

What to do with an overweight pet

Whether you’re the owner of a cat, a dog, or some other lovable critter, it is often easy to say “I love you,” with food. However, if you own an overweight pet, the first thing to correct may be your behavior. How you think you are showing affection can actually be destructive to your best friend.

Once you have learned to say “I love you” in an alternate way (with playful physical activity, for example), remove the automatic feeder. Do not allow your pet to free-eat. Some animals are able to express self-control, but others often are not.

Next, talk with your vet about your pet’s ideal weight and how much it should consume. This varies from pet-to-pet and diet-to-diet. If your pet eats a wet and dry diet, it is best to consult with your veterinarian about how much of each your pet should be getting daily. It is also helpful to get your pet on a feeding schedule. This can help with metabolism, digestion and consumption rate.

And, when it comes to food, don’t let the “guilt” get to you. Humans allow guilt to linger, but other animals do not. If you can’t let go of the guilt, try thinking of it in a different way. You aren’t taking away food from your pet – you are providing him or her with a better life!

Taking these steps may not show immediate improvements, but the benefits will eventually shine through. It can sometimes take longer than a year, but your pet’s wellbeing is worth the dedication.

No Dogs Allowed? Alternative Pets

A lot of times people get hung up on the misconception that only cats, dogs  and gerbils can be pets. If you’re looking to go against the status quo, I have some top alternative picks for you!

1.       Fancy rats

Turns out rats aren’t just for causing a ruckus or helping with science experiments! Fancy rats are domesticated brown rats that are super smart and affectionate. Due to its intellect, you can teach this fuzzy friend how to do some pretty cool tricks – like hang out on your shoulder or ride along in your bag!

2.      Hedgehogs

Hedgies are adorable, playful quilled friends. These little guys are known to become very attached to their owners if they are socialized with often. Thought to be quiet creatures, these tiny buddies are known to grunt, snort and purr when exploring their environments.

3.      Skunks

Once their glands are removed, you can stop holding your nose. Be careful, though: A number of states have these fuzzy guys listed as illegal to keep as pets. Contrary to popular belief, skunks require a ton of attention and are likely to turn into “lap skunks” to ensure they are getting the attention they deserve. These highly intelligent creatures can also be potty-trained in multiple ways. You can train them to go outside, use a puppy pad or even a litter box.  

4.      Bearded Dragons

Beardies are great reptiles for beginners. Each one has a unique personality all its own. They typically enjoy being handled; however, if your bearded friend ever starts getting aggressive, be sure to get a pair of garden gloves and continue interacting with it to correct the negative behavior. Once a bond has been formed, they are likely to use their endearing wave to greet you!

5.      Tarantula

I know, I know. Spider. Scary. Biting. But these guys are very cool, unique pets! They are low maintenance, but they do need their cages cleaned occasionally. These fuzzy eight-legged pals are also odorless. Biting is a concern, but most don’t bite and oftentimes medical attention isn’t necessary when bitten. Plus, they can show signs of affection and comfort! When they shoot webs in your presence, which means they are comfortable with you (which, in turn, probably means they won’t bite you).

 

Paw-fect buddies for cuddling and lounging

It’s easy to feel alone when you’re always on the go. Perhaps that’s why so many have opted for furry friends to cuddle after a long day at work! If you’re considering a fuzzy buddy, it’s important keep your ideal activity level in mind.

High-energy dogs are more likely to become destructive when they don’t have the proper outlets and are therefore often deemed “bad dogs.” To avoid that dilemma, I’ve found five of the laziest (or, the more preferred term, “low energy”) breeds that might be ideal if you’re interested in long days, hanging out on the couch with your wet-nosed friend.

  1. Greyhounds

I know what you’re thinking: “How is a dog that is bred for racing a low-energy dog?” Turns out these quick sprinters would typically rather be hanging out on the couch. A great thing about Greyhounds is that many are available to be adopted after their racing careers, so it would be easy to create an entire clan of these lovable couch potatoes!

  1. Pugs

These piles of dough are fantastic loungers. With their squished faces and wiggly corkscrew tails, these guys are stoked to hang out on the couch after a long day at the office. Be careful not to over exercise your round friend, however. That squished face can make breathing more difficult.

  1. Bulldogs

Another squishy-faced friend means more light walks, but it also means more cuddles! You have to deal with some drool, but this pal with a wiggly butt will be excited to “Netflix and Chill” any night of the week.

  1. Basset Hounds

These flappy skinned love muffins are technically medium energy dogs, but that just means you should probably visit a dog park with them during the weekends. Other than that, these floppy eared comrades are happy to spend their days in bed curled up next to you. The only down fall is that you might accidentally use up all your sick days because it is hard to say goodbye those eyes!

  1. Glen of Imaal Terriers

Technically another medium energy dog, these gentle friends just need a bit more time on walks to burn away the energy. Once the walk is out of the way, this scraggly character is ready to bond in bed with a movie and ice cream.

Though these pups are known for their laid-back behavior, that doesn’t mean other “higher energy” dogs can’t possess the same character. Purebred dogs are cute and more predictable, but that certainly doesn’t mean your perfect match isn’t at your local shelter.

 

No Dogs Allowed? Alternative Pet Ideas

A lot of times people get hung up on the misconception that only cats, dogs and gerbils can be pets. If you’re looking to go against the status quo, I have some top alternative picks for you!

1.       Fancy rats

Turns out rats aren’t just for causing a ruckus or helping with science experiments! Fancy rats are domesticated brown rats that are super smart and affectionate. Due to its intellect, you can teach this fuzzy friend how to do some pretty cool tricks – like hang out on your shoulder or ride along in your bag!

2.      Hedgehogs

Hedgies are adorable, playful quilled friends. These little guys are known to become very attached to their owners if they are socialized with often. Thought to be quiet creatures, these tiny buddies are known to grunt, snort and purr when exploring their environments. 

3.      Skunks

Once their glands are removed, you can stop holding your nose. Be careful, though: A number of states have these fuzzy guys listed as illegal to keep as pets. Contrary to popular belief, skunks require a ton of attention and are likely to turn into “lap skunks” to ensure they are getting the attention they deserve. These highly intelligent creatures can also be potty-trained in multiple ways. You can train them to go outside, use a puppy pad or even a litter box.

4.      Bearded Dragons

Beardies are great reptiles for beginners. Each one has a unique personality all its own. They typically enjoy being handled; however, if your bearded friend ever starts getting aggressive, be sure to get a pair of garden gloves and continue interacting with it to correct the negative behavior. Once a bond has been formed, they are likely to use their endearing wave to greet you!

5.      Tarantula

I know, I know. Spider. Scary. Biting. But these guys are very cool, unique pets! They are low maintenance, but they do need their cages cleaned occasionally. These fuzzy eight-legged pals are also odorless. Biting is a concern, but most don’t bite and oftentimes medical attention isn’t necessary when bitten. Plus, they can show signs of affection and comfort! When they shoot webs in your presence, which means they are comfortable with you (which, in turn, probably means they won’t bite you).

Owning a healthy dog or cat

As any good paw-rent can tell you, being the keeper of a fur-baby isn’t always easy. You want to make sure they’re happy, well-fed and entertained. In a society where people are having less children, pets are taking their spots and it is much easier to spoil them. However, like children, pets are also at risk for obesity.

 It is estimated that 54 percent of pets in the US are obese. This puts them at a higher risk for medical related illnesses, such as:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart and Respiratory Disease
  • Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
  • Kidney Disease
  • Many Forms of Cancer
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

Limiting your pet’s diet might be easier if it is a dog. Dogs are typically happy as long as someone’s there to play or cuddle. It’s cat owners that seem to struggle the most when addressing issues of obesity with their cat overlords. A recent New York Times article points out a number of fears that cat owners have when trying to correct their pet’s diet. Many owners fear it will lead to increased aggression, depression and vindictiveness.

According to the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, however, many owners reported that their cats were actually more affectionate after limiting their diets. So, take a deep breath and feel confident, knowing your dog or cat won’t hate you if their diet starts to tighten up a bit. They’ll thank you in the long run.