Monday, August 27, 2012

Helping Your Pet Lose Weight

Helping your pet to lose weight can sometimes be a challenging task, especially if you or your pet has bad eating or exercising habits. Over half of the pets in America are classified as overweight, and solving this dilemma can seem out of our reach sometimes.

But not addressing the issue is dangerous to pets, and more time consuming and costly to pet owners in the long run. Overweight pets have an increased incidence of fatigue, arthritis, torn ligaments, spinal disc problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and reduced liver function, just to name a few.

A great indicator of whether your pet is overweight is to feel their ribcage, although this does vary somewhat for each dog and cat breed. If you can feel your pets ribs that’s a good sign, but if the ribs are very pronounced that could mean that your pet is underweight. If you can’t feel your pet’s ribs that means they are most likely overweight.

No matter what the problem, it’s much better to see a professional then to try diagnosing the problem yourself. Your local vet can help you come up with a new plan for helping your pet lose weight, and can also tell you, depending on the age and breed of your pet, a good target weight. It’s also a good idea to always consult your vet before you change your pet’s exercise routine.

There are a few good tips to get you started on helping your pet to slim up. One easy way to prevent your pet from gaining, or to help your pet lose weight is to switch to a healthy weight management food. Make sure that the food that you are buying has lots of healthy, natural ingredients in it, typically marketed as premium or organic pet food. Avoid foods with fillers, additives and preservatives. Healthy pet foods may be more expensive, but they provide your pet with the energy and nutrition that they need and deserve.

Another easy way to help your pet lose a few pounds is to cut back on treats, or eliminate them altogether. Although it is nice to reward your dog or cat with a treat from time to time, many treats can be detrimental to your pet’s health. You could also switch over to a healthier premium or organic pet treat, or a different non-food reward system altogether.

The most important thing for your pet when you’re trying to help them lose weight is daily exercise. If you have a dog, try to walk them at least three times a day, or hire a professional dogwalker to take over if you simply don’t have the time. Regular leashed walks at a fast pace, or off-leash play at the local dog park, will help your dog to burn off those extra calories and excess energy. The key thing is to set a routine to get daily dog exercise for your pooch.

If you have a cat, try to get them out of the house regularly if they are an indoor/outdoor cat. If they are indoor only cats, a cat toy, a simple piece of string, or a laser pointer should get them up and moving. Two to three times a day of active play for 5-10 minutes should give cats the exercise they need. If you don’t have time to do this, hiring a professional pet sitter may be a great option. A simpler way to deal with your pet’s weight problem is to think about it like it was your own. A pet gets healthy just like a human does. If you help your pet eat healthier foods, and ensure a good exercise routine your pet will be fit and in tip top shape in no time.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Inconvenient Truth About Pet Boarding Facilities

When we think of staying at a nice hotel, it conjures up thoughts of a luxurious room with amenities, personal services and perhaps even delicious meals. Pet hotels, boarding and even kennel facilities know this and often connote these emotions in their consumer marketing to you – and many of us play right into it.

We have come to believe that private rooms for our dogs complete with TV’s at a pet hotel, or open running spaces with pools at a boarding facility, or companionship with other dogs at a kennel will be true paradise for them – ensuring Fido will be happy and blissful while we’re away from them. However, pets have very different senses and behavior characteristics than humans, and nothing could be further from the truth when they stay at these facilities.

Dog boarding, compared to at-home pet care, can actually be quite harmful to your pet. Dog boarding takes your pet out of their natural environment and places them into an unfamiliar environment that they have little to no time to get used to before you drop them off and leave them behind.

Also, by the very fact that you feed and walk your dog, you are most likely your pet’s pack leader. When your pet is left at a boarding facility they may feel displaced, confused and lonely. Many dogs experience stress when their normal routine is changed. Now consider the added stress when you change their environment and take away their trusted pack leader (you).

In these boarding facilities, hundreds of dogs before them have marked their spots, and this makes many of the newly checked in dogs feel unwelcome and uncomfortable in this environment. It’s also a common occurrence that some dogs will take the alpha role in boarding facilities and bully or cause physical harm to other dogs to show their dominance.

When dogs feel separation anxiety from their home and owner they often bark, and when so many dogs are barking at once your pooch can get even more stressed out. This anxiety can also lead to unwarranted aggression, housetraining regression, and social hyper-arousal. In many facilities, lack of exercise, unfamiliar smells, and a general lack of human contact can lead to a damaging experience for your pet.

Not only can your dog be emotionally harmed, they can also be physically affected. With so many dogs packed into one environment, ticks, fleas, as well as airborne diseases such as kennel cough and the rare canine influenza strain can afflict your canine companion.

With so many problems stemming from boarding your dog, an already expensive experience can lead to even more costly bills from your vet in treating your dog for physical afflictions sustained, stress related illnesses, as well as additional training to address any positive behaviors that may have been forgotten in their stressful boarding experience.

We started Fetch! Pet Care because we believe that pets should be able to maintain their normal routine in the safety and comfort of their own home environment through at-home dog walks and pet-sitting while their owners are away. We believe that dogs should receive two or three walks a day while their owners are away to keep them healthy, burn off excess energy, maintain socialization with other dogs and their surrounding environment, and to get one-on-one focused attention and loving care from a professional care giver. At home care promotes healthy, happy, and balanced pets. It also enables owners to know that their dogs will feel safe and comfortable while staying in their own home and maintaining their own routine. So, the next time you see some great marketing for a local boarding facility, think twice before jumping quickly to believe your pet will have the same great experience as you. Ask yourself what your pet would really like, not what you want, and you will likely make a pet care decision that will lead to greater happiness and well-being for them and true peace of mind for you.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Pros and Cons of Pet Adoption

If you’re looking to add a new pet to your family, it’s important to know the facts about where our pets come from. There are a variety of places to get a new pet, including shelters, breeders, friends, dog shows, or dog directories. All of these are viable options, but there are pros and cons to each avenue of adoption.

When adopting a pet from a shelter, you’re potentially saving an animal’s life. Many pets are euthanized each year because they can’t find homes, so giving them a home is both admirable and beneficial. Of course, there is a reason why these pets are now in shelters. They could have been put through some traumatic experiences, not wanted by their previous owner, or born without a home. There are many pets in shelters that can be temperamental, and many that are non-tempermental, but there are so many pets to choose from that finding one that you love and that you want to add to your family shouldn’t be difficult at all.

If you’re considering getting a pet from a breeder, the first thing you need to do is research your breeder. Some want to get a purebred dog, or a popular mixed breed. You just need to make sure that your breeder is treating their pets well. Also, be prepared to pay a fee for your pet, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. There are a few telltale signs that your breeder may or may not be a breeder worth getting your new pet from. If the breeder’s home is clean, and the dogs are allowed room to play and interact with one another, that is a good sign. If the breeder is only dealing with one kind of dog, and only one litter at a time, then you know that the breeder is serious about their pet rearing. If the breeder is knowledgeable about their specific breed’s genetic disorder, and if they have treated the pets with the correct vaccinations, then you’ll know that they are responsible breeders.

Getting a new pet from your friends or family can also be a great solution. It’s easier than a breeder and probably cheaper as well. It’s also allows you to ask upfront questions and discuss what you will do with your pet with your friends or family than it would be with a random breeder. You can plan on who will take the pet to the vet to get their vaccination, and who will get your pet spayed or neutered. You’ll also know that the pet was not mistreated and will know how your puppy is doing every step of the way.

There are many factors in determining where you want to adopt your pet from. Remember to also think about how the pet will integrate into your household. Determine if someone in your family will be able to care for them daily, or if you will require the services of a professional dog walker or pet sitter. There is no right option as long as you do your research and find a pet that is perfect for you and your family.