How This One Feeding Mistake Can Shorten Your Dog’s Life!

How This One Feeding Mistake Can Shorten Your Dog’s Life!

Over 41% of Australian Dog Owners make this Fatal Mistake!

Dog obesity is on the rise. In 2013, the Animal Health Alliance reported that 41% of Australian dogs were overweight. It’s believed by veterinarians that number has gone up since then. Last year, Claws and Paws Veterinary Hospital in Bathurst, central-west New South Wales, held a “Biggest Loser for Dogs” competition to try and help owners with their overweight dogs.

Just like obesity in humans, overweight dogs are prone to a host of health issues and will most likely have shorter lifespans. Unfortunately, many owners use food as a way of showing their dog they love them, but are really causing their beloved pet more harm than good; you are literally killing them with kindness. Overfeeding and the lack of exercise are the two major factors when it comes to obesity.

Overfeeding

This is one of the biggest problems when it comes to dog obesity. And it comes in two forms. First, is feeding too many treats in addition to your dog’s meals. Whether you are feeding dog cookies or human food, they are still calories. Vets say treats should only make up ten percent of your dog’s diet. So a big culprit here is positive reinforcement training. If you are training your dog using treats, you can easily go over that percentage without thinking about it. To balance this out, feed less of their regular food on days you train and/or make them work for their meal. This way, your dog learns he has to work for his food and he isn’t getting extra calories.

Here’s the worst possible way to feed your dog.

The other problem is just plain overfeeding. Some people, especially owners of little dogs, “free feed” their dogs, meaning their dog has a bowl full of food at all times and can eat whenever they like. If you did this with a Lab, he would probably eat until his stomach exploded. Labradors and Flat-coated Retrievers are actually missing a gene that makes them forever hungry. And while they are the extreme, most other dogs will also over eat because their ancestors, the wolf and wild dogs, do so to survive. A wolf may gorge on an elk he gets, but that’s because he may not eat again for another three days – he needs to store up fat and energy to survive between meals. Our pampered house dogs get fed every day, they don’t need to do this.

You may be surprised at how lean your dog should be to be healthy!

Did you know you should be able to easily feel your dog’s ribs? There should only be a small amount of tissue and skin covering them. You do not want to be able to see all your dog’s ribs, seeing the last one or two is okay. You can check your dog’s body condition with our easy to read chart.

Here’s the real shock: feeding your dog less of a high quality food will extend your dog’s life and save you money!

A large pet food brand did a lifetime study where they followed forty-eight Labradors – half were fed twenty-five percent more food than the other half. The half that was fed less, lived two years longer than the group that was overfed. Overfeeding literally shortens the lifespan of your dog.

And, you’re wasting money. If your dog doesn’t need that large amount food, you could save money by feeding him less. (It will also save you money in obesity-related health bills!) Even better, having to feed less means you can feed a high quality brand, like Stay Loyal, and still save money.

Since your dog is overweight to begin with, you are going to feed less than what he should get for his “optimum body weight” (the weight he should be not, not the weight he is) until he has lost the excess weight. This is important. Most owners look at their overweight dog, who weighs 40kg and feeds them whatever the bag says he should get, even though he is only supposed to weight 25-30kg. Equally important, since he gets the weight off, don’t go back to feeding what you were – remember that’s what made him fat in the first place! Instead, feed him the amount the bag says for optimum body weight, or even a bit less depending on his age and activity level. Remember, underfeeding a little is better than overfeeding a ton. For this reason, bump up his food slowly, and by small amounts, so that you can tell when he has reached the right amount of food to maintain his weight, but not gain the extra back.

For more information on how much you should feed your dog, check out this newsletter https://stayloyal.com.au/pdf/may_newsletter38.pdf.

8 Benefits A Daily Walk Has For You And Your Dog!

8 Benefits A Daily Walk Has For You And Your Dog!

It’s been shown that 80 percent of all New Year’s Resolutions fail by February 1. Which means if your resolution – like so many of us – was to get into shape by walking more, you’ve probably already given up. However, a daily walk has so many benefits for you and your dog that we urge you to not give up. Even if it’s just a twenty-minute stroll around the block, at least it gets you moving. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 of the 10 leading risk factors of death worldwide is “insufficient physical activity.” To encourage you to stay with your walking plan, here are just a few of the benefits it will give both you and your dog.

1 – Longer Lifespan

According to a study by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) presented at a past Congress, a daily walk can add 5-7 years onto a person’s life. Optimally you should be walking 10,000 steps a day, though they do not have to be done all at once. So, if you take your pup to go potty at least three times a day, you have ample time to get your steps in. It is believed that daily exercise will also help your dog live longer. And that longer life will be healthier as well.

2 – Grounding

Live by one of our gorgeous beaches? If you can incorporate barefooted walking into your regime, you will get even more out of your walk than prolonged life. Grounding (or Earthing) is when your body makes contact with the Earth and thereby absorbs electrons from its surface. These electrons are vital for our health and yet most of us do not get them once we grow past the age of running barefoot in the grass. According to a study published in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health in 2012, benefits include:

* Relief from sleep dysfunctions including apnea

* Reduction in stress and tension

* Reduced PMS

* Relief from rheumatoid arthritis

* Boosts to the immune system

* Higher energy levels

* Reduction of asthma and other respiratory conditions

* Relief from chronic muscle and joint pain

3 – Weight Loss

Of course, walking can help you reach your weight loss goals. Losing weight comes with a host of benefits, and it’s something we share with our dogs. Your dog can benefit from shedding a few extra pounds in the same way most of us can. It helps take pressure of joints and reduce the risk of arthritis. Losing excess weight will also reduce the risk of diseases like diabetes, respiratory issues and liver dysfunction, to name a few.

4 – Sunlight

As living creatures, we all need sunshine. The sun’s rays gives us vitamins and triggers the release of serotonin, which keeps us happy, calm and focused. Your dog also needs these same vitamins and serotonin to stay healthy. And, something for us humans that you don’t hear very often – limited amounts of sunshine actually prevents cancer. In fact, a study by Environmental Health Perspectives found that people who live in darker parts of the world, and therefore get less sunshine, are more like to have colon, ovarian, pancreatic, and prostate cancer, as well as Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

5 – Healthier Joints

“A body in motion, stays in motion.” While Newton may have been thinking more about apples than people when he came up with this, it is definitely true of our bodies. In order to keep our joints and muscles from becoming brittle and inflexible as we get older, we need to use them. Even if you not able to run or bike due to bad joints, a daily walk is essential to keeping your joints from getting worse. And the same is very true of our dogs. You can help both you and your dog keep need to keep those joints and muscles moving. Remember… Use it or Lose It!

6 – Mental Stimulation

For dogs, getting out on a daily walk provides much need mental stimulation. It allows them to hear, see and especially smell new things and animals. A walk will tire your dog out not just physically, but mentally as well and that leads to a better-behaved dog. And, while your dog is getting the stimulation he needs, your brain is getting a break from blue-light screens and fluorescents. I actually find, while walking my dogs, it is a good time to think about whatever is going on in your life at that moment.

7 – Socialization

Getting out on a daily walk, or two, is also very important for socializing your dog. Dogs that get out (especially as puppies!) and have positive interactions with the world around them will be better-adjusted and able to cope with new situations. Dogs that never leave their own backyard are more likely to be fearful in new environments. And they may not like new people coming over to your home. Walking is also a great way for you to meet new people or catch up with friends in person.

8 – Training

Daily walking can help you remember to train your dog, which is also important. It’s easy to work on a nice heel while out for a stroll. Walks are also a great time to work on a recall, a Leave It cue, sit (for example at each curb or street corner) and even stay. It’s a great time to incorporate training into your life that will benefit both you and your dog.

6 Ways To Ensure Your Dog Doesn’t Get Into Your Valentine’s Day Sweets

6 Ways To Ensure Your Dog Doesn’t Get Into Your Valentine’s Day Sweets

Valentine’s Day is the second biggest sweets holiday next to Easter. Traditionally chocolate, candies and other sweets, like chocolate-covered strawberries, are given to us by friends and loved ones. And while these treats are yummy for us, they can spell disaster for our dogs. And it’s not just chocolate. While chocolate can be deadly, dog owners should be aware that any sugary treat can cause serious problems.

Xylitol

One of the biggest toxic ingredients in sweets aside from chocolate is Xylitol. Used in many sugar-free candies (chocolate and non-chocolate) and chewing gum, Xylitol causes your dog’s blood sugar to drop and can cause liver failure. Symptoms of Xylitol poisoning include:

* Vomiting

* Lethargy

* Loss of coordination

* Seizures

It can be fatal. If your dog has eaten any amount, take them to the vet immediately.

Chocolate

Chocolate is well-known to cause problems in dogs. Because it is actually the cocoa and not the mixed-ingredients we call chocolate that causes the issue, the darker the chocolate the more problems it will cause. This is because it contains more cocoa. So 70% dark is much more dangerous than milk chocolate, even if your dog eats more of the latter. Veterinarians and experts seem to differ on exactly what is the toxic ingredient in cocoa. Some sources, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), say it is the methylxanthines (which are also found in coffee and caffeine). On the other hand, the Animal Health Foundation says it is theobromine. What vets do agree on is that ratio of amount eaten to the dog’s body weight and the percent of cocoa in the chocolate is what determines how toxic it is to your particular dog. So a Great Dane can eat more of the same percent cocoa as a miniature poodle and may not react as violently as the Poodle.

Regardless of what really is causing your dog to be sick, you should ensure they do not eat chocolate of any kind. Especially dark chocolate. Symptoms include:

* Vomiting

* Restlessness

* Thirst

* Diarrhea

* Seizures

* Heart Failure

If your dog has eaten any amount of chocolate, take them to the vet immediately as a precaution.

Other Sugary Treats

Sugar is not good for dogs – just like it really isn’t that great for us. And since most of our dogs weigh much less than us, it doesn’t take as much of it to have adverse effects on their bodies. These effects are the same as they are in humans: dental problems, obesity and diabetes, to name a few.

Are Some Dogs More Prone To Issues?

As mentioned above, size does matter when it comes to toxicity levels. So, owners of small breed dogs should be extremely diligent about keeping foods containing these items out of reach. If you have a larger dog, however, they may be able to eat more and be okay, but it’s also easier for them to get into things that you may think are out of reach and safe.

In addition, there are other groups of dogs whose bodies will be more sensitive to ingesting any amount of toxic foods, regardless of size. These are:

* Senior Dogs

* Puppies

* Diabetic Dogs

* Obese Dogs

* Dogs with liver failure

* Dogs who have compromised immune systems due to illness

For these dogs, any amount ingested could mean serious trouble.

Avoiding Trouble

So the best way to avoid an emergency trip to the veterinary office when you are supposed to be having a romantic evening with your special someone is to ensure your dog cannot get into any chocolate or sweet treats you received for Valentine’s Day. Here are a few tips to help you have a lovely and safe holiday.

1. Put sugary treats in high cupboards or in the refrigerator.

2. Never leave out on tables or counters, even if you “think” your dog can’t reach. It’s amazing how resourceful they can be when they want something.

3. If the food must be out – say you are about to eat or you are having a party and want to leave food out for guests, then you need to plan ahead and do what’s best for your dog. This may mean putting them in a different room, or even a crate, with a treat of their own, like a digestible chew, so you don’t have to worry about them eating something they shouldn’t and you can focus on your evening.

4. Keeping them on leash with you so you can monitor them at all times. Again, never underestimate how sneaky a dog can be when they are trying to steal yummy-smelling chocolate or candy. Even a dog that never steals from your plate may not be able to resist the smell of a chocolate-covered strawberry or that box of sugar-free candy.

5. Take the garbage out immediately. Many toxic ingestions happen after the holiday. We throw away our left overs and the dog gets into the trash. So instead of leaving the kitchen garbage full, take it out to the big bins where your dog can’t get to it.

6. Some houses don’t have high enough cupboards or places to put food that dogs can’t get into. Some dogs know how to open the refrigerator! In these cases, baby locks will be your best friend. Locking the cabinets where the food is kept is a great safety precaution. If your garbage is stored under your kitchen sink, locking that cabinet is a good idea too.

Remember, being overly safe is better than having to live with regret later. A few safety precautions will mean everyone in your family can have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.