Help Your Dog or Cat Lose Weight

Exercising with Pets has Physical,
Mental Benefits, DVM says

Manhattan, Kan. -- There are numerous exercises that pet owners can do with their pets that not only improve the health of both but can strengthen the human-animal bond as well, according to a Kansas State University veterinarian.
"Obesity is a big problem in pets just as it is with people, and exercising helps keep the dog's weight down," says Dr. Susan Nelson, an assistant professor of clinical sciences at KSU.

The amounts and types of exercises that are best for dogs vary widely according to their age, breed and general health, so a blanket recommendation for workout times and frequency can't be given, Nelson says.

But she does offer some general guidelines. For example, larger and working dogs usually have higher energy needs while smaller/toy breeds need less exercise. And, ideally, dogs should get out twice daily for exercise, from 15 to 60 minutes depending on the individual, and aerobic exercise should be continuous with few breaks.

There are some health concerns to take into consideration, Nelson adds. These include making sure the dog is in shape before doing long or intense workouts, acclimating them gradually to hard surfaces to avoid damaging their pads, taking precautions to avoid heat exhaustion in hot weather or frostbite in cold weather and limiting very young dogs to shorter runs until they are 12 to 15 months of age.

Cats Nearly Four Times More Likely
to Have Rabies Than Dogs

National report -- The number of rabies-infected cats was almost four times that of rabies-infected dogs in the United States in 2008, according to a new report from the American Veterinary Medical Association.
Cats may be more prone to rabies because they’re vaccinated less and roam outdoors unsupervised more often than dogs, the report suggests.

The data, collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, appears in a new AVMA rabies backgrounder published online in advance of World Rabies Day, Sept. 28. The report also covers the history of rabies and its prevalence around the world as well as clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment and euthanasia protocols for infected and possibly infected animals.

Most rabies infections -- 93 percent -- are seen in wild animals, according to the report, but most post-exposure rabies prophylaxis (PEP) in humans is administered because of exposure to rabid or possibly rabid cats and dogs.

Researchers also warn that imported dogs carry the threat of a resurgence of canine rabies variants in this country. They point to a rabid puppy that arrived from India in 2007, and a rabid dog from Iraq imported into New Jersey in 2008.

The complete study, “Rabies surveillance in the United States during 2008” appears in the Sept. 15 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

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Common Mistakes in Litter Box
Training a Cat
Lorie Huston -

Exploring the Reasons Cats May Eliminate Outside Their Litter Pans

When a cat stops using the litter box, there may be many causes. There are some simple but important things that cat owners can do to encourage return to the litter box.

Feline behavioral issues involving the litter box are common complaints for cat owners. Medical issues can play a role in feline inappropriate elimination. Cats not properly using the litter box should be examined by their veterinarian for feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) and other health issues. However, behavioral problems involving the litter box may also occur due to litter box aversions or marking behaviors.

Litter Box Training for Cats and Aversions to Cat Litter Boxes

Some cat owners fail to recognize that cats may have personal preferences regarding their litter boxes which may not coincide with their owner's preferences. There are a number of common mistakes cat owners make regarding cat litter and cat litter boxes.

•Many owners do not provide adequate numbers of litter boxes, particularly in multi-cat households. The number of litter boxes in the home should equal the number of cats plus one. For instance, a three cat household needs four litter boxes.

•Cat litter boxes should be distributed throughout the home.

•In multi-level homes, there should be at least one litter box on each level of the home.

•Litter boxes must be kept very clean. Boxes should be scooped daily and completely emptied and washed thoroughly every 1-2 weeks.

•Many cat owners use heavily scented cat litters in their cat's litter boxes. However, many cats object to strong smells. Using unscented cat litter may be more appropriate for most cat litter boxes.

•Many cat owners provide covers for the litter box but covers tend to keep odors trapped inside the litter box and may cause some cats to avoid the litter box.
•Litter boxes should always be placed in quiet areas of the house where the cat may use the box without distractions or interruptions.

•Cats tend to prefer large litter boxes over smaller boxes and may have individual preferences as to the type of cat litter and litter box provided.

•Concessions in the height of the litter box may be necessary for kittens and older cats with musculoskeletal difficulties.

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Pet Q&A:
How to Get a Tick Off of Your Pet
By Roger Smith •

Q: I found a tick on my dog and impulsively just pulled it out. A friend told me that if you just pull them out, the tick's head will stay in the skin and the dog can get poisoned from it. Do I have to worry? What is the best way to get them off if I see another?

A: When it comes to tick removal, it seems bad advice from well-meaning friends is plentiful. Be sure to protect yourself, as ticks found on dogs during the spring through fall months can carry diseases that might be transmitted to people (such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever).

First, the don'ts: Don't use a match to make the tick "back out." This not only won't work, but can injure the dog's skin. Don't attempt to smother the tick with mineral oil. This can make them regurgitate their blood-meal (and associated germs) back into the dog, increasing the chance of a skin reaction or infection.

The best technique to remove an attached tick is to use tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the dog's skin as possible. Apply gentle steady pressure until you are able to pull the tick out. A small piece of skin might accompany the tick, but that's OK, the skin will heal quickly. If remnants of the tick are still visible in the skin, you might attempt to pull them out with the tweezers also. Don't worry if you're not able to get every piece, the dog's skin and immune system will usually take care of the rest. Make sure to use gloves and try to avoid crushing the tick, which might increase your exposure to any infectious agents. If your dog develops any signs of skin redness or other symptoms after tick exposure, contact your veterinarian for further information.

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Photo of the Day:
Someone Cut the AC, Please?
USA Today

Israeli Victoria Govaron holds her cat Iya, a Sphynx, during an international cat show in Rishon Lezion, south of Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Sept. 12. Some 125 Israeli and internationally owned cats of different breeds took part in the 'most beautiful' cat competition organized by the New Israeli Cat Alliance.

Sphynx cats are not all hairless like this one, but many of the breed can be hairless. They feel like a suede covered hot water bottle, according to The Cat Fanciers' Association.

They love to snuggle. The soft down on their bodies can make that a joy.

Seven Tips for Traveling with Your Pet
Lea Lane - The Huffington Post

Want to roam the world with Fido? (Kitty may be tougher; find a good sitter or cattery, as most cats don't enjoy moving around unless it's to a familiar second home, or such.). The Travel Industry Association (TIA) reports that about 15 percent of us travel with pets - around 40 million households.

1.Size matters.
On the road a small pet can be more fun, with less effort. I place my cat Sweetie in front of my seat on a plane in a special soft carrier bag, twice a year. Most airlines allow several pets in a cabin for each flight, but they must remain in their bags, and you'll need to reserve and pay a fee of at least $50, one-way. Check rules, too.

Many lodgings only allow pets less than 20 pounds. So if you travel lots and have a Yorkie or Maltese, you're in luck. If Hamlet, the Great Dane, is already a member of your family, to be is probably not to be--unless you're staying on the road. (You could go the RV or camping route with a big dog--but hey, this is your vacation. Is that what you really want to do?)

2.One Fido is enough
Many lodgings won't allow more than one pet, and can you blame them? And having to deal with eight-legs and two black noses can be a bit much even for seasoned travelers.

3.Know your puppy's personality
Retrievers are gentle but rambunctious; chihuahuas are tiny but trembly. If your dog tends to act out, run away, shiver or bark a lot, think twice before booking a ticket. You expect a "time-out" from a terrier who's wired to run and yap.

4.Learn transport info
I once lost my poodle, Apricot, when Delta airlines said he had never been placed in cargo on a flight from Miami to New York. Seems they overlooked him de-planing, and Apricot flew on to Hawaii! He was returned a day later, dazed, and seemed to have had enough of tropical paradises, thank you very much.

To avoid my predicament, check the pet travel guidelines posted online by the Air
Transport Association,

As for cars, use the same sorts of caution as you would with a child--lots of breaks, no leaving the pet in a closed car, water available. You know. Buses, trains and cruise ships don't encourage pets, although the Queen Mary 2 has luxury kennels.

5.Choose pet-friendly accommodations
Some of the world's ritziest lodgings cater to travelers with pets. Pet-friendly chains include Four Seasons, Starwood, Hilton, Loews, Sheraton, Marriott, Holiday Inn and Ramada. Many other hotels and B&Bs and inns will also welcome Fido, knowing how many of us bring pets along. Even if you find accommodations on a pet-friendly list, be sure to double check. And be prepared to stay on a pet floor or in a pet-designated room.

Nowadays many places go all out to provide VIP doggy delights. Many offer bowls,
treats and walking areas, and some go all out. The St. Regis hotel in LA offers Fido a customized mahogany bed with down pillows, and special poolside lounges. Las
Ventanas al Paraiso in Los Cabos, Mexico offer special patios and doggy massages, a dog cabana and full-time chef for custom meals. Go know.

6.Dine with doggy
At cafes and restaurants with open-air dining areas, Fido may be a welcome guest, under the table. So if you want to dine with your pet, sit al fresco and enjoy. (Think Lincoln Road, where there seem to be as many dogs as humans.) Room service and picnicking are other options. Overseas, dining rules are sometimes more lax. Do bring your dog's favorite food and bowl, and consider bottled water, wherever you eat. Doggie tummies can get turista too. And on that note, prepare for pooper-scooping at all times, and think ahead for doggy relief areas.

7.Prepare for pitfalls
Dogs can be great travel companions, who don't hog the sheets and insist on pay-per view, but they sometimes slobber, sniff, chew, and pass gas at the wrong place and time. (Then again, so do two-legged companions.) You do have to walk them, get someone to do it, or cross your fingers with newspaper spread on the floor. You may have to pay a lodging deposit for damages -- and you may lose it. Your entertainment, or lack thereof, may be subject to Fido's needs.

Download info on pet quarantine, and health requirements:;; and All offer info about traveling with pets, when
requested. And you can always google "pets/travel."

In fact, depending on the type of vacation you choose, and how much you adore your pet, you may decide a good kennel isn't all that bad. Or, a staycation with Fido.

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Tips to Help Your Pet Lose Weight
Celeste Busk -

Before putting a pet on a diet, check with the vet and have him weigh your pet and calculate obesity.

The vet will analyze your pet's health and recommend a diet plan and proper diet foods. Here are some weight-loss tips from

• Roly-poly pets: Overweight animals at risk for diseases, death
• Introduce new food gradually over a one-week period. Start by substituting one-quarter of the diet for one or two days. Then, gradually add about one-quarter every one or two days.

• Feed the diet food several times per day. Feeding too much means no weight loss. Feeding too little can result in health problems.

• If you dog doesn't like the diet food, try warming the food or adding one of the following: ketchup, salmon juice, oregano or garlic.

•Briskly walk your dog for weight loss. Keep the leash within two to four feet of your body. The pace should be about 12 to 15 minutes per mile. Don't let the dog stop and smell everything.

• Move the food bowl and rotate it so that the dog has to walk to get to his food.

• For treats, give vegetables such as baby carrots, broccoli, celery and asparagus.

• If your dog begs for food, substitute affection for food. Pet your dog or take him outside for a walk.

• When your dog eyes the empty food bowl after eating, try filling it with fresh water.

• Introduce new food gradually over a one- to two-week period. Start by substituting one-quarter of the diet for two or three days. Then, gradually add about one-quarter every two to four days.

• Get the cat to move. Try moving the food bowl.

• Play chase using feather toys, laser lights, paper bags or balls. Engage the cat for 10 minutes twice a day.

• When the bowl is empty and the cat is begging, add a few kibbles to the bowl, about 10 to 15.

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