Time to adopt? An adult dog is a great choice!

October 13, 2009 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

SeniorDogGina dissing puppy Faith? It’s true (and in a good cause)… just check out this week’s Pet Connection feature:

Puppies are overrated. I say that after spending the last six months working on raising one who’s still a work in progress. Faith is a darling, bright retriever who is as good a puppy as anyone could ever hope for. I love her! But after piddle puddles, chewed headphones and all the normal silliness and mess that go along with raising a puppy, I’m reminded why most of the dogs who’ve ended up as part of my family have come into my home as adults.

October is Adopt-a-Dog month, and that also reminds me why, when people with a lot on their plates ask me about getting a puppy, I encourage them to consider a grown dog instead. Chosen carefully, an adult dog will be well past puppy foolishness and may have had some basic obedience training. Unlike puppies, who need constant monitoring, an adult dog should be able to be left alone while a family is at work or school after a much shorter period of training and re-adjustment.

For today’s time-crunched households, there’s no better deal than a good adult dog. But getting the right one is a little more difficult than going down to the shelter and picking out the cutest one.

Our Dr. Marty Becker has a few thoughts on obesity in pet parrots:

Is your parrot fat? Life with little activity while in a cage with an all-you-can-eat buffet has many birds overweight and struggling with health problems. Poor food choices — too many seeds, processed or otherwise fatty foods — also pack the pounds on.

Amazon parrots, large cockatoos, cockatiels and budgies seem more prone to obesity than other species of pet birds. Some of the signs of obesity in birds include:

  • The presence of rolls of fat around the abdomen and hip areas, along with cleavage on the abdomen or breast area.

  • Visible fat under the skin. The skin of most normal pet birds is typically very thin and quite transparent. When the skin is wet with rubbing alcohol, you should be able to see dark pink or red muscle underneath. In overweight birds, you see yellowish fat instead.

  • Breathing difficulty, such as labored breathing, especially after physical exertion.

  • Heat intolerance, shown by excessive wing drooping or open-mouthed breathing in a hot environment.

  • Overgrown upper beaks. Some birds will grow their upper beaks excessively long if they have obesity and fatty liver disease problems. This is particularly true in Amazon parrots and budgies.

If you suspect your bird is fat — and especially if you already know your bird is fat — see your veterinarian right away for nutritional counseling and other ways to attack the problem. Long-term obesity and a poor diet is a major cause of joint problems and heart disease in birds in middle age.

Want more? Read the entire Pet Connection for this week, or see it just how we send it to our client newspapers in this PDF file.


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