Impress your friends with fun, furry facts

December 1, 2009 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

Need a little holiday party chit chat help? Dr. Marty Becker and Gina Spadafori have just thing in this week’s Pet Connection newspaper feature:

People love to collect, and it seems everyone has something they just can’t get enough of. For us, pet-related trivia seems to hold endless fascination. We collect it, we share it from our homes a thousand miles apart, and we file it. Because, well, you never know when pulling out that file will remind you of something you’ve been meaning to write about.

This week, we’ve pulled out some of the quirkiest pet-related tidbits for sharing. Hope you enjoy them, and if you have some yourself, we’d love to hear from you.

Read theirs here, then come back and share yours!

From Dr. Becker and Mikkel Becker Shannon, some interesting news about how pet owners pick pet foods:

Respondents to an informal poll with 2,000 participants on said that concern over pet-food quality and ingredients was the most likely reason for them to switch pet foods. Three-quarters of respondents had this concern when it came to food choice, far surpassing veterinary recommendations at 14 percent or price at 8 percent.

Plus, a reminder from Dr. Becker that food is not love:

Obesity in pets causes a lot of the same problems it does in people. An overweight pet is prone to a host of related problems, including diabetes, joint, ligament and tendon difficulties, breathing and heart challenges. Overweight cats can even develop skin problems from not being able to groom themselves properly. The overall impact on comfort and longevity can be dire.

Is your pet overweight? Healthy pets have some padding on them, but a little is plenty. Rub your hands over the ribs of your dog or cat. The skin should move easily back and forth, and you should be able to feel the ribs. Your pet should have a definable “waist” at the bottom of the rib cage, a small tuck-in at the stomach. Take a look from the side: If your pet looks pregnant, he’s fat. From above, a bump out from the middle into an apple shape is equally bad news. In birds, look for a thicker breast or rolls of fat.

Crash diets aren’t good for pets, especially not for fat cats, who can develop a fatal liver problem if forced to reduce too quickly. A pet doesn’t get fat overnight, and he shouldn’t be forced to change course any more rapidly. What you’ll need to do is change your pet’s eating and exercise habits gradually.

The best place to start is with a trip to your veterinarian. You’ll want to make sure your pet doesn’t have any problems that might make lifestyle changes difficult or dangerous. Your vet can also suggest a food plan that might help.

Carve some time out of your schedule to walk your dog or play with your cat — three times a week, at least. Be sure to work in some aerobic exercise, anything that gets a cat or dog really moving. Dividing the daily food ration into small portions and making pets work to find them or putting food in puzzles that require work to get at will also help.

Want more? Read the entire Pet Connection for this week, or download the PDF file exactly the way we send it to our client newspapers!…

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