Yuck, obesity in pets... We LOVE to pamper our pooches with food don't we! It's not always the
best way to show love as we all now know. Our very own Dr. Carla Haddix brings on the facts of
what 'showing love through food' can really do to the pets we love dearly. Alex, The Bird Man has
a tale to tell about DUCKS!
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In our society of abundance and indulgence, approximately 2/3 of adult Americans
are overweight, and 1/3 are classified as obese. Studies in both humans and
animals have firmly established the links between obesity and a long list of health
problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart and circulatory disease, bone and
joint degeneration, and premature death.
An estimated 1/3 of American pets suffer diminished health and well-being due to being overweight.
This is the fault of their owners, as not too many pets open food packages and prepare their own meals.
Pet owners may overfeed their pets, and also fail to provide them sufficient opportunity for exercise.
Most people understand and are convinced that being overweight is as detrimental to pets as to people. However, as a veterinarian I
have often found it hard to convince a client that their pet actually is overweight. That's somewhat understandable; while being too heavy
is considered unattractive in a human, fat pets are still cute and appealing!
Other pet owners recognize their dog or cat is overweight but feel powerless to change matters. They may buy into any number of myths
about obesity, similar to the excuses we use for being overweight ourselves: "He's genetically programmed to be large." "He's not fat,
he's just big-boned." "She really doesn't eat very much!" "I knew if we neutered him he'd get fat!" "I can't be feeding her too much - she's
hungry all the time!" "It's not fat, it's muscle." "It's mostly just hair." And so on.
In pets, as in people, the cause of excessive body fat is a mundane matter of too many calories consumed and/or too few burned off. I
believe genetics plays a role (Labrador retrievers get fat, but whippets almost never do) and rarely there is a medical condition that
predisposes to obesity. But the vast majority of overweight pets can successfully lose weight through adjustment of their feeding and
exercise habits (INCLUDING genetically- predisposed pets!)
If you're not sure whether your pet is overweight, go to http://www.uvhberkeley.com/index.php?Page=bcs to evaluate your pet's body
condition, or ask your veterinarian. If you have determined that Fido or Fluffy needs to slim down, make appropriate adjustments in the
amount and type of food you provide, and in the time you spend exercising and playing with your pet.
Figuring out how much to feed your pet can be very confusing. Even knowing that most dogs and cats require somewhere between 20
and 40 Calories per pound of body weight is not helpful, as most packages of commercial pet foods do not list calories on the label.
They do indicate suggested feeding amounts, but in my experience these are usually overstated, no matter what
type or brand of food it is. As a starting point, consider this: if your pet is overweight, then whatever amount he's been eating is too much!
To reduce your pet's weight, feed less of his regular food or gradually replace it with a lower fat, higher fiber diet. You must control the
amount and frequency of the feedings, rather than offer food free-choice. Replace rich and fattening treats with dietetic versions, or offer
carrot sticks, small rice cakes, or frozen green peas for snacks.
Exercise is essential for weight control, as reducing calorie intake alone will result in a down-shift of metabolism. That makes it harder
for the pet to burn calories.
Dogs are generally eager to exercise, especially if you do it with them. So increase the number and length of leash walks, or toss the ball
or Frisbee on a frequent basis. For more ideas on how to add excitement to your dog's exercise routine, see last month's article on
canine sports and recreation. Be cautious with short-legged breeds (like Dachshunds) and pug-faced breeds (like English bulldogs) -
these breeds can't tolerate intense work-outs, especially in hot weather.
Getting your fat cat to exercise is more of a challenge. A string toy or catnip mouse may sustain her interest for only a few moments, if
she bothers to play with it at all. If you can find anything she likes to chase (try a laser pointer!), provide her with short play sessions many
times a day. Appeal to a cat's natural inclinations with climbing structures and hiding places like cardboard boxes or carpet "tents." Use
her curiosity and hunting instinct to encourage exploration for small treats that you hide various places around the house. Place food
dishes at the end of a make-shift obstacle course that leads the cat up or down stairs, over high barricades, or through long low tunnels.
Let your cat spend time outdoors if it is safe to do so where you live; there are more interesting things to do outdoors, like climbing trees,
chasing bugs, and exploring the garden.
As with most health problems, prevention of obesity is far better than having to correct it. Starting from an early age, make sure your
puppy or kitten maintains a healthy lean weight. Express your love for your pet through attention, petting, toys, or exercising together, not
with food treats. Your dedication to a healthy diet and exercise regimen for your pet might just lead you to a healthier lifestyle, too.
Dr. Carla Haddix DVM
Wouldn't you just love to
open your back door and in
your yard? A friend of mine
has the fence as in the
picture and her cats love
the freedom it affords
them! The neighbors like
the fact she keeps her cats
out of their property and
everyone couldn't be
to learn more!
The past few weeks have been pretty
hectic. Three weeks ago, some
neighborhood kids found a baby duck
that they say was ‘abandoned’. One of
the kids was throwing things at it, so I
was took it home and put it in a incubator.
That lil’ guy grew to triple its size in two
weeks. WOW! We were guessing it was
a Muscovy Duck. Then about a week ago
the same kids found another one and the
same kid that was throwing things at the
first baby, was trying to ‘clip’ the nails of
this one. When I ask him if that was
what he was doing and he burst out in an evil maniac laughter saying “he has sharp nails!” UNBELIEVABLE! People now ‘a
days are so cruel. So I took that duck in too.
So that gave me TWO ducks under my roof. (Dad wasn't exactly pleased about the FIRST one...) The hard thing about Muscovy’s
is they are very aggressive. I had them both swimming and the older one was picking on the smaller one. That’s normal but still
the little one was a little too small for that, so we were going to separate them. The big one was big enough to go into another
cage, a small dog crate. I left the room to get some water and I come back and….my dog had it in his mouth. There’s a rule that
says never leave a duck alone…and I broke that rule. So now we only have one little duck now, but he is growing and doing
Now about how to raise a duck. The first thing to do is to set up an incubator. Get an fish tank with a lid and have a heat source
near or in it. We used heating pads. Second is beading: you want something soft and warm like wash cloths. You might wanna
use some old ones though, kuz these guys crap a lot. Third is food and water: you can leave food in there but not water, not for a
couple of days. I say this kuz they can actually fall asleep in it! They're not in total control of their bodies yet. And finally….love.
Ducks are very social animals, for that matter, all birds are. Let them go swimming while you watch them, interact with them.
They grow up to maturity at about four months. Be sure not to put a baby duckling in too much water because they could drown!
Their feathers, when young are too absorbent and can actually weigh down the critter.
Have questions?? Let Ms. Deborah know and she'll forward them on to me. That's all for this month so be ducky!
Alex the Bird Man
|This group was found waddling down to the pond. 18 of them! They come to the house every now and
then and I've noticed that only about 10 are still around...
Gators, Snakes, Birds of prey and rotten kids... All enemies of such tiny creatures.
Alex wanted me to add, "Some other causes of death can be large fish and weather. Cold and hot
temperatures can kill them, and I have seen babies eaten whole by fish, yes fish!!!"
out for an
|Gainesville FOSTER HOMES!
We have a GREAT need for more foster homes!
Please, if you can help us, our pets will smother you with love!
Call us today! (352) 692-4773
We need FOSTER HOMES! This is an
opportunity to help without any long term
commitment and you'll have so much fun
Please don't buy your new pet from a pet store! (Unless they have
rescue groups bringing in cats that need adoption). There are so
many animals roaming the streets of our cities! Help us help the
unwanted, abandoned and abused animals of Osceola County.
I was born outside under a canoe in
someone's backyard with my 4 other
siblings. The wonderful lady who owned the
house found us there in the middle of a
rainstorm when we were only a few days
old. It was a good thing because the area
was getting flooded and we could have
drowned. She took us and our Mom in and
cared for us until we got big enough to get
homes. Two of my siblings already got a
wonderful home and Dirk, Jake and I are
still looking for a special home.
I am such a sweetheart and I think I am
quite handsome even though my ears are a
little big, but I will grow into them. I love to
play, play, play with my brothers. I also love
to sleep on the bed and cuddle up with my
foster mom and brothers.
Langly is the leader of the pack.
Among his litter mates he stands
out! He is always first out of the
pen and is a bit of a tough guy
when playing with his siblings.
Home he is very sweet and
becomes much more introverted.
He is friendly with all kinds of
Breed: Retriever Mix
Est. DOB: 03/10/08
Est. DOB: 03/26/08
Domestic Long Hair-black and
Description: Fiona is a beautiful
female kitty. She is a little timid at
first but is very sweet and loves
attention. Please email
inquiries about adopting one of our
Pick me! Pick me!