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Archive for January, 2019

Seasonal Weight Gain For Pets Is Serious Business

Most of us are familiar with the holiday tendency to add a few extra pounds. But where people have the option to go to the gym, pets do not.

Consider these steps you can take to help your pet shed those holiday pounds:
Feed your pet a balanced pet food diet.
Do not give your dog or cat table treats. He might not like it at first, but this is the only way to maintain a healthy weight. This is tough love, and your pet will benefit from a nutritionally balanced diet.

[What’s the big deal about obesity and your pet’s health? Find out here!]


Step up the exercise.
Longer walks or play times will be good exercise for both of you. If you live in a cold climate, there might be an indoor facility that will let you walk your dog.

Try changing to a premium dietary low fat/high fiber pet food.
When switching, it’s important to change the food gradually. Provide your pet’s daily food portion as 75% of the old food and 25% of the new formula on the first day. For day two, try a 50-50 ratio. Then, proceed to a 25-75 split. On day four, go to 100 percent of the new low-fat food. Seek your veterinarian’s advice if you are unsure about which brand of pet food to buy.

Instead of treats for praise, try play.
Treats add up fast, so when your pet is good, play or pull out a new toy instead of rewarding with food.

Set a deadline for your pet reaching a certain target weight.
That will keep you motivated and focused, and might help you lose some of your holiday weight, too!

This article appeared on Nationwide Pet Insurance’s blog here.

Bonus Content

Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic, uses the following formula for safe weight loss for your pet:
Cat………………..1/4 lb per week
Small dog………1/2 lb per week
Medium dog…..1 lb per week
Large dog……….1 1/2 lbs per week

Wondering what your pet’s target weight should be? Contact Us and we’ll work with you to set a goal! (Offer open to clients of Little Creek Veterinary Clinic [Norfolk, VA] only).

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About Nationwide pet insurance
With more than 700,000 insured pets, Nationwide is the first and largest pet health insurance provider in the United States. Nationwide pet health insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company (CA), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2017); National Casualty Company (all other states), Columbus, OH, an A.M. Best A+ rated company (2017). Agency of Record: DVM Insurance Agency. Pet owners can find Nationwide pet insurance on Facebook or follow on Twitter. For more information about Nationwide pet insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

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3 COMMON COLD WEATHER DANGERS TO WATCH OUT FOR!

By Dr. Tracy McFarland, for Pets Best Pet Health Insurance
(Shared by permission)

While Fall is definitely my favorite season, it does bring certain hazards to watch for when it comes to your cat.  Knowledge of these potential dangers gives you the power to keep your cat safe. Prevention is much better than treatment! Here are three hazards you should be aware of:

1. ANTIFREEZE

Cooler weather often brings the necessity for changing or adding antifreeze to your car. If your radiator leaks, which occurs more commonly in older cars, antifreeze can end up on your garage floor, driveway, or in the gutter.

Antifreeze can contain ethylene glycol, which is extremely poisonous to cats. Because ethylene glycol has a sweet taste, cats, dogs and wildlife are attracted to it. As little as a teaspoon of antifreeze can cause irreversible kidney damage and death, if not treated within the first few hours after ingestion. Antifreeze causes harm, first by gastrointestinal irritation and then by the formation of calcium oxalate crystals that destroy a cat’s kidneys, if prompt action isn’t taken to remove as much of the toxin as possible, followed by intravenous fluids to flush the kidneys, for two to three days. Pets may display confusion, weakness, or a wobbly gait. If given soon enough, veterinary intervention can prevent severe kidney damage caused by antifreeze toxicity. Consider using one of the newer nontoxic antifreeze compounds in your car’s radiator.

[Dr. Donald Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian, says the best way
to protect your cat from winter hazards outdoors is to keep your cat indoors!]

2. HYPOTHERMIA

Cold weather itself poses a hazard. Extreme cold weather can cause life-threatening hypothermia, despite cats’ fur coats. While certain breeds such as Maine Coons have adapted to withstand harsh weather conditions, and most shorthaired cats can develop a thick undercoat when exposed to cold temperatures over time, the combination of cold and wet can be deadly. Signs of hypothermia include shivering, shaking, lethargy, and slowed or dull mental state.

3. FROSTBITE

Another cold weather hazard to cats during the winter is frostbite. This condition occurs when skin or body parts actually freeze from being exposed to extreme cold. Skin at the affected areas may look discolored, painful when touched or lack of feeling altogether, cold to the touch, and even frost or ice crystals may appear on the skin.

Common pet extremities susceptible to frostbite include:

  • Paw pads
  • Toes
  • Tail tip
  • Nose
  • Ears
  • Muzzle

If your cats live outdoors, shelter from cold, wind and damp will be very helpful, and indeed lifesaving in extreme weather conditions. If bringing your outdoor cat indoors into your home is not an option, please make sure he or she has an insulated doghouse, barn or out building to shelter in. The floor needs to be raised enough to stay dry, even in heavy rain.  Certain breeds cannot withstand severe weather, even with shelter. The “oriental” breeds, such as Siamese, Burmese, Tonkinese and Abyssinians have sleek coats with little undercoat. They love warmth and would be miserable and at risk in cold weather.

Enjoy all the pleasures of the season and with a few precautions your cat can be there to enjoy them too.

Need help identifying signs or symptoms of the hazards mentioned above? Every Pets Best Insurance policy includes access to our 24/7 Pet Helpline. Learn more about this service and how it can help keep your pets safe and potentially save a trip to the vet.

By Dr. Tracy McFarland, a veterinarian and writer for Pets Best. Since 2005, Pets Best has offered pet health insurance plans to U.S. dogs and cats.

This article originally appeared on the Pets Best blog here.

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