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Why Do Some Pets Gobble Their Food

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In domestic dogs, she says speed of eating seems to be a breed-specific characteristic. Certain breeds of dogs swallow their food in a gulp or two, while others prefer to nibble or graze. “Beagles and Labrador Retrievers are among those breeds known to be gobblers,” she says.

In addition to breed, there is considerable individual variation in eating habits. “This may be related to early experiences and feeding management, and competition, real or perceived, for food bowl access, environmental factors, including those that may leave a dog more or less relaxed while eating, and availability of food.”

Breed doesn’t appear to play a role in feline gobblers. Dr. Laflamme says there are no scientific studies to identify the reasons behind “Garfield”-type cats. But she speculates there may be several reasons, alone or in combination, for this behavior in both cats and dogs.

Those starved as strays may be more food-focused, she says. Also, young pets who are meal-fed rather than free-fed during early development may be more likely to be rapid eaters. “This is based on a limited number of animals and personal observations,” she says.

Cats evolved as solitary hunters and eaters. It’s hard to share a single mouse, after all. That means when cats must share food bowls, eat side by side with other felines, or compete with another cat or dog, they may resort to gulping food quickly or risk getting nothing at all.

Does Gobbling Have Risks?

For cats, gorging can lead to obesity, or nutritional upset if they habitually vomit. Some veterinarians describe stressed-cat eating as “scarf-and-barf.” In other words, eating too quickly from stress-related causes can result in the cat’s food coming back up just as quickly. That’s not good for your carpet, your blood pressure, or your cats.

But for otherwise healthy dogs, gulping food isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says Dr. Laflamme. Eating quickly can save time for owners of multiple dogs, when you can control the amount each dog eats, she says. “Dogs can easily consume all their food in just a few minutes, so can be quickly fed once or twice daily. Since this is a natural pattern for dogs, it may not be of any concern.”

However, part of the natural pattern in wolves and pack animals is to gorge with rapid feeding, then regurgitate and re-consume the food while they are away from the frenzy. “Most pet owners are less keen on this habit, despite it being natural,” says Dr. Laflamme.

One health concern has been linked with rapid eating, says Dr. Laflamme. Gastric dilatation volvulus, or bloat, particularly affects large breed dogs, especially deep-chested dogs.

8 Ways to Help Slow Down Pet Food Consumption

Helping dogs and cats eat more slowly comes down to managing mealtime. Dr. Laflamme offers these 8 suggestions:

1. Add water to the food to increase volume
2. Feed larger kibble or chunk sizes so pets must chew rather than gulp
3. Use an automatic feeding device that opens on a scheduled timer to access a portion of the daily ration. That can divide a single meal into multiple small meals.
4. Place one or more non-swallowable balls, large stones, or heavy chain into the feeding bowl so dogs must pick around obstacles to find kibbles.
5. Use puzzle feeders designed for the purpose. Kibbles placed inside are released a few at a time during paw-rolling, nose-nudging play. Homemade versions can be made using plastic water bottles or similar.
6. For cats gobbling out of competition or stress, consider feeding them separately.
7. Hide puzzle toys for cats to “hunt.”
8. Smear “licky mats” with canned food to slow consumption.

photo source: Pexels
source: Fear Free Happy Homes

Reasons to Walk Your Pet More

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What’s better than starting off a new year by helping not only yourself, but your furry friend as well? We couldn’t think of a better way to get off on the right foot, and there’s an easy way to do just that—walking. There are many benefits that come from walking your pet—so many, in fact, that we can’t list them all—so the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to share just a few of our favorite facts about walking.

1. Great for your health, and theirs.

Walking is good for your heart, muscles, joints, waistline and even your mental health. Plus, there’s no better stress relief than watching your pet’s eager interest and wagging tail. Walking is good for their health, too. Just like you, it helps with their waistline, joints and muscles. Healthy pet parents make for healthy pets.

2. Get social without your phone.

Getting out will help you meet people, maybe even some potential animal lovers like you. Before long, you may have a new friend to join your daily walks. If you love animals, walking is also a great time for bird (or other wildlife) watching. You can also learn more about the plants in your neighborhood or local parks.

3. Stay out of trouble!

Many dogs and cats tend to start looking for trouble when they get bored (the APCC knows this better than anyone!). Bored pets are more likely to get into cabinets or closets, or up onto tables, and eat things that can be dangerous for them. Regular walks not only give pets exercise—the mental stimulation is great for keeping them out of trouble when they’re back home.

Get Out and Go

If you are like most people, finding the time or energy to take your pet outside can sometimes be a challenge. With a little planning, however, your days of sitting on the couch will be long gone.

While it would be ideal to walk your pup for 30 minutes, five times a week, starting small may work better for you. Start with 10 minutes, three times a week. You may find that you and your furry friend enjoy it so much, you’ll want to walk longer and go more often.

A local park may be a nice place destination, but if you have to jump in the car to get there, you may be less inclined to go. Consider starting closer to home. Start your walk by just walking out your door. And if you find you are still struggling to make these walks a part of your daily routine, consider inviting a friend along or setting a reminder on your phone. You may also find that your four-legged friend will become a better reminder than your phone, once they get into the habit.

A Few Tips

The nice part about walking is that it doesn’t take a lot of planning or equipment, but there are still a few things to keep in mind:
– Make sure to keep your pet leashed in unfamiliar or public areas.
– Always have proper identification on your pet.
– Avoid walking in extreme weather conditions.
– Remember to bring plastic bags to clean up after your pet.
– If you are going for a longer walk, remember to bring some fresh water for you and your pet.

photo source: Pixabay

source: ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC)

Corgi Puts The Brakes On Leaving The Closed Dog Park

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For as long as his family can remember, Waffles’ two favorite things in the world have always been his toy balls and going to the park.
“We can’t even say the word ‘park’ or ‘ball’ in the house, otherwise he will bark until we take him and that’s not an exaggeration,” Michaella Sena, Waffles’ mom, told The Dodo. “Eventually he turns the bark into a constant whimper and it does not stop, so we are very careful with our words because God forbid we say basketBALL or picnic in a PARK because then we have to go that second.”
Waffles very much looks forward to his walks to the park, but last week, when he and his dad arrived at the park as usual, his dad quickly realized it was closed for a holiday event. He tried to explain to Waffles that they couldn’t stroll through the park that day — but Waffles absolutely refused to listen.
The stubborn corgi had been told he was going to the park…

 

… so he dug his heels in and refused to move until that dream came true.
“When we say park it means park,” Sena said. “So, he put on his corgi brakes and was parking himself there until he could go inside.”
Luckily for Waffles, the standoff didn’t last long — because his dad just can’t say no to that adorable face.
“All right, fine, but if we get in trouble it’s your fault,” Waffles’ dad said to him in a video of the standoff that he later sent to Sena.
Despite all the signs, the pair casually made their way into the park and tried to stroll around unnoticed. Even if it meant breaking the rules, Waffles was getting his walk through the park, no matter what. The whole thing actually went pretty smoothly — until they almost accidentally got trapped inside.
“When they got to the other side of the park, they turned around and noticed a woman locking up the gate, so they had to sneak out of a different lot where all the workers were parked — otherwise Waffles’ lifelong dream to live in the park would have come true,” Sena said.
To Waffles, of course, it was still an incredibly successful trip to the park, because it happened at all. A few signs were never going to stop the stubborn corgi from following his dreams.
photo source: Michaella Sena/ The Dodo
source: The Dodo

 

How You and You Pet Can Cope With Colder Weather

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With the United States starting to deal with colder temperatures. it’s a good time to remind clients how they can keep their pets safe during cold weather. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers these tips:

Know the pet’s limits. A pet’s tolerance for cold temperatures varies from pet to pet based on their coat thickness, body fat stores, activity level, and health. Owners should be aware of their pet’s tolerance for cold weather, and adjust accordingly. Recommend that they shorten their dog’s walks in very cold weather to protect owner and dog from weather-associated health risks.

Tread carefully. Arthritic and elderly pets may have more difficulty walking on snow and ice, and be more prone to slipping and falling. Short-legged pets may become cold faster because their bellies and bodies are more likely to come into contact with snow-covered ground.

Factor in other health problems. Consider the pet’s history. Pets with diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or hormonal imbalances (such as Cushing’s disease) may have a harder time regulating their body temperature, and may be more susceptible to problems from temperature extremes.

Consider the coat. Long-haired or thick-coated dogs tend to be more cold-tolerant, but are still at risk in cold weather. Short-haired pets feel the cold faster because they have less protection,

Pause for paws. Stop and check the dog’s paws frequently for signs of cold-weather injury or damage. Look for cracked paw pads or bleeding. During a walk, a sudden lameness may be due to an injury or may be due to ice accumulation between her toes.
Keep it clean. During wintry walks, a dog’s feet, legs and belly may pick up deicers, antifreeze, or other potentially toxic chemicals. Owners should wipe down (or wash) their pet’s feet, legs and belly when they get back inside to remove these chemicals and reduce the risk that their dog will be poisoned after she licks them off her feet or fur.

Or just stay inside. It’s a common belief that dogs and cats are more resistant than people to cold weather because of their fur, but that’s not true. Cats and dogs are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia and should be kept inside during extreme cold weather.
So until the weather breaks, maybe the best idea is for both owner and pet to snuggle up under a thick blanket, and catch the second season of the Crown.

photo source: Pexels
source: AHHA

Safety Tips To Keep Your Pet Warm This Coming Winter Season

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As fall is coming to an end, it is time for pet owners to prepare their pets for cold winter temperatures.
Exposure to winter’s dry, cold air and chilly rain, sleet and snow can cause chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin, but these aren’t the only discomforts pets can suffer. Winter walks can become downright dangerous if chemicals from ice-melting agents are licked off of bare paws. To help prevent cold weather dangers from affecting your pet’s health, please heed the following advice from our experts:
– Repeatedly coming out of the cold into the dry heat of your home can cause itchy, flaking skin. Keep your home humidified and towel dry your pet as soon as he comes inside, paying special attention to his feet and in-between the toes. Remove any snow balls from between his foot pads.
– Never shave your dog down to the skin in winter, as a longer coat will provide more warmth. If your dog is long-haired, simply trim him to minimize the clinging ice balls, salt crystals and de-icing chemicals that can dry his skin, and don’t neglect the hair between his toes. If your dog is short-haired, consider getting him a coat or sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly. For many dogs, this is regulation winter wear.
– Bring a towel on long walks to clean off stinging, irritated paws. After each walk, wash and dry your pet’s feet and stomach to remove ice, salt and chemicals—and check for cracks in paw pads or redness between the toes.

– Bathe your pets as little as possible during cold spells. Washing too often can remove essential oils and increase the chance of developing dry, flaky skin. If your pooch must be bathed, ask your vet to recommend a moisturizing shampoo and/or rinse.
– Massaging petroleum jelly or other paw protectants into paw pads before going outside can help protect from salt and chemical agents. Booties provide even more coverage and can also prevent sand and salt from getting lodged between bare toes and causing irritation. Use pet-friendly ice melts whenever possible.
– Like coolant, antifreeze is a lethal poison for dogs and cats. Be sure to thoroughly clean up any spills from your vehicle, and consider using products that contain propylene glycol rather than ethylene glycol.
– Pets burn extra energy by trying to stay warm in wintertime. Feeding your pet a little bit more during the cold weather months can provide much-needed calories, and making sure she has plenty of water to drink will help keep her well-hydrated and her skin less dry.

– Make sure your companion animal has a warm place to sleep, off the floor and away from all drafts. A cozy dog or cat bed with a warm blanket or pillow is perfect.
– Remember, if it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, stolen, injured or killed. In addition, don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and cause animals to freeze to death.
photo source: Pixabay
source: ASPCA