What’s Weighing on Your Pet’s Health?
When’s the last time you weighed your pet? Like humans, it’s not unusual for your pet to sneak on a few extra pounds over the years. This extra weight can have serious implications for a pet’s overall health. That’s why it is important to identify what your pet’s ideal weight and actual weight are. The EZ Vet- Paw Watchers kiosk is the original pet scale kiosk that allows pet owners to evaluate if their pet is at a healthy weight, and will educate on ways to prevent pet obesity and offer solutions to correct the problem if needed.
Pet obesity is a serious issue in the United States, and growing. Pet obesity rates continued to increase in 2012, and with the number of overweight cats reaching an all-time high. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that 52.5% of dogs and 58.3% of cats are considered overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats that are overweight, and now have an increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis and hypertension. The EZ Vet- Paw Watchers kiosk offers a convenient way to help monitor a pet’s weight to make sure they do not fall into this growing trend.
Many pet owners have no idea, or want to admit, that their pet is overweight. They may guess their 9 pound Chihuahua is 2-3 pounds overweight and not think it’s a big deal. But those 3 little extra pounds is approximately 33% of their body weight. Can you image carrying around 33% extra weight? Many pet owners simply don’t know what the healthy weight range is for their pet’s breed, gender and age or understand why it is so important. The EZ Vet- Paw Watchers kiosk utilizes interactive cutting-edge technology to easily gather specifics about the pet and then generates a personalized free pet weight analysis.
EZ Vet launched the Paw Watchers kiosk concept in South Florida in 2013 and have several locations scheduled throughout the US for 2014. A clinical version will also available in 2014 for use in veterinary practices and animal hospitals. Paw Watchers is more than just a useful tool for monitoring a pet’s weight- it offers responsive marketing. The Paw Watchers kiosk is also a great tool for retailers and veterinarians with its automated email and texting system, data capture and analysis and instant coupon generation to promote product and service sales.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reminds pet owners that if you’re planning to make a New Year’s resolution for 2014 to lose weight that you should include your pet in your plans for a healthier life.
It’s estimated that between 25 and 40 percent of dogs and cats and 31 percent of people in this country are overweight. Studies have found that other domesticated animals, including horses, are also prone to obesity.
“Taking a dog for a walk is healthy for both the dog and the dog’s owner. The companionship of a pet provides us with an extra incentive, and inspiration, to get out and work out,” says Dr. Clark K. Fobian, president of the AVMA. “Just like humans, overweight dogs and cats are more likely to get a number of diseases and health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, skin conditions, liver disease, and joint problems. So putting yourself and your pet on a diet and exercise regimen will result in improved health for 2014 and perhaps a longer life for both you and your pet. On a personal note, that will be my New Year’s resolution for 2014 as well.”
AVMA’s pet weight-loss tips:
- A visit to your veterinarian is the best way to determine if your pet is overweight, but there are things to look for to determine if you should make an immediate appointment for a puppy or kitty weigh in. A dog should have a discernible waist without fat deposits, and ribs should be easy to feel while stroking a dog. In cats, if there is any rounding of the abdomen or bulging in the back, limbs, neck or face, you’ve got a fat cat.
- Feed your pets at least twice a day, and keep track of how much they eat (your veterinarian may ask). If the pet hasn’t finished their food after about 20 minutes, take the bowl away to discourage overeating.
- Monitor the number and size of the treats you give. A large dog treat can be over 100 calories, while a small treat has as little as 10 calories. If you can’t help but repeatedly treat your beloved pet (because they’re so incredibly good), break the snacks in half or even thirds to cut the calories.
- Talk to your veterinarian about the best weight reduction plan for your overweight pet.
- To exercise a cat, engage them with a feather, string or laser pointer, and try to get them running after a toy as they swat at it. To exercise a dog, consider agility training, play time with other dogs, and chasing a ball or Frisbee. There is no better exercise for dogs, horses and humans than a brisk walk.
- Hypothyroidism is a risk factor for obesity in humans, dogs and cats, but it’s much easier to diagnose in humans. If your dog or cat is obese without a clear cause, make a veterinary appointment.
- Finally, if your pet is a little on the pudgy side, and you think it might benefit from an increased exercise regimen, see a veterinarian first. No exercise program should begin without a veterinary checkup.
Visit an EZ Vet pet weight kiosk to evaluate and monitor your pet’s weight.
Pets, just like humans, have different tastes, allergies, and sensitivities to foods. With the growing obesity epidemic in the US, it’s important to pay close attention to what our pets are eating on a daily basis and it all starts at the pet food dish.
Here are a few tips for pet feeding:
- Choose a nutritionally balanced pet food. Be sure to check the ingredients on the label and try to avoid foods with fat listed within the first four ingredients. Speak with your veterinarian for suggestions of good foods.
- Moisten your cat’s food. According to a 2010 study at the Waltham Center in the UK, cats on moistened diets (even if it’s just adding water to their kibble) tended to be more active and weighed less.
- Check for allergies or intolerance. If you recently brought home a new pet or are switching your pet’s current food, it is important to monitor them on their new diet to make sure they don’t have any allergies or tummy aches caused by the food.
- Measure your pet’s meals. Free-pouring or “eyeing” the amount of food you feed your pet can make a big difference over time. Be sure to use measuring cups or a scoop with marked measurements so that you can be consistent and ensure that you’re not overfeeding.
- Determine whether you are feeding the correct amount of food. At your next veterinary check-up, ask your vet if your dog or cat is too thin or too fat to ensure that you are feeding the proper amount.
- Be consistent. Frequently changing the brand or type of pet food can upset your pet’s tummy so it’s important to generally stick to the same food, prepared the same, each day. If you decide to change foods, it should be done gradually by mixing in small amounts with your pet’s current food.
- Watch the treat intake. Pet treats can be high in calories and quickly add up. Be sure to moderate the amount of treats given to your pet each day.
- Take exercise into consideration. Did you recently start a new jogging routine with your dog? Are your kids spending more time playing with the cats? If your pet’s exercise habits have changed, it might also be time to adjust his food intake.
- Age is a factor. As your dog or cat gets older, his metabolism (and likely activity level) slow down. Be sure to take your pet’s age into consideration when choosing a food (is it time for a senior diet?) and the size of the scoop.
- All pets are different. Each pet has its own nutritional needs based on his individual age, breed, activity level, lifestyle, etc. so be sure to look at each pet as an individual when determining their food needs.
Simple Steps Ensure a Long Life for Your Pet
As a responsible pet owner, you can take a few simple steps that will go a long way toward keeping your pet healthy and happy. The American Animal Hospital Association suggests these practical tips that can ensure your pet’s health and happiness.
Make your home a safe environment
Unfortunately, making your home pet safe often is a job that is overlooked. Pet proofing your home can lower the risk of a serious pet accident occurring. A pet owner needs to be aware of several potential dangers. Poisons in the home that can kill or seriously injure your pet include some kinds of house plants (dieffenbachia, philodendron, hyacinth, and mistletoe), pesticides, and medications. Low electrical cords are extremely hazardous when chewed. Keep harmful objects out of your pet’s reach. A little prevention may be just enough to avoid a pet tragedy from happening in your home.
Make sure your pet receives a complete check-up
“A regular physical is the most overlooked pet health need today,” says Dr. Bill Swartz, an AAHA veterinarian. “Most people only take their pet to a veterinarian when a health problem already exists or for routine vaccinations. Preventive vaccinations and early detection of diseases are the keys to successfully treating your pet,” he added. Your veterinarian can conduct a comprehensive exam that includes a lab analysis, heart check, and dental exam.
Design a diet and exercise plan to meet your pet’s specific needs
Obesity leads to serious dog and cat health problems such as heart disease. Exercise is important, but a pet will only exercise if there is an incentive to do so. Your veterinarian will consider what stage of life your pet is in, the amount of activity your pet enjoys, and the time of year before outlining a specific plan. The right kind of food and physical activity can add to the quality of your pet’s life. Check out an EZ Vet kiosk to monitor your pets weight. Locations
Following are ten general pet care tips:
- Mmm… all that chocolate! None for your pets, please! Chocolate contains a toxic substance, theobromine, which is harmful to pets. So, just say NO!
- Is it an emergency? A pet exposed to bitter cold that becomes lethargic, depressed, and weak, could be hypothermic. Call your veterinarian immediately.
- Did you know that by shivering, a pet that is cold or recovering from anesthesia is trying to warm its body back to normal temperature?
- The sweet, lovely green pool of antifreeze on the driveway is an often deadly drink for dogs and cats. Even a small lick by a small pet is enough to poison it. Clean up those spills fast!
- Did you know that some caged birds are afraid of the dark? Try a night light or leaving the front of the cage uncovered.
- Before traveling with your pets, make sure they have all required vaccinations and health papers. If they are on medications, have enough to last through the trip.
- When traveling by air, be aware of airline restrictions regarding outside temperature and number of animals allowed per flight. Someone may have already booked a pet and there are no more allowed. Check with the airline reservationist or travel agent.
- Remember that even the most gentle and trusting pet may bite when in pain. If you must muzzle, use a soft towel or cloth strips and remove it as soon as possible so the pet can breathe more easily.
- If you must transport an injured or ill animal, a blanket, vinyl mat, and even a door make excellent stretchers. The trick is to immobilize the animal to avoid further stress.
- Moving from a cold climate to a warmer one? Don’t forget to have your dog tested for heartworm disease BEFORE beginning preventive medicine. Ask your veterinarian for more information about heartworm disease.
The American Animal Hospital Association asks you to provide a safe environment, quality diet, exercise, and adequate veterinary care for your pet. Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions regarding your pet’s health care.