New Year’s Resolutions: Tackling Pet Obesity

Obese cat sitting on floorThis time of year, many of us are thinking of our New Year’s Resolutions.  Maybe you are going to quit smoking, make a commitment to hit the gym more often, or spend more time with your kids.  New Year’s Resolutions aren’t just for people, though.  Your pet may have some life changes to make as well!

Did you know that approximately 54% of the nation’s pet population is overweight, with the number getting larger every year?  About 20% of these pets have owners who do not recognize that there is a problem.  We see a lot of these pets here at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services because obese pets are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems, kidney disease, exacerbation of osteoarthritis, and a shortened life expectancy.  Many pet owners are either not aware of these health risks, or they find their pudgy pets cute and don’t address the problem.

Here is a different way to think about your pet’s weight according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention:

  • A 95 pound Golden Retriever is equivalent to a 5’4” human female weighing 184 pounds or a 5’9” male weighing 214 pounds.
  • A 10 pound Chihuahua is equivalent to a 5’4” human female weighing 242 pounds or a 5’9” male weighing 282 pounds.
  • A Domestic Shorthair cat that weighs 15 pounds is equivalent to a 5’4” human female weighing 218 pounds or a 5’9” male weighing 254 pounds.
  • A pig ear fed to a 40 pound dog is the equivalent of an adult human drinking 72 ounces of Coca-Cola.
  • A regular dog biscuit fed to a 20 pound dog is similar to an adult eating 2 Keebler Elf Fudge Double Stuffed cookies.

Check out your pet’s Pet-to-Human Weight Equivalent Translator and get tips on safe weight loss in dogs and cats, at this site. It is important that you discuss your pet’s need for weight loss and your plan for accomplishing it with your veterinarian to ensure a successful outcome for your pet.  Please contact us today with any questions or concerns, and have a happy, healthy 2013!

Choosing the Best Puppy Food and Best Senior Dog Food

When it comes to selecting the best puppy food, or best senior dog food, the choices seem endless. It can feel overwhelming, especially now that we have additional offerings in grain-free, raw, organic, and homemade. Where do you begin? One factor that should always guide you to the best food for your dog is their age. 

Your dog’s nutritional needs change with age and your choices will impact the quality of their development, health, and well-being. This is why Oakland Veterinary Referral Services wants to explain what goes into determining the dietary needs of your puppy or senior dog based on their life stage. 


Old Age Isn’t Always the Cause of Arthritis in Dogs

When a pet owner hears that their dog has arthritis, they tend to assume that their pet is just “old” and that’s what comes with aging. That’s not always the case. Old age can bring with it a number of pet ailments, from diabetes to cancer. But aging is not a disease and with the right preventive care, most pets can age gracefully

When we see arthritis in dogs, we often see a different reason for joint conditions like arthritis…and it isn’t their age. Read on to learn more about Oakland Veterinary Referral Services’ overview of arthritis in dogs.


Lumps on Dogs! Are They Cancer?

One of the more common medical questions we get at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services relates to bumps or lumps on dogs. Many dog owners fear the worst when they find this anomaly on or under their fur friend’s skin. Sometimes it appears suddenly or seemingly overnight. 

Most of the time the lump is benign (which means it is noncancerous). There are several types of tumors, cysts, and abnormal skin growths that affect cats and dogs. This is why we want to give you an overview of skin lumps on for greater awareness and instruction, should you find one.


Reasons for Labored Breathing in Dogs and Cats

Labored breathing in dogs and cats is triggered by multiple issues that impact a complex and vital system of the body–the respiratory system. It delivers oxygen throughout the body and removes carbon dioxide. This specialized system keeps your furry friend moving and cool, as it is essential for many aspects of health. So, when your pet is struggling to catch their breath or is breathing heavily, it is unsettling.

If your pet is having trouble breathing or has labored breathing, it’s important to get them diagnosed and treated. The team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services provides some key reasons for this condition and what you can do to help your pet.


My Dog Has a Heart Murmur…Should I Worry?

If your dog has a heart murmur or other cardiac problems, you may wonder if this is something serious to worry about. What causes heart murmurs and does that mean my pet has heart disease? How does this affect my dog’s life expectancy? The purpose is to check for any abnormal heart rhythms, heart murmurs and other possible. 

Oakland Veterinary Referral Services is here to address the issue of heart murmur in dogs, its diagnosis, and treatment. 


The Best Dog Food Dispenser Bowls and Puzzles

Dog food dispenser bowls can be great for better meeting the needs of you and your dog. When you think of your dog’s food bowl, you probably think a bowl is a bowl, right? Not all dog bowls are equal though.

Certain regular bowls are best for certain types of eaters (for example a non-slide base or stainless steel bowl especially for rowdy eaters). The same is true in dog food dispenser bowls and puzzles. Food dispensing products are popular these days so, if you have looked online, you may wonder which ones are the best. 

You have come to the right place! Your friends at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services have compiled a list of 5 of the best for your convenience. 

Top-Rated Dog Food Dispenser Bowls

Automatic or standard dog food dispensers get a nod for the busy pet parent who sometimes can’t get home in time to feed the family dog. They are also a great way to program a set time and portion for your pet to better stick to a regular schedule (which your dog appreciates). 

Here are some of our favorite dog food dispenser bowls.

  1. WOPET Automatic Pet Food Dispenser — You can program this item for up to 4 meals while you are away. It also allows you to set the right portion for each meal, which is a good way to keep track of those calories. The coolest part is that it offers a voice recorder, so you can say “hello” and “good dog” to your pet while they eat.
  2. PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Dispenser — Another good choice is the PetSafe feeder that gives you the option of feeding two pets, rather than one. This well-designed dispenser is programmable and allows for portion control for both pets. It’s also easy to clean!
  3. Roffie Automatic Food Dispenser — While this dispenser is for cats, it is a top rated product that you can also use for small dogs since their kibble is about the same size. This all-in-one dispenser features scheduled feedings for up to 4 meals, an alarm to alert your pet that it’s dinner, and voice recorder.
  4. PetSafe 5 Meal Pet Feeder — The added bonus to this robust bowl is that you can feed your pet wet food in it as well as dry. It has an automatic timer and portion control settings, along with the option of holding up to 5 meals. It is easy to clean and the bowls are dishwasher safe.
  5. AmazonBasic Gravity Fed Feeder — If you are on a budget and like the traditional feeding bowls, this one’s for you. Gravity fed feeders are easy to clean and keep the food coming no matter the time of day. It’s a good choice for dogs who need to gain some weight or the fussy eaters who are not at risk of obesity.

Fabulous Dog Food Dispenser Puzzles 

Being bored is a drag for anyone, including your best canine companion. Dog food dispenser puzzles make for a great deal of fun and allows your pet to slow down their eating for better digestion. Enrichment is key for behavioral wellness. Here are some of our picks for awesome food and treat puzzles.

  1. Starmark Pickle Dog Toy — Shaped like a pickle, this is a basic treat dispensing chew toy that is durable and fun.
  2. PetSafe Kibble Nibble — This ball dispenser rates high with curious canines and pet parents alike. This rollable toy can actually feed your dog their full meal in increments while they play and exercise.
  3. Bob-A-Lot Treat Toy — Bob-A-Lot bottom-heavy design allows your pet to move and nudge the toy, causing it to dispense treats or kibble in bits along the way. 
  4. Buster Cube — The Buster Cube dispensing toy has several sections in order to release food in small increments. The goal is to get your dog to nudge the toy and bat it around to get the treats or food out.
  5. Hide and Slide Puzzle Game — This challenging puzzle gives you the chance to keep your furry loved one occupied while slowing down their eating. Simply fill all or part of the slots with kibble and give your canine Einstein the chance to sleuth out the goodies.

Have you tried any dog food dispenser bowls or puzzles that your pet especially likes? Feel free to let us know by posting on our Facebook or mentioning them to us at your pet’s next visit. 

If you have any questions about your pet’s health, or would like to schedule an appointment, speak with your veterinarian. If your pet has a pet emergency or needs to see one of our veterinary specialists, ask your doctor for a referral then contact us to make an appointment.

The Lowdown on Cat and Dog Treats

Treats are an important part of rewarding your dog or cat. In moderation, cat and dog treats are great. They offer motivation during house training and basic commands, offer appeasement during times of stress, let you to bond with your pet, and are just generally tasty. But food-based rewards can also lead to obesity and health problems. 

Your team at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services understands the importance of pet treats. This blog is to give you insights into pet treats and suggest forms of reward that are healthy alternatives to treats.


Canine Physical Therapy–Does It Help With Recovery?

Rehabilitation or physical therapy can benefit your dog in many ways, including speeding up the healing process and ensuring better mobility and long term health. After any injury or surgery, plan to devote a substantial amount of time to your dog’s healing. Recovery is critical in healing and in minimizing the effects of physical trauma.


Pet Weight Loss Facts: No Pain, No Gain?

Overweight cat sitting on floor

Weight Loss is Confusing in the Pet World Too

In the world of diets and weight management, it’s hard to separate fact from fiction. One diet says to eat only healthy fats, while another says bacon is fine. One weight loss regime focuses on healthy protein, while another has you fasting on green smoothies. Confusing? Yes! We are seeing the same confusion around why pets gain weight and what they should eat.

It’s great to keep your pet at a healthy weight and avoid obesity, which causes many health problems. But, how does a pet owner gauge a healthy weight and the right approach to keeping fur friends on the right dietary track? The team at OVRS is here to separate fact from myths.