Pet Obesity on the Rise
In recent years, pet obesity has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. Debate rages over which factors are to blame for this growing problem. Is it food bag label instructing owners to feed too much? Are more pets becoming coach-potatoes? Is it the table scraps that seem to always mysteriously make their way to the floor? The truth is that it is likely a combination of many different factors ranging from cultural norms to diet and exercise. The most important thing to remember is a mantra that many people who are struggling to lose weight have to confront as well…
- “Do not just change the diet, change the lifestyle.”
Healthy Pets Live Longer and Happier Lives
One of the most concerning things that veterinarians hear from owners is “I know he’s fat, but he’s happy!”. This attitude stems from the misconception that happiness in pets is dependent on how much food they eat on a given day. Although food can be a wonderful treat for rewarding good behavior in pets, it should not be used as a way to keep your pet happy. Find a way to stimulate your pet in different ways such as exercise, toys, or training. Use a low calorie treat as a reward for special circumstances only. Many pets can become bored with the monotony of day to day life, and stimulating their brains with activities keeps them happy and healthy.
Obese pets are not happy. It has been well-proven that overweight and obese pets are much more likely to develop serious or life-threatening illnesses than those of a healthy weight. Obesity increases the pet’s risk of developing diseases such diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis, liver disease, osteoarthritis, and cancer. These diseases can drastically decrease the pet’s quality of life not only from their negative physiological effects, but from the stress of frequent treatments and monitoring.
The First Step: Educate Yourself
The first step in keeping your pet at a healthy weight is educating yourself about their metabolic needs. The best resource is your veterinarian, who will be able to calculate exactly how many Calories your pet should consume daily. Do not blindly trust the instructions on the food bag, as they do not account for the high degree of variation in metabolism between pets of different sizes, breeds, and lifestyles. These instructions are often over estimations and frequently lead to overweight pets. After calculating your pet’s exact daily caloric need, you can divide this between 2-3 daily feedings and daily treat intake. Remember, this number is not necessarily constant and can fluctuate based on factors such as activity level, age, and health status. If your pet seems hungry all the time or exhibits any other behavior or mood changes, consider calling your vet before turning to the food bin. These changes can sometimes be associated with an underlying disease that needs to be addressed.
In addition to diet, activities are the next best way to keep your pet happy and at a healthy weight. These can range from daily walks, runs, or hikes, to playing with a toy, working on training, or throwing a ball. Each pet is different, so find an activity yours enjoys and stick with it. In the next few blog posts, we will discuss specific enrichment activities for different pets and how you can use them to stimulate your pet’s mind and body, as well as practice obedience.
Lastly, if you are ever in doubt about whether your pet is at a healthy weight, do not hesitate to pop by your local vet clinic. Sometimes it is difficult to assess a pets’ body condition (especially if they are a big fluffy cat), so some guidance from your veterinarian can be helpful in determining what a healthy weight would be for each animal.
A Few Tips:
- Trouble finding a low calorie dog treat? Try tossing your dog a handful of frozen green beans!
- Each dog or cat food bag should supply the amount of kcal (which is the same as Calories) per cup. If you cannot find it on the bag, you should be able to find it with a quick Google search.
- Is your cat having trouble losing weight? Try canned cat food. Most canned cat food contains fewer carbohydrates and lower Calories than the dry stuff. It also keeps them well-hydrated.
- If your pet is not tolerating being fed less food, prescription diet or weight loss foods found at the vet clinic can be extremely helpful as they are specifically formulated to satisfy their appetite without providing excessive Calories.
- Fun fact: Small dog breeds actual require a higher amount of the calories for their weight than larger breeds due to a higher metabolic rate.
Stay tuned for our next blog posts on enrichment activities for pets!
15% off our basic dental package throughout the month of February!
Start taking the steps to improve your pet’s dental health today!
The package includes everything your dog, cat or ferret needs to kick that tartar to the curb!
- Complete dental cleaning using an ultrasonic probe, hand scaling and polishing
- IV fluids
- Patient monitoring
- Full mouth radiographs
Just mention this special when you make your appointment to get your 15% discount. Offer ends March 1st 2018 applies only to dog, cat and ferret dental cleanings. For scheduling and additional questions please ask one of our techs (970) 635-1850.
Learn More about Pet Dental Health
Introducing our new Home Delivery program!
Our Home Delivery program provides affordable, quality medications coupled with convenient AutoShip programs so your pet’s medications are delivered to your home just when you need them. Shop online and browse our selection of safe, authentic products that include:
- Prescription Drugs
- Chronic Medications
- Flea, Tick & Heartworm Preventatives
- Nutrition Products
- Specialty Pharmaceuticals
How do I sign up?
Placing an order is similar to most shopping experiences. Simply add the desired items to your cart and go to checkout. First time users will be prompted to create an account with some basic information. When we receive your order we will verify the prescription status for your pet; if for some reason we are unable to fulfill the request we will notify you.
You can order easily online through our site: https://aspenwing.com/homedelivery/
Do I need a prescription?
Through our online ordering site you will have access to a wide range of products and medicines. The majority of products available through our online store do require active prescriptions, if we are unable to fulfill the request or if your prescription is expired then we will notify you with steps that can be taken or if an appointment is needed.
A few weeks ago a dog contracted pneumonic plague and was euthanized at CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital after being hospitalized and treated for four days. It was noted that the dog “sniffed” a prairie dog a couple days before displaying symptoms. While dogs are relatively resistant to developing clinical signs of pneumonic plague, this story reminds us that you can never be too cautious when dealing with plague.
Where does the plague come from?
While plague is most commonly associated with rodents, it is in fact spread by the fleas that live on the rodents. This is one important reason to use a flea control and/or repellent on your pets, especially if they have the potential of encountering wildlife such as prairie dogs or rabbits. It used to be very rare to see plague infections in December, with its peak occurrence usually in the mid to late summer months. It is likely that with the increasing warmth we have seen in the last few years, fleas are remaining active well into the winter months. Those with pets that are likely to encounter wildlife should strongly consider using flea and tick control in the winter months as well.
What are the symptoms of the Pneumonic Plague?
While prevention is always the best method, it is also important to recognize a possible exposure and subsequent signs of plague infection. If your dog has come into contact with a prairie dog, rabbit, or rodent, it may be wise to monitor their body temperature and overall activity for abnormalities. Fever is usually the first clinical sign. Fleas may or may not be seen on your dog, as most flea species prefer a certain animals (in this case, rodents) and will leave the dog after taking a bite or two. While dogs can be relatively resistant to plague, cats are extremely susceptible and any possible infection should be dealt with very quickly and decisively as they can easily spread it to people. The bottom line is, if your pet becomes sick after having contact wildlife contact your veterinarian immediately! The earlier treatment is started, the more successful it will be and with less likelihood to be spread to others.
The number one thing you can do to prevent exposing your animal to plague is not allowing them to come into contact with wildlife. If that is simply not possible, then flea prevention and control is your next best bet. While the word “plague” strikes fear into most people, it can easily be avoided with a few simple steps.
When the bitter cold winds strike there is little to protect a chicken against the below freezing temperatures in Colorado. This is why chickens, more than any other animal, are vulnerable to frostbite. Frostbite occurs when the fluid in tissue freezes, depriving that tissue of the oxygen and nutrients it needs to survive. When deprived of oxygen, it does not take long for the cells in the tissue to die and become necrotic. Necrotic tissue is often black or dark green and retains none of the functional properties of living tissue. It often has also lost its ability heal and must be removed or completely replaced by new healthy tissue for healing to occur.
What parts of the chicken can be affected?
The un-feathered parts of a chicken’s body are the most vulnerable to frostbite. This includes the comb, wattle, and toes. Some breeds are more tolerant of cold conditions, but ALL breeds may potentially get frostbite under certain circumstances. There are varying degrees of frostbite which can range from first and second degree (only the surface level of the skin is affected) to third and fourth degree (all layers of skin and tissues beneath affected). The latter usually results in black, gangrenous tissue that will fall away from surrounding healthy tissue as it dies.
Symptoms of frostbite in chickens
The most common clinical sign is a discoloration of the comb, wattle, or toes with blackened areas in more severe cases. It is also common to see swelling, hardened skin, and blood-filled blisters in the affected areas. It is important to consult your veterinarian immediately after noticing ANY degree of potential frostbite. Treatment may include supportive care, anti-inflammatory medication, and antibiotics to treat possible secondary infection. More severe cases with subsequent infection may require amputation.
How do I protect my chickens from frostbite?
- Insulate the coup from cold drafts
- Keep humidity and moisture low
- Keep bedding clean and dry
- Monitor the flock frequently
The best way to avoid frostbite and a trip to the vet is PREVENTION. It is important to insulate the coop from cold drafts, while at the same time providing proper ventilation to prevent moisture from building up. Provide ventilation as high up on the walls as possible so that the air over the roost remains still. High humidity levels in the coop are directly correlated with increased risk of frostbite. If the bedding or ground is wet, combined with a cold draft, frostbite is almost a certainty. Major sources of moisture in coops includes droppings and drinking water sources. Managing both of these factors is important in keeping the moisture level down in the coop. Lastly, check on the chickens frequently and thoroughly when it has been an especially cold night. Chickens actually have an impressive tolerance to cold, so if these factors are well mitigated flocks will do just fine even through the coldest winter nights.
Holiday Household Toxicities for Pets
Holidays are a time of year when families and friends gather to celebrate! Many times their beloved pets, whether it be their dog, cat, iguana, bird or rabbit, will be in the midst of all the good cheer. There are many precautions that can be made to ensure that your pet stays safe during this time of year!
- One common food that will be around during the holidays is Whether it’s used while baking or out in the form of cookies, candy or other, chocolate can be quite toxic to all of your pets. Some chocolates are more toxic than others, but the general rule of thumb is to keep all types of chocolate well out of reach of your pets. Be aware about wrapped chocolate candies placed under your tree as well- dogs have a very keen sense of smell, and will seek out that package and help themselves to your delicious treats! Candy wrappers and foils, if ingested, can pose a risk of obstruction, as well.
- Other sweets and baked goods are generally too rich for your pets, and many contain artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol, which can cause liver failure and even death. Chewing gum also contains these artificial sweeteners. Make sure these goodies are well out of reach of your pets.
- Turkey and turkey skin, even in small amounts, can be too fatty for most pets. The high fat content can cause pancreatitis even when given in small amounts. Cooked bones can splinter and shatter in a dog’s digestive tract, and can cause serious injury, or worse. Be sure to take out the trash immediately after carving the turkey to get the bones and skin out of reach, so your pets aren’t tempted to partake!
- Avoid giving table scraps as many of the foods during the holidays are too rich. Some foods may even contain items toxic to our pets such as onions, raisins, grapes, as well as certain holiday spices, such as nutmeg.
- Yeast dough can cause severe gas and even life-threatening bloating. So when you are making your delicious bread or rolls, keep the dough away from your begging pup!
- Christmas trees can be a hazard, as they could easily be knocked over or climbed by your curious cat or dog. Consider securing them so they are stable.
- Avoid water additives for your Christmas tree such as aspirin, sugar or any artificial additive to keep your tree fresh. It would be very easy for your pet to get to the water and ingest it.
- Tinsel and garland can cause intestinal obstruction.
- Breakable ornaments can cause injuries to your pet’s mouth, throat and digestive system if chewed on or ingested.
- Christmas tree lights can be a problem if you pet plays with or chews on the wires or cords. Consider applying a noxious-smelling substance on the cord to keep them away from it. Edible lemon oil can be a simple deterrent to most dogs and cats, if a thin layer is wiped on the cords. Unplug lights and decorations when not around to help avoid this, as well.
- Potpourri should be kept well out of reach of your pet. Liquid potpourri and diffusers have essential oils and cationic detergents that can severely damage your pet’s mouth, eyes and skin.
- Festive Plants can pose a serious danger to pets if ingested. These can include Amaryllis, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, holly and poinsettias. Keep them up high to decrease the risk of ingestion.
These are just a few of the dangers to your pets that can easily be avoided. Just be aware and alert, and you and your pets can have a safe and wonderful holiday season!
Stop by to check out our holiday special–Fill a holiday gift bag with toys or other products, and get 10% off the bag’s contents!
Be sure to check out our latest addition as well– Handmade hammocks and comfy hanging pouches and tunnels for your small animals!
Offer expires Jan 1st 2018
Tips for a happy, healthy holiday!
Holidays are a wonderful time of year to enjoy family, friends and your best furry, feathered, and scaled friends! Many of us love to decorate our homes and bake goodies this time of year. This can be exciting, fun and safe, if done properly and with an awareness to potential dangers it can bring to pets. Follow these guidelines so you can avoid accidents and have a safe and enjoyable holiday season!
Inhalant irritants seem to be a very common problem anytime of the year, but can especially become an issue when it gets colder and our homes are closed up. This is increased during the holidays when everyone wants their home to smell festive, when they are bringing in decorations, doing more baking, cooking and more.
Inhalants can be just an irritant, but they can even cause illness or death.
- Some important ones are Teflon coated substances such as cooking pans, heaters, and even some Christmas lights. Always check the labels of products you are purchasing and keep birds out of the kitchen.
- Even aluminum surfaces put off a toxic substance when food burning occurs, and it happens at a lower temperature than Teflon. Many times it’s the fumes from the smoke that can cause problems in the birds.
- Other things around the kitchen include self cleaning ovens, any type of burning food, and boiling water on the stove the bird could potentially fly into.
Candles– scented and unscented can both cause problems. The only safe type of candle around birds are candles that are made of beeswax. There should also always be strict supervision so the candle cannot get knocked over, and the bird cannot get to the flame.
Incense and essential oils should not be used around birds. Especially in diffusers. Basically, keep the air pristine and clean for birds, as a large part of their body is their airsac!
- Humidifiers are very important this time of year to keep their respiratory system moistened and working well, but the humidifier must be cleaned frequently to prevent any buildup or mold. Be sure not to use any additives in the water, as well.
Other inhalant irritants:
- Carpet deodorizers, tree scents, many cleaning solutions, cigarette smoke, smoke from fireplaces if not well vented, any type of aerosol scents in the air or wall plug-ins.
- Febreeze and leather or suede protectants can be deadly if used with the bird nearby.
- Ribbons, or any colored paper or decorations that the bird could ingest or get wrapped around their neck.
- Treated Christmas trees or artificial trees with flocking sprayed on it can be toxic if ingested, and glass ornaments that break while the bird is playing with it can be a real danger as well.
- If you have your carpet cleaned for the holiday festivities, you need to air out the room thoroughly prior to bringing your bird back into the area.
- Decorative lights are very tempting to the curious cockatoo or macaw, and can cause electric shock when chewed on.
As you can see, there are many potential dangers to birds during the holidays and other times of the year. Just be aware of these possible problems so you can avoid disaster for your precious bird companion, so everyone can have a wonderful holiday season!
Superior joint supplements for your pets!
Winter is just around the corner and cold weather will soon be here to stay! Unfortunately, with that cold weather comes joint discomfort, swelling and stiffness for our pets.
Joint supplements are becoming more popular with pet owners and the demand has created many different options for both maintenance and preventative pet care. One amazing option that we carry here at Aspenwing is Myristol. Myristol is a veterinarian-founded company, specializing in superior over-the-counter joint and health supplements for a variety of animals. Myristol has been scientifically formulated to be one of the most effective and powerful supplements on the market today.
Dr. Gayle W. Trotter, the founder, has an extensive background in equine research and surgery, as well as joint health. As a competitive rider, Dr. Trotter was highly interested in a product that could be used as a preventative for future joint and muscle issues that may affect an animal’s performance, whether it be during competition, or from day to day. Thus, the formula for Myristol was created! With this powerful formula, initial trials were first conducted on horses, and their progress was monitored over 42 days. Patients receiving Myristol showed significantly more improvement than those using a placebo. To learn more about this trial see the study notes.
The ingredients in Myristol offer the best combination to effectively target joints, anti-inflammatory response, and pain relief, all in one. The ingredients include:
- Cetyl Myristoleate- An Omega fatty acid that addresses soft tissue inflammation.
- Glucosamine- A chemical that works within the body to help rebuild tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and joint fluid.
- MSM- Can reduce pain and swelling, and supports cartilage formation.
- Hydrolyzed collagen- A unique blend of amino acids (found only in Myristol) that can build and strengthen connective tissue and regulate the growth of cells.
With the combination of these powerful components, Myristol is used to provide fast relief from pain and discomfort, as well as superb long-term joint and tissue care in many animals.
We carry Myristol for dogs, cats and rabbits. Myristol for horses is available by special order.
Stop by and browse our different size options and ask us how Myristol can benefit your pet!