Overfeeding Your Pet – Accidental Animal Abuse

There is a type of animal abuse that is prevalent amongst many different kinds of pet owners: overfeeding. When you hear the term “abuse” you tend to think of beating your animal or underfeeding, but indeed overfeeding your animal can lead to health problems as well. Now, this isn’t to say that owners who give in just a bit too frequently to their animals’ pleas should be stripped of their furry friends and stoned in public; it’s mostly a crime of innocent ignorance. This article should provide you with knowledge of the dangerous effects of overfeeding as well as information on how much you should feed your pets on a daily basis.

Dogs

Perhaps the kings of scavenging and begging for food are dogs. Who can resist those puppy eyes peering up at you from underneath the dinner table at night?! Dogs seem to have an appetite that is insatiable, and that’s probably the exact truth of the matter. However, overfeeding your dog can be quite hazardous to his/her health. The biggest risk with overfeeding your dog is obesity. There are many health problems that can plague an overweight dog such as diabetes, muscle and ligament strains, joint deterioration, and arthritis. Your dog can also develop high blood pressure or even congestive heart failure from the overexertion to the heart caused by carrying around the excess weight.

The amount of food that a dog requires varies with breed. According to dogbreedinfo.com, the following is about what you would want to feed your dog based on weight:
• 10 lbs. or less- You should feed no more than 1/3 – 1 cup of dry food or if mixing canned with dry food you should feed ¼ can and ¾ cup dry food.
• 10-25 lbs.- 1-2 ¼ cups of dry food or ½ can and ½ – 1 ½ cups dry food.
• 25-50 lbs. -2 ¼ – 3 ¾ cups dry food or 1 can and 1 – 2 ½ cups dry food.
• 50-75 lbs. – 3 ¾ – 5 cups dry food or 1 ½ cans and 1 ¾ – 3 cups dry food.
• Over 75 lbs. – 5-8 cups of dry food or 2 cans and 2 ½ -5 ¼ cups dry food.
Fish
It’s not very often that you peer into a fish tank and think ‘My, what a fat fish!’. As opposed to obesity the health hazards with overfeeding fish are a bit less obvious and harder to recognize. As a part of their evolution fish have a tendency to eat whenever the opportunity presents itself. In the wild this is a helpful survival tactic, but in your fish tank this can be a serious problem. Your fish will literally eat until their insides explode if you provide them with enough food more frequently than they need it. Overfeeding can cause issues with the water quality in your tank such as producing algae and toxins that are also harmful to your fish. Some diseases that can result from overfeeding your fish are fin rot, fatty liver and improper digestion (petcareeducation.com).
Prevent overfeeding by simply reading the directions on your fish food. For most freshwater fish these directions will be sufficient in explaining how much you should feed. When in doubt, about a pinch of food is enough to feed at least 5 fish.
Cats

The health risks associated with overfeeding your cat are very similar to those associated with overfeeding a dog. The biggest problem is the obesity and the problems caused by it. Some of the common ailments that an obese cat faces are diabetes, liver disease (fatty liver), arthritis, and skin problems. It is also more difficult for an overweight cat to be anesthetized for procedures at the veterinarian’s office as well due to the fact that the anesthetic is taken up by fat. This means that overweight animals take longer to come out of anesthesia and can take longer to recover.

So how much should you feed your cat? According to dogtime.com, the typical 10 lb. cat should be fed 4-6 ounces of canned food or 1/4 – 1/3 cup dry food daily. It is also a good idea to feed your cat twice a day. This doesn’t mean giving the full recommended amount of food twice a day; break up the servings. Leaving food out all day can encourage your cat’s overeating as sometimes, especially seen in in-door cats, they eat because they’re bored (sound familiar?). You may also want to monitor what kind of food you give your cat. Just as you would with your diet, monitor the calorie and carbohydrate in-take of your cat in addition to limiting the amount of food you give them.

These are only a few tips for feeding your pets. As always, you will want to consult your vet as the final word on what’s best for your animal. Like people all animals are different, and the tips shared here may not necessarily be applicable to the particular breed of animal you have or the health issues that may already exist within your pet. The first step to responsible pet ownership is to keep yourself compliant with and informed about your pet’s needs.

Conversations with Animals by Lydia Hiby

Conversations with Animals: Cherished messages and memories as told by an animal communicator by Lydia Hiby with Bonnie S. Weintraub.

I liked this book. It was easy to read and there was lots of useful information in the book for those owners who know that pets have feelings just like we do. They also know a LOT more than you give them credit for. Lydia tells about one cat, Boo, who had stopped using his litter box (like none of us with cats have ever had that problem, eh?)

Boo was using the bathmat in front of the litter box to urinate on. The owner was, of course, frustrated and sought out Lydia to find out why this was happening. Boo said, “The bathmat is new and I don’t like the odor of the rubber backing.”

Now cats mark offensive odors with their urine. They will mark other ammonia smells–like marking windows after they have been washed with Windex. Fabric softener sheets are also an offensive odor to cats–so clothes and bedding dried with these sheets are a favorite to urinate on.

Boo continued, “I like my new uncovered litter box. I liked my old litter better, though. The new scented litter gives me a headache.”

Useful tips. Believe them. After 30 years of being around veterinary medicine, inappropriate urination is one of the most interesting yet time-consuming problems I see.

Another tip is to advise new pet owners to immediately take a picture of their pets and make up a “Lost Pet” poster to keep in their pet’s health file JUST IN CASE. What a great idea. Who has the time to search through hundreds of pictures trying to find a good picture of your pet when you are in a state of panic? I also believe microchipping is an excellent thing to do. It is usually available through your local animal shelter for a very reasonable price, but many veterinarians also chip.

Airline Approved Pet Carriers Make Traveling a Breeze

Traveling is rarely a fun endeavor. There are so many small details to tend to and if you’re taking the family pet along, it can become even more stressful. Many airlines have strict regulations in place when it comes to bringing a dog or cat on board and you want to be certain you are completely clear on those before you get to the airport. Nothing is quite as frustrating as being told the furry member of your family can’t fly. To avoid this type of situation always ensure you are traveling with airline approved pet carriers.

There are two different ways to transport your animal on an airplane and it really is dependent on how big they are. For all large dogs you’ll have to check the animal and they will be stored in the airplane. You’ll need one of the oversized airline approved pet carriers for this. Before the animal will be accepted at check-in you’ll be required to supply your name and address and final destination. This information will be attached to the container holding your pet in case something goes amiss and the animal is separated from your flights.

Many people choose to bring their pets on board as a piece of carry-on luggage. This is really only acceptable if you are using a small dog carrier or a small cat carrier. These must match the dimensions specified by the airline as being appropriate for a carry-on. You’ll want to be able to store it under the seat in front of you as opposed to the overhead storage bins. This helps your four-legged friend feel more relaxed because they know you are close by.

A good rule of thumb to remember when you are looking for one of these handy pet must-haves is that your animal must fit comfortably in it. You can’t try and fit a large dog into a small carrier. The animal has to be able to lie down and it must have enough room for your dog or cat to turn around. All airline approved pet carriers have to accommodate your pet in these ways. If they don’t, you likely won’t be able to bring the pet with you, which will mean a delay in your trip.

We all know how much more convenient it is to travel with luggage that allows for ease of movement. This means you’ll really want to consider airline approved pet carriers that have wheels. This is true regardless if you are buying one for a small, lightweight animal or a very large dog. Your pet will be much more comfortable being pulled in a carrier that has wheels than they would be if you were carrying them. Just imagine how much smoother it will be for them.

If you consider your pet to be part of your family you’ll want to make certain that they are as safe as possible when traveling by air. Buy a carrier that meets airline regulations and allows your pet room to move and rest. This way you’ll know that they’ll always be snug and secure.