November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a health issue that can affect dogs and cats as well as us humans.  Did you know that 1 in 300 dogs and 1 in 230 cats in the U.S. have diabetes?

November is Pet Diabetes Month, the perfect time to find out if your pet is at risk for diabetes.

You can take this diabetes risk quiz, for both dogs and cats.

Diabetes tends to be more common in cats than dogs.  And also in older pets that are overweight.

Managing your pet’s weight is key to preventing diabetes.  Studies have shown that high protein-low carb diets are the best approach.  Some pets have even been able to go off insulin with a change in diet.

Regular exercise is also key to diabetes prevention…and your pet’s overall good health.

While there is no cure, your pet’s diabetes can be managed and treated with a combination of medication, regular monitoring and veterinary checkups, and of course a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Be sure to talk to your vet if you have questions about diabetes in your dog or cat.

 

How Walking Your Dog Improves Health and Well-Being

Many dog owners enjoy daily walks with their dogs, and for good reason.  Walking your dog is a great way for you and your dog to get exercise, enjoy your time together, and meet up with other people and their dogs.

But did you know that nearly 40% of all dog owners rarely or never walk their dogs?  There are lots of reasons for this.  Many owners simply let their dogs out in the yard.  People who work long hours often hire dog walkers.  Some owners of small dogs have trained them to do their business inside.

An exercise physiologist was interested to see if she could “trick” dog owners into walking their dogs.  The New York Times summarized her interesting study.

She invited a group of dog owners who said they seldom walked their dogs to a special dog obedience class.  They were told the class was designed to improve their dogs’ on-leash behavior, but it was really done to monitor the humans’ activity!

Half of the participants were enrolled in the class and half were wait-listed.  The people taking the class were asked to record their dogs’ activity outside of class, but the researchers were really monitoring the people.

Results showed that the class participants did end up walking their dogs for a few minutes more per week than those not in the class, but not as much as the researchers were hoping to see.

The class participants did report feeling closer to their dogs and happier about their dogs’ behavior, confirming that going for walks is a great way to improve the bond with your dog.

 

Looking to Exercise Your Pet More?

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Looking to get more exercise for your dog or cat? Exercising can be boring, but here are some fun ways to get some exercise in for both you and your pet! While walking your dog, try mixing in some intervals of jogging or running to burn some extra calories. Also, while playing fetch, race your dog to the ball. This is a fun way to play with your dog and exercise your own cardio. It’s easy to get your dog to work out, but cats are just as simple.

If you want to get your cat to work out more, try shining a flashlight at the wall or the ground and watch your cat play with it. It may be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it’s a great way to get some cardio in for your cat. Another great way to get some exercise for your cat is to let it explore an empty paper bag or box. This allows your cat to jump and climb while having fun at the same time.

The Post-Workout Cool Down for Your Dog

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Did you know that just like humans, dogs also need a proper post-workout cool down? Whether you took your dog out for a run/hike, or a fun game of fetch outside, dogs need their owners to help them properly cool down. Here are a few basic tips on how you can help your furry companion after a workout.

HYDRATION, HYDRATION, HYDRATION

Always be sure to take along plenty of water for the both of you when you go out for a long hike, walk or run with your dog. Stop for water breaks, maybe around every mile or when you see that your dog is panting, allowing your dog to drink just enough to quench her thirst each time. Don’t allow her to gulp large amounts of water at one time, as this can lead stomach upset or bloating.

COOL DOWN

Just as a cool-down period after exercise is important for humans, dogs should be allowed the same luxury. Toward the end of the run, power walk or hike, gradually slow down and walk casually for several minutes to allow your dog’s body temperature and heart rate to slow down. You might even consider giving your dog a muscle rub-down or help her to stretch her limbs once you get home.

Note: If your dog’s starts panting heavily and the panting doesn’t slow down even after you have slowed down for a water break, or he becomes disoriented or weak, call a veterinarian right away.

FORGO THE FOOD TILL LATER

You should not exercise your dog right after a meal, as this can lead to digestive upset or bloat. Keep in mind that your dog will no doubt be very hungry after a long workout. After a period of cooling down and rehydrating with water — small amounts at a time so he doesn’t gulp too much down — feed your dog her normal meal.

BODY CHECK

If you have the fortune of having a place to exercise in the great outdoors, away from the urban sprawl, you will need to be especially vigilant about checking your dog for ticks and other small hazards after every outing. Check inside the ears, under the belly, and between folds of skin (e.g., armpits, neck) where insects might hide. Run your fingers through her haircoat and remove any foreign objects like burrs. Even in urban areas, your dog can pick up little bits in her paws and nostrils. In fact, part of your post-workout routine can be a thorough and relaxing brushing.

FOOT CARE

Don’t forget that feet are an important part of your dog’s body and should be given special care. Inspecting the toe pads and nails after a day out running or playing is of vital importance. Check carefully for any cuts, cracks, blisters, or dirt stuck between the toes. If necessary, wash the feet and dry them carefully before checking them over. If you see any serious wounds or damage to the foot pads or nails, check with your veterinarian for care instructions.

Full Article on Pet MD