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.

 

It’s National Walk Your Dog Week!

October 1-7 is National Walk Your Dog Week, an event designed to raise awareness about the importance of regular exercise for your dog’s health.

According to the official website, many dogs (and their humans) do not get enough exercise, which can lead to health problems like obesity as well as behavioral problems that arise from boredom and separation anxiety.

You can take the pledge to walk your dog for at least 30 minutes every day for one week.  The folks at National Walk Your Dog Week want to hear from dog owners who have taken up this challenge.  Chances are both you and your dog will be feeling better!

 

Large-Scale Study Finds Cat Obesity is on the Rise

Researchers at Canada’s Ontario Veterinary College analyzed the electronic veterinary health data of over 19 million cats and found that not only do cats tend to put on weight as they age, but they also have been getting fatter over the past few decades.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, found that a cat’s weight will gradually increase until it is around 8 years of age.  Male cats tend to be heavier than females, and spayed/neutered cats tend to be heavier than unaltered cats.

Purebred cats reach their peak weight between 6 and 10 years of age, while non-purebred domestic cats peak at 8 years.

The mean weight of cats has increased overall from 1995 to 2005.  However, weight has held steady between 2005 and 2015.

Researchers note that many cats in the study had only one weight on file, suggesting that regular vet visits where weight is taken are uncommon for many pet cats.  They say that cats can be overlooked when it comes to health studies because they go to the vet less frequently than dogs.

In an article on the study, the researchers urge owners to monitor their cat’s weight regularly, including at-home weigh-in sessions.  They note that unusual weight loss or gain can be a sign of a serious underlying health problem.

Check out this video on the study here!

 

The 8 Most Common Canine Health Problems

A large-scale study of dogs in the UK has identified the most common canine health disorders seen by veterinarians.

The electronic health data of over 450,000 dogs under veterinary care in the UK was analyzed by researchers conducting this study.

Let’s take a look at some key findings.  Be sure to check out the full report, published in BMC Veterinary Research HERE.

The 8 most common canine health problems are:

  • Anal sac disorder
  • Conjunctivitis (eye infection)
  • Dental disease
  • Dermatitis (skin problems)
  • Overweight or obese
  • Lipoma (fatty tissue growth)
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Otitis externa (ear infection)

The researchers note that some of these health conditions are more prevalent than others, while some tend to be more severe or longer lasting than others.

Most prevalent health issues:

  • Dental disease
  • Overweight or obese
  • Anal sac disorder

Most severe health problems:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Otitis externa
  • Dermatitis

Health issues with longest duration:

  • Dental disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Overweight or obese

Which canine health disorders were found to have the greatest overall negative impact on a dog’s well-being?

  • Dental disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Overweight or obese

The good news is that many of the most common canine health problems are preventable!  Regular dental care, both at home and at the vet’s office, is essential to your dog’s dental health.

Keeping your dog at a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise can prevent obesity and other associated health problems.  A healthy body weight can also help ease the discomfort of arthritis.

Be sure to talk to your vet about ways you can work together to maintain your dog’s health and prevent these common health problems.

 

New Pet Obesity Statistics for U.S. Dogs and Cats

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has released the results of its 2018 Pet Obesity Survey.  You can click HERE to read the full report.  Here are a few interesting findings about our pets:

  • 59.5% of cats and 55.8% of dogs are classified as either overweight or obese.  This translates to 56 million cats and 50 million dogs.
  • 25.7% of cats and 36.9% of dogs were rated as overweight.
  • 33.8% of cats and 18.9% of dogs were rated as obese.

  • 68% of pet owners report that they have tried to help their pets lose weight.
  • Calorie reduction/smaller portions and increased exercise were reported to be the most effective pet weight loss methods.
  • 53% of pet owners reported that their veterinarians discussed their pets’ weight with them, however 40% said that their vets did not provide them with dietary advice.

Could your dog or cat lose a few of those extra pounds?  APOP has created some helpful pet weight loss tools for owners.  You can find information on ideal weight ranges, pet caloric needs, and weight reduction advice for both dogs and cats.