Sabal Chase Animal Clinic

Sabal Chase Animal Clinic
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Is My Pet Overweight? (Part 7 of 13)

Round Hound?  Curvy Kitty?  Click here for tips on peeling off the pounds! (Continued)

6) Trim the Treats

Better yet, trash the treats.  IF and only if your pet does something to earn a food reward, a SMALL treat can be given.  How small? About the size of a pencil eraser, regardless of the size of the pet.  Remember, it’s not the treat, it’s the treat event.  Supplement the treat with lots of praise for a job well done so that her focus shifts from acquiring food to making you happy.  Treats should not be given as “dessert” or as part of a daily routine.  Resist the temptation to give in to a pet that is begging for treats.  This teaches our pet’s that we are not really in charge, and leads to annoying behaviors that can make them difficult to live with.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Is My Pet Overweight? (Part 6 of 13)

Round Hound?  Curvy Kitty?  Click here for tips on peeling off the pounds! (Continued)

5) High Five for Food Drive!

While food drive can cause some annoying behaviors, it can also be your friend.  The desire for a food reward can help your dog learn new behaviors to replace unwanted ones.  A pet that begs for food is saying "This is what motivates me".  Food rewards can be used to teach tricks and games that relieve boredom, increase confidence, and burn calories.  Food driven dogs are often eager pupils and quick studies.  Grendel's food drive is off the charts.  Her favorite game is to wait patiently while we hide a scented treat.  She must then use her nose to find it.  This game satisfies the need in her dachshund DNA to track a scent.  Additionally, she learns that she does not get treats by demanding them, but rather, by working for them.  It solidifies our position as pack leaders by re-enforcing our roles as providers of food, and forces her to burn a lot of calories searching for a low calorie treat.  Most importantly -  IT'S FUN!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is My Pet Overweight? (Part 5 of 13)

Round Hound?  Curvy Kitty?  Click here for tips on peeling off the pounds! (Continued)

4) Hunger vs. Food Drive

Many pet parents object to reductions in portion size, insisting that their pets are always hungry.  Cats and dogs descended from wild animals whose every thought revolved around food.  The desire to seek out and obtain food, or food drive, was vital for their survival.  While our modern day house pets will never need to track and kill a wildebeest, most of them have retained that primal urge to obtain food.  This does not mean your pet is hungry, or underfed.  She is simply being an animal.  If she knows food is kept in the pantry, she will camp near the pantry.  If she knows treats come from Abuela, she will harass Abuela.  Fortunately, our pets have other drives that can often take the place of obsessive food drive.  A food-driven dog will usually enjoy a brisk walk.  Food-driven cats are often content to "kill" a crinkly toy.  Next time, we'll talk about how to make food drive work FOR you, rather than against you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Is My Pet Overweight? (Part 4 of 13)

Round Hound?  Curvy Kitty?  Click here for tips on peeling off the pounds! (Continued)

3) Small Meals, More Often

One of the most common weight loss tips humans receive is to eat between 5-6 small meals each day to help increase the body's metabolism.  While most pet parents' schedules do not allow for this number of feedings, the principle remains the same.  Many dogs and cats are fed once per day.

This causes the metabolism to slow down, store food as fat, and preserve energy.  Divide your pet's food into two portions and feed one in the morning and one in the evening.  It' likely that your pet will have more energy for walks, playtime, and other calorie burning activities.  You may also notice a reduction in unwanted behaviors such as begging and food stealing.

Grendel loves the idea of eating this whole chicken....