Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Nutrition For Our Pets

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes colder weather, more time spent indoors and decadent treats- for both people and their pets. But the holiday season also brings with it a more subtle menace in pet obesity.

Much like how we often think that any weight we may put on during the holiday season will be easily shed during the summer months we often hold the same belief for our pets. And also much like us, our pets don’t always lose all that weight they may have gained. It’s a trap that’s easy to fall into and one that is all too common. What many of us need to realize is that our pets are not the same as their human companions and that even a slight change in weight can be disastrous for their health. After all a 1lb gain on a 10lb dog is the equivalent of 10lb on a 100lb person. Even that may not seem like much until you add up all those winters where the weight was gained but never really lost. This is why it is so important to monitor how much we feed our pets- especially when their activity levels drop over the winter months.

Another important issue to be aware of is that during the holiday rush our pets may get into things we probably wish they wouldn’t. In the veterinary field we have heard countless stories of whole turkeys disappearing from the dinner table, the ham still wrapped in its plastic casing that has mysteriously gone missing and holiday candies that were left just in reach of the family pet. Although some of these items may result in nothing more than a fatty snack for our pets others could lead to serious medical issues requiring immediate medical attention. While accidents can and do happen, by being aware of the potential hazards we can dramatically reduce the chances of having to make an emergency trip to our local veterinarian over the holidays.

A Few Food Conversions:
(1) Oatmeal Cookie for a Dog = (1) Hamburger for a Human
(1 oz.) of Cheese for a Cat = (4) Chocolate Bars for a Human
(1) Potato Chip for a Cat = (1/2) a Hamburger for a Human

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Is National Pet Cancer Awareness Month

Cancer affects the lives of millions of pets and owners each year.  To help better inform pet owners about the different types of cancers that may affect their pets and how to detect potential early signs of cancer VPI has declared November to be National Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

Pet Cancer Facts:
-Roughly 6 million new cancer diagnoses are made in dogs and a similar number made in cats each year
-Cancer in the pet population is a spontaneous disease often similar to cancer seen in humans; some examples include non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, prostate cancer, head and neck carcinoma, mammary carcinoma, melanoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and osteosarcoma.

-The Canine Genome Sequencing Project at the Broad Institute successfully mapped the genome of a boxer named Tasha in 2005. The map of the genome has been used to confirm that many of the same genes involved in dog cancers are also involved in human cancers.

Related Links:
VPI Pet Insurance
Animal Cancer Foundation