February 2021

All posts from February 2021

Pet Obesity Rates Rise During the Pandemic

by Lisa Fimberg on February 26, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the pet industry.  With most people working from home, the number of dogs and cats purchased and adopted saw a huge surge in the last ten months.  While that was a ray of sunshine in the otherwise dismal news, pet owners have showered their pets with extra love and treats which has increased pet obesity rates.

It is certainly understandable.  It’s hard to get work done when a hungry cat or interfering dog gets in your way on Zoom meetings!

A new study reveals that pets have gained weight during Covid-19

Since many pet parents are feeding their pets extra treats, veterinarians say this can be a cause for concern as pet obesity rates rise. A recent study from Hill’s Pet Nutrition  says that one-third of pet owners report that their animals have gained weight during the pandemic.

Obesity isn’t merely about their pets’ weight but having an overweight pet can lead to other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and pancreatitis.

Too many treats during these trying times are the main culprit for pet obesity

The study also revealed that while anxious parents are eating more, they are feeding their fur kids extra treats as well.  It can be hard to deprive our pets that have provided us with so much comfort during this time.

And with the holidays just behind us, six in ten veterinarians anticipate the dogs and cats they see in February are more likely to be overweight or obese.

It can be difficult to manage a pet’s weight

According to the study, most pet parents (52%) think it is easy to help their dogs or cats lose weight, but veterinarians disagree, with 91% saying it’s harder than owners think. 

However, those with overweight pets (31% with overweight dogs and 24% with overweight cats) feel it’s harder to help their pet lose weight compared to before Covid-19, and 49% of veterinarians agree it’s harder for pet parents to keep their pets at a healthy weight during the pandemic than before. 

Pet obesity has been a problem for years

While overweight pets have been a persistent problem for years, the pandemic certainly hasn’t made things any easier.

Lindsey E. Bullen, DVM, Diplomate ACVN, a veterinary nutritionist with BluePearl, says overfeeding and lack of exercise is to blame.

“People are spending more time at home with their pets, which makes overfeeding and overtreating a greater possibility,” she says. 

“On the other hand, owners who are more likely to get up and move may be taking on more of an active role regarding their pet’s activity levels. This means more walks and playtime.”

Further, Dr. Bullen adds, those having a tough time finding suitable work-life balance may be spending less time with their pets and compensating for this by giving them more treats.

“Unfortunately, these modern-day realities can and likely will negatively impact pet weight.”

Pet parents have a hard time with getting their pets to lose weight

As easy as it is for pets to put on weight, it’s harder for them to take it off.  Even with pet parents being strict and monitoring their pets’ food, it can be hard for pets to lose weight. 

Some tips that pet owners can try to help control their pets’ weight:

  • Be mindful when giving pets human food.  Even when given in small quantities, it can add up to a pet’s daily caloric intake and could cause digestive issues.
  • When your dog or cat begs for food, try playing with your dog or cat to see if they just want your attention. 
  • For dogs, make sure that they get their walks in daily or even better, add an extra walk.  For cats, play time is essential.  Use toys and pointed laser toys to get your cats to run around rather than sleeping all day long.
  • Weigh your pets once a week if you are trying to get them to lose weight.  Sometimes measuring your dog or cat’s food isn’t enough and is not the true indicator.
  • Choose healthy treats.  Treats should be less than 10 percent of a pet’s total daily caloric intake.
  • Include the whole family. Make sure everyone in your home is aware of the dog or cat’s eating schedule and portion amount.

Source: https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/obesity-epidemic-swells-with-pandemic/

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Lisa FimbergPet Obesity Rates Rise During the Pandemic

The Importance of a Dog and Cat’s Dental Health and Hygiene

by Lisa Fimberg on February 11, 2021

February is officially designated as dental health month in the pet ecosystem.  The idea is to create awareness of the importance of dental health for both dogs and cats.  Proper dental health is not only about maintaining a pet’s teeth, but can also help to prevent other health issues.

Most veterinarians will have a look at a pet’s teeth during an annual visit, but pet parents can take a proactive approach to improve and monitor their pets’ dental health.  In addition, your store can capitalize on this month by not only educating pet parents on its importance, but having dental health and hygiene items highlighted and throughout the month.

There are many ways pet parents can check their dog and cats’ overall dental health:

Pet parents can take a quick smell of their dog or cat’s breath for anything unusual

While most pet owners might not find it fun or appealing, a dog or cat’s breath is indicative of a pet’s health.  Their breath should not be offensive or have any type of abnormally strong odor.   It likely won’t smell like roses, but should not smell like “decay.”

If a dog or cat’s beath does smell bad, it could be indicative of a gum condition called gingivitis.  Or even a digestive issue or problem.   If this is the case, pet parents should take their dog or cat to the vet for a thorough exam.

A dog or cat’s gums should be examined for issues

With their dog or cat facing them, pet parents should push back the dog or cat’s lips and take a quick look.  A pets’ gums should be pink and firm, not red or white and should not show any signs of swelling.  They should look very close to our human gums.  Their dog or cat’s teeth should be clean and none of their teeth should be loose.

Pet owners should look out for tooth decay (discoloring) in their dog or cat’s mouth

There are different forms of bacteria and plaque-forming food that can build up on a dog or cat’s teeth.  This can become tartar which can potentially cause gingivitis or tooth loss.  If a dog or cat’s teeth are discolored, pet parents are encouraged to start brushing their pets’ teeth with to help get rid of the decay.

Does anything look unusual in their dog and cat’s mouths?

If pet parents see anything unusual in their dog and cat’s mouths such as the following, they should take their pets to the vet: dark red lines along the pet’s gums, pus or extreme amount of saliva, loose teeth, or any discoloration.  The same should occur if their pets are pawing at their mouths, have difficulty chewing or are drooling excessively.

Supplies that stores can have on display this month

As pet parents are much more aware of the importance of dental health, your store can also have a special dental display section with the following items this month:

Have toothbrushes and pet toothpaste on display

While not all pets love it, it is recommended that pet owners brush their cat or dog’s teeth.  By providing them with a small pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste, they can brush their dogs’ teeth quickly and efficiently.  Most cats aren’t a big fan of brushing, but some pet retailers have kitty dental floss that can help.

Chew toys are great to keep a dog and cat’s teeth strong

As many pet parents know, chew toys are a great way to keep their dog and cats occupied.  Chew toys can also help strengthen a pet’s teeth, massage their gums and scrape away the soft tartar.  A win-win for both you and the pet parents.

Dog, cat food and dental chews can help prevent tartar build up

If your store doesn’t carry any, you might consider having pet food that helps prevent tartar build up.  There are many different types on the market now due to the awareness of dental health for pets.  When pet parents implement this kind of food or even a daily pet wipe to remove the dog or cat’s tartar, it can help prevent dental issues for their pets.

While February is dental health month, it is always helpful to have some dental products, chew toys and toothbrushes on hand all year round.

If you need help with answering your customers’ questions about the importance of pet dental health or any other pet related matter, our solutions.pet agents can help.  Make sure to contact our success team (successteam@solutions.pet) to learn more about this service.

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Lisa FimbergThe Importance of a Dog and Cat’s Dental Health and Hygiene