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Cancer and Your Pet: Two Things to Avoid

Cancer Prevention Foods

Story at-a-glance
  • The study of the relationship between nutrition and cancer in companion animals is in its infancy. However, it is assumed there is a link between obesity and cancer in dogs and cats – just as there is a link between the two in humans.
  • Fat doesn’t just sit on your pet’s body harmlessly. It produces inflammation that can promote tumor development. In fact, cancer is actually a chronic inflammatory disease.
  • Another cancer-promoting factor in the lives of many pets is the poor quality, highly processed, pro-inflammatory diet they are fed. Two primary factors in this type of diet are an excessive amount of omega-6 fatty acids coupled with a deficiency of omega-3s, along with an abundance of carbs and starches.
  • A healthy, species-appropriate diet for dogs and cats – one that is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer – consists of real, whole, fresh foods, preferably served raw.
  • Healthy immune system function is also crucial in preventing cancer, and there are several things you can do to promote a balanced, resilient immune system in your pet.

By Dr. Becker

I recently ran across an article about the link between nutrition and cancer in dogs and cats. According to PetfoodIndustry.com:

"Despite significant advancements in companion animal cancer treatment over the last decade, the relationships between nutrition and veterinary cancer control and prevention remain in their infancy. Developing dietary strategies for reducing companion animal cancer incidence and mortality—overall and for specific cancers—will be an exciting and challenging endeavor that will take extensive research coordination using evidence-based designs."

Since this article — though written by a professor at the Animal Cancer Center at Colorado State University – was published in a trade journal for the pet food industry, I think we can assume there will be pet food companies heavily involved in developing dietary strategies to address the growing problem of cancer in pets.

And I doubt very seriously those pet food manufacturers will develop strategies that encourage pet owners to feed real, whole, fresh food and not the processed stuff they sell.

Expect to see "cancer prevention" processed pet diets coming soon to a store and/or veterinary office near you. It’s just a matter of time.

Obesity Increases Cancer Risk

The PetfoodIndustry.com article also points out that, "Caloric restriction has demonstrated the most consistent delay in the progression and prevention of tumor development across species."

Fewer calories, it has been shown, cause the cells of the body to block tumor growth.

Too many calories, on the other hand, lead to obesity – and obesity is strongly linked to increased cancer risk in humans. There is a connection between too much glucose, increased insulin sensitivity, inflammation and oxidative stress – all factors in obesity – and cancer. And while there’s been no direct link made yet to obesity and cancer in dogs and cats, it is assumed a link exists.

So in addition to the clearly established connections between obesity and other health problems like diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, reduced quality of life and shortened lifespan, there is also increased risk that an overweight pet will develop cancer.

And what is the biggest health problem for pets today? Overweight and obesity. Certainly the increase in cancer rates among dogs and cats is in part attributable to the obesity epidemic.

Overfeeding your pet is not a loving thing to do. Food is no substitute for quality time spent with your dog or cat. And keep in mind that fat doesn’t just sit on your pet’s body harmlessly. It produces inflammation that can promote tumor development.

In order to be the best guardian you can be for your pet, you must insure she stays at a healthy weight. Parents of too-heavy and obese pets need to understand the tremendous harm they are doing to their companion animal’s health and quality of life … before it’s too late.

Inflammation Leads to Cancer

Anything that creates or promotes inflammation in the body increases the risk for serious diseases, including cancer.

Recent research points to cancer as a chronic inflammatory disease. Inflammation kills the cells of the body. It also surrounds cells with toxic inflammatory by-products that inhibit the flow of oxygen, nutrients and waste products between cells and blood. This creates an environment in which abnormal cells proliferate.

Preventing inflammation is crucial to the prevention of cancer.

One major contributor to inflammatory conditions is a diet too high in omega-6 fatty acids and too low in omega-3s. Omega-6s increase inflammation, cell proliferation and blood clotting, while the omega-3s do the reverse.

Unfortunately, the typical processed western diet – for both humans and their pets – is loaded down with omega-6 fatty acids and deficient in omega-3s.

Nutrition for Cancer Prevention

The best diet for cancer prevention is a diet that provides the nutritional components required to maintain healthy cells and repair unhealthy ones.

Cancer cells need the glucose in carbohydrates to grow and proliferate. If you limit or eliminate that energy source, you do the same with the cancer’s growth. That’s one of the reasons I always discourage feeding diets high in carbohydrates. Carbs are pro-inflammatory nutrients that also feed cancer cells.

Carbs you want to keep out of your pet’s diet include processed grains, fruits with fructose, and starchy veggies like potatoes. All dry pet food contains some form of starch (it’s not possible to create kibble without it), which is one of the reasons I’m not a fan of dry pet food.

Cancer cells generally can’t use dietary fats for energy, so appropriate amounts of good quality fats are nutritionally healthy for dogs and cats.

A healthy, species-appropriate diet for dogs and cats – one that is anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer – consists of real, whole foods, preferably served raw. It looks something like this:

High in high-quality protein, including muscle meat, organs and bone (protein should make up 75 percent of a healthy dog’s diet, and 88 percent of a cat’s diet)
A few beneficial additions like probiotics, digestive enzymes and super green foods

Moderate levels of animal fat
A vitamin/mineral supplement

High levels of EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids)
High moisture content

A few fresh cut veggies and a bit of fruit, pureed
No grains; no starches

Immune System Support for Cancer Prevention

The health of your pet’s immune system is vital to her ability to defend against disease. Balanced, species-appropriate nutrition is the foundation for a healthy immune system. You can also help keep your dog’s or cat’s immune system balanced and resilient by:

Also:

Just like your own, your pet’s optimal health depends on ubiquinol, or the reduced, active form of CoQ10Ubiquinol can potentially help boost energy, support cardiovascular health and immune system function, and even support brain and nervous system health. And it tackles the damaging free radicals that can make your pet grow old before his time.

High in high-quality protein, including muscle meat, organs and bone (protein should make up 75 percent of a healthy dog’s diet, and 88 percent of a cat’s diet) should be protein, moderate fats and a few beneficial additions like probiotics, digestive enzymes, CoQ10 and super green foods is recommended

Related:

When Raw Food is NOT the Right Food for Your Pet

Surprise, Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

The Importance of Bones in Your Pet’s Diet

The Nutrient Your Pet Needs More of As They Age: Protein

Pancreatitis in Dogs

Good Diet and Advice for Dogs with Pancreatitis

“Holidays Are Great and Fun To Share With Our Pets, As Long As We Avoid the No-No Foods”

Gourmet Doggie Biscuits and Some Holiday Snacking Tips

Beef Verses Bison for Dogs – Variety is critical for your pet to receive the full spectrum of amino acids, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, vitamins and antioxidants necessary to thrive.

Fatty Acids May Improve Mobility In Osteoarthritic Dogs

Pets and Toxic Plants

Natural Pet Remedies For Everyday Problems

Allergies and Springtime Ailments in Pets

Do Vaccinations Affect the Health of our Pets?

How the Pet Food Industry Has Helped Create "Carnivore Metabolic Syndrome"

Now dogs Have a Food Truck of Their Own With Bow-Wow Chow

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August 1, 2012 Posted by | Adopt Just One More Pet, Animal or Pet Related Stories, Animal Related Education, animals, Dogs, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Friendship and Love, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pet Recipes, Pets, responsible pet ownership | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Chicken Jerky Recipe for dogs

Yummy super-simple treat… and it’s also super-popular with dogs and healthy. Chicken Jerky is a Treat made from thin strips of chicken slow baked to almost the point of crispness.

Ingredients

1 pound chicken breasts (I baked three pounds!)

Start by preheating your oven to 170 or 180 degrees, depending on how low your oven will go. While that’s preheating, assemble the chicken. I used frozen chicken breast tenderloins (this is a great way to use any chicken you’ve got that’s become freezer burned!)

I had thawed the frozen chicken breasts by putting them in the refrigerator overnight…and woke up to find they were still frozen! I put the chicken in a big bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes which thawed it enough to slice with a sharp knife. TIP: It’s easier to slice the chicken when it’s semi-frozen rather than completely thawed; you can use the heel of your hand on the knife to “chop” the slices rather than trying to saw through thawed meat.

The only difficult part of this dog treat recipe is the slicing; you’ll want to slice the chicken no more than about 1/4 inch wide. Slice with the grain of the chicken, rather than against it; this will make the treats a little chewier and make them last a LITTLE bit longer when you give them to your dogs.

Slice up the chicken and place it on a greased cookie sheet; be sure to use one with a slight edge because there will be water and juices from the chicken during the first hour of cooking. Leave about a 1/2 inch or so between slices and just make sure they’re not touching.

Once you’re finished slicing, pop the cookie sheets in the oven and bake for two hours. After two hours, check the slices and see if they’re dry. You don’t want them to be crispy to the point of snapping but you do want them to be very chewy. (They should look like a very done french fry.) Because I baked three pounds of chicken at once, I had to bake my treats for an 90 minutes and I flipped the slices with a spatula after two hours of baking.

When they’re done, remove the treats from the oven and cool on a drying rack. If you don’t have one (I don’t), just flip a dish drainer over and drape with a dish towel then put your treats on the towel to dry. (You just want to get the treats up off the metal cookie sheets so they’ll cool crispier. A wicker basket flipped over and draped with a cup towel work work great, too.)

When the treats are completely cool, bag them in zippered bags or pop them in an airtight container and refrigerate. You can also freeze the treats for several months. Be warned, though: these are VERY popular treats…they’ll go fast! (Cats also love them!)

Dog owners cautioned about chicken jerky treats

Chicken jerky treats may be behind illness and even death in hundreds of dogs nationwide, and the FDA is urging dog owners to beware.

After receiving hundreds of reports of sickened or killed dogs, the FDA has issued a warning about the treats after they were linked to a disease similar to Fanconi syndrome, which can be fatal.

Veterinarian Dean Aldridge of Flathead Pet Emergency explained, "That’s a syndrome where the kidneys are unable to retain electrolytes, so you get electrolyte imbalances that can be fatal. For example, the potassium rates could drop to the point where the heart stops."

No cases have yet been diagnosed in the Flathead Valley, but there have been hundreds of cases nationwide and several in Montana, including a golden retriever that belongs to the Lacopini family in Billings. Aldridge says if it’s caught early, this condition can be treated, but warns that’s not always the case.

Aldridge said, "In most cases with the jerky treats, it’s a correctable syndrome. It’s just that it takes a lot of work and a lot of care. Measuring electrolytes, supplementing electrolytes, until the time that the kidneys do come back around. In some cases it is fatal though, you just can’t get ahead of it."

Aldridge told us this is not the first time vets have seen this problem: "In 2007, there was something that came across, and then in June, we got another alert from the AVMA, that there was some more of it, and that there may be recall’s on the treats, so we’ve been aware that it’s out there since about June."

Here is the full text of the press release from the FDA:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to caution consumers about a potential association between the development of illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky products. The products-also called chicken tenders, strips, or treats-are imported from China. FDA continues to receive complaints of sick dogs that their owners or veterinarians associate with eating chicken jerky products. FDA issued a cautionary warning to consumers in September 2007.

Australian news organizations report that the University of Sydney is also investigating an association between illness in dogs and the consumption of chicken jerky in Australia. At least one firm in Australia has recalled their chicken jerky product and the recall notification stated the product was manufactured in China.

What is FDA Doing?

FDA, in addition to several veterinary diagnostic laboratories in the United States, is working to find out why these products are associated with illness in dogs. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a precise cause for the reported illnesses.

FDA has conducted extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not identified any contaminant.

FDA continues to actively investigate the problem. Many of the illnesses reported may be the result of causes other than eating chicken jerky.

Tips for Consumers

Do not substitute chicken jerky products for a balanced diet. The products are intended to be used occasionally and in small quantities. Owners of small dogs must be especially careful to limit the amount of these products.

If you choose to feed your dog chicken jerky products, watch the dog closely. Stop feeding the product if your dog shows any of the following signs, which may occur within hours to days after feeding the product:

– decreased appetite, although some dogs may continue to eat the treats instead of other foods

– decreased activity

– vomiting

– diarrhea, sometimes with blood

– increased water drinking or increased urination

Call your veterinarian if signs are severe or last for more than 24 hours. Blood tests may indicate kidney failure (increased urea nitrogen and creatinine). Urine tests may indicate Fanconi syndrome (increased glucose).

Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports to FDA have involved dogs that have died.

Consumers and veterinarians should report cases of animal illness associated with pet foods or treats to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator listed for their area.

Pet parents… stop falling for the pet food myth (the baby food myth).  Real food, natural food, raw food, home-cooked food is the answer.  Commercial pet food in an invention to make people/large companies money, not to make your pets healthy.  Start cooking for your pets, at least one meal per day to start with and check the labels.  Do not buy products for consumption for your pets, animals, children or yourselves… and that includes toys and objects your animals and kids could put in their mouths that are made in China.

Source: krtv.com

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Animal or Pet Related Stories, Dogs, Holistic Pet Health, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pet Recipes, Pets | , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Pet Food Recall (December 2011)

Recall on some pet food. Iams, River Run, Dog Power and Marksman so far.

See FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration List of Recalls, Market Withdrawals & Safety Alerts HERE

"Some of these fungi (primarily Aspergillus flavus) produce the very lethal mycotoxins called aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are remarkably potent, often causing disease even when ingested in minute amounts. Aflatoxins can cause disease throughout the body, but are most commonly known for causing acute or chronic liver disease and liver cancer" per www.wellvet.com

Proctor & Gamble Recalls Iams Dry Dog Food

Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy dry dog food has been recalled due to higher than acceptable aflatoxin levels.

December 8, 2011 – Updated December 16, 2011

 

The Procter & Gamble company has voluntarily recalled a single production lot of dry dog food due to aflatoxin levels that were detected above the acceptable limit.

The affected product is Iams ProActive Health Smart Puppy dry dog food with Use By or Expiration Dates of Feb. 5 or Feb. 6, 2013. The seven-pound bag has a Code Date of 12784177I6 and UPC Code of 1901402305. The eight-pound bag has a Code Dates of 12794177D2 and 12794177D3, and UPC Code of 1901410208. The 17.5-pound bad has Code Dates of 12794177K1 and 12794177K2, and UPC Code of 1901401848.

The product is said to have been distributed to Pennsylvania, but it already has been retrieved from store shelves. No illnesses have been reported in association with this production lot to date, and no other Iams pet food products are involved.

Cargill Animal Nutrition’s River Run and Marksman dry dog foods also have been recalled for the same problem, but they were not distributed in Pennsylvania.

Consumers who purchased the product listed should stop using the product and discard it and contact Iams at 1-866-908-1569 or visit www.iams.com for a replacement voucher.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring by-product from the growth of Aspergillus flavus and can be harmful to pets if consumed in significant quantities. Pets that have consumed this product and exhibit symptoms of illness including sluggishness or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes or gums, or diarrhea should be seen by a veterinarian.

Source:  Peter’s Patch

Another Pet Food Recall… Another Reminder that Animals Should be Eating Real Food!!… Think About… Proctor and Gambel is making your Pets’ Food???

Free Homemade Dog Food Recipes

Surprise Surprise… the Best Food for Dogs Is Homemade Food

The Nutrient Your Dog Needs More of As They Age: Protein – And Expecting Your Pet to Get It from Rendered Pet Food Is the Worst of the Worst of the Worst Options!

Not Fit for a Dog!: The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food

December 16, 2011 Posted by | Dogs, Just One More Pet, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

When Man’s Best Friend Is Obese

Pets Are Getting Fatter; Owners Find It Tricky to Count Kitty Calories, Cut Kibble

For 12-year-old Buffy of Calabash, N.C., the trouble began with too much steak (and chicken and ice cream) at dinnertime. In nearby Ocean Isle Beach, six-year-old Hershey harbors a fondness for beef and cheese snacks. And 14-year-old Fridge of Longwood, Fla., gets cranky if his bowl isn’t full.

Buffy, Hershey and Fridge are pets battling excess weight and obesity. As more Americans confront their own weight issues, furry housemates increasingly struggle alongside them. New data due out this week indicate the problem is reaching epidemic proportions, with more than half of U.S. dogs and cats now overweight or obese. Of pets considered to be "obese"— defined as 30% above normal weight—one-fifth of dogs and cats fit the bill, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, which conducted the survey with Mars Inc.’s Banfield Pet Hospital, the nation’s largest general veterinary practice.

The main culprit: owners who routinely overfeed pets, don’t exercise them enough and are unaware of the severe, and costly, health problems caused by excess weight. Common woes include diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer. Research also suggests that pets fed less over their lifetime can live significantly longer.

Now, new efforts are afoot to stem what many vets believe is the single most preventable health crisis facing the country’s 171 million-plus dog and cat pets. They include software for doctors to track a pet’s "Body Condition Score," a blood test that could quickly determine animals’ body-fat percentage, Weight Watchers-type pet diet plans and doggie treadmills (that must be closely supervised and monitored if used).

 

More than half of America’s pets are obese, according to recent report. Kelsey Hubbard talks with the WSJ’s Wendy Bounds about the growing epidemic and what people can do to pare down their pooch.

View Full Image

fatpet9

Nunes family

Daisy Mae, a Folsom, Calif., beagle, weighed 41 pounds when she was adopted in 2009.

 

fatpet10

Max Whittaker/Prime for The Wall Street Journal

A diet and exercise regimen has brought her down to 29 pounds.

For 12-year-old Buffy of Calabash, N.C., the trouble began with too much steak (and chicken and ice cream) at dinnertime. In nearby Ocean Isle Beach, six-year-old Hershey harbors a fondness for beef and cheese snacks. And 14-year-old Fridge of Longwood, Fla., gets cranky if his bowl isn’t full.

Buffy, Hershey and Fridge are pets battling excess weight and obesity. As more Americans confront their own weight issues, furry housemates increasingly struggle alongside them. New data due out this week indicate the problem is reaching epidemic proportions, with more than half of U.S. dogs and cats now overweight or obese. Of pets considered to be "obese"—defined as 30% above normal weight—one-fifth of dogs and cats fit the bill, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, which conducted the survey with Mars Inc.’s Banfield Pet Hospital, the nation’s largest general veterinary practice.

The main culprit: owners who routinely overfeed pets, don’t exercise them enough and are unaware of the severe, and costly, health problems caused by excess weight. Common woes include diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer. Research also suggests that pets fed less over their lifetime can live significantly longer.

Now, new efforts are afoot to stem what many vets believe is the single most preventable health crisis facing the country’s 171 million-plus dog and cat pets. They include software for doctors to track a pet’s "Body Condition Score," a blood test that could quickly determine animals’ body-fat percentage, Weight Watchers-type pet diet plans and doggie treadmills.

"Obesity in pets is almost the equivalent of smoking in human medicine," says Steven Budsberg, director of clinical research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. "There’s the high cost to people, and it’s self-induced. I never met a German shepherd who could open the refrigerator or food bag and pour himself another bowl."

In 2010, pet owners holding insurance policies with Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. shelled out $25 million to vets for obesity-related conditions, such as ligament ruptures (about $860 to treat), disc disease ($649) and asthma ($163). At Petplan USA in Philadelphia, five of the top insurance claims all have a close correlation to obesity.

When Cindy Nunes and her husband Joe of Folsom, Calif., adopted their beagle Daisy Mae, she was 41 pounds, suffered abdominal pains and couldn’t roll over. Through a special high-protein and fiber, low-fat diet that’s down to one cup a day, Daisy Mae has dropped to a more normal 29 pounds and walks three to four miles several days a week. Ms. Nunes estimates she’s spent upwards of $1,800 in the past two years treating Daisy Mae.

For years, the topic of "fat pets" was considered taboo in the veterinary community, says Ernie Ward, founder of the pet obesity association and author of "Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter." Says Dr. Ward: "There are sensitivities to an owner’s own weight condition and to making them feel guilty for overfeeding their pet."

To encourage weight discussions, Banfield is rolling out software into its 770 hospitals that will require vets to give pets a Body Condition Score on a scale of 1 (too thin) to 5 (obese) during routine office visits. "The power is in the fact that it will spark an important conversation with the owner," says Denise Elliott, a Banfield veterinarian and nutritionist.

One hurdle: people’s idea of what constitutes a fat pet often differs from clinical reality. A study by Pfizer Inc.’s Animal Health business showed that 47% of veterinarians felt their canine patients were obese, while only 17% of dog owners agreed. For instance, a 90-pound female Labrador retriever is roughly equivalent to a 186-pound woman who is 5-foot, 4-inches tall—a human body-mass index that’s considered obese, Dr. Ward says.

Similarly, he says, a fluffy, domestic short-haired cat weighing 15 pounds is comparable to a 254-pound man who is 5-foot-9. (Recommended weight range is eight to 10 pounds.)

Charles Dolcimascolo, owner of the 12-year-old cocker spaniel Buffy, routinely fed his dog table scraps until she ballooned to 42 pounds, double normal weight for the breed. "You couldn’t tell if she was a dog or a pig because she’s beige," Mr. Dolcimascolo, 72, says. "She’d get depressed if I didn’t feed her."

But after Buffy became plagued by arthritis, Mr. Dolcimascolo, who says he struggles with his own weight, reduced Buffy’s dry food back to 1½-cups a day, cut back on table scraps and made steamed vegetables the only snack. Recent weigh-in: 33 pounds.

Knowing how much to feed pets can be confusing. Many cat owners leave out full bowls of food for pets to graze, but feeding just 10 extra kibbles of a typical dry cat food could add up to one pound of weight gain annually, says Dr. Ward.

Manufacturers aren’t required to list caloric content on labels unless the product bills itself as low calorie, according to the Food and Drug Administration, which says there’s now a proposal circulating to change that. Meantime, feeding directions are listed for the "most demanding" life stage for which the product is intended, such as reproduction. Subsequently, "feeding directions can overfeed by 25%," says Dr. Elliott of Banfield.

Getting owners to follow feeding guidelines can be hard. The owners of Hershey, a six-year-old Labrador retriever with joint problems, are trying to cut his 80 pounds to the mid-70s. His treats are broken into smaller pieces, and he now gets two measured cups of low-calorie food daily with a tablespoon of wet food. "Before, we were just dumping it in," says owner John Pannullo.

And as with humans, vets say some animals are more genetically prone to obesity, meaning they may need fewer calories than similarly sized pets who are metabolically lean.

Heather Noelte and Eric Frew own Fridge, who weighed a hefty 25 pounds when they adopted him eight years ago. Since Fridge had come from a shelter, "we didn’t feel a forced calorie-reduction regimen" was fair, Mr. Frew says.

His current diet consists of 2/3-cup dry food in the morning and a weight-management turkey-and-rice cat food in the evening. Even so, Fridge currently weighs 30 pounds and needs a ramp to get onto his parents’ bed, and Ms. Noelte said they cut off the side of his litter box because his tummy scraped it climbing in.

Food makers are expanding their offerings to make cutting back easier. Last fall, Nestle Purina, for example, launched "Project: Pet Slim Down"–designed to help pets achieve 1% to 2% weekly weight loss. In January, Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc., maker of Science diet and Prescription Diet, introduced a line of weight-reduction food systems with meals and biscuits in pre-measured packets.

Exercise is another hurdle, especially when owners don’t keep themselves fit. Larger breeds such as Labradors and German shepherds need 30 to 60 minutes of active play daily, vets say, or two to three miles of walking. Smaller breeds still require about 15 to 30 minutes of play, while cats benefit from short five- to 15-minute bursts of activity like chasing toys.

The pet industry is hungry to help pets shed pounds. Sales of specialty "DogTread" treadmills costing $599 to $999 have risen 200% since Ogden, Utah-based PetZen Products LLC began manufacturing them in 2007.

At the Morris Animal Inn pet resort in Morristown, N.J., 32 dogs participated in "Fido’s Fit & Spaw Retreat" clinic this January, complete with swimming and dog yoga. And in April, Camp Bow Wow, a 125-location doggy day and night camp franchise will launch a "Furry Fitness Challenge" contest for owners and pets to lose weight together.

"It goes to the dynamic of people looking like their pets," says Heidi Ganahl, CEO of Camp Bow Wow. "If the owner is focused on health, then the pets will be, too."

—Anjali Athavaley contributed to this articleWrite to Gwendolyn Bounds at wendy.bounds@wsj.com for input or comments

Cross-Posted at Just One More Pet

**One of the greatest gifts you can give your pets is to cook for them or buy them fresh raw and natural food and then supplement with a high end dry food, natural snacks and some natural supplements.  Add some exercise and both you and your pets will be the better for it… living longer healthier lives with few visits to the vet!!  Remember packaged pet food, like packaged baby food, are rather recent inventions or marketing items that are not necessarily better for either pets or babies than good old home-cooked and natural foods.

***Let us also remember that with age some pets will retain more wait plus spaying or neutering your pets can cause weight gain and urinary problems… something that we/you caused. As with many things in life, there is a ying for every yang and often a negative for every positive…

Related:

Doggin’ The Black Hills:  15 Cool Things To See When You Hike With Your Dog

Cat and Dog Owners Not Considering Age When Selecting Food

6 Ways to Whittle Your Pet’s Waistline

Lily’s Kitchen – A Dogs-Only Restaurant Opens in London

Pet Parties  – The Latest Craze

Why All Your Healthy Pet Efforts May Be Worthless if You Do This…

Natural Pet Remedies for Everyday Problems

February 26, 2011 Posted by | animal abuse, animal behavior, Animal or Pet Related Stories, animals, Dogs, Just One More Pet, Man's Best Friend, Pet Health, Pet Nutrition, Pets, responsible pet ownership, Success Stories | , , , , | Leave a comment

Pet Parties – The Latest Craze

As the baby-boomers are taking the lead, in ever-growing numbers, as pet owners, so is pet spoiling and the ‘special pet events’ phenomenon. Baby-boomers, who are primarily empty-nesters are replacing their grown children with pets and spoiling those pets as they used to spoil their children.

Pet parties are one of the newest crazes; birthday and holiday parties with and for pets. They include activities and goodies for both the pets and their humans. Pet ‘birthday’ parties top the list, especially for dogs and then cat parties rank as a distant second. They vary from a group of pet owners and their pets going to lunch or dinner at a pet friendly restaurant to parties at the park or backyard house events. Pet-care facilities (doggy daycare sites and pet hotels) are another option to consider if you don’t have room for a home party.

As with Halloween… with pet ‘dress-up events’ or just having your pet at a conventional gathering or party, there are lots of factors to consider. Will the pets on the guest list get along? Are your human guests pet focused enough and willing to keep an eye on their pet as well as maintain a pet positive environment at the party for everyone, while still having a good time themselves? And is your pet the type who likes being around other animals and groups of people, or is this party really for you?

There are many restaurants that are pet friendly these days so will cordon off an area, as they do for kiddy parties, for your pet event; some even supply decorations and goodies.

But if you prefer to do it yourself and go all out, here are a few suggestions:

Indoor Party Activities:

• Pick a fun theme. Party favors and decorations are now available for most types of pet parties.

• Have each doggy (kitty, bird, monkey, pot bellied pig, etc) guest come in costume and have a mini-fashion show or have your guests and their humans come in matching costumes! Give prizes for best costume(s), funniest, most original, etc.

• Bring Kong type toys, one for each doggy guest, filled with cheese or peanut butter; catnip or tuna for the kitties.

• Have plenty of training treats, snacks and biscuits on hand and hold contests for best sit, stay, shake, roll over… (perhaps for most finicky for the felines?).

• Bring a good supply of rope toys for a doggy tug of war! You’ll find that sometimes the humans will participate as well.

• Paw mural painting can be done inside or out as long as you cover the floor well.

Outdoor Party Activities:

• A silly pet trick contest is a great event, indoors and out, but outside parties lend themselves to a greater variety of tricks. Give a prize for 1st, 2nd and 3rd or just for first prize and then give a treat to the others for participation.

• If you have mostly the same types (or breeds) of pets or groups that are the same sizes, dog (or piggy and kitty… if you can motivate them) races can be fun. (Dachshund or Chihuahua races are always funny.)

• Bring enough balls so there is at least one ball or Frisbee per doggy guest and play free-for-all fetch or wands with fake birds, small balls or catnip toys tied at the end for the cats.

• Agility equipment events like a tunnel for the dogs to race through is a good addition; make sure you have lots of training bits or other treats to offer them when they run through successfully!

• Water activities like swimming events in the pool for certain dog breeds during the warm season are possible activities to consider, or bobbing for biscuits using a small tub or kiddie pool with water and then tossing in some biscuits. Whoever gets them out the quickest wins!

• Also, if at the park, make sure you consider safety issues like portable fencing or stakes to attach leashes, so the dogs and their humans can relax for awhile.

Food:

• Make sure there is plenty of water – Provide separate bowls for each pet guest (possibly personalized for them to take home) filled with mineral, filtered or even Smart™ water.

• Order goodies from the local or online doggy (pet) bakeries and party suppliers, or better yet bake them yourself.

• Have an outdoor bar-b-que and fix a special dinner for both the pet guests and their humans with their own grilled boneless steaks or chicken for the doggies or tuna and salmon for the kitties!

• And of course, you must have a birthday cake! You can make it yourself or order one from a local or online pet bakery. A small slice of carrot cake or really any other cake as long as it doesn’t contain chocolate could be served to most pets as well their humans at a special occasion, but in most cases you will probably want a special one for the pets and one for their humans.

• There are also many human goodies (candy and baked goods) shaped like pets, bones, or pet articles that can add fun to the party.

• A goodie bag to take home filled with unique biscuits, doggy ice cream, dehydrated meats (dehydrated fish, a catnip toy, cat grass or grass seeds and gourmet cat desserts for the kitties), and a small pet safe toy, along with their personalized water bowl is a nice touch.

Make sure you label the food appropriately, especially at a buffet-style meal, to ensure that no people accidentally bite into a dog or cat treat or that the pets don’t get too many human treats!

Regardless of the style of the party or the range of food served, you will need to consider both the fun of all the party guests as well as the safety of the food you choose for the people and the dogs (cats or birds, etc) at the event. You might want to skip serving chocolate and onions completely, keep alcohol to a minimum and have a special (pet free) smoking area to keep the guest of honor and friends from eating the butts. Discussing allergies and safety matters of the pets, children and adults at the party in advance will prevent any surprises for the day of the party, as well, perhaps as part of the invitation RSVP request.

Kids have will have fun participating in the games and giving out treats to the winners, so include them if you have any children on your guest list. But be sure to consider supervision, and I would recommend limiting the number of children present. If you do have children or grandchildren at home, include them in the preparation and give them jobs and responsibilities at the party.

And finally, make sure you have a way of capturing all this fun on film! A volunteer photographer or videographer is great for memories and someone taking Polaroid’s for the costume contest, to send home with guests, is always a great touch!

Future articles will include throwing a ‘fancy’ doggy party and ‘pet’ party recipes. But for now, for those of you baking and making the party food on your own, here is a fun recipe for your human guests (and a small sliver, minus the Tootsie Rolls, won’t hurt the pets either):

FAMOUS KITTY LITTER CAKE

(Several variations of this recipe can be found online)

INGREDIENTS:

1 spice or German chocolate cake mix 
1 white cake mix 
2 large packages vanilla instant pudding mix, prepared 
1 large package vanilla sandwich cookies 
green food coloring 
12 small Tootsie Rolls

1 new kitty litter pan 
1 new plastic kitty litter pan liner 
1 new pooper scooper

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare cake mixes (or scratch cake) and bake according to directions (any size pans). 
Prepare pudding mix and chill until ready to assemble. 
Crumble white sandwich cookies in small batches in food processor, scraping often. Set aside all but about 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup cookie crumbs, add a few drops green food coloring and mix until completely colored.

When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble into a large bowl. Toss with half the remaining white cookie crumbs and the chilled pudding. Important: mix in just enough of the pudding to moisten it. You don’t want it too soggy. Combine gently.

Line a new, clean kitty litter box. Put the cake/pudding/cookie mixture into the litter box. 
Put three unwrapped Tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until soft and pliable. Shape ends so they are no longer blunt, curving slightly. Repeat with 3 more Tootsie rolls bury them in the mixture. Sprinkle the other half of cookie crumbs over top. Scatter the green cookie crumbs lightly on top of everything — this is supposed to look like the chlorophyll in kitty litter.

Heat 3 Tootsie Rolls in the microwave until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake; sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Spread remaining Tootsie Rolls over the top; take one and heat until pliable, hang it over the side of the kitty litter box, sprinkling it lightly with cookie crumbs. Place the box on a newspaper and sprinkle a few of the cookie crumbs around for a truly disgusting effect!

Have a great party!

By:  Marion Algier/Ask MarionJust One More Pet

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September 25, 2008 Posted by | Just One More Pet, On The Lighter Side, Pets, Unusual Stories | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments