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New Way to Help Your Dog Lose Weight – Not!

Just read another interesting article by Dr. Karen Becker, a veterinarian and integrative pet care expert. This one talks about Biotech, a biopharmaceutical company that was just awarded the first US patent for a vaccine to treat obesity in dogs and cats. Being an integrative vet, Dr. Becker is against unnecessary vaccines, so of course she is against this one as well. She and other progressive vets find the potential for its misuse very troubling.

Apparently the vaccine works to limit the body’s production of growth hormone and insulin growth factor. It doesn’t last long – dogs will need to receive a dose every month or every two months. Research was done on mice fed a very high fat diet with Biotech reporting that the mice given the vaccine gained about half the weight as unvaccinated mice. But according to PubMed Health, what wasn’t made clear is that the mice given the vaccine had an initial dramatic weight loss but then continued to gain weight during the study. In fact, the weight loss was so dramatic that researchers lowered the dose of the second injection.  Because the initial weight loss was so much the mice couldn’t regain the weight during the test period.

PubMed goes on to explain that the vaccine also suppresses other necessary functions in the body, such as thyroid and pancreatic hormones. They don’t know what else is suppressed. It also contains an agent that can send an animal’s immune system into overdrive, something that can have a lasting negative effect on your pet.

Dr. Becker’s recommendation (and ours too) is to skip this vaccine and work to get or keep your pet at a healthy weight by proper diet and the right kind and amount of exercise. As a responsible pet owner, it’s the right thing to do.

Exercising Your Puppy

Puppies have a lot of energy so we may assume they need more exercise than adult dogs. Not true. Giving your pup the same amount and type of exercise as you would give an adult dog can result in lameness or deformity when he matures. The bodies of puppies are quite different from adult dogs. Puppies are not physically mature, and therefore aren’t ready for the types of exercise that can result in sharp or repeated impact. Even long walks might tire your puppy and stress his joints.

Puppies’ leg bones have soft areas called growth plates that allow the bones to grow. Because the bone area is soft, your dog’s legs are much more prone to injury. If injured during the growth period it can cause the bones to stop growing or grow incorrectly. Depending on the breed, puppies’ leg bones harden between the ages of 9 –16 months. During this crucial growth period, you should avoid any type of jumping exercise or exercises that repeatedly pound the joints, such as jogging, especially on hard surfaces. These are better left to adult dogs.Age appropriate exercise for your puppy

Your puppy’s genetics will determine when it’s OK to begin adult exercises. If he won’t get any larger than 25 pounds, he can start at around 9 months. If he ends up weighing between 25 to 100 pounds, it’s best to wait until he’s at least 14 months old. If he’ll be tipping the scale at 100 pounds or more, you can introduce these activities to him when he is at least a year and a half old. By avoiding high-endurance activities and high-impact outdoor exercises, you are protecting your puppy’s growth plates and helping him have a healthier life for the rest of his life.

The UK Kennel Club suggests that puppies should have five minutes of exercise per month of age, twice a day. Short walks, swimming in warm water for short time periods, general play with soft toys, and playing with small dog exercise balls are great exercises for little pups.

Remember, puppies also need exercise for mental stimulation and moving around keeps them from becoming bored and mischievous. Giving your puppy the appropriate type and amount of exercise translates to a tired, calm dog and a happier you!

Exercise Away Your Dog’s Holiday Stress!

The holidays can be a stressful time for both you and your dog.  Dogs thrive on routine, and the normal daily routines you and your dog are used to are bound to change.  Your dog may have to deal with more people around, strangers touching him, excited children possibly pulling and/or hitting him, excessive noise, an abundance of food that’s extremely tempting but also dangerous, or house plants that can harm and decorations that can cause serious damage.  All of these things and more can result in added stress and anxiety for your dog.  Dogs in particular are sensitive creatures and they tend to absorb the stress and tension around them. Some breeds take stress in stride while others turn into a nervous wreck shaking in the corner.

What are some of the signs your dog is stressed?

  • Panting (if there is no obvious reason)
  • Trembling
  • Excessive salivation
  • Inappropriate elimination
  • Clinging to his owner
  • Aggressiveness
  • Hiding
  • Running off
  • Being destructive

Since there are numerous stressors that can impact your dog during this hectic time of the year, what can you do to minimize these anxious moments?  Try exercise – it will not only tire him out but it also will calm your anxious pup!  Exercise is a good outlet for stress and helps keep both your dog’s mind and body healthy. For instance, a good cardio workout promotes the release of endorphins and serotonin which help to give both dogs and humans a greater sense of well-being. If you take him for a fast paced walk or jog, your dog will feel less stress, and most likely you will too.

Regular exercise can have a great impact on your dog’s overall health and well-being. Dogs that get regular workouts enjoy a higher metabolism, smaller appetite, better muscle tone, and minimal or no adverse behavioral problems.

During the holidays when the norm is no longer the norm, be with your dog and give him the gift of exercise.  It will be good for both of you.