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Managing Your Pet’s Weight – Petcurean + A Giveaway!

Recently we discussed the difference between Obesity and Hypothyroidism in Dogs and what pet parents need to know to identify when their pet is suffering from Hypothyroidism. But when you dog isn’t exhibiting signs of hypothyroidism, but you know they have gained weight, it’s time to consider that you might need to make some lifestyle changes for your pet so that you can help them live a long and happy life.

Have you ever carried a few extra pounds? How did your joints feel? Did you find that you were breathing heavier? What was your energy like? I am not a proponent of anthropomorphism, however, I do think we can relate to how our pet’s feel when they are overweight. It’s so important that we make the right lifestyle changes so that our pets aren’t carrying extra weight throughout their life.

Therefore, today, I have teamed up with Petcurean to share with you some of their recommendations for managing your pet’s weight.

According to Petcurean:

“Did you know that 22-44% of pets weigh more than their ideal body weight? Obesity can contribute to major health problems for your pet including diabetes in cats and decreasing the lifespan of your dog. The negative side effects of being overweight can start to appear within just a few weeks of the onset of obesity. As pet parents, it’s our job to keep our furry kids happy and healthy, especially if that means helping Fido shed a few pounds. Here are some helpful tips from Petcurean on how to manage your pet’s weight.”

Evaluate your pet’s current weight:

Weigh your pet at the vet’s office or with your home bathroom scale and check it against this Body Score chart to help you determine the current status of your pet’s weight.”

Taking your pet by your vet’s office for weight checks is a great way to keep track of your pet’s weight and show them that not all trips to the vet include shots (i.e. desensitization)!

Diet:

“An important rule you should keep in mind when managing your pet’s weight is restricting treats and resisting the urge to give them table scraps. These items make it hard for you to regulate what your pet is eating. For dogs, you can feed them a weight loss recipe with reduced calories. This option allows your pup to eat the same volume of food they’re used to eating, but with less calories. Petcurean’s GO! Fit + Free makes a great diet feeding option with a protein-rich, lower carb recipe. Alternatively, you can simply cut back on the amount of food you’re currently feeding. To ensure your dog still feels full after these smaller meals, you can add canned pumpkin or green beans as a fiber-rich and healthy topper. Cats do the best on low carb canned recipes since the wet food not only promotes weight reduction, but also helps cats feel fuller. GO! Fit + Free also offers canned recipes for cats.”

Whenever you are making changes to your pet’s diet, make sure all family members in the house are onboard and aware of your pet’s plan. While working at the veterinary hospital, there were several times that pet parents knew there was someone in the house who was feeding their pet extra food and treats and making their dieting efforts fruitless.

Physical activity:

“Decreased food intake should be accompanied by increased physical activity. Track your pet’s weight through weekly weigh-ins. A rapid decline in weight can be harmful to your pet. As you monitor their progress, continue to check them against the body score chart. That will tell you when your pet’s weight goals have been reached!”

One recommendation I would make is to not be a weekend warrior with your pet. Meaning, don’t try to take them for a 5 mile hike when you haven’t walked them all week. As with humans, consistent exercise is going to provide excellent strength, balance, and endurance for your pet, so that they can live a healthier life. One of the ways to achieve consistency with your dog is to include them in the plans and exercise you already have in your schedule. Here are some ways I provide Rooney with exercise:

  • Take them for a walk as a pre-run warm up or post-run cool down.
  • Walk to run your errands and take them with you (if you also have someone to watch them while you are in the store. I wouldn’t recommend leaving your pet outside a store).
  • Check out doggy daycare, or coordinate with a local dog walker so that your dog can get extra exercise while you are at work!

Share with Other Pet Parents!

How do you manage your pet’s weight? Leave your best recommendations in the comments below and win a chance to receive a 6lb bag of Petcurean GO! Fit+Free from Chewy.com!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I am a Petcurean blogger. I was provided with food and compensation so that Rooney and I could provide our honest opinion. However, Petcurean is the food we feed Rooney every day. I am also a Chewy.com influencer. My Kid Has Paws only shares reviews we believe benefit our readers.

Move-In Day Essentials for Your Pets

Many people find themselves in the process of moving this time of year. As a matter of fact, according to the Census, most people move between the months of June and October. If you have already moved this year and I didn’t get you this post in time, I apologize.

However, for those of you who still have a move in your future, I want to talk today about some move-in essentials for your pets!

Move-In Day Essentials for Your Pets - with Casper

Rugs & Secure Flooring

This is especially true if you are moving with senior pets. You are going to want them to feel safe and secure moving around your new home, and that can be difficult when the flooring is slippery. If possible, before your pets walk into the home, try to put throw rugs or yoga mats on the ground so that they feel comfortable and secure while entering your home.

Microchip & Proper ID

A microchip and proper ID is SUPER important for your pet on move-in day. While you may be used to closing the door behind you, you will likely have movers, or family and friends, helping you move stuff in and out of your house, and they may not remember to keep the door closed.

In the event your dog or cat escapes, having your up to date contact information and your new address on both the microchip and ID is crucial for making sure your pet is safe in your new home on the first night.

Bed & Crate

In addition to making sure your pet can be returned to you if they escape, it’s also important to make sure they don’t escape in the first place. Creating a spot in your new home for them to be safe and secure from the noise and the bustle is important. Make sure to keep their most familiar blankets and beds with them where possible.

During the summer months the weather might be too warm to have your pet in the yard while you bring stuff in and out of the house, making a crate or bed in a cool spot imperative. If the weather isn’t too warm to have your pet in the yard, I highly recommend double checking the stability of the fence before letting them sniff their new yard.

Food & Water Bowls

For many pets, where they eat, drink, and sleep can quickly become their home. One of Rooney’s #1 priorities is “where is my next meal coming from?”. Setting him up with access to water and some food will go a long way to getting Rooney adjusted to his new home.

Let sleeping dogs lie on the Casper dog mattress.

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Toys & Puzzles

Let’s talk entertainment. While it is possible that your pet might be too stressed to want to play with toys and puzzles, they might make them feel more comfortable and will provide them with mental stimulation while you are moving things into your new home.

Mattress Sheets and Pillows

Whether you are buying a new mattress or setting up your old one, it will make your pet feel more at home if they can see and smell familiar items. In many cases, this means taking a nap on your bed. Try to make things look and feel as similar as you can for your pet. Bonus tip: Look at the room and home from your pet’s perspective and try to eliminate any added stresses from their environment (PetCentric.com).

Bonus Tips:

Have a New Veterinarian Picked Out

Because you never know what is going to happen, I would have your pet’s records already faxed over to your new veterinarian’s office (as well as a copy with you in case of emergencies).

Take a Week to Help Your Pets Adjust

This was a great idea from PetCentric.com. If you can work remotely or take a week off, that could really help your pet adjust to the significant changes that come along with any move. Having you around will help them feel more confident and comfortable in their new space.

What steps have you taken to reduce your pet’s stress during a move?

“What Do You Feed Rooney?” – Petcurean

The other day Rooney and I were at a Corgi meetup, and I had what was a very typical conversation with another pet parent.

I asked what their Corgi’s name was and how old they were. When they asked me the same, and I said that Rooney was 7, they asked me, “What do you feed him? Because he looks great!”.

Obviously I am biased. I think Rooney looks great, especially for 7. However when someone compliments how youthful your dog acts and looks, it feels good as a pet parent to know that you are doing everything you can to keep your dog young and healthy. But the question is, how do you know you are feeding your dog the right food?

Well, a huge part of learning about pet nutrition is learning how to read the food label. Petcurean put together this information with 5 food label essentials pet parents need to know:

Ingredients Panel:

  • The ingredients list is probably the most recognizable portion of the nutrition panel. What some pet owners may not know however is that the ingredients are listed in descending order by weight, which means the first ingredient is the largest quantity and the last ingredient is the smallest.
  • Tip: Buying economy brands of pet food is not always a money saver. Some economy brands use inexpensive ingredients that aren’t highly digestible. This means you must feed your dog more portions of the food just to ensure they’re meeting their nutritional requirements. In the long run, the cost per serving for a lower quality food is much higher than that of a premium food where your pet can get all of their nutrients from one serving.

Guaranteed Analysis:

  • This section provides information about the nutrient content of the food. It should include the minimums for Crude protein and Crude fat, as well as the maximum Crude Fiber and Moisture. Additionally, any nutrients highlighted on the packaging must be included in the guaranteed analysis.
  • Tip: You can find the guaranteed analysis of a pet food product on a company’s website or by contacting the company. Here’s an example for Petcurean’s GO! Sensitivity + Shine LID Venison Recipe For Dogs.

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Feeding Guidelines:

  • The feeding guidelines should only serve as a starting point for deciding how much to feed your pet, as it heavily depends on your pet’s size, age, and activity level.
  • Tip: The best way to assess proper feeding is by calculating your pet’s body condition score. You can find that out here.

If you have any questions about how much you are feeding your pet, bring the food to your pet’s next annual exam and discuss with your veterinarian.

Nutritional Adequacy Statement:

  • This statement tells you if the food is complete and balanced, meaning it meets all of your pet’s nutritional requirements. It will also tell you if the product should be used only for intermittent feeding or as a treat.
  • Tip: Pay attention to what stage of life this section recommends for feeding. It should be labeled for all life stages or for one stage in particular.

Certifications:

  • Organic: An organic certification means that the production methods comply with organic farming standards. The primary goal of organic production is to use farming practices that are sustainable and harmonious with the environment.
  • MSC: The Marine Stewardship Council is an independent international non-profit certification organization that promotes sustainable fishing practices. An MSC certification is based upon three principles: sustainable fish stocks, minimizing environmental impacts, and effective management.
  • Vegan: The primary criteria for a product to receive the Certified Vegan logo is that the producer must prove that no ingredients were sourced from animals, no animal testing was permitted, adequate segregation of vegan and non-vegan ingredients was ensured and adequate clean out procedures were followed in facilities that produce vegan and non-vegan products.

GATHER™ dog and cat recipes have received three different food certifications, Vegan, MSC certified, and Organic, to provide transparency about the ingredients that have been carefully selected for these diets.

Do you check your pet’s food label? If so, what specifically do you look for?

Disclaimer: We are part of the Petcurean Blogger Advocate program. However, we feed Rooney Petcurean every day. My Kid Has Paws only shares information about products we like and we believe our readers will enjoy.

Rooney Photo by Pawpawrazzi Pet Photography

Trupanion Summer Safety Series: Pool Safety for Pets!

A few weeks ago we kicked off the Trupanion Summer Safety Series by discussing Beach Safety for Pets.

Today, we want to continue that series by discussing Pool Safety for Pets! Although we have discussed pool safety a few times on the blog so far, I am always looking for new insights and tips for keepings our pets safe. Therefore, we are relying on the wonderful Dr. Sarah Nold, DVM & the Trupanion team to share with us their insights to help make the pool a safer place for our pets! Below you will see our Q&A:

1) Pools can be a great way to keep pets cool in the summer, but what precautions can pet parents with backyard pools take to keep their pets safe?

Make sure your pet doesn’t have access to your pool unless they are supervised, especially if your pool does not allow your pet to easily get out of the pool on their own.  If you don’t know if your pet swims well or are concerned they are a poor swimmer, consider having your pet wear a life jacket while in the pool.

If it’s their first time with a pool,  let your pet approach the water at their own pace. Swimming can be intimidating to some dogs—especially when their paws can’t touch the floor. Don’t force your dog into the water—instead start at the shallow end and create plenty of positive experiences.

Rooney wears a lifejacket while in the pool. He usually knows where the stairs are or can pick up on that quickly, but much of the time Rooney is trying to keep up with dogs that are naturally much stronger swimmers. (I think Rooney thinks his legs are much longer than they actually are.) To prevent him from becoming exhausted or panicked, I keep a lifejacket on him.

via GIPHY

2) Are there any common pool toys that can be particularly dangerous for pets?

Soft pool covers are dangerous, as a pet can easily become trapped and drown. Avoid toys that are small enough for your pet to swallow or have small parts that can come off.

We do not have a pool, but if I did I would make sure it had a fence around it to add an additional layer of safety for Rooney. As of now, Rooney gets to swim with one of his friends at a nearby pool. As far as pool toys go, Rooney and I are big fans of PrideBites toys because they can float in the pool, and are machine washable.

3) Swimming can be a great physical therapy activity for dogs with joint injuries, are there any specific activities or exercises pet parents can do with their pets in the pool?

Many dogs enjoy retrieving their favorite toy (preferably one that floats).

Why is swimming such a great exercise for dogs? As outlined by the Water4Dogs Canine Rehabilitation Center in New York, hydrotherapy is aerobic, but low impact on the joints and bones. Due to the low impact, the aerobic component, and the resistance from the water, swimming is an ideal exercise for keeping your dog in shape.

As you mentioned, swimming is a great low-impact exercise. If your dog is a hesitant swimmer, you can encourage them to walk through shallow water. This alternative provides some of the same low-impact exercise benefits as swimming and can be a great option for older dogs or dogs who aren’t as confident in the water.

Additionally, for Corgis, swimming is a great exercise for building muscles that support their back while keeping the exercise low impact.

4) At Trupanion what kinds of claims are commonly associated with pools?

This is very similar to the beach-related claims. Dehydration and heat stroke are always a concern on hot days. Pets, just like humans, need plenty of water and a place in the shade to cool down.

For dogs like Rooney who have a fear of missing out (FOMO). It’s difficult to get him to take a break while other dogs are playing in the pool. I know that swimming is much more challenging for him than a Lab, for example, so I have to schedule breaks when he is swimming. Last week, Rooney was swimming with his friend Grayson who is a Cattle Dog Border Collie Mix, who swims every day. Rooney wouldn’t rest while Grayson was still swimming, so I did have to take him for a leisurely walk so that he could use the bathroom, and take a much needed break from swimming.

Does your dog like to swim? What precautions do you take to help keep your dog safe around the pool?

Stay tuned for the next installment in the Trupanion Summer Safety Series: Car & Travel Safety

Disclaimer: Trupanion is the pet insurance that we have for Rooney. My Kid Has Paws is working with Trupanion to provide pet parents with valuable information to help keep their pets safe. Also, I am a PrideBites affiliate. However, My Kid Has Paws only shares information we think our readers would find to be valuable. 

The Importance of Protein in Pet Food – Petcurean

If I don’t eat a breakfast that’s high in protein, my energy will crash by mid-morning. That’s because protein is such an essential part of not only our diets, but our pet’s diets as well.

What is Protein good for?

According to Petcurean, “Protein consists of long chains of amino acids that can be found in both meat and plant sources. It works to ensure proper growth, development, body tissue repair, and a healthy immune system. While there are 10 amino acids that cats and dogs must get from their food, a cat’s diet must also include taurine as their body is unable to naturally produce it.”

According to PetMD, dogs are classified as omnivores (cats are actually classified as obligate carnivores – meaning, they REALLY need meat in their diet). Which means that dogs can get energy sources from a variety of different food materials, but making sure protein is included is essential to their daily diet.

If you aren’t sure that your pet is getting enough protein, here are some signs often associated with a lack of protein in their diet:

  • weight gain
  • itchy, flaky skin
  • coarse brittle fur
  • lethargy
  • low resistance to infection

What kind of protein is best for my pet?

Excellent question! Petcurean provided us with a lot of info about the different types of proteins available:

Plant-based Proteins:

  • Peas: A good source of beta-carotene, niacin, Vitamin B6, folate, phosphorus, and copper. It’s also packed with dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, thiamin and manganese.
  • Organic flaxseed and sunflower oil: Both contain omega-6 fatty acids that promote healthy skin and a radiant coat. Flaxseed also boasts omega-3 fatty acids which are important for normal metabolism and optimal health.
  • Lentils and Chickpeas: Both are low glycemic carbohydrates that also provide a good source of protein, iron, phosphorus and copper.

Poultry:

  • Chicken Meal: A concentrated source of protein containing meat, bones, and cartilage that is dried and preserved naturally. It should never include feathers, heads, feet, or entrails.
  • Chicken Fat: Although human diets try to avoid fats, animal fat is good for your pet. Chicken fat is a great source of omega-6 which is considered the most important essential fatty acid for dogs and cats.
  • Eggshell Meal: A natural source of calcium to promote bone strength. Eggshell membrane is an added plus!

Pro-Tip: As obligate carnivores, cats must get their protein from animal tissue. For a protein-packed meal and a meaty flavor they’ll love, try out Now Fresh Grain Free.

Fish:

  • Cod: A good source of high quality protein, phosphorous, niacin, and Vitamin B-12.
  • Dehydrated Cod: A concentrated source of protein that uses the entire raw material. The benefit of dehydrated product is the removal of water, but not the fat.
  • Krill: As the “superfood of the sea,” krill is growing in popularity as a protein source. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin, krill is also virtually free of pollutants and heavy metals.

Pro-Tip: Want to try a fish-based kibble? GATHER Wild Ocean features line-caught Alaskan cod and sustainably harvested krill to create a delicious and healthy meal for your dog.

Whole Meats:

  • Deboned Venison, Pork, and Lamb: All are great sources of protein that come from the animal’s clean and de-boned flesh.
  • Novelty Proteins: This classification consists of proteins your pet may not have eaten before such as venison, salmon, or duck. Novelty proteins can sometimes help alleviate the symptoms of dietary sensitivities.

Pro-Tip: If your cat or dog has more challenging sensitivities, Petcurean’s GO! offers a wide variety of options that were specifically created for picky eaters, those who need a grain free or higher protein diet, and for those requiring a recipe with unique proteins or a limited number of ingredients.

The Importance of Protein - Petcurean

How can the appropriate amount of protein improve your pet’s life?

Protein can help your pet perform better and have more energy. Meaning, they will feel better, play better, and possibly even compete better (if you are involved in dog sports).

What’s the Petcurean difference?

Obviously, Petcurean wants to emphasize the importance of protein and has put a lot of research into the proteins that are placed in their pet diets. But I also wanted to share more information about their practices and standards because selecting a food for your pet is a very difficult decision that every pet parent needs to make.

This is what Petcurean had to say:

“Our recipes are crafted using the highest quality ingredients that are sourced through carefully selected suppliers. In fact, an ingredient supplier doesn’t become a Petcurean supplier until they have met the health, safety and quality standards/criteria against which we hold all suppliers and partners. We meet and exceed regulatory standards set in both Canada and the USA. All of our products are manufactured at EU, FDA, BRC and CFIA certified plants, which ensures that they meet an exceptionally high standard of sanitation, cleanliness and manufacturing practices. All ingredients used within our recipes are tested for salmonella, as well as several other bacteria and toxins, prior to being received at our manufacturing facilities. Our recipes are then tested again, at each part of the manufacturing process, and before shipping, using standards set by Health Canada. We use near infra-red technology to ensure the safety and nutritional integrity of our products.

We value transparency. Most of the information regarding our quality and safety standards is contained in the FAQ pages of our website. We also have a toll free number which is answered by live personnel for any questions you may have, and a nutritionist on staff who is ready to help customers with any questions regarding nutrition or our recipes.” – Dr. Jennifer Adolphe, Senior Nutritionist at Petcurean

Whatever food you decide to feed your pet, make sure that you do your research. What is the protein source? Is it a main ingredient in your pet’s food? Does the food make sense for this stage of your pet’s life?

Disclaimer: We are part of the Petcurean Blogger Advocate program. However, we feed Rooney Petcurean every day. My Kid Has Paws only shares information about products we like and we believe our readers will enjoy. 

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