Guest Post: the benefits of exercising your pets

Exercise is so important, not only in our lives, but also our pets. We have an obligation to make our pets' lives as happy as they can be and exercise is a big part of that. It is fun for you and your pets and allows time for you to enjoy each other’s company. Did you know exercise can actually increase your pet’s life by up to 30% and can decrease the incidence of orthopedic problems by a third!

Exercise keeps your dog trim, and helps to maintain muscle tone and actually helps build strong bones (sounds like Wonder Bread!) If our life consisted of a continuous nap, interrupted twice daily to chow down, we also would be a blob. Everyone needs to burn off at least as many calories as we take in or we will gain weight. It ain’t rocket science folks! Get up and make your pets move.

Here's a question for you: how would you like to have your dog or cat around for 4 more years? One of the fastest growing conditions in our pets, is diabetes. Exercise can greatly reduce the incidence of diabetes, in people and dogs. The typical pet with diabetes is an overweight, middle aged female. Much the same is true in humans. Diabetes in animals is almost always type 2, meaning it is not a genetic disease; it is an acquired condition, a lifestyle disease. In the USA we have more diabetic pets then the rest of the world combined. Not much of a surprise there.

Another great benefit of exercise, is that it actually increases new brain cell growth. What do you think about that? The cells that grow the most are in the part of the brain involving memory. So…exercise will make you and your pet smarter. Pretty cool huh?

There are other effects on the brain. Exercise has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants in people, when they exercise for 30 minutes three times a week. That is not very much time. It does this in part by increasing endorphins, the happy hormones. Those happy hormones also relives stress, And yes, your pets do have stress. Maybe not stress that we can appreciate, but it is there.

For me, cycling is my therapy. Now let’s make something clear here, I am not advocating your cat take up cycling, but I am addicted to cycling. I am at peace when I am on my bike. It helps me clear my mind. Exercise just calms our brain down and lets us focus on the good things in life.

Finally, for all you Lab, Golden, Weimeraners, Visula and puppy owners out there, exercise will improve sleep. Yours and you dog. It gives them an outlet for all that seemingly never ending energy. Get up and enjoy the outdoors, it was a brutal winter and we all need the fresh air.

To end here is a quote to remember:

“Never complain about getting old, some people don’t get the chance.”

Related Posts
May is Pet Fitness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Other posts by Dr Riggs


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.



May is Pet Fitness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Hazel doing dogaSee this picture? It is my favorite pet exercise picture from Embrace - Hazel doing her doga with us Embracers struggling to keep up.

All fun aside, it is important to keep your dog or cat fit as part of their overall health regime - just like us humans. Now that doesn't mean you have to take your dog out running  or start walking your cat on a leash, although those are fun activities. Regular active playing, making your pet work for his/her food, and fun toys also count.

This month, we are focusing pet fitness at Embrace.

We also have some great articles on the Water Bowl on exercise and pet fitness:

How do you keep your pet fit?



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney Talks on Maximizing Your Pet's Overall Health

Dr Patrick and I talk about pet health and we kick things off by going over Dr Patrick's top three things a pet owner can do to maximize her pet’s health.

We also discuss the following questions:

  1. Jenny: perhaps Dr Patrick could give us more information on reverse sneezing? I was at a clinic the other day where a client came in as an emergency because he didn't know what was happening. I know how scary it can be if a client is not familiar with this.
  2. Laura: do we need to worry about our pets’ mental health? We often talk about their physical health but do we need to worry about their mental health as well?
  3. Krystal: which vaccines are necessary for older fully vaccinated pets. She says “I used to get this a lot from clients. There's a lot of controversy on if it's necessary due to fibrosarcomas.”
  4. Darcy: her new cat, Mr. Meow Meow, does not drink water unless she mixes his wet food with water and make it soup. As a result, he actually drinks a lot of water. How does she know if she’s giving him TOO MUCH water? Is that even possible?
  5. Jenny: what do we need to know about anal glands? Too many people "ignore" scooting and don't understand how much of a problem this can become if not cared for.
  6. Laura: how can you tell if your cat isn’t in as good health as he/she should be? Cats don’t often tell us they are sick but there must be some signs that we might not notice as lay people that are important.

Click on the link below to hear the audio:

Laura Bennett Dr Patrick Mahaney Pet Health 2014

Related Posts 
April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: We Miss the Cats
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney talks on maximizing your pet's overall health

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney

Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2014 through Havenhurst Books



Guest Post: We Miss the Cats

We miss the cats…

Cats are unique in so many ways. Cats are an enigma. Cats appear so independent. They take care of themselves.

Dogs are just out there. What you see is what you get. Dogs are needier then cats. You often know day one when your dog is sick (my wife says dogs are like guys, I don’t see it). Dogs also are more specific in the signs and they show us where they hurt. 

Not cats! Are ya kiddin' me?! Cats are the great pretenders and compensators. This is a survival instinct.  If cats would show illness in the wild, they would be the first to be preyed upon. They will hide an illness until the last minute and they are rarely specific in their ailments, so when they do come in, they come in with what I call “sick cat syndrome”. Cats can really be a diagnostic challenge.

One of the big concerns in veterinary medicine is the decrease in cat visit to vets across the country.  People figure since the cat does not go out, why do they need to go to the vet? What possibly could inside cats get and how do they get sick living their cushy life inside?  Some cats, I know, are a pain in the rear end to get in the carrier to get them to the vet. But if you plan, you can make it a lot easier (here are some tips to help). They work.

Well… I will tell you why your cat needs a yearly exam, whether he gets vaccines or not. It is hard for owners to really gauge when a cat is losing weight. You see them every day. We weigh each animal we see, every time they come in. So what’s the big deal if my cat loses a pound since last year?  Well that is 10% of it’s body weight. It is like the average person losing 15 to 20 pounds.  We always hear a dog’s year is 7 human years. I would say for cat’s it is more like 5 years. A lot can change in 5 years. 

Causes in weight loss can be a myriad of things. Some of the most common are diabetes, hyperthyroidism, and kidney disease. All of these can be treated if caught early. 

One veterinary expert on cat diabetes, Dr Rand, estimates 90% of diabetic cats will not need long-term insulin, if caught early enough. 

Hyperthyroidism, a disease where the thyroid produces too much hormone, can be treated with a medication you rub in the inside of the ear. How easy is that! Kidney disease often can be managed with special foods if caught early. 

Cats are so easy to palpate, or feel.  Palpation of the abdomen by your vet, will easily tell your vet the size and shape of the internal organs, and it anything is there that shouldn’t be there. We often need to do blood work to see what is going inside of your pet as well.

Instead of regular visits, too often, we see cats in advanced stages of disease that treatment will not help; they have hidden their condition too long. Cats will use all of their nine lives before they will show signs of illness.

The take-home I want to impress upon you is your cat really does need to be examined yearly, even if you don’t see anything wrong, because the cat might just be hiding something from you.

Have you booked your annual appointment yet?

Related Posts 
April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: We Miss the Cats

Other posts by Dr Riggs

 


Dr_RiggsDr. Rex Riggs grew up in Wadsworth, Ohio, near Akron. Dr Riggs is co-owner of Best Friends Veterinary Hospital in Powell, Ohio. He is also on the board of the North Central Region of Canine Companions of Independence, a board member of The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Society and Small Animal Practitioner Advancement Board at The Ohio State College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Riggs lives in Lewis Center, OH with his wife Nancy, their dogs Maggie and Ossa, and cat Franklin. Outside of work, Dr. Riggs is an avid golfer and cyclist, and enjoys travel and photography.



April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Even though you might have pet insurance to protect against costs from unexpected health events, the ideal situation is that your pet has no unexpected health events at all. Wouldn't that be nice?

To that effect, we're focusing this month on overall pet health and preventing health events as best we can.

And while we are talking of pet health this month, here are some excellent articles on the Embrace pet health site, The Water Bowl

And here's one final one for some Easter fun with your dog:

What do you do to keep your pet healthy? Is there any one thing you think has the most effect? 

 





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