44 Rankeilor Street
Dunedin South, New Zealand, 9012
Phone: 03 456 2345
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With winter on the way out it is that time of year again when we may feel the need to battle the bulge. This may be true for us humans but it is also true, alas for our pets. Many of our pets are now overweight or even obese and this is not just winter weight but a year round problem.

According to a recent article in The Wellingtonian “A quarter of kiwi moggies” are overweight* This is a frightening statistic and a problem that does not only affect cats but also dogs.

Being overweight can make your pet lethargic and unwilling to play or go for walks but can also contribute to some serious health problems such as diabetes and joint disease (arthritis).

At Humanimals we care about your pet and believe that a slim pet is a happy pet. We can create a diet tailor made for your animal and be with you every step of the way with regular weigh-ins and chats just like any other weight loss clinic.

If you are concerned about your pet’s weight and wish to discuss this further then please get in touch and one of our team will happily answer any questions and get your pet started on their weight loss journey.


Contents of this newsletter

01  Personalised Food Scoop to Encourage Weight Loss

02  Dogs, noise phobias and fireworks

03  Puppy enjoys a snack

04  Is my pet overweight?

05  Pet calorie counter

06  Am I exercising my dog enough?

07  How to get your cat to lose weight

01 Personalised Food Scoop to Encourage Weight Loss

The most important part of a slimming diet is measuring the amount of food offered to your pet. Using a measuring cup it is too easy to serve in whole cupful quantities, and difficult to accurately measure ½ a cupful. Follow these directions to make a measuring scoop specific to the needs of your pet.

Take a washed and dried milk bottle
Add the amount of food you currently feed your pet
And turn the bottle upside down
Cut the base off the bottle to make your scoop

To consistently feed less food trim off a little of the bottle. Always use this scoop to measure out your pet’s food. If you need to feed more, start again and cut the bottle a little taller. If you need to feed even less just trim more off the scoop.

02 Dogs, noise phobias and fireworks
Fireworks reminder card FINAL 1

It’s that time of year again! Time to get thinking about the effect of loud noises on your pets, and time to get organised before November 5th!

The popularity of fireworks has increased in recent years and now fireworks can be set off at any time of the year, to celebrate birthdays or weddings as well as religious celebrations and various ‘New Years’. Fireworks can be a real problem though for our dogs.

Fireworks season can be difficult for dogs with a sound sensitivity; their anxiety levels rise in anticipation of fireworks as they can associate changes in seasons with an event.  As dogs will start to become increasingly anxious about fireworks well before November 5, we need to start thinking and planning for this annual event in advance.

There are a few fundamentals that you can prepare in advance which will help your dog through a stressful event such as fireworks or parties.

Provide a den - An important step is to ensure your dog has a safe haven or den to retreat to; an area that they feel secure in. Ideally this should be in an internal room that is easily accessible and away from windows.

Adaptil - The use of Adaptil® (a synthetic copy of the dog appeasing pheromone) has been shown to reduce anxiety and help dogs cope with challenging situations, including firework events, as demonstrated in many scientific studies.   Also available for cats is Feliway.

The fireworks season can be a difficult time of year for many adult dogs and cats. The good news is that there are many options and tools available and we can make a real difference for our companions.  There are a lot of ways you can help with your dogs and cats through anxious times and stressful events.  Come and see us for latest advice and information.

03 Puppy enjoys a snack

This month's newsletter focuses on the 'weighty issues' and if your pet is a little portly we've got some great tips on how to prevent and fight obesity. 

We thought we'd share a funny video to get things rolling so here's a cute French bulldog puppy enjoying a healthy snack! We do think he might have bitten off more than he can chew...

We often get asked if it's okay for dogs to eat watermelon. The flesh is fine but it's best you don't let your pooch eat the seeds or the skin as these can cause a gastric upset and even an obstruction. 

Click here to watch out video of the month! 

04 Is my pet overweight?

When it comes to your pet, you might think carrying a few extra kilos isn't a big deal. Think again. Overweight pets are at an increased risk of arthritis, heart disease, respiratory disorders and diabetes. What is alarming is that that most people aren’t even aware that their pet is a bit portly.

The best way to tell if you pet is overweight is to take a closer look at them!

When you peer down from above, your pet will have lost definition of his waist. Instead of an hourglass figure he might look a bit round and may even resemble a barrel on legs. You might also have a bit of trouble feeling his ribs when you run your hands over his sides.

A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy as well as fat deposits over the hips.

If you are worried about your pet's weight, we recommend that you drop in for a weight check with us. We will assess and discuss with you your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight loss plan.

The best news is that getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think! Exercise will help but it is absolutely crucial you are feeding your pet the correct diet and the right amount. There are even diets available that will actually increase your pet’s metabolic rate to help your pet lose weight. 

We are always happy to help you out in this department and are the best people to ask for more information.

05 Pet calorie counter

It's easy to overdo the treats at home and you might not be aware just how much of an impact these treats are having on your pet's weight. 

Keep this calorie translator in mind when you are having trouble saying ‘no’ to those adorable eyes!

For the average 5kg cat:

  • A 30g piece of cheese is equivalent to a human eating 2.5 hamburgers
  • One potato chip is equivalent to a human eating ½ a hamburger 
  • A glass of milk is equivalent to an human eating 3 hamburgers! (plus cats can't digest the lactose in cow's milk)

For the 10kg dog:

  • A 30g piece of cheese is equivalent to a human eating 1.5 hamburgers
  • A sweet biscuit is equivalent to a human eating 1 hamburger 
  • One sausage is equivalent to a human eating 2.5 hamburgers!

We have plenty of pet friendly treats available that are light on calories so drop in and ask us for a recommendation. 

06 Am I exercising my dog enough?

When you think about it, our companion dogs have a pretty good deal. They get their food delivered in a bowl and are able to lounge on the couch or lie out on the lawn most of the day. This way of life can unfortunately lead to weight gain and boredom so it's a good idea to check in regularly and ask yourself, "Is my dog getting enough exercise?"

Many pet owners assume that if their dog has access to a yard, she’s getting enough exercise. But dogs generally aren't that good at running laps by themselves and it's the interaction with you that makes all the difference.

The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on her breed, size, age and the condition of her health. Arthritis, heart and respiratory conditions can all be exacerbated by incorrect levels of exercise so it's a good idea to arrange a check up with us before you embark on any new exercise regimes with your pet.

As a general rule, dogs need 60 minutes of exercise daily. Split this in to morning and evening sessions for mental stimulation and to break up the day.

Our top tips:

  • Socialise with other dogs - this is a great way to stimulate your dog's mind and burn some energy. You might make some new friends too! 
  • Try to exercise your dog’s brain. Inspire her with food puzzle toys, hunting for dinner, obedience training and chew toys.
  • Play games that make your dog run around such as fetch or hide-and-seek. But avoid repetitive ball chasing as this can wear out your dog's joints and lead to painful arthritis later in life.

Always ask us if you have any questions about exercising your dog.

07 How to get your cat to lose weight

If your cat has snuck on some extra kilos over the winter months, here are some ideas to help get him moving and losing.

  • The most important tip is to make sure he is eating the best weight loss diet and the correct amount. Ask us for the best diet recommendation for your cat. 
  • Separate food and water bowls so your cat has to get up and burn energy to get from one to the other. Using the vertical space works well here.
  • For indoor cats, if possible, think about installing a cat run out of a window and down one side of your house.
  • Invest in a laser pointer and start playing! Even the laziest of cats will find these hard to resist.
  • Play hide and seek. Place your cat's food around the house and make him work hard for his dinner!

Please ask us if you have any questions about managing your cat's weight. We are always happy to help so phone us or drop in for a chat today.