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Monthly Barker

January, 2020

Healthy Habits For the New Year

The third week of January is Healthy Weight Week. Many of us have already resolved to get into some good diet and exercise habits for 2020. But this would also be a perfect occasion to take a closer look at our pets and make sure they are at a healthy weight. In a 2018 clinical survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 55.8% of dogs and 59.5% of cats were classified as clinically overweight. Carrying extra fat can be dangerous for your pets and may lead to significant medical issues including diabetes mellitus, cardiorespiratory problems, osteoarthritis, constipation, dermatitis and lower life expectancy.

Overeating and Overfeeding

Giving pets access to too much food is one of the biggest contributing factors to obesity. Many pet owners make subjective or emotional decisions when it comes to how much or how often to feed their fur kids. Some people also like to free-feed their pets using a large bowl or auto-feeder to provide food throughout the day. While this works great for some households it is not an ideal solution for all animals. Those who are free-feeding should closely monitor all of their animals to be sure they are eating in moderation and that there is no noticeable weight gain.

The best approach for those worried about their pet's weight is to have scheduled feeding times. Be sure to choose a food that is made for their weight and size and make sure you follow instructions on recommended portions. Sometimes your veterinarian may suggest a specific diet for them as well. Also try feeding them foods with healthy ingredients and limit their treats as they can be fattening if given in excess.

Lack of Exercise

Low activity levels also have a direct link to pet obesity, Regular exercise or play sessions can be very helpful in preventing loss of lean body mass while keeping your pet's weight down. It is best to start with small changes in their activity level at first and build up from there.

For dogs, it is recommended that you give them at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day. Regular walks or tossing a ball or Frisbee in the back yard are great ways to keep your dog active and healthy. With cats, it is suggested that you give them three 5-minute sessions of intense play per day. Wands, string toys or motorized toys are good options. Special feeding trays that make them "work" for their food will keep them moving even while they eat.

Keep in mind that any exercise program must be tailored to your individual pets so age, physical limitations or medical conditions must be taken into account.

Evaluating Your Pet

Here are some tips for examining your pet's weight at home:

  • Run your fingers lightly on the side of their chest area. You should be able to feel their ribs but not see them.
  • Stand directly above their body and examine the shape. Look for an hourglass shape with indentation toward the midsection. A blimp or football shape is a sign of obesity.
  • Examine them from the side. The tummy should slope upward. An abdomen that hangs low to the ground is an indication of abdominal fat which is considered the most dangerous kind to have.

If unsure, you can always schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Some vet offices are equipped with a special instrument called a body condition scale which able to measure your pet's mass. They also have a lot of experience with overweight animals and will be happy to give you advice and guidance and answer any questions you might have.

When it comes to keeping your pet fit and healthy, knowledge is power. Careful research, watchfulness and adherence to a regular diet and exercise routine are the keys to keeping your pet's weight in check and ensuring many more happy years with them!

Did you know...
When playing with female puppies, male puppies will often let them win, even if they have a physical advantage.
We hope everyone enjoyed their New Year's Eve celebrations! We went to see the annual Villa Rica Nugget Drop and had an awesome night as the very talented Band of Gold helped bring us into 2020! We look forward to a great New Year and hope you have one as well!
We hope all of you had a fantastic holiday season! Here's to a great 2020!
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Pet Calendar

January 14: National Dress Up Your Pet Day

January 16: Martin Luther King Day

Third week of January: Healthy Weight Week (write about your pet and his or her healthy weight)

January 21: National Squirrel Appreciation Day

January 22: National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day

January 24: Change a Pet’s Life Day

January 29: Seeing Eye Guide Dog Birthday

Pet of the Month

Our Pet of the Month for January is Gracie! This tiny, adorable senior tabby is very sociable and always has lots to tell us. She has many interests but her favorite hobby is eating (being cuddled and petted comes a close second)

Dogs Allowed!


Great news for dog owners in Douglasville! You can now bring your pups to city parks:


The Mayor and City Council recently approved a change to their Animals Ordinance that will allow dog owners to bring their K-9 companion to city parks.
“I am thrilled that we are now allowing dogs in our parks,” Mayor Rochelle Robinson said. “I hear from residents so often that we need dog parks in the city. We now have multiple parks they can bring their furry family members to play.”

Read the rest of the article:

Dogs Now Allowed at Douglasville City Parks

Spinach, Carrot and Zucchini Dog Treats

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour, or more, as needed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
  • 1 zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup baby spinach, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat pumpkin puree, peanut butter and eggs on medium-high until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Gradually add old fashioned oats and 2 1/2 cups flour at low speed, beating just until incorporated. Add an additional 1/4 cup flour at a time just until the dough is no longer sticky. Add carrot, zucchini and spinach, beating just until incorporated.
  4. Working on a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3-4 times until it comes together. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Place into oven and bake until the edges are golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.*
  6. Let cool completely.

In Memoriam

Remembering our dear friends who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge
“Love the animals: God has given them the rudiments of thought and joy untroubled”

~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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