Newsletter - February 2011
The News At Home
Tori has a split nail. She’s wearing one of those balloon-looking boots to protect her paw when she goes outside in the snow. She also has a urinary tract infection. Put these two things together and you get a dog that needs to piddle frequently which means the boot goes on and off all day long. It may sound like a pain, but Tori’s found an upside. She’s learned what “ouchy paw” means. I tell her to give me her ouchy paw, and she raises it and waits patiently for the boot to go on. Of course, she gets a treat for letting me do that, so I’m sure you can guess the rest. She comes to me whether she needs to go out or not, raises the injured paw and wags her tail with expectation. It’s not working for her, but it sure is cute.
That said “someone” around here has been caving in because Tori’s back to needing to lose weight. Not an easy feat when she can’t play hard right now, but she doesn’t care. She loves her dad... ahem, I mean “someone”... for many reasons, not least of which is the constant feeding. Basic training of a dog isn’t all that difficult. On the other hand, training a dad to train a dog in a way that doesn’t create havoc can be another matter. Obviously, I don’t have that one down yet.
What’s New at monicasegal.com
Winter can be a tough time of year for dogs with arthritis. This supplement package was put together in an effort to help support your dog’s health while saving you some money. It includes 1) wild salmon oil to help fight inflammation and improve skin and coat quality, 2) Antioxidant Booster which provides ellagic acid and antioxidants, and 3) Joint Complex which has brought much relief to aching joints. Thanks for appreciating this package enough to bring it into our top 10 selling items and for letting us know what your dogs’ reactions have been:
“Five weeks after starting these supplements, our Charlie was able to jump on the couch and go up the stairs.” - Joyce (New York, NY)
“I wanted to tell you that I’ve tried just about everything on the market to help my 14 year old Beagle. Nothing works as well as this combination. Maybe it’s the synergy between them. One thing alone might be ok, but using all 3 things gave me a new dog in less than 2 months. Thank you so much.” - B. Leitz (Minnesota)
“Bless you. Both of our senior dogs think the Antioxidant Booster is delicious (it smells funny to me, but they love it!) They’ve been on all three supplements in your package since the fall. This is the first winter in two years that they play in the snow without limping afterward.” - Linda (Chicago, IL)
“Just want to say thank you for offering this package. We foster dogs and try to get them in the best shape possible. Every single dog showed improvement in just a few weeks. It’s so wonderful to see.” - Martin Chabeau (Quebec, Canada)
Myth of The Month
Dogs need more calories during cold winter months
In most cases, the opposite is true. Unless your indoor dog happens to participate in outdoor duration sporting events during the frigid months, she or he requires the same number of calories (at best) as during the rest of the year. Not only are most dogs less active during this season, but they often end up getting fatter because their owners are chowing down on carbohydrate laden comfort foods, and when the dog gives pleading looks, people tend to share. Throw in a few dark and cold days in which the owner doesn’t want to walk longer than is necessary for the dog to relieve him/herself, and it’s no surprise that so many dogs greet the spring with added girth.
Unfortunately, when a dog needs to lose weight, many people cut back on the volume of food by more than what can be deemed healthy. It’s one thing to cut calories by 10% and quite another to reduce them drastically. Less food translates to fewer nutrients being ingested. While a healthy dog may need fewer calories, his/her nutrient requirements don’t change simply because weight loss is required. We shouldn’t need to take this approach. Indoor activity should continue throughout the winter months, and we may very well have to increase it. For example, tugging games, training for new tricks, chasing toys, and stair climbing can help. Indoor play dates with other dogs usually bring some fun and a workout to the day.
Replace calorie laden treats with small bites of fruit and/or vegetables. Home-made diets that include added fat can usually be pared down by using leaner cuts of meats as long as nutrient requirements continue to be met. Raw diets than include raw meaty bones (RMBs), can be recalculated to include leaner RMBs. Think turkey neck rather than chicken wings, backs or necks. Carbohydrates that are added for the sake of calories can be cut back, but be sure to check the diet against NRC recommended allowances if you go this route. A reduction of any food, including carbohydrates, reduces the vitamin and mineral content of the diet, so you want to be sure that the diet remains balanced. More often than not, adding certain supplements will do this for you if necessary.
Kibble diets are easier to cut back on because most are so well fortified. Look at the feeding instructions on the bag and you’ll see a large variance in the amount that can be fed to a dog of a certain weight. Fresh food diets rarely have that much wiggle room, so we need to be more vigilant about nutrients. After all, we feed this way because we want to take control. This means that we have a responsibility to provide a proper diet that will maintain healthy body weight, but also one that is modified thoughtfully when calories are going to be restricted.
“Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.” - Dave Barry