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Monday, Feb. 26, 2018

To Treat or Not to Treat?

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That is the question

You don’t have to look far to fi nd a pet-lover in Shreveport-Bossier.
From the popularity of the newly completed dog park, to the bustling traffi c at Petco, to the community support of Robinson’s Rescue, locals love their animals. And for good reason – a study done by Psychology Today revealed that out of 217 community members, pet owners exhibited greater self-esteem, were more physically fi t, less lonely, more conscientious, socially outgoing, and had healthier relationship styles than non-pet owners.

Our pets bring joy to our lives, so it’s important that we take good care of them in return. It’s crucial that pet-owners know how to keep their furry friends healthy. Signs of a medical problem in your pet includes loss of appetite, drinking an excessive amount of water, fatigue, strange lumps, rapid weight gain or weight loss and otherwise strange behavior. If your pet exhibits any of the above symptoms, take it to the vet for a check-up. Unfortunately, it’s all too common for pet-owners to think they’re giving their animals a treat, but are actually potentially harming them.
According to a 2015 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight. Sometimes, it’s better not to give that treat and provide healthy, weight-appropriate food instead.
To evaluate whether or not your pet is in a healthy weight range, try the following tips: 1. Feel your pet’s ribs. Can you feel the bones, or do you have to mash to try to fi nd them? 2. Is your pet’s stomach sagging or tucked in? If you can grab fat, that’s a bad sign.3. Evaluate your pet from a bird’s eye view. Do they have a waist? If their back is fl at and wide, they are likely overweight.
Of course, it’s ok to give your pets treats in moderation. Talk to your vet about a diet plan for your pet if you are concerned about their weight or general health. Another treat to be careful with are various bone treats, which are packaged for sale as dog treats, including “ham bones,” “pork bones,” “rib bones” and “smoky knuckle bones.” Dogs who consumed these bone treats were often reported with choking, diarrhea, vomiting, gastrointestinal blockage, bleeding and even death. Also, remember that dogs never need to consume chicken bones or other bones from the table because they splinter and can easily cause internal issues.
Another important element to pet health is spaying/neutering. Dr. Andrea Master Everson, president and medical director for Robinson’s Rescue, strongly encourages pet-owners to spay or neuter their pets.

“Spaying/neutering is the most humane, effective means of decreasing pet overpopulation,” Everson said. “It’s the mission of Robinson’s Rescue to decrease our community’s pet overpopulation problem. Even further, spaying/neutering your pets not only benefi ts our community, but also benefi ts you and your cat or dog. Fixing your pet can decrease their risk of diseases that are expensive to treat. In addition, pets that are spayed/neutered have decreased or zero risk of certain types of cancer.

On top of that, animals that have been spayed/neutered are also less likely to roam or get into fi ghts, and make better companions because they are not motivated to wander in search of a mate.”Concerned pet owners can relax – the spay/neutering process isn’t hard on your pet. “The healing process usually takes 10-14 days,” Everson said. “During this recovery time, it is very important that you keep a close eye on your pet and prevent them from running, jumping, playing, swimming or other strenuous activity. ”Everson advises that for 10 to 14 days following surgery, pets be kept indoors, where they can stay clean and dry. They are not to be bathed during their recovery period. “We tell pet owners to check their pet’s incision twice each day,” Everson said. “The incision should look the same as when they left our clinic.”Everson also encourages those plan-ning to get a pet to consider adoption or rescue, rather than purchasing. “Our shelters have the most loving ani-mals in all differ-ent sizes, ages, shapes and col-ors,” Everson said. “It’s won-derful to rescue an animal be-cause you are saving their life and giving them the loving home and companionship they de-serve!”


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