These days, humans aren't the only ones fighting the battle of the bulge. Really, it’s no joke: More than half of America's pets are overweight. While there is little doubt that these roly-poly companions are cuter than cupcakes, obesity is a medical problem that can seriously affect their health. Chubby pets are at a higher risk of diabetes, liver problems, joint pain—and even heart failure.
Enough said. If you’re the proud parent of a portly pet, it’s time to kick off a diet.
- Cut the Calories. Bottom line: Overweight animals eat more calories than they should. Work with your veterinarian to determine your pet’s caloric requirements and stick to a proper feeding schedule.
- Go easy with the treats—they contain a lot of unnecessary calories. If your pet begs between meals, give him a little extra lovin’, not food.
- Break it up. Instead of one big meal, try feeding your pet several small meals throughout the day. (This will help alleviate some of your guilt, too.)
- Get moving. Nothing burns calories quite like a good game of fetch—except maybe chasing a catnip mouse. Regular exercise burns more calories, reduces appetite, changes body composition and will increase your pet’s resting metabolic rate. Can’t beat that!
Okay, I’ll admit it: It took me a little while to warm up to Twitter. But today, I’m a full-fledged tweeting addict. I use Twitter to see what my friends are doing, catch up on breaking news, share updates with my followers…and, most importantly, help animals!
It’s actually super easy to make a difference for animals through Twitter. Here’s how you do it:
Follow the ASPCA on Twitter First things first, you have to “follow” us. This simple action will bring you the latest updates in animal cruelty news, stellar pet care tips and some of the cutest adoptable animals in town!
Join the conversation! Tweet your opinions! Let the online world know how you feel about animals by retweeting ASPCA posts, twitpics and videos! And don’t forget to include hashtags like #adopt and #ASPCA when talking about animals.
Inspire Others Do you volunteer at your local shelter? Promote spaying and neutering? Boycott the circus? Use Twitter to tell your friends—and ask them to do the same!
Retweet! Retweet! Retweet! Do you like what you’re reading on ASPCA.org? Be sure to tweet it out. Get your friends involved in the fight for animals by asking your followers to take action and retweet, too!
Give a Tweet! Send out a daily tweet dedicated to an adoptable animal every week. It’s a great way to help homeless critters find the forever homes they deserve.
There’s a lot to be done, so let’s get started—join us on Twitter! Can you think of other ways to help animals using this social media tool? Let us know!
The dog days of summer are no joke. The deadly heat wave currently hitting the South and Midwest has already resulted in heat warnings or advisories in many states—and taken the lives of more than a dozen people. The record high temperatures are now spreading to the East Coast.
Pet parents, it’s vital to remember that our companions, like people, can suffer from heat stroke. Please take these simple precautions to help prevent your pet from overheating.
Avoid dehydration by always having fresh, clean water available and lots of shady places where pets can cool off. When the weather’s extremely hot, keep your pets indoors.
Limit exercise to either early in the morning or late in the evening. Before starting your walk, give the sidewalk a test with the palm of your hand. If it’s too hot to touch, it can burn your pet’s footpads and should be avoided.
Bring outdoor pets inside, and give them access to air-conditioned areas of your home. For animals who must remain outside, provide a shady, sheltered place to rest and lots of fresh water in stable containers.
Never leave an animal alone in a parked vehicle. On a hot day, a parked car can become a furnace in no time—even with the windows open—leading to fatal heat stroke within minutes.
Watch out for the following symptoms of overheating: excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Contact a veterinarian right away if you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke.
Every year, thousands of young and healthy Greyhounds are euthanized because they are no longer deemed worthy racers. ASPCA staffer Lauren discusses adopting her Greyhound rescue, Lewis.
When my fiancé, Grant, and I began looking for a dog, we assumed that we would need to narrow our search to smaller breeds because of our NYC lifestyle. Having both grown up in the country, we were partial to larger breeds. On a whim, I searched for large-breed dogs that are suitable for apartment living. Much to our surprise, Greyhounds were the most recommended! It was my understanding that these dogs required extensive exercise, but as it turns out they have two speeds—45mph and sleeping.
The Search Begins For the next three weeks, Grant and I did nothing but research everything Greyhound related! The more we learned, the more we fell in love with the breed. We eventually found a rescue group that served NYC and got in touch with a wonderful volunteer named Linda. Two weeks later, she visited our apartment with a spotted, male Greyhound who had recently retired from the industry. While this gentle giant had some difficulty climbing the stairs to our apartment, once inside he had no problem exploring every inch—all 400 square feet!
Our Boy When Linda left that day, Grant and I looked at each other and without words knew we had found our dog. We called Linda the next day and arranged to pick him up. Being an avid (obsessive) Formula 1 fan, Grant decided to name our new dog Lewis after Lewis Hamilton, the race car driver. Considering his retired profession, I found it quite fitting. When we got Lewis home, he quickly conquered the stairs and felt right at home in our modest Upper East Side apartment.
Today, Lewis is the absolute love of our lives. Because of his size and gentle nature, he has also become a bit of a celebrity in our neighborhood—working his way into the hearts of everyone he meets.
Think it's easy being a Pit? Not always. Pit Bulls are easily the most misunderstood and mistreated breed of dog. At many city shelters, they make up the majority of the canine residents—and often through no fault of their own.
Pits have a reputation for being vicious, and often fall into the wrong home environment because of it. When they don’t live up to their bad rap, many are dumped at the shelter. Despite their unfair reputation, Pit Bulls make very sweet and loyal family dogs. If you’re considering rescuing a Pit, here are some useful guidelines:
Trainwith love. All Pit Bull puppies and adults need gentle, consistent training. Pit Bulls may look tough on the outside, but they’re often extremely sensitive. Harsh training techniques are not appropriate or necessary.
Consider adopting an older Pit Bull. With an adult dog, what you see is what you get. Their personality is already developed, and you'll be able to spot the characteristics you're looking for much more easily than with a puppy.
Please Spay or Neuter. Pit Bulls should be neutered or spayed. In addition to the health and behavioral benefits, neutering or spaying helps reduce the number of unwanted Pit Bulls who end up in shelters.
Take Action Be a Pit Bull ambassador—if you’re the proud parent of a Pit, please share your story in the comments section! For more information on adopting this special breed, visit our Ten Tips for Adopting a Pit Bull.