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Too Much Love?

Valentine's Day is a time to show our love to those dear to us, including those furry, four-legged members of our families. A box of chocolates is a traditional Valentine's Day gift, and while sweets for your sweet is a nice idea, it's not good to leave the box where your pet has access to it. If you’re sharing Valentine’s Day with your pet, the loving thing to do is to keep the chocolate out of harm’s way.

Can we love our pets too much? If we are showing our love in the form of too much food, then we may actually be harming them with too much love. Obesity or being over weight is perhaps the single most common preventable veterinary medical issue seen in modern dogs and cats. The main reason is too many calories and not enough exercise. Feeding our pet more than is required to maintain good body condition is a start on the road to obesity. A pet in good condition will have ribs that are not visible but are easily felt. We should feel a light cover of body fat under the skin and the rib cage should be wider than the abdomen.

Obesity can lead to a host of health problems: shortened life expectancy; more veterinary costs; greater susceptibility to disease and injury; increased anesthetic and surgical risk; longer recovery after surgery or illness; increased pressure on internal organs; increased blood pressure; shortness of breath ; greater risk of heat stroke; contributes to heart, lung and skeletal problems; increased risk of diabetes, liver and kidney problems; lower fertility, difficult birthing and poor lactation; decreased ability to exercise, play and enjoy life.

Prevention is the best medicine but if we have a pet that should reduce, don't delay, start today. Make a commitment and be firm; have medical conditions attended to; feed less per feeding but more often (two small meals a day as opposed to one larger meal); create good eating habits by feeding at regularly scheduled times; don't forget about protein, vitamins and minerals; reduce fat and empty calorie foods; give love by attention not as food; increase physical activity (exercise and play).

Remember this is all in our pet's best interest. There is no question a leaner pet is a healthier pet. Once the desired body condition is reached feed only enough to maintain this condition. Because our pets are totally dependent on us, it is our responsibility to monitor their body condition and to feed accordingly.

There's something in a simple hug that always warms the heart;
It welcomes us back home and makes it easier to part.
A hug's a way to share the joy and sad times we go through,
Or just a way for friends to say they like you 'cause you're you.
Hugs are meant for anyone for whom we really care,
From your grandma to your neighbor, or a cuddly teddy bear.
A hug is an amazing thing - it's just the perfect way
To show the love we're feeling but can't find the words to say.
It's funny how a little hug makes everyone feel good;
In every place and language, it's always understood.
And hugs don't need new equipment, special batteries or parts -
Just open up your arms, and open up your hearts.


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Pets Are GemsJANUARY: Happy New YearFEBRUARY: Happy Valentine's Day
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