When puppy fat becomes a problem

When puppy fat becomes a problem

Excess weight in pets can decrease their life expectancy by up to two-and-a-half-years. Picture: Supplied

You may think your dog has a little “puppy fat” or that your cuddly cat is just the cutest thing, but for pets, even carrying a little extra weight can have huge health implications. 

It’s important to be aware of your pet’s weight, as proper growth and weight can help prevent many diseases and disorders associated with obesity, as well as growth-related skeletal disease – extending their lives, making them more comfortable, and delivering massive savings on veterinary bills.

Worldwide, obesity is a massive health problem for humans

According to the World Health Organisation, 39 percent of adults are overweight. In South Africa some studies indicate that almost 70 percent of women and 39 percent of men are overweight or obese. Sadly this trend extends to our pets too – South African vets say that more than 50 percent of pets they treat are overweight or obese.

Love is blind

9 out of 10 pet parents of overweight pets mistakenly identify their pet’s weight as normal. This is widely referred to as the “Fat Gap” and is a key factor in the pet obesity epidemic. Pet obesity is a serious health risk and sadly 92% of pet parents don’t see it that way. 30 percent of pet parents don’t check their pet’s weight, but the reality is that they just don’t see that their pets are overweight.

Pet obesity is the number one health risk pets face

Excess weight in pets can decrease their life expectancy by up to two-and-a-half-years, putting them at a higher risk of disease. Pet obesity has been linked to more than 20 ailments, including arthritis, urinary conditions, skin problems, heart disease and cancer. 

“If you think fat pets are happier, think again – overweight pets have been shown to be less happy,” says Dr Guy Fyvie, nutritional advisor for Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa.

Visible signs that your pet may be overweight include not being able to feel their ribs anymore; loss of a discernible waist; pads of fat over their hips and base of their tail; a ‘waddle’ rather than a ‘walk’; difficulty moving; overheating; shortness of breath and bad temper.

Pet parents’ behaviour often plays a major role in their animals being overweight “Treating our loved ones with food is a way we can show them how much we love them. It’s part of our culture and tradition,” says Carla Bath, marketing manager at Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa. 

“But that shared stick of dry wors reflects the emotional part that makes obesity a complex condition that’s tough to beat.”

The right food can help

Sticking to a diet is difficult; much like it is for humans. But cutting your pet’s portion sizes or restricting calories is not going to help. Rather feed your pet a food like Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic, based on the science of nutrigenomics, that’s ignites the metabolism of your overweight pet to work like that of a lean pet.

Source: IOL



Drive to microchip pets this Guy Fawkes

Drive to microchip pets this Guy Fawkes - images

THE Animal Welfare Society, in partnership with Identipet, are running a campaign to microchip pets so owners can be tracked should their pets go missing. Picture: Tracey Adams African News Agency (ANA)

The feeling of having your beloved pet go missing is harrowing and, with Guy Fawkes just around the corner, it is even more daunting. To help alleviate the stress of losing your pet The Animal Welfare Society of South Africa (AWS SA) with Identipet will be running a mass pet microchipping drive open to all pet owners between October 15 and November 4.

“Thanks to this preferential deal (with Identipet) we are able to offer the service for a mere R100 per pet. This represents a meaningful saving and will be of benefit for the lifespan of the pet. The process is quick and painless and we have decided to run the campaign on a first come first served basis. The actual microchip is roughly the size of a grain of rice or smaller and suitable for all pets, not only cats and dogs” said Allan Perrins, spokesperson for AWS SA.

The campaign will be run from its headquarters in Papkuilsvlei Road, Philippi, and the microchips will be professionally inserted by para-veterinary personnel.

“Too many revellers ignore the law and are completely indifferent regarding the negative effects of letting off fireworks especially in residential areas resulting in what can best be described as a mass pet panic. All pets – not only dogs – are terrified of fireworks, especially loud crackers. A dog’s hearing is reportedly seven times more acute than that of a person so the sound of a cracker is significantly amplified, causing them immense distress and often triggering their instinctive flight reaction sometimes with fatal consequences as they try to escape the perceived or even real danger,” said Perrins.

The injuries sustained are often severe and life-threatening. He said the welfare had seen and treated dogs with horrific injuries who had jumped through window panes, been involved in motor vehicle accidents, become impaled on fence posts and worse. “Many pets simply engage their flight mode and run and keep on running and in the process get lost and injured.”

Angela O’Neale from Identipet explained with the chip it would be easy to source the owner of the lost pet because of the managed database. Owners are immediately informed via SMS when their pet’s microchip is scanned at a vet or welfare organisation. An anti-migration cap is also fitted to ensure the chip does not move from the site of the implant. The Identipet app lets owners update their details should they move.

The motivation for the campaign is because many pets have no, inadequate or unreliable identification which severely hampers the lost and found department process and the massive increase in the number of stray animals admitted over the Guy Fawkes period and New Year and this year they are determined to pro-actively reduce the number.

“We felt that we had to do something to mitigate this untenable situation which seems to get worse, not better with every Guy Fawkes. We subsequently decided to approach Identipet to see if they would be willing to partner with us and are delighted to confirm their participation and willingness to drastically rebate the cost price of their microchips,” said Perrins.

Since the partnership, the welfare organisation has microchipped tiny hamsters and a wide variety of pets other than cats and dogs.

TEARS Animal Rescue’s Leone Gradidge said there is a definite increase in the number of animals that are brought in lost during Guy Fawkes and microchips “are very safe for pets and once they are registered on the database it becomes easier to find their owners”.

Source: IOL



Diabetes in Dogs – all you need to know

Diabetes in dogs - image

As is the case with humans, diabetes in canines is a manageable disease. With the appropriate lifestyle changes such as dietary control, exercise and effective treatment, your dog’s quality of life can be significantly enhanced, restoring their activity levels and contributing to their overall sense of well-being.


Diabetes mellitus in dogs is categorised under Type 1 and Type 2, where the former is an insulin deficiency while the latter is marked by insulin resistance. The primary cause of Type 1 diabetes in canines is associated with pancreatitis, a condition that leads to damaging of the cells responsible for producing insulin in the pancreas. Research indicates that certain dog breeds such as Samoyeds and Keeshonds have a higher likelihood of developing Type 1 diabetes.

The causes of Type 2 diabetes in canines are similar to that of humans and are associated with obesity, Cushing’s disease and the use of steroid medications. Female dogs which have not been spayed also have a higher susceptibility to Type 2 diabetes.


Symptoms of diabetes in canines start to emerge gradually. Dogs with high glucose levels urinate excessively and in large quantities which leads to dehydration and thirst. Other signs that are linked to diabetes are:

  • accidental urination
  • painful or bloody urination
  • smelly urination
  • glaucoma leading to loss of vision
  • too much licking of the genitals
  • increased appetite
  • weight loss


Fortunately, the diagnostic procedure for canine diabetes is straightforward as veterinarians will be able to provide an initial diagnosis based on the emergence of the abovementioned symptoms. Diabetes mellitus is a condition which leads to the accumulation of unprocessed sugars in the blood stream when they cannot be properly metabolised by the body. This is known as “hyperglycemia”. Accordingly, “glycosuria” defines the traces of this component which are found in the urine. Blood and urine tests can be administered to check whether your pet has diabetes. These tests will usually require your pet to fast for a specific period.


If the diagnosis for diabetes is positive, the pooch’s blood sugar levels will have to be determined over a 12–24hour period to develop a “curve”. The dog will most likely have to stay overnight so that the vet can assess the curve in relation to their feeding and insulin injection times, thereby establishing a control against which to compare blood sugar levels in the future.

The treatment plan for the disease depends on its category. Canines with Type 1 diabetes need insulin following each meal, making it necessary for pet parents to learn how to administer insulin successfully. A vet will prescribe the dosage and type of insulin based on the dog’s condition. Associated symptoms may reappear or deteriorate over time needing the vet to re-adjust the insulin dosages accordingly. This may take months to come up with the most effective treatment plan owing to the vast availability of various types of insulin for your dog’s specific age, size, gender, and activity level, particularly if the disease in still in the early stages. Dogs with non-insulin dependent or Type 2 diabetes maybe prescribed medications in addition to the injections.


Managing diabetes takes a considerable amount of attention to detail. Besides giving your dog their insulin injection, you are also required to track their blood glucose levels, twice daily at a minimum. This entails pricking your pooch’s ear for a small sample of blood with a glucometer. Pet owners are advised to immediately contact their veterinarian if their pet’s blood sugar levels drop to extremely low levels.

If diabetes has emerged because of obesity, an effective dietary plan that is high in fibre can assist in managing the condition. A consistent and realistic exercise plan should also be integrated in your dog’s daily routine to keep their weight under control.

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson



A Taste of New-Age Kennels

taste new-age kennels - image

Your Pets’ Home Away from Home

Excitement looms as your holiday or business trip draws to a near, but with that comes an overwhelming sense of anxiety as you worry about what to do with your treasured pet whilst you’re gone. Luckily, pet kenneling has come a long way since the times of cold, sterile spaces that kept our angels locked up in menial steel cages and concrete runs, with lack of human affection and socialisation with their fellow furry counterparts for weeks at a time. Some kennels may still follow this model, but there is a plethora of modern pet boarding facilities available that seem to outperform even a pet parent’s highest expectations.

With the vast choices available nowadays, it can be quite overwhelming to make a decision, so we’ve put together for you some tips on what to look for in a boarding facility as well as a few options around South Africa that come highly recommended by our Infurmation followers and veterinarians.

Pros of New Age Pet Boarding

  • Most are comparable to pet hotels offering superior services and comforts for your fur baby.
  • They are run by professional and accomplished staff members who are animal lovers themselves and are qualified to deal with different breeds, personalities and training.
  • They provide round-the-clock care and supervision for your pet, which also means you can call to check in at any time of the day or night.
  • They offer an environment similar to that of which your pet is accustomed.
  • They provide bespoke services such as considering dietary requirements, treats, medication, adhering to specific routines, interacting with and exercising your fur child as per your unique instructions.
  • They are responsible with regards to their acceptance policies. They usually require an initial interview with the pet and owners prior to boarding to assess that the pet’s personality and behavioural traits are well-suited to their facility. For example, if the pooch in question exhibits aggressive tendencies, they will likely be turned away as the facility doesn’t want to risk any injuries or harm to other pets or staff members on the premises. Similarly, pets not up-to-date with vaccinations and proof thereof, will be refused acceptance to prevent the risk of spreading or contracting an illness.
  • They give pet parents peace of mind, knowing they are enclosed within a secured area and if they do slip past a staff member on duty, they are still fenced in by an outer wall.
  • Most reputable new age boarding homes offer grooming and training services as well as daily socialisation sessions with fellow fur boarders and humans. This alleviates their anxiety levels and stimulates them physically and mentally, preventing any chance of them becoming bored and potentially destructive.
  • Although the new environment may be unsettling at first, reputable boarding homes will offer specially designed daily routines, quality food, regular exercise and a warm, cosy place to sleep that will have your fur child feeling right at home in no time.

 Cons of New Age Pet Boarding

  • Being able to trust another person to care for your fuzzy friend on the same level as you do, is a challenging bridge to cross but with thorough research on your part along with positive recommendations from friends, family and social media groups, you are bound to find a reputable, temporary option for your loved one. Animal lovers are exceptionally passionate, honest and verbal about service experiences concerning their fur children, so be sure to check the comments section before making a decision on a facility.
  • While most boarding homes insist that all boarders have proof of up-to-date vaccinations, the risk of your pet contracting an illness in a boarding home is sometimes unavoidable. Kennel cough is highly contagious and typically occurs in a gathering of dogs so ensure your pooch is immunised against it.
  • Not all pets are suited to a boarding setting and would fare better in their familiar home environment. Take their personality into consideration. As their parent, you will know what is best for them.
  • Boarding facilities, especially top of the range ones, cost a pretty penny but you can weigh up the cost-benefit ratio of having a friend or relative pop in and check on your pet every now again, which will obviously be far less costly, but consider if this is right alternative for your pet.

Criteria to Consider

With such a selection out there, it’s best to ask for recommendations from either your veterinarian, reputable animal trainers or someone who’s experienced the facility first-hand. If you are unable to source reliable references, consider the following questions:

  • Is the facility in possession of a valid certification, accreditation, quality assurance or awards?
  • Acquire references of people who have previously used the facility and give them a call for honest feedback.
  • Inspect the kennel in person and don’t be shy to ask as many questions that come to mind as your fur baby’s wellbeing is at stake here.
  • Inspect the facilities where pets are housed. Are they well ventilated, clean and welcoming? Is water readily accessible? Are the facilities weather resistant? Is there a good proportion of shade and sun? Is there ample space for them to comfortably stretch their legs in and if they wish, stand up on their hind limbs?
  • Is there a large exercise area with grass and enough space for them to run around in?
  • How often do they get to run around versus staying in their cage?
  • Is there 24-hours security and pet supervision?
  • Are the staff friendly, well mannered and presented? How do they interact with the pets that are currently boarding there? Are the number of staff members sufficient for the number of pets accommodated at one time?
  • Is there an on-site or nearby animal medical facility in case of an emergency?
  • Enquire about additional charges, such as walks, play time or special dietary requirements your pet may need.

Preparing for your Pet’s Stay

  • Pack any medications your pet is currently taking with written instructions of dosages and administration thereof. If your pet is highly strung, bring along some calming pills with instructions. This is especially important over thunderstorm or festive seasons when fireworks are expected.
  • Bring along vaccination records and any other pertinent medical information that may be required.
  • Pack any items of theirs that will provide them with the comfort of home, such as their favourite toy, blanket or even a shirt with your scent on it.
  • Notify staff members of any habits, fears, likes or dislikes they may have, so they are better understood by their temporary caregivers.
  • Give your bundle of fur a strong dip before their stay to keep ticks and fleas at bay.

Highly-Recommended Pet Boarding Homes Around South Africa

Cape Town


  • Must Love Dogs – Fourways
  • Fluffs-n-Tufts – Bryanston
  • Sandton Cat Lodge – Sandton
  • Puppy Palace Daycare – Parkmore
  • Farm Girls – Chartwell
  • Cattery on the Hill – Rispark
  • Menlyn kennels – Rietfontein – Pretoria

Kwazulu Natal

  • Ralun Kennels and Cattery – Pinetown
  • Paws for Thought – Dolphin Coast

East London

  • Paws and Claws

Port Elizabeth

  • In Good Hands
  • Sardinia Kennels

Please note: While these boarding facilities come highly recommended by fellow pet parents and veterinarians, it’s vital to conduct your own research before entrusting your pet to anyone, regardless of the reviews a facility may have acquired.

Written for inFURmation
by Taliah Williamson




Six problems your dog’s diet could be causing

Six problems dog’s diet causing - image

You’ve played fetch, gone for a walk, dewormed, bought a new comfortable bed, and provided an endless supply of squeaky toys, and your fur-kid still seems a little down, which leaves you with that helpless feeling and no clue what’s wrong with them.

From rumbly tummies to skin allergies and changes in mood and behaviour, not being able to help them feel their best is heart-wrenching. However, half the battle is won if you’re confident that the food you’re feeding them on the daily isn’t the root cause of bringing them down.

Head Behaviourist at Dogtown South Africa, Gordon Banks, offers these helpful tips to better understand how your dog’s food and diet could lead to unwanted conditions:

  1. Unexplained changes in behaviour
    One of the biggest reasons for behavioural changes in dogs comes down to inconsistencies in their diet. To ensure that your beloved fur-child always feels their best, focus on feeding them a scientifically-formulated and balanced food that is nutrient rich and filled with high-quality proteins.

    Do some research on the various dog food offerings out there and stick to a specific, good-quality brand to prevent unexplained behavioural issues.

    “Nutrients in the food need to be balanced and in the correct ratio,” says Banks. “Any changes to a dog’s diet – whether it’s switching to a new brand or adding some home-made extras – can alter the balance of the food, resulting in both physiological and behavioural issues.”

  2. Depression, tiredness and irritability
    If you’ve noticed that your dog has become less playful and energetic, preferring instead to lie around or sleep longer hours, or perhaps even lashing out at you or family members, it’s time to investigate the nutritional content of their food.

    “An excess or deficiency in protein, carbohydrates, and fat content can all be attributing factors in behavioural disorders like depression, lethargy, irritability and aggression,” says Banks. “In addition, physiological disorders like obesity, cardiovascular problems, mobility, joint problems and neurological changes can also be attributed to improper diet.”

  3. Excessive weight gain or loss
    Too much food can cause breathing problems, joint issues and even heart disease, while too little food at meal times not only impacts energy levels but may also result in nutritional deficiencies.

    “It is vital that your dog receives the recommended quantity according to breed, size and activity levels. Not feeding your dog enough can leave them feeling irritable, and excessive feeding is also a contributing factor in unwanted behaviours like depression and aggression.”

    Be sure to check the back of food packaging for recommended daily portions or consult an expert for help. Look for products that mimic the ancestral diet of dogs as closely as possible, as these diets would not have included the quantities and additives found in many of today’s foods.

  4. Destructive chewing and ‘guarding’
    Dogs that chew up everything from your shoes to the living room sofa or tend to ‘growl’ and become territorial of their food are often stressed or even bored.  Stress and boredom are the most common causes of destructive chewing in domestic household dogs, but it could also be the case that they need more food at mealtimes.

    “Most experts recommend feeding adult dogs twice a day to help with their digestion and stabilise their metabolism. Dogs that experience an empty stomach for a large portion of the day will often display these and other adverse behaviours,” Banks says.

  5. Stomach torsion
    Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV), more commonly known as stomach torsion, is when the stomach twists and dilates into itself. This causes excessively bloated tummies in dogs and puts pressure on the internal organs.

    “While feeding dogs just one meal a day in the morning might seem like a good way to get them to burn off the energy during the day, this also places their digestive systems at risk of being ‘overloaded’ with too much food in one serving,” says Banks. “This can lead to an inefficient processing of nutrients in the longer run, which gives them a greater chance of developing a stomach torsion.”

  6. Allergic reactions due to incorrect ingredients
    Animal protein contains essential amino acids required in a good healthy diet. A dog’s digestive system, by nature, is designed to process protein from meat sources rather than from grains, which are known to lead to skin irritation and eczema in canines.

    “Diets that include an excess or unbalanced amount of grain content can place strain on internal organs that are not intended to readily process it, and many allergies – skin related allergies in particular – can be attributed to a high grain content in the diet,” says Banks.

    A balance of protein, vegetables and good fat content is essential for ensuring your dog has the best chance at a healthy, happy life!

When your fur-kids aren’t feeling their best, start by taking a closer look at their diets, and be sure to look at the nutritional information on the pack before deciding which dog food to feed them. Look out for ingredients and related information on protein sources to ensure your pet receives the right amount of nutrients on a daily basis.

Field + Forest for adult dogs and puppies is a complete range of pet nutrition products for pet owners who want to feed their companions the best very that their money can buy. The grain-free signature recipe flavours come in Turkey + Duck, Salmon + Tuna, and Game + Lamb and the Protein Centric, grain-free formulations, contain no less than 60% premium proteins where meat is the primary ingredient for a well-rounded nutritional diet for puppies and adult dogs alike.

Source: Field + Forest



Chain your dog and face a hefty fine, says SPCA

Chain your dog and get a fine says SPCA - Image

Zozo Kayumba of the Durban & Coast SPCA strongly condemns the chaining of animals. He is with two-year-old German Shepherd cross, Junior, that is available for adoption.

Animal abusers could face a R60 000 fine or three years in prison

THE Durban & Coast SPCA has issued a warning to all pet owners to refrain from keeping their dogs chained, or they could face a hefty fine. This comes after an inspector was called out to Rinaldo Road in Glenhills where a Staffie was being chained in the property.

“A warning was issued to the homeowner and scheduled checkups will be done,” said SPCA spokesperson, Lindsey Concer.

She said the owner alleged that the dog was being chained because he would jump over the fence into a neighbour’s yard.

Concer said a person found guilty of animal abuse, according to the Animal Protection Act, could face a R 60 000 fine or three years in prison. The animal activist said dogs are only allowed to be chained temporally, in instances, for example where the property is not properly fenced.

“In these instances the owner needs to use a five metre-long running chain, so that the dog can have freedom to move. The situation needs to be resolved so that the dog can be unchained. It is cruel to keep an animal confined indefinitely,” she said.

What’s more, she said chaining was an extremely common issue in Durban.

“There are many people living in properties where there is no fencing,” she said.

While many people tend to comply after being approached by SPCA inspectors, she said there were some cases that have shocked and outraged staff.

“We have seen cases where the owner did not adjust the collar or chain so it cut into the animal’s skin as it grew, in some cases the skin even grew around the chain. We have even arrived at homes only to find a dead dog at the end of a chain, where a lack of food, water and or shelter took its toll. This is unacceptable,” she said.

An anonymous resident said she was shocked by ‘rampant animal neglect’ in the Glenhills area.

“In the past I have approached residents in the area about chaining their dogs. I know of at least two owners who have done so. Many people also allow their dogs to roam the streets,” she said.

The resident said she had approached the owners and appealed to them to unchain their animals before reporting the issue to the Northglen News.

Source: Northglen News



Feed Your Cat’s Curiosity with WHISKAS® Meaty Nugget Taste Sensation

Whiskas Meaty Nugget - Dry Cat Food - Image

Feed Your Cat’s Curiosity with WHISKAS® Meaty Nugget Taste Sensation 

Cats are happiest when they are able to embrace their curious nature and explore the world around them. As cat owners, it’s our duty to stimulate their enquiring minds and keep them satisfied – and there is no better way to arouse the interest of our fluffy companions than through their food. WHISKAS®, the authorities on cat nutrition, have the following advice:

MIX IT UP: There is a reason dry food is just as important for your cat’s health as wet food. Dry food supports teeth and gums, contains fibre to aid digestive health, as well as protein for growth – essential for cats of all ages.

That’s why WHISKAS® have formulated a dry food range that includes the Meaty Nugget Taste Sensation, which contains a crunchy outer shell and tasty centre.

“Cats love the taste and texture of the Meaty Nugget kibbles available in a range of flavours which include Ocean Fish, Beef, Lamb and Rabbit, Gourmet Meat Platter and Fisherman’s Choice, to name a few,” says Nivashnee Moodley, WHISKAS® Brand Manager. Whiskas are giving away a free gift for your cat to enjoy – all you need to do is click here to apply (stock is limited and T&C’s apply).

IT’S ALL ABOUT BALANCE: It is important to adjust the amount of food given to your cat to align with their level of activity and body condition. As a guideline, dry food should make up one third of their daily calories. Wet food, (such as our pouches) should then make up the other two thirds of their daily calorie intake.

Once your cat has tried the dry WHISKAS® Meaty Nugget Taste Sensation, share how much they love it by posting your comments and pictures to our Facebook page @WhiskasSA using the hashtag #FeedTheirCuriosity.

Source: WHISKAS®

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