Teaching a Chubby Kitty New Healthy Habits

Sure, it’s kind of funny to see a chubby cat waddling along – but is it healthy? Modern Cat Magazine shares more.

The image of a fat cat is a classic. Unfortunately, the health repercussions of this excess weight—cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, reduced life expectancy—are no laughing matter. Worse yet, the number of fat cats out there indicates an obesity epidemic. A 2013 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found 57 percent of household cats in the US were overweight or obese.

“Obesity has the greatest collective negative impact on pet health and yet it is almost completely avoidable,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and founder of APOP.

122530930_6e16f1eb5c_oInterestingly, many people don’t even realize their cats are overweight. In a phenomenon referred to as “the fat gap,” cat owners who agreed to have their cats assessed for the APOP study were first asked to classify their cats’ weight. A whopping 88 percent of the cat owners with cats classified as obese initially thought their cat was in the normal weight range. For the sake of our cats’ health, let’s make sure we’re not among them.

Take a clear-eyed look at your cats: could they stand to lose a little weight? If so, read on! We’ve outlined eight fun ways to get your fat cat moving, either by putting food to use or by playing smarter. Option A: Chances are, fat cats are food motivated, so make meal or snack time a workout. Option B: Cats are hunters by nature, so determine your cat’s playing style then get him moving by activating his instinctual need to hunt. Put a few of these tips into action and your chubby cat will lose the extra weight in no time!

Approach A: Put Food to Use
Proper motivation is key here. Fat cats clearly like food, so use it to get them moving!

1. The Meal Time Parade!
First things first—no more free feeding! Your fat cat’s food cannot stay out all day as she is clearly helping herself to more food than is good for her. Now, come dinner time, put your cat’s food in her bowl and walk around your home. If you have stairs all the better! Climb them, carrying your cat’s food. Chances are, she will follow your lead if she’s hungry and you’re carrying supper. Periodically put the bowl down for five seconds or so to let your cat have a taste and keep her with you. Random reward is incredibly motivating.

2. The Great Food Puzzle
There are many different types of interactive feeders and treat puzzles out there that can keep your cat engaged while making her work for her dinner. Interactive feeders/toys get both your cat’s brain and body working. Your cat has to manipulate them, rolling them around to get a treat or piece of dry food, encouraging movement.

3. Treaty Chasey
Get a bag of delish cat treats that are super tiny and super low cal (this is key!). Throw a single treat down a hall for your cat to chase. Do this on repeat, always insisting your cat comes back to you before you throw another so that he has to do the whole run for each treat, and he will get quite the workout without even realizing it! Low-cal cat treat we love: In Clover’s Slim cat treats. These tasty little treats are not just low-calorie, they contain active ingredients like prebiotics to maintain a healthy weight and svelte figure: give your kitty a leg up in the battle of the bulge. Also, be sure to slightly reduce your cat’s dinner portion size so that the treats consumed don’t result in an increase in daily caloric intake.

4. Hide and Go Eat
Secure your cat in another room while her dinner is being prepared then put her bowl in a different place each day before you release her so she has to chase around looking for it. Your cat has a great nose and will surely find her meal, but she will have to work out a little for it!

Approach B: Better Play
A healthy cat is an active cat! Stimulate your cat’s predatory instincts to get him moving.

1. The Magic Wand
There are so many awesome wand toys out there now that you should be able to find one that even the laziest cat will get moving for. Watch how your cat plays in order to pick the right wand toy for your cat. Some cats like to hunt on the ground, preferring toys that skitter along the ground and some like to hunt in the skies and would rather a feathery flier toy to chase (check out the Neko Flies Rod Kittenator in our online store). Personalize your cat’s play to make them want to get up and move.

2. The Bait & Switch
Rotate the selection of toys that your cat has out. On a weekly basis (or even more frequently) take away the toys you have been leaving out for your cat to play with while you are away and put out a different selection to keep his attention. Think new and interesting; the same old gets boring. Making compelling new toys available to your cat encourages active play.

3. The Laser Show
A laser pointer or LED pointer (the latter is safer for your cat’s eyes) can get almost any cat’s attention. And they’re pretty inexpensive and a great tool to help you learn how your cat likes to play, which has carry-over to successfully using other toys to encourage your cat to play. Notice if your cat likes to hunt the laser methodically or would rather chase it around, then focus on that kind of play. Also try tracing the laser up furniture and walls; if your cat follows it, keep going! (Bonus: it’s pretty fun to watch.) Just remember to throw your cat a toy to “kill” at the end of the play. All hunt with no pay off at the end will only end up frustrating your cat.

4. If at First You Don’t Succeed…
Give it to a Friend Not all toys will be a success; what works for a particular cat is a process of trial and error. Set up a deal with a cat-loving friend to trade toys that aren’t a hit in your respective homes. The key to motivating playtime is using what works for your cat!


Pet Travel Safety Tips

Summer is right around the corner, which means road trips to the lake and to the beach. And of course we don’t want to leave anyone out- including our dogs. Here are some traveling safety tips from PetMD

More people are viewing their pets as full-fledged family members and bringing them along on errands or even on road trips.  Over 69% of people take their dogs along in the car for daily errands and 34% report bringing their pets along with them on overnight trips for two nights or more (APPA Survey, 2014). Before you head off on a cross-country road trip or around the corner to the dog park, make sure your pet is comfortable and safe.
Bring Water
Along with your own snacks and drinks, be sure to bring a water bottle and water bowl for your dog too. Dehydration can be a real problem even in colder weather. Dogs tend to pant more in the car, resulting in more dehydration than in their familiar home environment. There are many dog travel bowls available that collapse into a small size so you can easily tuck them into a car door or travel bag.

Always Have a Collar, Leash and ID Tag

It’s important to have your dog under control when making stops along the way or at your destination. Hundreds of pets are lost or injured each year when they jump out of cars uncontrolled into parking lot traffic or wander off from the doggie break area. Leashes, collars, and dog harnesses are essential for control. Also do not forget ID tags and ideally micro-chip your pet. If your dog gets lost, you will be thankful you have them to return him home safely.

Keep All Arms, Legs, Paws & Heads Inside the Vehicle
If you wouldn’t let your child hang out your car window, then why would you let your dog?  Many dogs enjoy doing this, but it isn’t worth the risk to your dog’s health. Susan O’Dell DVM, Kurgo Consulting Veterinarian, warns that allowing this can result in debris being kicked up into your pet’s eyes or exposing their lungs to pollution and exhaust fumes. Not to mention the risk of your dog being clipped by a passing car or jumping out the window at traffic stops.

Keep Fido in the Back Seat

Accidents are increasingly caused by distracted driving and nearly 30% of drivers admit to being distracted by their dog while driving (AAA/Kurgo Study).  For your dog’s safety and yours, pets should never be in the front seat with you or on your lap. You should be as distraction-free as possible when driving.
There are many products specifically designed to keep your pup out of the front seat. For example, a backseat barrier fits between the two front seats to prevent your pet from getting into the front seat. Dog hammocks can also be used to protect your car seats and keep your pet in the back. They hang between the front and back seats over the bench seat, attaching to the head rests. They create a cozy place for your pup to rest on a long trip while keeping everyone safe from distracted driving.

Buckle Up for Safety
Another way to prevent distracted driving is to restrain your dog. You can do this by putting your pet in a crate that is secured with a pet carrier restraint or by putting the crate behind one of the front seats on the floor so it doesn’t move when stopping short.

For larger dogs, the best solution is a dog harness and dog seat belt. There are several options that all prevent distracted driving and offer varying levels of movement for your pet. Using a crash-tested dog harness and running the car seat belt through the harness is the safest solution. If your dog can’t tolerate this restriction, you could start with a dog seat belt which connects the harness to your seat belt system. This typically gives a little more room to stand, sit, and lay down. For more restless dogs, you can also use a dog zip line product where you attach the harness to a line running across the back seat, allowing your pup to walk back and forth. This will at least keep them out of the front seat and ensure you can drive safely.


Never Leave Your Dog Alone

Dogs should never be left unattended in the car, regardless of the weather or how long you will be gone. Heat is the biggest concern, especially when considering that on an 85 degree day, car temperatures can reach up to 120 degrees within 10 minutes with the windows open!  Pets left alone can also attract pet thieves.  Our suggestion is to prevent these from ever occurring by simply bringing your pet along with you.


Pesticide Safety for Your Pets

We’ll be bold and say that spring is here in Kansas City! That means gardening and lawn work are just around the corner. Get a safe start by selecting a safe pesticide for your pets to be able to run and play without worry. Check out this info from Modern Cat Magazine.

While spring is a time to plant beautiful flowers in your yard, it also brings pesky insects out in numbers. Because of this, a potential hazard this time of year for pets is pesticides.

“Before choosing a pesticide read the label to ensure it is safe for your pet,” said Michael Golding, assistant professor at the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Avoid products with bone-meal as these can be tasty to your pet, and pesticides with organophosphates and carbamates as these can be extremely deadly.”

The most common ways pets come into contact with pesticides is licking the toxic substances from their feet or coat, or by directly consuming the product from a container that has been left out.

If your pet begins showing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, trouble walking, drooling, nausea, and/or tremors contact your veterinarian immediately as these are signs that your pet is suffering from pesticide related toxicity.

“A common way pesticides cause problems in our pets is through organophosphates and carbamates,” said Golding. “They act as competitive inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase, a key component of the central nervous system that allows the brain to regulate the body.”

While newer, more environmentally safe pesticides have a wider safety margin, they are still not 100% safe.

“A product that is labeled ‘green’ is not necessarily safe for dog/cat who decides to eat it,” said Golding. “It is best to be safe, so call your vet and read him/her the label information as soon as your pet has contact with the substance.”

While pesticides are a main source for toxicity in pets, there are many other toxins in a home that pets can come into contact with.

“Garage toxins such as antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, and fertilizers, and kitchen toxins like chocolate, bread dough, grapes, and onions are examples of household items that can be problematic if your pet comes into contact with them,” said Golding. “For any toxic exposure, contact your veterinarian immediately. Another excellent resource is also the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680.”

The Importance of a PETicure

Modern Dog Magazine shares the importance of keeping your dog’s nails trimmed for reasons other than keeping your floors and furniture looking nice.

You and your beloved pet may share a lot in common: enjoying long walks in the park, snuggling up on the couch, or even taking a relaxing dip in the pool. But when it comes to an afternoon of pampering at the nail salon, our pets don’t typically share our idea of relaxation. Nevertheless, even if they find it unpleasant and stressful, clipping your pets’ nails is a crucial grooming technique for their overall health and well-being.

Leaving your pet’s nails untrimmed can lead to pain and discomfort from many different sources. “Nails that are too long can get hung on fabric, blankets, towels, etc and get torn off which is not only painful, but tends to cause a great deal of bleeding,” said Dr. Stacy Eckman, lecturer at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM). “Nails that are too long (especially the dewclaws) can also grow around and into the footpads causing pain and infection.”

Popular to contrary belief, dogs aren’t the only pets that require a routine clipping. Our feline friends need some nail pampering on a regular basis as well. “Outdoor cats who climb trees keep their own nails short, but with the majority of our cats living indoors, they too need nail trims,” Eckman said. “They will naturally sharpen their claws if given adequate substrate to do this on (i.e. a scratching post or wood), but may need additional trimming, especially on the back claws.” Keep in mind that it is natural for cats to also use scratching posts to mark their scent, and even cats that are declawed will “use” a scratching post for this purpose.

Trimming your pet’s nails can be done as often as necessary. For dogs, trimming their nails whenever you bathe them can be convenient for both of you. Since we do not typically bathe our cats, a thorough trim every 2 to 4 weeks is plenty.

To ensure the best nail trim for your pet, and to leave the difficult task to the experts, bring your pup to the Barkery! We’ll have your four-legged pal in and out and looking good!

Buy a Wooden Toybox and Save 20% on Accessories and Toys!

You’ve got pet toys everywhere you look – what to do?

It’s time to make a trip to the Barkery to pick up one of our new charming wooden toy boxes!

Perfect for keeping things tidy (surely Bandit can play with one or two toys at a time) – and to add to the collection, you’ll get 20% off any new accessories or toys that you can fit in the box!  Hugs close and soothes anxiety.

We’ve got everything from leashes to squeaky toys, and calming thundershirts to catnip. You can view some of our collection online by clicking here, but stop in today to see the full array!

Cat Dental Care

In this article by Dr. Jennifer Coates from PetMD, she explains how to keep your cat’s teeth clean and healthy:

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll just say it at here at the beginning: I never have brushed any of my cats’ teeth. Not once.

I know I should; I council my clients that they should. But when I get the “you’ve got to be kidding me” look, I quickly offer alternatives that, while not as effective as tooth brushing, still do help maintain feline oral health. I don’t dispute the facts showing that daily tooth brushing not only helps maintain the health of a cat’s teeth and gums, but can also prevent more widespread health problems down the line. My decision was purely practical, originating at a time when I lived with four cats, four dogs, and two horses. If I was going to brush all those teeth every day, I wasn’t going to get much else accomplished. And since brushing teeth less frequently than every other day or so doesn’t seem to have much benefit, I just decided to forgo it completely. So if you brush your cat’s teeth every day, keep up the good work. I am impressed. For the rest of us slackers out here, here are a few of the other options that are worth considering.

  • Regular dry foods don’t do much to keep a cat’s teeth clean, but some of the diets that have been specially formulated to help prevent dental disease do actually help. Look for a product that carries the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. You do not need to feed one of these “dental diets” exclusively. You can offer a small handful of kibbles once or twice a day (decreasing your cat’s other food to compensate for the extra calories) and still get some benefit.
  • Drinking-water additives are extremely easy to use. Again, the VOHC seal of approval will let you know whether or not a particular product has undergone unbiased testing.
  • And finally, there is what I call tooth-wiping. Simply wrap one of your fingers in a piece of gauze (the rough texture is ideal), apply a small amount of a feline oral-care product to it, and run your finger once along your cat’s teeth on each side of the mouth. You’ll wipe away some of the plaque that is developing and put the active ingredients where they are needed most, from the back of the mouth up to the canine teeth. The whole procedure should take a total of about ten seconds … if your cat is cooperative, that is.

A lack of time (or desire) to brush your cats’ teeth isn’t an excuse to ignore their mouths, however. Do what you can preventative-wise, schedule a dental prophylaxis (exam, cleaning, X-rays, etc.) when one is needed, and if a problem like a broken tooth develops, deal with it quickly. Your cats may not thank you, but they’ll be healthier because of your efforts.

Our Lee’s Summit Location Relaunches with New Developments!

Our Lee’s Summit store has been revamped!

Now you can shop at the Barkery with a new user friendly layout specifically designed to create a better shopping experience for our patrons. This includes a new, bigger and better cooler with a great selection of our refrigerated and frozen meals for your pet.

1072376_10153296074882519_3274362759747610395_oTo celebrate, this Saturday we’ll have a grand reopening featuring the Barkery Prize Wheel, huge savings on our most popular brands – including $10 off select large bags! Be sure to enter our raffle to benefit Chain of Hope for a shot at a $200 Barkery gift basket.  The celebration continues with a week-long gala including great promotions, fun contests, raffles and prizes, deep discounts on some of your pet’s favorite foods, and new local partnerships to help stay connected with the community.

Stop by today and check out the new and improved Lee’s Summit Barkery!




Pooches on the Patio Photo Gallery

A special thanks to all who joined us for Pooches at the Patio at Julian! Enjoy photos from the special event by Katie Breit. Click any image to enlarge.

Dogs with Bad Breath – Is it Normal?

Halitosis in Dogs

Halitosis is the medical term used to describe an offensive odor that comes from the mouth, producing bad breath. A number of causes may be responsible for this condition, notably periodontal disease, a disease resulting from bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria is also associated with plaque and cavities.

Small animal breeds and brachycephalic breeds (characterized by their short-nosed, flat-faced features; e.g., the Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekingese) are the most prone to periodontal and other mouth diseases, in large part because their teeth are close together.

Symptoms and Types

In most cases, there are no other symptoms aside from a bad odor emanating from the mouth. If the cause of the odor is a disease of the mouth, other symptoms may become apparent, including pawing at the mouth, inability to eat (anorexia), loose teeth, and excessive drooling, which may or may not have traces of blood.


A variety of conditions may lead to halitosis, including metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus (commonly known as sugar diabetes); respiratory problems such as inflammation of the nose or nasal passages (rhinitis); inflammation of the sinuses (sinusitis); and gastrointestinal problems, such as enlargement of the esophageal tube, the main channel that leads from the throat to the stomach.

Other possible causes of halitosis might be traced to a trauma, like that of an electric cord injury. Viral, bacterial or fungal infections can cause foul odors to emit from within the body, and dietary problems can play a role in the emission of odor as well. For example, if your dog has been eating offensive foods, or is exhibiting a behavior called coprophagia, where it is eating feces, your dog will have correlating foul breath.

Further possibilities are pharyngitis, an inflammation of the throat or pharynx, and tonsillitis, an inflammation of the tonsils. The presence of cancer, or the presence of foreign bodies may also result in disease of the mouth and accompanying bad breath. But, the most notable cause of halitosis is a disease of the mouth such as periodontal disease, which is due to plaque bacteria buildup.


Diagnostic procedures to evaluate periodontal disease as the most likely cause of halitosis include X-rays of the inside of the mouth, and an examination of the mouth for characteristics such as tooth mobility and sulfide concentrations.


Once the specific cause of halitosis is known, various therapies may be used to address the problem. In some cases, multiple causes may be to blame. For example, your dog may have periodontal disease along with having a foreign object present in the mouth. Treatment for the condition is dependent upon the cause(s).

If periodontal disease is to blame, treatment will include cleaning and polishing the teeth, or extraction of teeth that have greater than 50 percent loss of the supporting bone and gum tissues around them. Some medications may help to reduce odor, and help to control the bacteria that infect the gums and other oral tissues, causing bad breath.

Living and Management

You will need to continue to remain observant of your dog’s symptoms. It is important to consistently provide proper professional dental care to your dog, as well as to supplement this with at home tooth care. Daily tooth brushing can help prevent the plaque buildup that leads to related halitosis. You will also need to prevent your dog from eating bad-smelling foods, such as garbage. Cleaning the yard frequently will also avoid incidences of coprophagia.

From Petmd