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The Skinny On How We Help Fat Cats and Dogs
Here’s the skinny, folks.

Cats and dogs in the U.S. are getting fatter, and the sad truth is that most pet owners aren’t aware of the epidemic. A spring 2015 study by the Association for Pet Prevention highlights some pretty staggering numbers: 58% of our nation’s cats and 53% of dogs are considered overweight. The study also found most owners of fat pets who participated in the survey had no idea that their Fido was on the fluffy side. 

Unfortunately, obesity is now the biggest health threat to pets in the United States, according to researchers, and the costs of illness and injury as a direct result makes it the most treated medical problem in veterinary hospitals. Obesity also is one of the most preventable problems, but pet owners often let it go untreated.

If your pet is overweight, veterinarians warn that you’re cheating him of a longer life — up to three years, according to some estimates. Obesity usually begins with too many snacks, too little exercise and a tendency toward table scraps. Sound familiar? Sometimes, just 3 extra pounds to a small dog feels more like 30. 

But simply being fat isn’t the only problem. Fatty tissue is a serious problem, too. The old school of thought was that fat (adipose tissue) stored energy and protected vital organs from injury. Newer research proves that fat isn't always so innocent, however. Adipose tissue is actually an endocrine organ that secretes hormones and cytokines, proteins produced by cells to regulate the body’s natural responses to disease and infection. But when the body releases too much of the protein, inflammation occurs and, over time, may predispose the body to develop chronic diseases including arthritis, diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and many forms of cancer.

“It is critical that pet owners understand an overweight dog or cat is not healthy.” Dr. DuBose said.

If you suspect that your animal friend weighs more than he should, give him a once over. Feel around his ribs and spine. You should easily locate both with only a thin layer of fat separating skin from bones. If you can’t find the rib cage, your four-legged friend is too fat. Have the veterinarian weigh your pet at each visit and ask for an optimal weight. If the vet says Fido is too fat, call Dr. DuBose for a structured weight loss program. She can recommend at-home exercises, supplements and the right foods to feed. Most importantly, she can put you on the right path to gifting your pet a longer, healthier life this Christmas. Other services offered by Acupet to slim down your pet include: 

Hydrotherapy: Walking your dog is great but if he’s carrying too much weight, hydrotherapy may be a better option. He’s still walking, just in water and with much less pressure to muscles and sore joints. Studies show that five minutes on a hydrotherapy treadmill is the same as a human running five miles. That burns calories and helps treat arthritis, sprains, hip dysplasia, and damage to tendons or muscles. Hydrotherapy also is proven to ease overweight dogs into a healthier lifestyle without taxing their muscles or joints as they lose weight.

Acupuncture: Needling may not help your pet lose weight, but it will ease health problems that come with extra pounds, including arthritis, inflammation, diabetes, urinary tract infections, heart problems degenerative joint disease and more. It is interesting to note, however, that humans are leaning more and more on acupuncture in their constant battle to loose weight. And by some accounts, they’re winning. Researchers who have studied acupuncture and its ability to help humans drop weight have found that needling can decrease abdominal fat, suppress appetite and increase metabolism.

Laser Therapy: As previously mentioned, diabetes is a common side affect of pet obesity, and diabetes often leads to neuropathy, particularly in cats. It occurs because high glucose levels affect nerves and soft tissues. Kitty's muscles become weaker, and he begins walking abnormally. Laser therapy can help. It circulates blood, treats inflamed joints, regenerates injured nerves, eases the pain often associated with neuropathy and helps wounds heal more quickly. The laser also effectively treats chronic injuries, sprains and strains, skin problems, arthritis, muscular-skeletal abnormalities and periodontal disease. 
Learn more about our rehabilitation services »


Pet obesity often leads to  chronic diseases, including diabetes, and Dr. DuBose can work with your vet to keep it under control. Call to schedule your first appointment. Until your first visit, incorporate into your pet's diet:
  • ¼ cup of green beans (per 10 pounds)
  • ¼ cup of canned pumpkin or sweet potato daily (per 20 pounds)
Carrots and snap peas also are good options. The fiber found in these foods will help your pet feel full. Check with the vet before altering your pet’s food plan, particularly if he is on a prescription diet. Treats between meals are OK as long as they’re low in sugar and carbohydrates. Avoid snacks that list syrup, molasses, fructose, dextrose or maltose on the label.
Ginger, used in ancient Chinese herbal medicine for at least 2,000 years, is good for your dog’s health and helps prevent motion sickness. If your pet can’t stomach a car ride, try feeding ginger 30 minutes before. That should give the ginger enough time to take effect. Vomiting and motion sickness are symptoms of rebellious energy, called qi in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Feeding ginger helps restore harmony and gets qi moving in the right direction to improve digestion. And because ginger is a warming herb, it works naturally to heat the body. 

But there’s more. Ginger lowers cholesterol, ventilates lungs, circulates the blood, treats gallstones, lowers blood pressure and prevents blood clots from forming. If your dog experiences any of these problems, incorporate a ginger-based treat into his diet once or twice weekly. A word of caution, however: Ginger is not recommended for dogs that are anemic, have recently had surgery or that battle digestive problems, as the heat may worsen the condition. Ask your vet if ginger is OK for your pet, especially if he's following a prescription diet.

Dr. DuBose also suggests serving ginger tea. Steep two thin slices of fresh ginger root in 1 cup of boiled water for 5 minutes. Cool completely and give to your pet 30 minutes before traveling.
Dosage: Cats and small dogs: 1 to 2 teaspoons; medium to large dogs: ⅓ cup
CHOW TALK: Gingerbread Snacks
From The Organic Dog Biscuit Cookbook
  • 2 cups of whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ cup of oat flour
  • 1½ cup of brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup of safflower oil
  • ¼ cup of molasses
  • ¼ cup of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup water (add slowly)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients except water. Add water slowly and mix until dough forms. (If the dough seems too dry, add more water or if it's too wet, add more flour.) If your dough reaches a good consistency before the entire ½ cup of water is used, no worries.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, spoon out dough and roll into balls (about 1 inch in diameter) Place on  the cookie sheet. It's OK to place cookies close together; they won't expand much while baking. They also won't rise or flatten, so if you want a flatter cookie, press before baking. 

Bake 18 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool cookies on a wire rack, place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. 
Now through the end of December, enjoy 15 percent off each laser treatment. It’s our way of saying thanks for being such loyal customers. The benefits of laser therapy are many, including its ability to treat inflammation. If your pet is recovering from injury, healing from wounds or is simply slowing down from age, laser therapy is a painless way to provide relief and speed healing. There's no need for sedation or clipping, your pet won't experience harmful side effects and, if treated regularly, he may avoid surgery and take less medicine.  

Help make Christmas merrier for many of Aiken County's four-legged friends. Items of all sorts are being collected by Friends of the Animal Shelter. Donations can be dropped off at 333 Wire Road, Aiken, SC 29801. Click for operating hours »



Toys/Enrichment Items:

  • Cat/kitten toys
  • Cardboard cat scratchers (new)
  • Chew toys (no rawhides)
  • Dog/puppy toys
  • Food dispensing toys

Animal Supplies:

  • Blankets/Towels
  • Unscented, non-clumping cat litter
  • Cat poop scoopers
  • Digital animal thermometers and covers
  • Dog houses
  • Animal crates
  • Dog shirts and sweaters
  • Grooming supplies
  • Kitten nail clippers
  • Heating pads
  • Housetraining pads
  • Leashes
  • Collars
  • Pet beds
  • Pet bowls
  • Poop bags
  • Heating discs
  • Sealable sandwich bags
  • Flea/tick shampoo
  • Q-tips
  • Cotton balls
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Cool Care Plus for Clipper Blades by Andis



  • Diamond Chicken and Rice dog food
  • Kitten Chow, Puppy Chow
  • Dog/cat treats
  • Puppy milk replacer (powdered)
  • Meat-flavored baby food
  • Other brands of wet/dry dog and cat food
  • Canned chicken
  • Cheeze Whiz
  • Peanut butter
  • Canned green beans

Office Supplies:

  • Heart-shaped stickers
  • Binder clips and binder rings
  • Calculators (handheld)
  • Kitchen timers
  • Card stock
  • Clear, plastic clip-boards
  • Dry-erase markers and highlighters
  • White out tape
  • Sharpie pens
  • AA and AAA batteries
  • Cellophane gift bags
  • Zip ties
  • Masking tape


Janitorial Supplies:

  • Liquid laundry detergent, dish detergent, hand soap and sanitizer
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Disinfecting wipes
  • Odo Ban natural scent
  • Disinfecting aerosol spray
  • Deck scrub brushes
  • Industrial-strength floor squeegees
  • Swiffer type hand dusters

6124 Woodside Executive Court, Aiken, SC | (803) 226-0585
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