Are you overfeeding your pets?

Returning home to the heart-warming barks of your ecstatic dog, who wags his tail and covers your face in saliva, can be a tremendous treat. But how can you return the favour in this economic climate? Moneybags journalist, Isabelle Coetzee, finds out more.

The price of dog food and treats, as well as most other pets’ food, can take a large bite out of your salary. But according to South African vets, nearly half of pet owners are overfeeding their four-legged-friends.

As a result, many pets are suffering from obesity.

“This can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets,” said Dr Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide Pet Insurance.

In addition to wasting money on unnecessary amounts of food, overfeeding your pet can also lead to other health related problems, and increased visits to your already-expensive veterinarian.

Sister Norma Boshoff, who runs a successful weight management clinic at Tygerberg Animal Hospital in Cape Town, explained that, “Excess weight puts pressure on the joints and we see a lot of hip, back and knee problems.”

She added that, “Many of our patients end up on chronic medication for pain as a result of being overweight.”

Owners struggle to identify weight-gain in their pets, which means they continue feeding their pets an unnecessary amount.

According to Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinary advisor to Hill’s Pet Nutrition South Africa, people don’t know what a pet at a healthy weight looks like anymore.

“It’s hard to be objective about those we love, and when you see your pet every day, gradual weight-gain may not be evident,” he said.

At their optimal weight, pets should have a visible waistline and, although their ribs shouldn’t protrude outwards, you should be able to feel them when you stroke your pets.

October is pet obesity month, and in light of this, vets across South Africa will offer free health assessments for your pets. To find out more, visit the Hills Pet Slimmer website.

Every year Hills Pet Slimmer runs a competition where overweight cats and dogs, with the help of their owners, compete with one another to reach their ideal weight.

“Every pet that reaches a healthy weight is a winner,” said Dr Fyvie.

Sister Boshoff believes that, “Giving your pet a treat does not equal love or attention, it’s just something to eat.”

“It’s better to play ball, take them for a walk, or give them a kiss or a cuddle. They thrive with this kind of positive reinforcement,” she concluded.



star For only R93.90, you can get 12 hot wings, four sliders and two regular chips when you visit Chicken Licken for the soul mates classic party special.

There are few things as refreshing on a summers day as a decadent milkshake.

Once new burial options are introduced, a portion of the daily dead may find new resting grounds outside of burials and cremations. Moneybags journalist, Isabelle Coetzee, has a look at alternatives and their costs.

If building your own burger in all it's saucy juicy glory is your thing then head down to the build a burger capital, Rocco Mamas and enjoy their 3 limited edition burgers and pay between R75 - R85. Think 2x 100g beef smash, rocco mayo, bacon etc.

The average cost of a wedding these days can rack up anywhere between R200 000 and R400 000. This is more than some students’ tuition fees for the entire four-year span – just for one day!

With everyone capitalising on the extra holiday after Christmas, it’s the ideal time for family outings. But what if you were hoping for calm, ocean waves and the occasional singing bird? Where should you go if you want to avoid the “outdoors-city”? Moneybags journalist, Isabelle Coetzee, suggests the following do’s and don’ts for boxing day madness.

Breastfeeding is both beautiful and natural -  or so they say. However, it could also mean rock-hard painful breasts, leaking through breast pads and spraying milk as you’re trying to get your baby to latch. Especially if you’re one of those women who have a surplus of breast milk.

star Celebrate your birthday on top of Table Mountain. The Cableway offers you a free return ticket to one of the world's wonders to make your day extra special.