Posts tagged with "Nationwide"

Fat shaming hits the pet set

February 7, 2019

When a dog or cat gains weight, it’s easy for a pet parent to assume that there is simply more of him (or her) to love. In fact, only 17% of owners acknowledge that their pet is obese, according to findings of a recent study by Nationwide, the country’s largest provider of pet health insurance.

“Others know their pet is overweight but don’t think it’s a problem,” said Deborah Linder, who heads the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals Clinical Nutrition Service. “Wrong!”

However, just as 70% of adult Americans (age 20+) are classified as overweight by the National Center for Health Statistics, so, too, are their pets.

Veterinarians report that nearly 50% of the dogs they see are overweight or obese, a February 4 report by Jane Brody of The New York Times reveals.

And the average weight of pets has risen over the past decade, Nationwide notes. In 2017, obesity-related insurance claims for veterinary expenses exceeded $69 million, a 24% increase over the last eight years,  the insurer reported in January. With only 2% of pets covered by insurance, the costs to owners of overweight pets is likely to be in the billions.

Indeed, obesity in pets has been associated with diabetes, pancreatitis, hyperlipidemia (high fat levels in the blood), joint disease, skin disease, and even a shorter lifespan, the Tufts Obesity Clinic says. A study of Labrador retrievers, a breed especially prone to becoming overweight, revealed that excess weight can take nearly two years off a pet’s life.

So for our pets, as well as ourselves, it’s best to adopt the concept that “less is more.”

study of 50 obese dogs enrolled in a weight-loss program conducted by the University of Liverpool in England during 2011 demonstrated the value of losing excess body fat, The New York Times reports. The 30 animals in the study that reached their target weight had greater vitality, less pain and fewer emotional issues than the animals that remained too fat.

But as with people, prevention is the better route—and, Linder emphasized during an interview with Brody, treats should make up no more than 10% of a dog’s daily calories.

“We love our pets and want to give them treats, but we often don’t think about treats from a caloric standpoint,” said John P. Loftus, an assistant professor, Section of Small Animal Medicine, at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “It adds up over time. Better to show our love in ways other than food.”

Everything counts as a treat, including marrow bones and rawhide,” Dr. Linder told Brody, as well as scraps of human food offered by owners or scarfed off their plates. Treats used for training or retrieval should contain only a few calories each, like Fruitables Skinny Minis or Zuke’s Mini Naturals.

Rather than overdoing treats, give your dog love and attention by playing ball, fetch or tug-of-war, which provides some exercise that burns calories. Cats, too, love to play with things they can wrestle with, like a toy mouse on a string or a ball of yarn. For pets that are too old or unwilling to play, you can show your love calorie-free with a caress, a belly rub, or a scratch behind the ears.

Equally important is to learn to resist pets that beg for more food than they need. Linder advises, “If you’re already meeting your pets’ nutritional needs, they’re not hungry. What they’re really asking for is your attention. Better to distract them with an activity.”

Cats can be even more challenging than dogs. They tend to graze, prompting owners to leave food out for them all the time. This becomes a problem for overweight cats. Dr.

Linder says, “I’ve never met an animal that could free-feed and still lose weight.” For cats that come begging for food at 4:30 a.m., she suggests using an automatic timed feeder. Cats quickly learn when the food will drop down and will wait at the feeder instead of nudging their owners, she said.

Of course, regular physical activity —15 to 30 minutes day—is important for a dog’s overall well-being, but it’s rarely enough to help an overweight dog lose weight “unless they’re running a 5K every day,” Linder noted. “They’re not going to burn off the calories in a marrow bone with a walk around the block.”

Research contact: @tuftsvet

Americans rally nationwide in support of Mueller probe

November 12, 2018

Americans took to the streets at 5 p.m. on November 8—staging massive rallies from New York to Los Angeles in support of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, whose Russia investigation, they feared, might be curtailed or blocked completely following the resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the request of President Donald Trump.

Approximately 900 protests nationwide were mobilized within moments. They stood ready to activate when and if the president “crossed a red line” that would threaten the probe.

According to a report by USA Today, the rallies were part of a coordinated effort by a large number of liberal groups, which had planned a “rapid response” to protect Mueller, if it became necessary. 

The groups’ website, headlined “Nobody is above the law—Mueller protection rapid response,” referred to the appointment of interim Attorney General Matt Whitaker as the impetus for the protests, saying, “Donald Trump has installed a crony to oversee the special counsel’s Trump-Russia investigation, crossing a red line set to protect the investigation. By replacing Rod Rosenstein with just-named Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s boss on the investigation, Trump has undercut the independence of the investigation.

“Whitaker has publicly outlined strategies to stifle the investigation and cannot be allowed to remain in charge of it. The Nobody Is Above the Law network demands that Whitaker immediately commit not to assume supervision of the investigation. Our hundreds of response events are being launched to demonstrate the public demand for action to correct this injustice. “

President Trump, who embarked on a trip to Paris on November 9, has given no indication that he would end the investigation, which he has dubbed a “witch hunt.” But, USA Today reported, “the ousting of Sessions will give the president authority to replace him with someone who could attempt to derail the investigation, which is also examining possible obstruction of justice by the president.”

Also on November 8, attorneys general in 17 states and the District of Columbia—Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut , Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, California, North Carolina, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia, New Mexico, and Maryland—sent a formal letter to Whitaker requesting he recuse himself from the investigation due to his previous comments

“Because a reasonable person could question you impartiality in the matter, your recusal is necessary to maintain public trust in the integrity of the investigation and to protect the essential and longstanding independence of the department you have chosen to lead,” the letter reads.

Research contact: CHayes@usatoday.com

Amazon’s minimum wage hike will deprive workers of bonuses and stock awards

October 8, 2018

Amazon announced on October 2 that it would increase the minimum wage of its full-time, part-time, temporary, and seasonal workers nationwide to $15 an hour starting November 1.

The new Amazon$15 minimum wage will benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees, as well as over 100,000 seasonal employees who will be hired at Amazon warehouse sites across the country to ship holiday purchases.

However, It appears the changes came with a caveat: Bloomberg  reported on October 3 that, even as its workers enjoy higher salaries, Amazon will remove their bonuses and stock awards.

In other words, the Internet giant will balance the scales—and fund its new largess—by eliminating other monetary perks. Bloomberg, which spoke with two unnamed sources at Amazon, noted that, in past years, the company’s workers have seen bonuses that amounted to hundreds of dollars.

Still, the company says it’s not all a wash. In a statement, Amazon told Bloomberg that the workers still will see their overall compensation increase, despite losing bonuses.

“In addition, because it’s no longer incentive-based, the compensation will be more immediate and predictable,” Amazon said, according to the business news outlet.

But Amazon easily could have afforded to both pay its workers and provide incentives.

Over the past few years, workers have intense pressure to produce, especially at the online retailer’s warehouses. “It is modern slavery,” a worker told Business Insider last May. “Jeff Bezos has become the richest man in the world off the backs of people so desperate for work that we tolerate the abuse.”

Research contact: nsmith150@bloomberg.netnimu

Nina Hale offers ‘fur-ternity leave’ to new pet parents

August 22, 2018

It’s a “pawse” that refreshes and reassures employees: On August 20, Minneapolis-based  Nina Hale, a digital marketing agency, announced new employee benefits, including a “fur-ternity leave” policy that gives new pet parents a week of work-from-home days to spend with their four-legged companions as they adjust to a new home.

“Part of embracing employee satisfaction as a business priority means recognizing important life events that happen outside of the office,” said the company’s CEO, Donna Robinson. “If we want to continue to set the example as a top workplace, it is crucial to offer innovative benefits that help to preserve the work-life happiness of our employee owners.”

Maintaining its status as a best place to work is a priority for the agency, which has been awarded 16 top workplace honors in its 13-year history. In addition to fur-ternity leave, the agency also offers competitive maternity and paternity leave policies for new parents.

Nina Hale also has doubled its summer work-from-home policy, in order to give employees the flexibility of working from outside the office for up to four days per month. With another Minnesota winter just around the corner, many employees make use of work-from-home days to enjoy the warm weather.

According to a 2016 report by Fortune,  more businesses than ever before are offering pet health insurance and/or allowing pets to be brought to work.

What’s more,  an article published earlier this summer by the Society for Human Resource Management noted the idea of what’s more commonly called “pawternity leave” is indeed a growing trend—as are pet bereavement leaves and time off to take a pet to the veterinarian.

Such policies can translate into engagement and retention. Ninety percent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces feel highly connected to their company’s mission, fully engaged in their work and willing to recommend their organization to others, according to a survey of 2,002 full-time workers nationwide conducted last December by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Nationwide, a health insurance provider.

Research contact: @HABRITweets