How do our brains enable us to sense the changing of the seasons?

Spring is in the air as we emerge from the dark, wet winter months in Cape Town.  But how do our brains enable us to sense the changing of the seasons, and how are our biological rhythms formed?

 By Dr Samantha J. Brooks Ph.D.

One may think that it is only women who have a biological clock, but in fact we all have brains that govern – and are governed by – daily, monthly and yearly cycles. Neuroscientists know this because when participants are placed in isolated circumstances during research studies, the usual sleep-wake cycles, monthly fluctuations (applicable to both men, in the form of testosterone production, and women, in terms of oestrogen cycles) and yearly hibernation patterns remain, despite the changing external circumstances. For example, we all know how groggy and jet-lagged we feel after a long-haul flight, particularly when we travel West to East as our brain tries to adjust to the change in light to dark cycles. And if you’ve ever moved from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere, it takes a while for the brain to catch on to the fact that winter is now in July, and the height of summer is in January! How then, do our brains cling to an internal body clock, even when the external surroundings change?

CLOCK genes help to regulate the systems within the brain that determine our sleep/wake and annual cycles, and can be found in most organisms and animals on earth. They are self-sustaining regulators or biological pacemakers for physiological and psychological processes such as core body temperature, blood sugar, blood pressure, food intake, cognitive performance and mood. In terms of brain areas, the supra-chiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus receives information from the eyes about darkness and light. This may partly explain why shift-workers such as nurses, doctors, late-night shop keepers and long-distance lorry drivers are most prone to disturbances in their biological rhythms, moods, and even food intake (people with irregular working patterns are more likely to gain weight). Other brain areas include the pineal gland, which secretes the hormone melatonin in to the blood stream to paralyse muscles, particularly during the dark night hours.  CLOCK genes also influence the growth of brain cells, and as such may be related to how well we create new neural pathways through learning. If we are flexible and can learn to adapt quickly, then jet-lag and out-of-hours shift work may not become a problem for too long.  The issue with jet-lag and out-of-hours work is that in the longer term, it can lead to cognitive deficits and neurological dysfunction, to the point where memory and hand-eye coordination deficits become dangerous to the person and to those around. The changing of the seasons, while a bit discombobulating, happens at a slower pace than jet-lag for example, and coincides less with cognitive deficits.

Nevertheless, we must try to remain flexible during the changing seasons, so that our circadian rhythms do not become irregular for too long and so that we can better adjust to new external circumstances (e.g. moving from dark winter months to bright, summer days).  Irregular circadian rhythms can lead to various psychiatric disorders, including major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, stress dysregulation, eating disorders, drug addiction, and alcoholism, as well as age-related cognitive deficits including Alzheimer’s disease. The transition from winter to summer is always easier than from summer to winter, but still for some it can be a distressing time, as the body has to readjust to an altered external routine. The good news is that there are mainstream methods available to strengthen our ability to be cognitively flexible, so that our brain can quickly adapt to a new external situation, whether it be a new time zone, hemisphere, country, job or season. One method that has become popular in recent years is mindfulness therapy, which teaches a person to reconnect with the sensations arising from the body (physiological and emotional) and to not focus, or ‘latch-on’ to changing external factors. One popular mindfulness technique is called ‘the body scan’, which can easily be done at home and encourages people to focus on the feeling of different body parts, from toes to the top of the head. Such a practice can really help to direct attention away from the altered external reality, and towards the body’s natural rhythms. 

So as we approach summer once more in Cape Town, try to follow some mindfulness links on the internet, which will help to stave off any readjustment issues one might have to the changing seasons. And by doing so, our minds and bodies will be in tip-top shape to enjoy another glorious summer in our beautiful city.

Dr Samantha Brooks is a UK neuroscientist working with University of Cape Town, specialising in the neural correlates of impulse control from eating disorders to addiction.  For more information on neuroscience at UCT and to contact Samantha, see

Save like a Comrades runner for your home deposit

Saving for the deposit on a home is like training for the Comrades Marathon – the earlier you start and the more regularly you run, the better, so that your body has time to adjust to the strain and build up the necessary muscle and stamina.

So says Rudi Botha, CEO of BetterBond, SA’s biggest bond originator, who notes: “Everyone knows that the best time to start training for next year’s Comrades is just after this year’s race, and getting ready to buy a home is the same – it takes time as well as discipline.”

At the moment, he says, the main obstacle to ownership for many young people is the lack of a deposit. “It is true that lifestyle changes have a part to play in young people buying their first homes much later than they used to. Millennials like to travel more than their parents did, for example, and tend to stay single longer. Many are also only starting to work at a later stage, but the biggest reason for the delay is that they don’t start saving for a deposit soon enough.

“People in their 20s now often have study loans to pay off, car payments to make and credit card debts on top of the rent and other monthly living costs, so there is usually not much salary left to save every month, but if they want to be homeowners – or even just to buy an investment property – we believe they should start saving that little bit anyway and putting the power of compound interest to work.”

The way this works, Botha explains, is that those who start saving now could accumulate a R50 000 deposit in five years by paying R720 a month into a normal bank savings account that pays around 6% interest a year.

“But if you wait to start saving for a deposit until two years before you want to buy, say, you will need to save almost R2000 a month in that same bank account to reach your R50 000 goal. That will obviously put much more strain on your household budget and might well cause you to postpone or even abandon your home purchase plan.”

On the other hand, he says, you might decide to go ahead without a deposit, and apply for a “100%” home loan, not knowing how much extra this is going to cost you in the long-run.

“It is of course quite possible to get 100% loans, especially if you are a first-time buyer purchasing an affordable home. However, your credit record has to be excellent and you will have to pay a premium interest rate – usually about two percentage points more than the prevailing prime rate – so the total cost of your home over the 20-year life of the bond will be much higher.”

For example, Botha says, the total cost of a R500 000 home bought with a 100% loan taken over 20 years at an interest rate of 12% (the current prime rate plus two percentage points) would be R1,322m, while the total cost of the same home bought with a R50 000 deposit and a 90% home loan at an interest rate of 10% would be R1,043m.

“In other words, you would save around R280 000 just because you took the time to save up that deposit – and your monthly home loan instalment would be more than R1000 lower.That’s a winning strategy worthy of a gold medal.” 

Issued by etc

Anne-Marie Bamber is Norgarb Properties dedicated Home Loans Consultant. She has over 15 years’ experience in assisting clients with their Home Loan needs and has placed many happy families in their dream homes.

Contact her today for no cost stress-free home-buying.
Anne-Marie Bamber
Home Loans consultant
Tel: +27 (0)21 851 3568 | Fax: +27 (0)21 441 1494 | Cell: +27 (0)82 071 1665

Work from home

Work from home is on the increase as opportunities for remote work grow thanks to advances in technology. The benefits are immense, from saving on overheads (if you run your own home business), to the freedom to work to your own schedule. Here we’ll take a look at some of the legal aspects as well as what makes a home office a productive and inspirational work space.

The legal side of doing work from home may contain some red tape which needs looking at; depending on the size and nature of the work you will be doing.

Doing small scale work such as remote work for a company or freelancing, generally won’t need any special permission. However, starting up your own small business may need some planning and permission, especially if your business includes an increase in visitor traffic or noise. Whether renting or owning your own property, residential zoning means leases and title deeds often contain clauses which prohibit business use. If renting you can check your lease or ask your landlord for permission. If buying your own home, check the title for information on restrictions as you may need to get permission, especially when a residential mortgage is in place. Another bit of red tape would be your neighbours. If your business in any way adds risk or prohibits them from enjoying their own property they are well within their rights to take you to court. Obviously if you plan on making any alterations to your home for your work, then planning permission will be needed.

Also make sure to check whether your home insurance will need changing as you don’t want to end up not being fully covered should something happen. You may also want to look at public liability insurance to cover third parties.

One last bit of red tape is special licenses. If your home business is related to child care, food production, or hotel/B&B business you will need special health and safety licenses in order to legally operate.

Now the fun part – creating your very own work-from-home space! The great thing about not working in a corporate office or a tiny cubicle is that you can design your office and hours to suit your personality and your needs. If you already own a home, find a spot that is seldom used or turn the spare room into your office. If you are looking for a new home and know that you need to set up an office, you’ll want to keep that in mind. Look for a home that has an extra room, make sure it is light and airy, easily accessible without causing too much disruption to your everyday family life, and can be expanded if you will need that option later on.

Once you find your ideal spot, here are a few essentials you’ll need to think about to set up your work space:

 A separate office space - to avoid unnecessary distraction; especially important if you have children! If space is limited you could even convert a closet in a room into a desk and workspace which is easy to close off when you are not working.
 A routine and clear boundaries – It is all too easy to be distracted by housework or a quick catch-up with your friend, but to work from home productively you need to be strict with yourself. Setting up clear boundaries with those around you, and a routine which works with your day, is the best way to achieve success.
 A good computer or laptop – one that is reliable and has efficient memory and speed for your work requirements. You may want to look at one with a working camera and mic if you’ll be attending remote meetings.
 A good WiFi set-up - if you are doing remote work for a company you will need access to files and work being sent. If running your own business going digital is far easier than mountains of paperwork.
 A productive work space – This is entirely personal. You may choose a standing desk, a desk with a pilates ball, or a standard desk and comfortable chair. You will want a calendar nearby where you can jot down appointments or deadlines, or even just make notes. And of course you’ll need easy access to files/books/stationery.

Other items depend entirely on your business needs. You may want to install a printer/scanner, you may need shelves for files or reference books. You may want to put up a clock so that you have a clear view of the time. You could paint a wall with chalk paint and write down notes and plans as you go along. Whatever you decide, it’s best to sit down first and write down what your business will require and what you would like to include in your space. In the end, plan a work space that will allow you to work efficiently as well as create a sense of joy for what you do every day. Happy working!

Norgarb Properties Agent Andre Ter Moshuizen who specialises in the Claremont area, shares some household tips and handy home hints with you every month. Read more of his articles here. []

Andre Ter Moshuizen: 082 602 1367 | |

Hacks to help you during an interview.

6 Psychological hacks

to help you
during an Interview
Written by Madge Gibson

When it comes to job interviews, how you act is almost as important as what you say.

While you’re concentrating on answering questions, your body is revealing subconscious clues about what you’re thinking and feeling (embodied cognition).

Here are a few hacks to support you during your interview.

1. Warm up
Arrive a few minutes early and visit the bathroom. Take a few deep breaths and shake off any lingering tension. Wash and then warm your hands, either under hot water or under a hand dryer. Sounds bland but dry, warm hands inspire confidence. Cold, clammy hands are a big turn-off. As are hot, sweaty hands.

Putting yourself in the right mindset from the start will help you focus and calm your nerves.

2. Mirror their movements
Mirroring is a social phenomenon where people unconsciously mimic anothers posture, gestures or words. When you notice subtle mirroring occurring between two people, it indicates that there is an unconscious comfort, trust or rapport between them. It’s a good thing.
Applying this technique consciously can be a helpful tool to build rapport, but it needs to be done very subtly or it will backfire.

If you’re sitting down, you could mimic the other person’s seated posture. Or look at their hands, are they crossed or uncrossed? Do the same. If they gesticulate with their hands during conversation, you could also use your hands. Do they sit very still and formal? Then keep your movements to a minimum. Don’t copy everything they do, just choose one or two aspects.

Note: mirroring is about empathy and attunement, not mimicry. So tune in.

3. Slow down
You may feel compelled to answer each question quickly, but don’t be afraid to take a few seconds to collect your thoughts. A slower response is more impactful than a rushed one. Also, consciously slowing down the torrent of words will give you greater control over what comes out of your mouth.  Keep your ‘speech pace’ calm and measured. Not rushed. You will appear more thoughtful and confident.

4. Watch your body language
A nervous habit, such as cracking your knuckles, playing with your pen or bouncing your foot, can be disruptive and interfere with the flow of the meeting. Are you smiling or grimacing? Are your arms crossed, or relaxed and open? Are you sitting or slouching? Become aware of your body language and manage it as best you can.

Similarly, be alert to the facial expressions of the interviewer, including micro expressions (involuntary flashes of expression). Your interviewer’s facial expressions can provide valuable feedback on how the interview is going. Watch for signs of boredom, keen interest or skepticism. For example, if they lock eyes with you, they’re probably expecting you to elaborate more. Picking up on these nuances will help you tailor your responses to keep the interview on track.

5. Connect with your interviewer
Finding common ground with your interviewer creates a personal bond, making it easier to connect. Think about it this way, if you were forced to meet 20 strangers at a function and it turned out one of them had attended the same university as you – you would probably gravitate to that person because you had something in common.

Try to find something that bonds you through visual clues, such as a common school, interest or sport. It’s not always possible, but when the opportunity arises, use it to your advantage.
In this scenario ‘familiarity breeds comfort”.

6. Visualize the ideal interview
Visualisation can be very helpful in preparing for important or stressful situations. Start visualizing yourself in the interview a few days beforehand. Rehearse what you want to say and how you want to feel during the interview (e.g. calm, confident and composed).

The key to visualisation success is accessing the emotions of what you’re visualising, not just watching the scenario play out in your mind. For example, if you want to feel confident, physically take a deep breath, puff out your chest, hold your head high and imagine being gloriously confident. It is the combination of visualisation and feeling the associated emotions that anchors the memory. The more you practice the better you’ll do. When you arrive, tap into the memory of your visualised practice sessions - it’ll help you get into that mindset.

* Article inspired and adapted from a post on

Article by Madge Gibson, Harfield Village Resident

Patchwork | September in the Garden

Spring seems to have sprung! Temperatures are steadily increasing and veggies are already speeding up the their growth.

Spring is the perfect time to get planting, if you have a sustainable water source. There's nothing better than home grown food!

September's plant list:
Amaranth, Bush and climbing beans, Broadbeans, Beetroot, Butternut, Cauliflower, Carrot, Chard, Cape Gooseberry, Celery, Chives, Chilli, Cucumber, Eggplant, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leek, Leaf Mustard, Lettuce, Ginger, Globe artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, Onion, Parsnip, Parsley, Peas, Potato, Pumpkin, Radish, Rhubarb, Sweetcorn, Sweet pepper, Sweet potato, Turnip, Tomato, Watercress, Watermelon, Zucchini

What's In Season This September?

It's also good to know what fruit and vegetables are in season to eat, not just to plant. More people may use this list than the plant list. So here's the September list:

Vegetables: Asparagus, Artichokes, Beetroot, Broad beans, Broccoli, Japanese white radish-daikon, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Leeks, Garlic, Lettuce, Mushrooms, New potato, Onion, Parsley, Parsnips, Peas, Potato, Pumpkin, Radishes, Rhubarb, Swiss chard, Squash, Spring onion, Sweet potatoes, Pak choi, Tomatoes, Turnips, Waterblommetjies

Fruit: Mulberries, Avocados, Bananas, Cape gooseberries, Oranges, Lemons, Grapefruit, Naartjies, Limes, Kumquats, Guava, Paw paw, Pineapple, Kiwi

Herbs: Mint, Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Fennel, Bay leaves, Lavender, Parsley, Dandelion, Nasturtiums, Garlic chives, Winter savoury, Calendula, Nettle, Rocket, Perennial basil, Sorrel, Lemon grass stems.

Happy Spring to all, and hoping the rains aren't over yet!

Gabriella Garnett
076 2199 849 |


1 – 2 onions
500gms pork sausage
50mls tomato sauce
50mls Worcester sauce
50mls chutney
400gms tin peach slices

Fry onions
Fry sausages
Add rest of ingredients including juice from peaches.



I have taken this recipe from an old Lynn Bedford Hall recipe book I still use often. This dish looks wonderful and if you are having visitors, you can prepare it ahead and just add whipped egg whites before putting in the oven. I sometimes mix it up with broccoli.

  • 1 medium cauliflower head
  • Lemon juice
  • 40mls butter
  • 40mls flour
  • 400mls milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • 5mls prepared mustard
  • 100mls grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 egg whites, stiffly whisked
  • Grated parmesan cheese
  • Paprika

  • Break cauliflower into florets, removing any really thick stalks.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and poach in slightly salted water until soft.  Do not overcook.  Drain well then place in buttered pie dish – the florets should cover the base snugly.
  • Melt butter an stir in flour.  Stir for one minute then remove saucepan from heat and add milk.  Return to stove and stir until thick.  Remove from stove and add salt, pepper, mustard and cheese. Cool.
  • When ready to serve, fold egg whites into cheese sauce and spoon over cauliflower.  Sprinkle with parmesan and paprika and bake at 200 degrees C for 12 minutes until puffy and golden.

Women's Month - An Opportune Time to Focus on Safety and Security

Women's Month - An Opportune Time to Focus on Safety and Security
Compliments of Fidelity ADT

South Africa commemorates this month the important part that women played in the history of our nation. A local private security company believes Women’s Month in August is also the perfect opportunity to look at basic safety habits, to protect them from crime.

“Being distracted makes you a soft target. Criminals are always on the lookout for soft or vulnerable targets, and will take advantage if you are not paying attention to your surroundings. Being aware of potential threats is the first and most effective line of defence for anyone,” says Fidelity ADT’s District Manager (Cape Town North) Verena Hulme.

Hulme recommends cutting out distractions as far as possible and reasonable. This includes taking or making phone calls while driving, especially if you have children in the vehicle.

“Put your phone away when out and about. Speaking on the phone while putting your kids or shopping into the car, for example, means you are concentrating on the call and not keeping an eye on your surroundings. It presents criminals with a great opportunity to hijack you or make off with your belongings.”

While driving, make sure your doors are locked and any valuable items are placed under the seat or in the boot, out of sight. If you are approaching your house, be on the lookout for any suspicious persons and rather drive around the block if you don’t feel safe. It is also important to stay on the road, rather than in your driveway, when waiting for the gate to open.

Hulme adds that it’s also a good thing to change your driving routes and leaving times every now and again.

“We are creatures of habit which makes us predictable. Criminals scoping out your house will be able to know exactly when you leave and arrive and which routes you take. Keep them guessing by leaving perhaps slightly earlier or later and taking different routes to drop the kids at school, for example. The same applies to things such as your running routes and times, gym visits, and even your locking up and leaving routine.”

She says that intuition is a powerful subconscious insight into situations and people, especially ladies should trust their instincts; if a situation doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t. Hulme says that if confronted by a criminal, escape is always the best option.

“If you are able to, run away, yell for help – do whatever you can to attract attention. If the criminal is after your purse or other items hand them over or throw them in one direction and run in the other.

“When possible tell someone where you are going and the time you expect to return. Save emergency numbers on your phone and try to memorise at least one contact number you can call in the event of an emergency. Remember less is more when it comes to wearing flashy jewellery and carrying cash. If you are taking a handbag, carry it close to your body and not dangling by the straps,” she says.

By exercising these precautions, Hulme believes women can develop very good safety habits that will assist them in avoiding dangerous situations.

“I encourage women to not only use these tips but to share them with family and friends. Most importantly trust your instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, get away or get help,” she concludes.

Hulme summarised the most important safety tips:
• Trust your instinct. Women have great intuition and should listen to their instincts. If someone or something makes you feel uneasy, avoid the individual and leave the area
• Make contact with your private security service provider and ask them if they offer a mobile panic alarm service, which could be downloaded to your mobile phone
• Tell someone where you are going and the time you expect to return. Save to your mobile phone or memorise the details of the person to be contacted in the event of an emergency
• Be aware of people around you when heading to your vehicle, especially at places such as shopping centres, petrol stations, and the likes. Ensure that you take a moment to check the street before pulling into a driveway
• If you are driving, the first thing to do once you are inside your vehicle is to ensure that all the doors are locked. Never drive with a handbag or any other valuable items on a seat or in the view of anyone looking into your vehicle from the outside. Try and make your car a mobile-free zone so you can concentrate on your surroundings

Manager - Harfield Village Community Improvement District (HVCID)
Cell: 081 412 6109 E-mail:

Cut the Food Budget

Food prices are constantly on the rise, so I thought it’s time to talk about how to cut the food budget.  Many people choose fast food because they may seem cheaper, but they are generally higher in unhealthy fat and devoid of nutrients (vitamins and minerals), leaving your body hungry for more food and not functioning at its best.

Healthy eating does not need to be expensive.  

The most important point to remember is to keep eating healthy when you have limited money for your meals. It is essential to focus on eating a variety of foods on a daily basis to ensure that you get all the nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals) that your body requires. The key is to get value for money and make your food money go further. Here are a couple of tips.

Shopping Rules

Make a shopping list before you go for your weekly shop and stick to it. A good practice is to plan your meals for the week in advance so that you know exactly what you will need. Try not to buy impulsively, as this is when more money is spent. Another golden rule is never to go shopping on an empty stomach – we all know that we buy more treats when this happens. You should also try to take advantage of special offers, but be aware of what the regular prices are to ensure that the special will in fact save you money. Compare prices and don’t just assume that one shop will always be cheaper.  No-name brands tend to be cheaper, but look at the others as there may be specials going.

Vegetables and Fruit

Don’t cut down on your vegetable and fruit intake. They are extremely important foods that our health is reliant on. The important point with vegetables and fruit is that you choose those that are in season, as this is when they are cheapest.  Buying them in bulk can also reduce the price greatly. A good idea is to share with family and friends so that they don’t go bad before they can be used. Also remember to store them correctly to prevent spoilage. Vegetables are normally cheaper than fruit, so get into the habit of eating more vegetables during the day, for example carrots, celery, cucumber and tomatoes. Choosing your own vegetables and fruit and buying them per kilogram is mostly cheaper than buying them pre-packaged. Remember that if you need to peel vegetables, peel using a vegetable peeler so as to prevent unnecessary wastage. And instead of throwing away vegetable leaves, skins, tops etc. use them in soups and stews for extra nutrition. It is also a fantastic idea, if you have the resources, to start growing your own vegetables.


If you love your red meat, you may need to learn to enjoy it less often as this is the most expensive of the protein options. There are far less expensive (and also healthier) options available such as chicken, fish, eggs, soya and legumes.  In terms of red meat, mince is still good value for money.  Make it go further by adding beans or lentils as well as vegetables such as onions or carrots. If you cannot go without red meat, using slow-cooking methods can make cheaper cuts of meat more juicy and tender. Eggs are the cheapest form of animal protein and can provide versatile meals, such as omelettes. Frozen chicken is cheaper than fresh chicken. Also remember that buying in bulk is usually cheaper. You can cook in bulk and freeze for later use. Frozen fish is generally cheaper than fresh fish, and using tinned fish such as pilchards makes a meal very affordable e.g. fishcakes are a fantastic meal to make from pilchards. Try to have some meatless days in the week.  Legumes such as beans or lentils are not expensive, very nutritious and easy to prepare. Even something as simple as baked beans with some rice or on a slice of toast is a perfect way to introduce protein into your diet.


The main point with carbohydrates is to buy unrefined. Refining not only strips a product of its goodness, but also makes it more expensive. Samp, rice and corn are generally cheaper than pasta, but a pasta meal can be a cheap meal when compared to a meat, starch, vegetable meal. Porridges are also generally cheaper than instant cereals. And we all know that treats such as biscuits, rusks, cakes, sweets and crisps add no value to your health, but add quite an expense to the budget.


Dairy is a great food as it provides you with protein and energy. Milk packaged in sachets rather than bottles or cartons are generally cheaper. Milk powder is also a good, economic option. For yoghurts, buy the litre tubs and decant yourself into smaller amounts. Cheese is very expensive. If you want a cheese flavour, use mustard and cayenne pepper in your meals together with a small amount of strongly flavoured cheese.


Healthy plant fats such as nuts, avocado, olives etc. can be very expensive. Peanuts are a cheaper option to tree nuts, and peanut butter is a great fat to use on bread or with your fruit. Seeds are also far more economical and are delicious added to your porridge, salads or vegetables. Limit your use of butter, margarine and oil by cooking mostly with water or use a very small amount of oil (1-2 teaspoons is generally enough). Rather use the oil in its raw form in salads or with your bread.

Healthy eating does not need to be expensive. And once you learn to practice portion control, cook just enough or learn to use left-overs in other dishes, as well as pack your own lunch for work, your food money will take you so much further that you ever could imagine.

Kim Hofmann RD(SA)
Phone: 021 674 4666
Cell: 084 206 2715


Nowadays we are all aware that OBESITY is a huge problem - both in humans and in our pets. Unfortunately, being overweight can lead to a host of other health problems. So we are going to look at why and how we can keep your pet trim!


Did you know that nearly 50% of all our pets are overweight or obese? Keeping your pet slim and in good shape, can extend their life expectancy by up to 2 years and allows them to play, run and generally lead a happier life.

Why is it so important to keep my dog or cat trim?

At one time it was thought that fat tissue just sat around storing excess calories and adding to body mass. However, scientific studies have shown that fat tissue can be biologically active, producing inflammatory hormones and causing oxidative stress on the body, this in turn contributes to many disease processes such as: cancer, diabetes, heart disease etc and can lead to psychological depression.  

What do I do if I think my pet is overweight?

Get the right advice!

People have different ideas as to what a ‘normal’ weight is for their pet but fortunately there are guidelines that can help us establish to what extent your pet is over weight.

 you should be able to feel your pets ribs – hold your hand palm down and feel the knuckles with flat fingers of the other hand, this is how your dogs ribs should feel behind the shoulder blades. This goes for cats too.
Your pet should have a waist!
 your vet can accurately weigh and measure your pet in order to establish where your pet sits on the body conditioning charts. This is important as it helps us monitor progress during weight loss.

 Feed the right food, in the right quantity, at the right time.

  •  Just reducing the quantity of food your pet normally eats probably won’t help with weight loss and could lead to nutritional deficiencies.
  •  listen to your vet – use a food that is specifically design to aide weight loss ( there are many   available) and stick to it!
  •  don’t be tempted to give treats or feed more than is recommended. Most weight loss diets will   not leave your pet hungry- so don’t be fooled.
  •  allowing unlimited access to food is the most common cause of obesity in cats. Have specific   feeding times and remove food that is not eaten.
  •  Exersice - can really help burn the calories and as
  •  your pet gets trimmer the more it will be able to those trips to the beach or park. Depending on the health of your pet your vet will be able to advise you as to how much and how far you can go. Dont forget to play with your pet! 

Join a slimming plan!

Many of the food companies have a slimming plan that gives help and encouragement to pet owners whose animals are on weight reducing foods. Most practices are involved in one or more of the programmes and can register you on the websites. They are great for keeping an accurate record of your pets progress and most companies will send you freebies for all your hard work!

In for the long haul….

Weight loss doesn’t happen over night, it is a long process that needs commitment from you the owner, particularly when things are going slowly.

We all love our companion animals and want them to have a happy, healthy and long life. By taking the first steps to help your overweight pet not only you are being a responsible owner but you will extend the time you have to spend with your best friend!

                                  Don’t kill them with kindness!             Help them enjoy life!

                                                BEFORE.....                                   AFTER !!!

47 Kenilworth Road, Cape Town
Telephone: 021-671-5018