Category Archives: Fitness

Dr. Oakes’ Tips for Walking Your Cat

Kitty Holster cat harness

Kitty Holster cat harness

Now that warmer weather is here, take advantage of it by allowing your cat some safe outdoor time!

Being a constant flight risk, cats need to be secured when outdoors to prevent runaways.

One easy was to get kitty some fresh air is to simply move an enclosed large dog cage outside and allow kitty a few hours in it. 

Being a constant flight risk, cats need to be secured when outdoors to prevent runaways.

Always place cages OUT of direct sunlight, and drape a towel over half of it so kitty feels hidden and secure.

Placing the cage near some grass will allow kitty to nibble some fresh greens, which many cats crave.  Don’t worry if it causes her to vomit; lawn grass is not poisonous, but it has tiny sharp edges which can act as an irritant to some cats’ stomachs.

For an even more up close and personal outdoor experience, good for mental stimulation, stress relief, and to burn off some calories, get your kitty into a well fitted harness and take her outside!

A harness allows kitty the freedom to roam yet prevents escape.

A harness allows kitty the freedom to roam yet prevents escape.  I personally like the Kitty Holster Cat Harness ( attached to a Guardian Gear 20-Feet Cotton Web Dog Training Lead, Black (

Before her first time ever outside in a harness, spend 2 – 3 days inside, getting kitty used to the new harness.  Trust me, do not skip this step!

Kitty Holster cat harness

Kitty Holster cat harness

I recommend waiting until meal time and then put a heap of food (or yummy treats) in front of kitty; while preoccupied eating, quickly slip on the harness.  Cats are supremely coordinated; a harness throws off her coordination, causing tilting, swaying, and falling over even.

Keep feeding the treats to distract your kitty from her unease about the harness, while her body and sense of balance acclimates to wearing it.  Leave the harness on several hours for 1-3 days; kitty will forget she has it on, and then you are ready to go outdoors!

When you take kitty out on a leash, DO NOT plan on taking her for a walk!!  She will actually walk you! 

When you take kitty out on a leash, DO NOT plan on taking her for a walk!!  She will actually walk you!

Just stand patiently, leash firmly in hand in case she startles and darts away.  You need to be ready to reel her back in and prevent her from getting the long leash tangled around the shrubs.  She will take 20 minutes to explore the first 5 feet outside of your door, but after 30 minutes or so your cat will become much more confident and start to even chase bugs!  Just allow kitty to explore at her own pace (SLOW!) and keep pace with her, enjoying her new found fun.

Lastly, a flea preventative WILL be needed if kitty is outdoors.  I personally use prescription-only Revolution brand monthly flea preventative in my own cats. (Editor’s note: If your pet is a patient at Bigger Road, you can order Revolution from our online pharmacy at a great price.)

Questions about your cats’ fitness, outdoor time, flea prevention, or anything else? Call or contact us online!

Underwater Treadmill featured in Dayton Daily News!


Clifford enjoys an Underwater Treadmill session with Carmen

Check out this article in the Dayton Daily News, featuring Bigger Road’s Carmen Kolz and Canine Underwater Treadmill!

The article tells the story of Clifford, a stray golden retriever who was found by Mary Savage of Englewood after being hit by a car. Thanks to Mary and Clifford’s treadmill hydrotherapy with Carmen, Clifford got a new lease on life. 10 years later, he’s happy and healthy!

Our newly expanded Bigger Road Veterinary Center in Springboro offers the only underwater treadmill service for pets in the Miami Valley, and Carmen has more experience in treadmill hydrotherapy than anyone in the country!

Read more about the benefits of underwater treadmill, and Call or contact us online to find out if hydrotherapy can help your pet!

Underwater Treadmill

Clifford enjoys his Underwater Treadmill therapy

#askbiggervet – September 11, 2014

In the first edition of #askbiggervet, we’re taking on how to dose flea, tick & heartworm preventionhow much to feed your cathow far is too far to run with your pup, and more!

What is the best way to give your pet a flea/heartworm pill?
Mike asked:

“What is the best way to give your pet a flea/heartworm pill?”

Good question Mike. We know how hard this can be! Most of these pills need to be given with food, so use that in your favor. Offer them their pill in a delicious treat, right before their meal, so they are hungry and eager to eat.

If the traditional pill pocket style treat doesn’t work we suggest hiding the pill in a bit of bread, cheese, peanut butter, or even a marshmallow! You can try cutting the pill in half or quarters and giving it in smaller bites if need be. You might try offering a treat without the pill first as a “decoy”.

If this still doesn’t work or your pet has dietary restrictions ask your veterinarian for other options.

How do you know how much to feed your cat a day?

Jenice asked:

“How do you know how much to feed your cat a day?”

Another great question. While you can certainly start with the recommendations on the bag or cans, many cats have other needs to consider.

We customize feeding plans that take into account your pet’s current weight, ideal weight, age, lifestyle, and what you prefer to feed. That way we can meet both the needs of you and your cat!

We can send you a custom feeding plan today – it’s free – or we can put one together at your next visit.

Does filtered water help with bladder crystals?

Deborah asked:

“My cat get crystals in his bladder, he is on CD Hill’s Prescription Diet Urinary Tract Health food. I have been told from a friend that the crystals form due to calcium in faucet water. Is this true and if so what water is best for him? Would a pur water filter hooked up to my faucet be something that would take out the calcium?”

Deborah, while a water filter certainly won’t hurt, we don’t have any studies telling us it makes a difference in these cases. What we do have is lots of science behind how the prescription diets prevent cats from forming crystals.

However, because we want cats that form crystals to drink more water, our best suggestion is to offer the water he thinks tastes best! We find that many cats prefer a recirculating water fountain and recommend that owners try this to get their cats to drink more.

How far can my puppy run with me?

Jodi asked:

“Is 2 miles too long of a distance to jog with my 8 mos pit/lab mix puppy? She tolerates it well then still has energy to play at home, but I don’t want to harm her bones/growth?”

This is a really good question Jodi and we’re so happy that you’re including your sweet pup in your exercise routine!

When exercising outdoors with your dog you want to consider the same factors you would if you were exercising alone: temperature, hydration, paying attention to your body, and working up longer distances slowly.

The one additional thing you need to think about is the ground. Dogs can burn their paw pads on hot pavement, and if they aren’t used to running outside their pads may be tender and will need to toughen over time. Keep walks short or stick to the grass if the pavement is hot or they’re new at outdoor exercise.

You want to make sure they have the fitness and strength to handle the exercise. Most importantly, have fun and don’t forget to bring a baggie for potty break cleanups!

More #askbiggervet
  • #askbiggervet – October 15, 2014 (10/15/2014) - This edition of #askbiggervet is all about senior pets! Get answers to your questions about abnormal breathing, spaying older female dogs, and dental care for seniors!
  • #askbiggervet – September 24, 2014 (9/21/2014) - In this edition of #askbiggervet, we tackle itching, picky eaters and the importance of year-round heartworm prevention!
  • #askbiggervet – September 11, 2014 (9/11/2014) - In the first edition of #askbiggervet, we're taking on how to dose flea, tick & heartworm prevention, how much to feed your cat, how far is too far to run with your pup, and more!

Protecting Pets from Birds of Prey

Protect Pets from Birds of Prey

Small pets such as kittens and puppies are vulnerable to birds of prey.

After receiving a report of a red-tailed hawk preying on a patient in the Kettering area, we wanted to share the following tips for keeping your pets safe from birds of prey. Fortunately, Marcy (an 11 lb. Havanese) was being supervised by her mom, Susan, and escaped unharmed!

Follow these tips to keep your pets safe from birds of prey, including:

  • Supervising pets
  • Keeping pets contained
  • Providing cover
  • Avoiding ground feeding birds
  • Feeding pets indoors

Learn more here!

Bigger Road patients benefit from underwater treadmill

Underwater treadmill is gaining popularity for rehabilitation purposes, as well as for general fitness. We wanted to share videos of two of our patients, Maggie and Kylie, who have benefited from this therapy!

We refer clients to Carmen Kolz’s Canine Underwater Treadmill for treatment. When our Springboro location expands in early 2015, we will be able to offer this therapy to patients directly!

Maggie Burke

Maggie, a patient of Dr. Conan Crocker, had anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) surgery in 2009 and 2010.  The underwater treadmill has allowed Maggie to maintain strength and mobility, and control her weight through low-impact exercise.

Kylie Richards

Kylie sees Dr. Crocker for a bilateral cruciate ligament rupture. Kylie began underwater treadmill therapy in June, 2014, with the goals of improved strength and mobility. While she may need surgery in the future, Kylie’s owners have noted a marked improvement since beginning treadmill therapy.
Please Call or contact us online to find out if underwater treadmill therapy can benefit your pet!

Keeping pets cool on hot days

With the cold days finally behind us (they are behind us, right?), it’s time for fun in the sun! But keeping your furry friends safe from dehydration and overheating requires a little bit of planning, and knowing what to look for.

Trupanion has some great tips for keeping your pet cool and happy, and things to watch out for in hot weather. Learn more here!

Trupanion - Keeping Pets Cool in Hot Weather

Trupanion – Keeping Pets Cool on Hot Days

Questions about your pet and summer activities? Call or contact us online anytime!

SICSA Paw Partners: Help a shelter dog while you get your exercise!



Did you know that SICSA has a Paw Partners program, that allows you to take an adoptable dog for a run or walk? This is a great way to provide enrichment and exercise for a shelter pup, support the efforts of a local animal welfare group, and improve your own health and fitness. It’s a win-win-win!

The next orientation for the Paw Partners program is Saturday, May 24th at 11am, in the SICSA training room at 2600 Wilmington Pike, Kettering (45419).

See you there!

Bigger Road is at SICSA’s Lift Your Leg!

Make sure to stop by Bigger Road’s booth at Lift Your Leg Run/Walk for Strays, on Saturday, June 7th, 2014! We will be promoting our Healthy Pet Project, a program exclusively for Bigger Road clients that includes nutrition and fitness counseling from certified counselors.

About Lift Your Leg

SICSA's Lift Your Leg

Lift Your Leg – June 7, 2014

SICSA’s Lift Your Leg Run and Walk for Strays helps thousands of animals annually by raising critical funding for their care and adoption. Each year, over 700 people join together and raise money, run and walk in support of companion animals. Participants can choose between the 10K, 5K, and a fun 1-mile course.

Learn more about Lift Your Leg!

About Bigger Road and the Healthy Pet Project

Since 1976, Bigger Road Veterinary Clinic has provided care for pets and their parents in

Healthy Pet Project

The Healthy Pet Project is exclusively for Bigger Road Clients

Kettering, OH. In 2009, we opened a second location in Springboro, allowing us to help even more pets in the Dayton area.

Bigger Road’s mission is the help pets live the longest, healthiest, happiest lives possible. We know that this is best achieved through whole life care – not just quality medical care, but also attending to a pet’s nutrition, behavior, and lifestyle needs.

The Healthy Pet Project was designed to provide this whole life care and strengthen the bond between people and their pets. Certified coaches work with clients and their pets to develop a solid nutrition plan and a schedule of activities to improve or maintain overall fitness. Fun group activities bring clients and pets together to share their successes and stay motivated.

Along with regular preventive care, the guidance provided by our coaches helps ensure that your pet stays healthy and happy. We are happy to answer questions about the Healthy Pet Project by e-mail ( or on our web site (, or call us anytime at (937) 435-3262.

Simplify your pet’s nutrition!

We get it: pet nutrition is confusing! Did you know that Bigger Road offers exclusive nutritional tools for clients that make it simple? Read all about it here, and ask us at your next appointment!

Feeding Plans

Customized feeding plan

Customized feeding plan

If your pet needs to slim down a bit, is an overweight-prone breed, or you are just confused by your pet food labels, you will love our customized Feeding Plans.

This is a guide made just for you and your pet – his weight, his goals, and the food and treats he likes. You will know how much to feed and how much to treat, without scrutinizing food labels.

Post it on the fridge and everyone in the house will know exactly what to do to keep your pet on track!

Food Recommendations

Not sure what you should be feeding? The hundreds of choices at the pet store certainly

Customized food recommendations

Customized food recommendations

don’t make it easy, but we have you covered. Based on your pet’s needs and your preferences, we can provide you with a list of recommended foods. We tell you:

  • Where to find them
  • How much you’ll pay
  • What the packages look like
  • Why they’re good choices for your pet

Don’t go into the maze of food aisles at the pet store without a map!

We’re here to help!

Questions about pet nutrition? Call or e-mail us ( today!