Category Archives: pet food

Treats are fine but in moderation

Depositphotos_19533969_m-2015We all give in to the tail wagging and begging.  But when it comes to giving your dog or cat treats, too many can be bad for their health.

It’s best to view your dog’s or cat’s treat as jus
t like you would chocolate for humans.  (BTW – NEVER let your dog or cat eat chocolate – it can be fatal!)  You wouldn’t sit down to a whole box of Hersey Kisses – just like you shouldn’t feed your dog or cat a whole box or bag of treats.

Treats should be fed as just that – treats – and not as food.  The only exception is that if you have a geriatric pet who is a finicky eater and relies on treats for extra calories.  Elsewhere in this blog, we suggest treats as food replacement under these circumstances.  But for a healthy pet, treats should be limited.

Pets that are fed treats as much as regular food are at risk of becoming obese which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and other weight-related health problems.  Today, more than HALF of all dogs and cats are obese and many pet owners fail to recognize that too many pounds can take years off of Fluffy’s or Fido’s life.

So TREAT your pet’s TREATS like TREATS.  And the next time your pet begs for more, get out the ball or birdie and make time for play instead.

AS ALWAYS, CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR PET’S OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.

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Dry foods help reduce dental disease in dogs

Dog eating food

Dog owners always have question about whether to feed their pet dry or canned foods.  This can be a daunting decision, given the number of both dry and canned foods.

High quality dry foods can easily meet the nutritional requirements of most dogs.  You will want to check labels for the amount of meat-based proteins the food contains versus grains.  Higher priced dry foods will tend to contain more meat-based proteins than their lower-priced competitors.

The added benefit of dry food is that chewing on it reduces the buildup of plaque and tarter on your dog’s teeth.  Dogs that eat only a wet or canned diet are more prone to dental disease if the diet is not balanced with treats and toys for chewing.  Some dogs – if raised on only canned food – will refuse to eat dry food at all – so it’s important to start your dog early on at least a partial dry diet.  In many cases, we suggest waiting until the dog is of senior age before giving a preponderance of canned foods.

NOTE: The above does NOT pertain to cats who have different nutritional needs.  See other blogs on cat nutrition.

AS ALWAYS, CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR PET’S OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.

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Choosing food for your feline – the more meat protein & moisture, the better

Tabby cat eating food from a bowl

For cats, the key words in choosing their food are PROTEIN and MOISTURE.

A cat’s digestive system is very different from a dog’s.  So do not assume that what’s good for your dog is also good for your cat.

While having a good protein-based diet is important for dogs, it’s especially important for cats.  Cats have higher requirements for proteins – and the amino acids found in proteins — than dogs.  A diet deficient in proteins can cause a wide range of health issues.  (Please note: Cats that have been diagnosed with kidney disease may be put on a protein restricted diet by their veterinarian.)

Do NOT reduce the protein in your cat’s diet on your own; always consult with your vet!

In addition to protein, cats need LIQUID.  Sources include wet or canned food as well as water.  Cats are notoriously poor drinkers so a quality dry food diet should be supplemented with canned or wet food.  Without adequate moisture, cats can be prone to urinary infections and are at increased risk of kidney disease later in life.  (Also look for foods that contain cranberry which promotes good urinary tract health.)  It is also helpful to add additional drinking areas.  I have two locations in my house with one of them being a drinking fountain.

The dry food provides the ability to “graze” throughout the day and also helps reduce dental tarter and plaque buildup.  Hard treats are also good (in moderation of course).

AS ALWAYS, CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR PET’S OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.

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Grain-free is not enough; look for MEAT-BASED proteins in your pet’s food

Grain-free dog and cat foods seem to be the latest pet food fad.  But in our minds, the issue is NOT whether a pet food is grain-free, but rather, what is the SOURCE of the food’s protein content?

It’s best to choose a food that is high in MEAT-BASED PROTEINS.  Meat has always been a natural part of dogs’ and cats’ diets and is easiest for their systems to break down and digest.  Plus meat-based proteins contain amino acids that are essential to your pet’s diet.  However, meat is a more costly ingredient, so you are seeing some companies turn to alternative sources of protein – like corn and soy, both plant-based sources of protein.  They are able to raise the so-called protein levels in the food while reducing costs.

Vegetables or meat for the dogWhile some companies will use plant-based proteins like corn, corn is still a GRAIN that turns into starch and then into sugar – potentially leading to obesity and diabetes.  Some pet foods also contain corn gluten – a low-quality protein derived from corn – which is difficult for pets to digest.  Soy is actually a protein blocker.  So if your pet’s diet contains lots of soy, their body will be more prone to absorb these proteins and not the meat based proteins

You will typically find that many of the lower-priced foods contain a greater amount of plant based protein and less meat based protein.  Always read labels carefully.

Feeding some level of plant-based protein to your dog or cat is okay, however it’s not as healthy as meat-based protein.  And not providing a meat-based diet can lead to an increased chance of allergies and obesity.

AS ALWAYS, CONSULT WITH YOUR VETERINARIAN ABOUT YOUR PET’S OVERALL HEALTH AND WELLBEING.

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These treats can help get cats with poor appetites eating again

Tasty ChickenDo you have a picky eater?  Sometimes, as cats age, just like humans, they can become less interested in eating and it becomes more difficult to find foods that they enjoy.  If you have a cat who turns up his or her nose at lots of foods, I have found that some treats can fill in for at least part of their regular food and can also jumpstart their appetite.

But first, let me point out that if you have a cat who is not eating, your FIRST STEP should be to make sure they have a thorough veterinary exam.  It’s important to find out WHY your pet is not eating and to see if there’s any type of underlying health issue that is affecting your pet’s appetite.  If your pet is not eating, make an appointment at your vet as soon as possible.

I have had pets that were diagnosed with chronic illnesses and/or are geriatric and do not want to eat their regular foods.  So once you know why your pet is not eating normally, you can consider how to get them eating again.

The treats that have really helped get calories into ill and older cats are Temptations by Whiskas for cats.  I have had the most success with the CHICKEN flavor.  These treats are made in Canada.  See more info at https://www.temptationstreats.com/  For a few of my cats who did not want to eat at all, I fed them Temptations in place of their regular food.  See the website for information on recommended quantity and food ingredients.

AS IN ALL CASES, CONSULT YOUR VETERINARIAN BEFORE MAKING ANY DIETARY CHANGES.