Did you know that 54% of all cats and 55% of all dogs in the US are overweight or obese? There are many risks associated with being overweight:
- Joint Problems
- Exercise Intolerance
- Hepatic Lipidosis (cats)
- Heart Problems
- Hip Dysplasia
- Increased anesthetic risk
- Shorter lifespan
Some foods to avoid with animals:
- Chocolate and sweets in general
- Coffee and Tea (caffeine)
- Grapes and Raisins
- Fruit pits and seeds
- Xylitol (often found in sugarless gum)
- Yeast dough
While very popular in pet food stores; hypoallergenic, novel protein and grain free diets are not always the cure to your pets allergy problems and can even limit our options if they need a novel source in the future. The majority of sufferers are allergic to environmental causes like dust, pollen and molds or fleas. We can help rule out these possibilities and if needed recommend some helpful flea preventatives and antihistamines. Only about 10% of allergic pets are food allergic. However if your pet does suffer from food related allergies there are ways to cope with this as well. Generally what is recommended is a food elimination trial. This takes 8 – 12 weeks with either a completely hypoallergenic diet or a novel protein source diet. This is something we can also help guide you through. There are many misconceptions concerning diets and pet food stores and the internet can offer up a varying and conflicting wealth of information. Remember that pet stores are there to sell you food and don’t usually have a nutritionist on hand to tell you the facts! Let your veterinarian and our trained staff help you figure out what’s a good diet plan for your pet. Remember that “grain free” and “organic” does not always mean complete and balanced. By-products and “chicken-meal” are not necessarily bad things, nor are grains. What matters is the appropriate nutrients and that it’s coming from a reputable company that does quality testing. Ask yourself a few things before buying your foods; Does the company have extensive testing of their products? Do they have a veterinary nutritionist? What is their history of food recalls? Is the product complete and balanced in nutrition?
Another popular option are raw food diets. We generally ask people to avoid these since it is a challenge to make them complete and balanced and there are risks of food born illness. Salmonella and E. Coli can sicken both owners and pets alike. While there are supplements to help ensure your pet still gets the needed nutrients in their diet the safest option would be a commercially produced pet food. The AVMA recently passed a resolution advising against the feeding of raw protein diets. You can read about it Here.
For high anxiety pets Royal Canin has come out with a new Calm diet. As a complete and balanced food you can feed it as their main diet or for when you know high stress will be an issue (holidays, vacations, etc.). It’s safe to give in multi-pet households. Ask your veterinarian if you’re interested in trying out this new product. It’s available for cats and dogs 33 pounds and under.
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