Category Archives: Food

Why Pet Nutrition Matters

I thought I would share an interesting article my vet sent to me:

The First Step in Preventative Care

With more than half of all dogs and cats overweight or obese, pets are increasingly at risk for a number of chronic health problems, according to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). An appropriate, balanced diet can make a significant difference for a pet’s overall health, reducing the risk for chronic health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and other types of chronic pain.

Nutrition counseling and weight management are an essential part of every veterinary wellness exam. Just like humans, dogs and cats have unique wellness needs. A one-size-fits-all approach to dietary management overlooks important aspect of nutrition counseling. Today’s veterinarian makes dietary recommendations based on a pet’s specific needs, such as weight loss, organ function, mobility restrictions, or a chronic pain condition. A veterinary nutrition evaluation will also take into account a pet’s medical history, food preferences, and current activity level.

For some health conditions, dietary management can completely resolve the problem, no medication or surgery required. For example, consider the case of Max, a dog who was overweight and suffered from disc-related back pain. Max had been on chronic pain medication, including muscle relaxers, but was still unable to be active. Dietary management helped Max safely lose weight and today he romps in the neighborhood dog park like he was never in pain. The lesson here is simple: nutrition and dietary management matters.

Dietary management should start as soon as pet owners introduce a new pet into their family. Puppies and kittens have unique nutrition requirements in order to grow into healthy adult pets. For example, large-breed puppies should be fed a large-breed puppy food; this food helps these puppies safely grow slowly over time. Rapid weight gain should be avoided as it can strain the musculoskeletal system and increase the risk for skeletal and joint problems, including hip dysplasia.

In addition to considering which pet food to use, the AAHA also reminds pet owners to keep a close eye on their pets’ treats. Treats can be a sneaky source of calories and sabotage a pet’s weight management diet. Positive praise is just as effective and calorie free.

An extra few pounds may seem insignificant to us, but those pounds can adversely affect a pet’s health. Veterinary care that proactively monitors a pet’s weight and diet is the best way to keep pets healthy and active throughout their lives.

How to Pick the Right Food for Your Pet

With an almost overwhelming number of food choices in today’s pet superstores, choosing the right food for your pet can be a challenge. Your veterinarian can help. Ask your veterinarian the following:

•    How much food should I feed my pet each day?
•    Should I feed my pet once or twice per day?
•    Does my pet need a special dietary food to address a health problem?

Don’t wait until your pet is sick or overweight to ask these questions; a proactive approach will keep your pet healthy and active for life.

Sources:

American Animal Hospital Association, “Nutrition: The First Step in Preventative Care.”

Recipe Friday – Frozen Berry Bones For Dogs Gluten/Grain free

Your dog can participate in the weekend 4th of July festivities (if you live in the USA, if not, your dog will still love these frozen yogurt bones).

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup to a cup of plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup to a cup strawberries (you can use frozen)
  • 1/2 cup to a cup blueberries (you can use frozen)

 

Directions:

1. Thaw your berries if you’re using frozen ones.

2. Puree the berries with a blender, or even your fork and some effort will do it if they’re from frozen, because they’re so soft.  You can even use a potato masher if you have one handy.

3. Layer them into your mold (one layer of strawberries, one layer of yogurt, one layer of blueberries). You can use a silicone bone mold, or you could even use muffin tins.  Freeze each layer for an hour. Keep adding layers and freezing for one hour,  until the mold is full, making sure your top layer a blueberry layer. freeze for at least five hours.

4. When ready to serve, thaw slightly and serve.  You can make double or triple recipes, depending how many you want to make and how many dogs you have.

 

Non-Profit Provides “Food Stamps” For Pets

I am still waiting on publishing a product review as I like my little tester (Isis) to test out the stuff for about a month before I give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.  I came across this video/article that warmed my heart.

The economy has been rough lately and a lot of people may be on public assistance.  A non-profit agency has started a program for those who are on public assistance for themselves, they can now apply for “food stamps” for their pets.  The Pet Food Stamps non-profit agency has teamed up with Pet Flow to send people and pets in need, their dog or cats food.

The family that cares for the pet must apply for this program and if they are accepted, they will have the food delivered to their door.

I thought it would be good to share here because you never know who may need this program.  If you have a friend or family member that is struggling, this might be something to help them breathe and not stress as much, or it might even help someone not have to give their pet away because they can no longer handle paying for food for their pet.

Please take a look at the video and read the article, and please pass on this information to anyone you know who may need it.  I think it is a wonderful program that may save a pet’s life.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57581800/non-profit-provides-food-stamps-for-pets/

 

Dog Food Alert – Great Life Withholds Specific Buffalo Recipe Dog Foods

Great Life is withholding certain Buffalo recipe dog foods due to a suspicious odor, please read this release for more information:

pril 30, 2013 – Great Life Performance Pet Products has written a letter to its distributors requesting they withhold certain products from sale to consumers.

According to the company, the action is being taken because some packages are “not reaching full expiration date” as suggested by the presence of an unexplained odor.

The affected dog food products include:

  • Great Life Grain Free Buffalo
  • Dr. E’s Grain Free Buffalo

In its letter, Great Life assures distributors recent lab tests have found their Grain Free Buffalo products “free of Salmonella, E. coli, toxins, micro-toxins, etc.”.

Our Opinion

Although Great Life is investigating the cause of the problem, it’s important to note the company has not yet technically classified its action “a recall”.

However, it’s always possible some of the affected product may have already made its way to end users.

Since the company has not yet determined the actual cause of the odor, we feel compelled to make consumers aware of the situation and suggest they monitor the developing story closely.

What to Do?

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

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Recipe Friday – Gooey Meat Treat For Dogs

This is a great meatloaf kind of concoction for your dog that will make them want more and more.

Ingredients:

Chopped liver (depending how much you would like to make, use one to two large pieces and chop them up finely).
2 small potatoes
1/2 Cup Chopped carrots
1 Cup cooked brown rice
Kale (optional, I sprinkle it on top when I am finished making the loaf)
1 Cup broth (chicken, turkey, beef, vegetable, whichever you think your dog will like)

 
Directions:

1. Cook all ingredients except the kale.  Make sure the vegetables are cooked until soft.  Chop up all ingredients except the kale.

2. Break up the kale into small pieces like you would when breaking up lettuce for salad

3. Mix ingredients (except for the kale, sprinkle that on top when finished) and blend in blender (until it is the consistency of canned dog food) and warm on stove.

4. Warm the broth and pour it over the mixture each time you serve a piece to your dog.

5. Store leftovers in the fridge, along with the broth and heat both back up each time you serve it to your dog.

Recipe Friday – Turkey Meatballs For Cats

Your cat is sure to love these tasty treats.  Of course, if your cat cannot eat turkey, you may substitute it for any other ground meat.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 Cup grated carrots
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 Cup finely crushed crackers
  • 1/4 Cup powdered milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a cookie sheet/baking pan with olive oil.

2. Using your hands as you would when making meatloaf, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.

3. Make the meatballs about the size of golf balls, and arrange them on a baking pan/cookie sheet.

4. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until the balls are nicely browned and reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

5. Cool before serving. Freeze the leftover balls and reheat in microwave as needed.  You may chop them up before serving them to your cat.

Recipe Friday – Cheddar Pumpkin Treats Gluten Free (For Dogs)

Your dog will come running for these tasty treats.  I will post the gluten free version, plus the recipe if you wish to make yours not gluten free.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Oats
  • 1/2 cup Soy Flour (or you can use 1 cup of whole wheat or regular white flour, if you want a “lighter” gluten free flour, since soy flour is kind of heavy, you can use about 3/4 cup rice flour, you may need to play around with the measurements, since density and moisture content may be an issue)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.

3. Spread by hand onto the prepared baking sheet 1/4 inch thick. Then use a knife, or any kind of sharper cooking tool to kind of score it into a grid for cutting pieces later when cooked.

4. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until browned at the edges. (you may need more time for this step)

5. Cool and break into pieces then refrigerate.

Dogs and Chocolate Poisoning

With Halloween just over, most of us will have some candy left over, or our children have trick-or-treated and got some great loot!  I know we like to share our food and sometimes even candy with our furry friends, sharing chocolate can be toxic and even worse, deadly for our dogs.

The scary thing is, it doesn’t take much to poison a dog, just 0.7 ounces per pound of body weight of milk chocolate, 0.3 ounces per pound of body weight of semi-sweet chocolate and baking chocolate is the worst at 0.1 ounces per pound of body weight is enough to do serious damage.

Some of the symptoms of chocolate poisoning are:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • increased body temperature
  • rapid breathing
  • muscle rigidity
  • seizures

If you suspect your dog is suffering from this, do not delay, call your emergency vet and get there immediately.

It is important to note that there is NO antidote to chocolate toxicity.

For more information, please see this article.

Dog Food Recall – Wellness Dry Dog Food(Batch)

It’s pretty scary, but there is another recall for Wellness, a batch of dry dog food.  Here is the e-mail I received:

October 30, 2012 – WellPet LLC of Tewksbury, MA has announced the withdrawal of a limited number of one of its dry kibble products due to possible moisture contamination.

This action affects Wellness Small Breed Adult Health Dry Dog Food in the 12 lbs package and bearing a “Best By” date of August 18, 2013.

No other dates, bag sizes or recipes are affected.

According to a statement made by the company on its Facebook page…

“A small batch of the product with this specific date code was found to be higher in moisture than our recipe calls for. High moisture may cause food to mold before its expiration date, but poses no health risk.”

What to Do?

As far as what to do with your affected product, the company goes on to state:

“We want you and your pet to be completely satisfied, so we are asking those who may have this limited supply of food to contact us for a replacement.”

Consumers with questions may call Wellness Customer Service at 800-225-0904.

You can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area.

Or go to http://www.fda.gov/petfoodcomplaints.

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Get dog food recall alerts delivered right to your Inbox the moment we become aware of them. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s Dog Food Recall Alert email notification list now.

How Safe is Your Dog’s Food

Sasha’s vet shared this article with me and I wanted to pass it along, considering all the pet food recalls lately:

How Safe is Your Dog’s Food?

 

dog_food_200.jpg
My dog’s food was recalled – what should I do now?
1. Immediately stop feeding your dog the recalled food; save a small sample of the food and the barcode label in case government regulators need to test the food.

2. Disinfect everything, including your dog’s food bowl, food storage container and feeding space with bleach and hot, soapy water.

3. Immediately take your dog to your veterinarian for a wellness exam, even if your dog does not show symptoms of food poisoning. In some cases, internal organ damage can accumulate slowly over time; early intervention is essential to protecting your pet’s health.

Over the last several years, numerous dog food brands and treats have been recalled for chemical contamination or Salmonella. This last summer many dog food brands were recalled due to Salmonella; all were manufactured in a Diamond Pet Foods plant in Gaston, South Carolina, USA. This plant makes many brands besides their own Diamond brand; Solid Gold, Canidae, Taste of the Wild, and Kirkland (Costco’s brand) were just some of the types of food affected. Further investigation showed that problems extended back to October 2011.  By July 2012, at least 49 people had been sickened from the Salmonella in the dog food, and ten had been hospitalized. Salmonella can cause illness in dogs as well, such as vomiting and diarrhea. It is not known how many pets were affected from this infection.  And like humans, some dogs and cats may not show any symptoms, but become carriers of Salmonella and can infect other animals and people.

An even larger problem is the chicken jerky treats made in China. It has been known for a few years that  many dogs have been sickened from them, and the number of cases is increasing. The FDA just reported that in the last 18 months, 360 dogs and one cat have died from ingesting them. Extensive analysis has not revealed the cause. They have been tested for several chemical compounds including melamine, heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins and infectious agents. The warning has now been extended to duck and sweet potato jerky treats.

For pet owners and veterinarians, there’s nothing quite as scary as discovering the food that you feed your dog is actually making him or a human family member sick. While you can’t prevent your pet’s food from being recalled, you can take the following five steps to reduce the risk for food poisoning and contamination or at least document a problem.

1. Store food in an airtight container. Before adding a new bag of food to the container, thoroughly wash it out with soap and hot water.

2. Save the barcode. Cut the barcode off your dog’s current food bag. Oftentimes a brand will only recall certain bags of food, depending on where they were manufactured. This information is contained in the barcode.

3. Wash bowls and food space regularly, and then disinfect them in bleach.   If dry dog food falls on the floor, treat it the same as you would raw meat or chicken; clean the floor immediately with antibacterial spray.

4. Watch for symptoms. If you notice a change in your pet’s behavior and energy levels, contact your veterinarian. Common symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. It is always possible that your dog’s food may be making him sick but it has not officially been recalled.

5. Practice good hygiene. When feeding your dog, it’s natural to reach down and pick up fallen pieces of food off the floor and put them back in your pet’s bowl. If the food is contaminated with E. coli or salmonella, however, then doing so will spread these dangerous bacteria to your hands. Always wash your hands with soap and water after feeding your dog; never touch your eyes, ears or mouth with unwashed hands.

If you suspect that your dog’s food is making him sick, contact your veterinarian and government regulators. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally tracks complaints about suspect dog food and treats. You can contact the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator.

Source:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

KTLA 5 News