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As most people know, cats are carnivores.  They need and require the nutrients (taurine) from meat in order to live a full, active and healthy life.  There are people who have turned into vegetarians for ethical reasons and wish to provide the same diet for their pets.

Cats can get taurine from chemically processed resources when they are vegetarian however, it’s not the same as what they are provided in their natural diet.  With commercial foods contributing to diabetes, heart disease and obesity in our pets these days, it’s no wonder people want to switch to a better, healthier diet, but when a cat is used to having meat as their main resource, are we harming them by giving them a diet made mostly of vegetables?
An important note is that cats who have a natural diet made of mostly meat have a low pH, while cats consuming vegetables tend to have a higher pH, thus leading to issues with diabetes.

It is a very heated topic in the veterinary world, with many vets experiencing sick cats as a result of this style of diet.  While I can understand people wanting to adopt this diet for their cat, I agree with the vet when they said this in the article: “Personally, I believe that when we voluntarily adopt cats into our homes, we are ethically obligated to honor the feline spirit and feed it according to its basic nature. But everyone needs to answer that question from their own heart.”

To read more about this controversial diet, here is the article.


Diabetes and Dogs

Diabetes can be such a scary diagnoses when you don’t arm yourself with information.  If your dog receives this diagnosis, all is not lost.  First we need to know how which dogs are more likely to get diabetes and what we can do to help stop this.

As humans become more sedentary, sometimes our pets do as well.  It is vitally important to keep your dog active by taking walks and playing, all dogs need exercise, some more than others.

The major risk factors to know are:

  • Age (middle-aged to older dogs are more affected)
  • Unspayed females
  • Genetics
  • Obesity

The breeds that are more susceptible to contracting diabetes are:

  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Dachshunds
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Pomeranians
  • Terriers
  • Toy Poodles

You will notice when treating your dog, you may use many of the same treatments that are being used on humans (insulin injections and glucose testing items).

It is important to know that dogs who live with untreated diabetes can develop cataracts and eventually go blind.  If you suspect your pet has diabetes, take them to the vet and get tested, as early detection is the best defense and can prolong the life of your loved one.

For more information on diabetes, click here.

Cats And Hairballs – What You Need To Know

We’ve all heard it from time to time, that dreaded hurking sound that cats make just before regurgitating a lovely hairball onto the carpet, even though the floor is about 2 feet away.  They just have to do it on the carpet (I know I should be nicer, it’s mostly because cats use the carpet because they cannot get a grip on the floor when they start to bring up the hairball).  But when is this a cause for concern and when is it fairly normal?

Cats from time to time will throw up hairballs (they are not coughing them up, they are regurgitating them, they stay in the digestive system until hair is passed either through the bowels or through the mouth, hairballs are not stuck in the lungs as some people may think).

If your cat is throwing up more than once a month, this could mean a disease rather than hairballs.  Some diseases could be: kidney failure, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and many other ailments, so if this is something that happens often with your cat, a trip to the vet would be in order.

Ways to help combat hairballs would be to brush your cat daily.  Cats spend about 10% of their waking hours grooming themselves, so if you get rid of a decent amount of shedding hair by brushing them daily, you are helping to ease the amount of hair they will swallow.

Sometimes people will use Olive Oil in their food (about a half teaspoon) to get the hair to pass through their digestive system and evacuated through their bowels faster.

You can also use hairball treatments.  These can be given as needed.  When I used them, I would smear a bit on the top of Isis’ paw about two hours after she ate.  You want them to have it on as empty a stomach as possible so that it adheres to the fur stuck in their stomach.

If you want to find out more about how to stop hairballs, this is an article that can help.  The only part I would omit is mentioning that dry kibble especially for hairballs is useful.  That part is not true.  Dry kibble doesn’t really do much for hairballs.