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July Ask the Vet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about a cat with food allergies and keeping a dog’s coat shiny.

Q: I have a 5 year old cat with food allergies. She can’t have food with many grains and is allergic to chicken. Does Wellness have a type of food that she would be able to eat?

A: Working with your vet you have identified a sensitivity in your cat to feeding diets that contain chicken as a primary animal protein source and a long list of grains. For long term maintenance you want to identify Wellness feline diets that avoid chicken and turkey protein sources and limit grain ingredients. The Wellness canned diets of choice would be: Wellness CORE® grain free Salmon, Whitefish, and Herring Recipe, and Complete Health Beef and Salmon Recipe canned cat food.

The Beef and Salmon Canned Recipe has salmon and beef as primary protein sources, and contains no grains. Some carbohydrate is contributed by sweet potato, flax, and vegetables. A 3 ounce can contain 107 kilocalories of energy.

CORE Salmon, Whitefish and Herring Canned Recipe is also 100% poultry and grain free. In addition to fish; potato, cranberry, flax, and chicory root extract are included at low levels.

A 5.5 ounce can contain 192 kilocalories of energy.

Q: We love Wellness products! We have a 140 lb Bullmastiff that has suffered from chronic ear infections and skin issues. Wellness CORE is the food that keeps these issues at bay. I was wondering how I could bring more sheen to his coat. Will supplementing the dry CORE with wet food help give him get a shinier coat?

A: CORE is a natural, grain free pet food that is protein focused. Wellness CORE Original Recipe dry dog food is a chicken and turkey based protein source diet with potato as a carbohydrate source; canola oil and salmon oil for fat sources; and some tomato pomace for added dietary fiber. Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe dry dog food is a fish based protein diet with potato as the carbohydrate source; canola oil for a fat source, and a mix of pea fiber and tomato pomace as a source of dietary fiber. Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish, & Herring Recipe is a canned food that is fish protein based, with some sweet potato and flax, fruits and vegetables; and chicken fat and salmon oil added.

Wellness CORE Original is about 421 kilocalories per cup and Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe is about 417 kilocalories per cup; Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Recipe canned dog food is about 220 calories per 6 ounce can.

Assume you are currently feeding about 5 cups per day of Wellness CORE Original (2.5 cups in the morning and 2.5 cup in the evening); about 2100 kcal of energy per day; and you want to bring out more sheen in the coat. Some changes you may try:

Plan #1:

- Morning feeding- 2 cups Wellness CORE Original dry dog food and 1x 6 ounce can of Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Recipe canned dog food.

- Repeat same as above for afternoon feeding.

Plan #2:

- Replace half the volume (cups) of Wellness CORE Original dry dog food you are currently offering daily with an equal volume of Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe dry dog food for dogs at each meal. That is 1.25 cups of each brand of dry food in the morning and 1.25 cups of each dry food in the evening. A total of 5 cups per day.

In both plan #1 and #2; we are manipulating the amounts and/or ratios of the fatty acids (omega 6 and omega 3) in the total daily diet for the dog. Monitor in a diary the results you see in skin condition, body weight, and stool volume and consistency.

July 2012 Ask the Vet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about what to feed a Golden Retriever during his senior years, and the proper diet for a one-year old German Shepherd.

Q: Our German shepherd puppy is currently on Wellness® Super5Mix® Large Breed Puppy Health Recipe dry dog food. When I switch her to adult food, would it be okay to use Wellness® CORE® Grain-Free Formula or would I have to stick to a large breed formula like Wellness® Super5Mix® Large Breed Adult Health Recipe?

A: I recommend feeding your large breed dog the Wellness® Super5Mix® Large Breed Puppy Health recipe dry dog food until about one year of age. After one year, many pet parents begin transitioning to Wellness® Super5Mix® Large Breed Adult Health Recipe as the logical follow-up diet of choice in the product family.

Some pet parents prefer to feed a more protein focused diet to the large breed adult, such as one of the Wellness® CORE® Grain-Free dry dog food products. The three Wellness® CORE® Grain-Free Formulas are formulated for adult maintenance feeding and we avoid recommending them in a growth program to limit calcium and phosphorus to minimum growth levels recommended by AAFCO for large breed dogs.

Start your transition to a new feeding regime by obtaining an accurate body weight on a scale and estimating a body condition score. Record this data for future reference.

When choosing a Wellness® dry dog food, consider the diet caloric density:

Wellness® Super5Mix® Large Breed Adult Health Recipe 336 kcal/cup

Wellness® CORE® Reduced Fat Recipe 360 kcal/cup

Wellness® Super5Mix® Large Breed Puppy Recipe 366 kcal/cup

Wellness® CORE® Ocean Recipe 417 kcal/cup

Wellness® CORE® Original Recipe 421 kcal/cup

Your one-year old, active, nearly mature, 60 pound dog is going to need somewhere around 1000-1200 kcal per day. Don’t forget to observe stool quality when you make dietary transitions. When switching to a new food, loose stool is often an indicator that a dog is being overfed. If this happens, try decreasing the amount fed by 10 to 15% and divide the meals into two or three per day instead of one big meal.

Q: I have a five year old Golden Retriever dog that eats Wellness® CORE® Reduced Fat Formula Dry Dog Food. I am being told by my vet that he is already considered a senior pet. He does have white hair covering 50% of his face and has problems with shoulder and hip arthritis. Do I need to change him to a senior food—if so when? Is there such a thing as Senior Wellness CORE?

A: Senior dogs have different nutritional needs because lean body mass (muscle), weight, activity levels and digestive efficiency all decrease with age. Determining when to switch to a senior diet should be decided with your veterinarian based on your dog’s size, breed (large breed dogs tend to age more quickly than small breed dogs) and age. The most important consideration in a feeding program during the “aging of the pet” is changing the calories offered based on what your pet needs. Body weight should be monitored frequently and follow the feeding guidelines, adjusting to feed more if your pet is underweight or less if your pet is overweight.

Wellness® Super5Mix® Just for Seniors Recipe dry dog food is designed specifically for the needs of aging dogs. If you would prefer a grain-free diet, you can certainly continue to feed Wellness® CORE® Reduced Fat Recipe dry dog food. Wellness® Super5Mix® Just for Seniors and Wellness® CORE® Reduced Fat Recipe both offer lower calories to help your dog maintain a healthy weight, which can be helpful in reducing the stress on your dogs joints.

Encouraging Healthy Hydration for your Feline Friend

catWater is an essential nutrient for your cat, accounting for 60-75% of an adult feline’s body weight.  Water helps your pet’s body digest food, regulate body temperature, eliminate waste (urinary issues continues to be one of the most common medical reasons pet parents take their cats to the veterinarian) and allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body. Encouraging a healthy daily intake of water can help keep your cat feeling and looking good.

The amount of water your pet needs depends on a variety of things such as their level of activity and environmental factors. While diet can play a significant role in helping to prevent problems like urinary tract issues, hydration or adequate water consumption are equally important. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering your cat’s hydration habits.

1. When considering the urinary system, an ideal diet for a domestic, household cat, whether it is a canned or dry recipe, should contain lower levels of magnesium and encourage an acidic urine. All Wellness® Canned Recipes for Cats are designed with these criteria in mind. Our variety of minced, sliced and cubed entrees for cats offer the hydration cats need with a savory gravy they’ll love, now available in new varieties and new larger 5.5 oz cans!

2. Along with feeding a proper diet, encouraging sufficient water intake is a major concern. Many cats love to drink running water. Re-circulating water fountains are very attractive water stations that in many cases, will stimulate a cat to drink more frequently.

3. Fresh, palatable water should always be available in more than one area in the house, especially if there are multiple cats in the family. You can also try moving the water from one location to another regularly as sometimes a new location stimulates pets to drink.

4. Canned foods are another great way to add water to your cat’s diet.  If your cat has had urinary problems in the past, canned foods should be a major part of their diet. You can even add more water to your cat’s canned food to encourage increased water intake. Wellness offers numerous recipes (including grain-free varieties) in both canned and pouch options to allow for a wide variety of choices for those sometimes finicky felines.

5. Multiple clean fresh litter boxes should be placed in out of the way places, making it easy for your cat to relieve himself without interruption.

6. The most common reason for insufficient water consumption is feline stress. Usually physical stress is the culprit, although sickness and disease can surely slow or stop the intake of water and food. In North America, the average cat owner owns more than one cat. Any time you have more than one feline in a home, there will be competition for dominance. It doesn’t have to be physical aggression, although that can occur. Many times all it takes is a certain look or a particular posture and the more sensitive, least dominate pet may run and hide under the bed for the rest of the day. While avoiding the confrontation and hiding, the kitty is not eating or drinking. This can go on for hours and the longer the kitty goes without food or water, the more concentrated the urine becomes and the more likely there will be a urinary problem. Be mindful of this if you do have a multiple cat household and be sure to get your bashful cat to replenish with plenty of water and canned food under times of stress.