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September 2012 Ask the Vet

This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about changing your pet’s food and converting a cat’s food to all canned products.

Q: Is it okay to switch from Wellness® Super5Mix® Chicken Recipe to Wellness® Super5Mix® Whitefish & Sweet Potato Recipe or does that need to be over a course of 5-7 days?

A: It is always a good idea to introduce a new diet to a pet slowly–over about a week–gradually decreasing amounts of old food offered, while increasing the new. Even though many diets look “similar”, they often have different protein and fat content or a different ingredient addition rate, indicated on the label. Conservative feeding management will avoid many unwanted cases of gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea).

Q: I would like to convert my cat to an all canned food diet. Would it be okay for my cat to only eat wet food and what is the best way to go about doing it?

A: It is fine to feed exclusively complete and balanced feline canned food to a cat. Wellness® Complete Health Canned Recipes for Cats are available in 10 delicious varieties to suit the differing taste buds of our feline friends. Some kibble fed cats will easily start to eat canned food, others may be resistant. Most cats can be switched to a moist food if the change is made gradually; some cats may take up to a month. Moist food is often offered as an additional option in a second dish next to the dry food. As the cat will consume the moist food, the dry food is reduced to induce hunger. Do this by dividing the daily amount of food into several small meals (at least four) offered for a limited time only— not in a free choice feeding setting. Patience is the key.

Wellness Cubed, Sliced and Minced cat cans are 100% grain-free and contain no added artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. For each delicious recipe, Wellness has paired succulent cuts of wholesome, all natural protein sources like chicken, turkey, salmon and tuna with delightfully savory sauces that are sure to please the palate of even the most finicky feline.

Making Playtime with Your Cat Count

One of the best ways for cat owners to bond with their cat is during playtime. An engaged, playful cat is a happy cat. Because cats are born with the hunting instinct this is a great way to play with your cat, and encourage their natural behavior. Use a toy such as a feather wand or a mouse on a string. Move the toy around as the cat’s prey would. Your cat will tirelessly stalk, hunt and pounce on the toy.

While you do not want to make the “cat and mouse game” too easy, it is important to occasionally let your cat catch the toy during each play session. This will prevent your cat from becoming discouraged and quickly losing interest in the game.

Many cat owners enjoy using a laser pointer for their pet to chase. While this is fun for the cat, it is also important to periodically use a toy that the cat can actually physically catch.

When playing with your cat you often need to go by her schedule. A sleepy cat or one who has just eaten is rarely interested in games and will only become irritated if you continue trying to engage her despite this.

Walking Benefits You and Your Dog

Walking is a great way for you to get low-impact exercise. It is also good exercise for your dog. You and your pet will motivate one another to go for walks, keep the pace and go just a little further each time. Dogs are generally very enthusiastic about getting out for sight-seeing walks, and this will in turn motivate you to exercise more.

Moderate exercise, like walking, when done daily can help reduce your risk of obesity and other ailments. Getting your dog out to exercise helps to maintain your pet’s weight and keep them in good physical condition as well. Walking your dog as little as thirty minutes a day can make a difference for both you and your pet.

Taking your dog for walks also allows you and your pet time to bond over this simple activity. Whether you just stroll the neighborhood side by side, or plan expeditions to new walking trails, this interaction will become something that both you and your dog will look forward to.

Many of the other benefits of walking for both you and your pet include more energy, stress reduction and strengthened bones.

The best part about walking for exercise is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. So grab your sneakers, leash and your best dog buddy and hit the pavement!