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The Wellness Blog

April 2013 Ask the Vet

Q: I have two questions. I am feeding my Golden Retriever Wellness® Complete Health® Super5Mix® Large Breed – Adult Health recipe. I give her one cup in the morning and one cup in the evening. Is this the right amount?  Like most Golden Retrievers, she gains weight easily. Also, I’ve been told that rotating foods occasionally is good for them. Do you agree?

A: To determine the amount to feed a dog:  get an accurate body weight on a scale (your vet will have a walk on scale), then consult the feeding guide on the package to get a suggested starting range.  Start conservatively.  Feed multiple meals per day if possible.

Wellness Large Breed Adult dry food contains 336 kcal per cup, so in two cups that is 672 kcal per day.   If that amount maintains activity, body weight and body condition score at desired levels, then that is the right amount to feed.

Canine dietary rotation among complete and balanced diets is fine.  To help avoid unwanted weight gain when switching foods, carefully keep the total daily caloric intake constant.  Note that calories per cup are not the same for all foods—rather the number varies widely.

Q: I currently feed CORE® Grain-Free Ocean Formula due to my dog’s allergies. However, he is now six years old. Is it still OK to feed the same food to an older dog?  At what age should I start looking at other formulas?

A: CORE® Grain-Free Ocean Formula is a great food for older dog maintenance.  If the dog responds well to this food, there is no reason to switch to a senior low protein type diet.

Garden Dangers and Your Pets

It’s a gardener’s favorite time of year. The ground is thawing, the nurseries are coming to life and soon you’ll be digging holes for your bedding plants.

Of course, your favorite pets might like to join you in the hole digging too, or, they may simply find other means of entertainment that could be harmful.

Pesticides, cocoa mulch, even certain plants can be toxic to dogs and cats.   You already know your dog will likely eat anything— or at least to try it and see if it’s tasty…. and this can be a problem.

Beware of Toxic Plants

Plant bulbs such as Daffodils are toxic if your pet digs them up and eats them. So are Azaleas and Tiger, Day, Asiatic and Easter lilies- but with these plants, your pet only has to eat a few leaves or taste the flowers to be sick. Symptoms typically include vomiting or diarrhea and can sometimes even be fatal.

Pesticides and Your Pet

If you use pesticides on your grass or garden areas, you pet can ingest those chemicals. Even if your pet doesn’t eat the grass or plants but just noses around, dog’s noses are a mucous membrane that allows many substances to flow in.  Plus, pets lick their paws and if they’ve walked on treated grounds, that’s another way for them to ingest harmful chemicals.

Always read the label on a lawn treatment to learn what the possible dangers are to pets. If you have a lawn and garden company treat your lawn, be sure to learn what they’re using and their recommendations. They’ll usually tell you if it’s not safe for children and pets. There are organic pesticides that you can use instead.

Be cautious if you put traps in the yard or garden to attract slugs and other pests; often, dogs find them and eat them. They also may eat a dead rodent that was killed by poison.

Chocolate Mulch

It almost sounds like something straight out of Willy Wonka; “Tuck chocolate around your plants to keep them healthy.” Cocoa or chocolate mulch smells chocolaty and delicious yet it could be fatal to your pets. True to its name, chocolate mulch has theobromine in it, which is the ingredient in chocolate that is dangerous to dogs and cats.  If your pets eat it, it could cause diarrhea, vomiting, and even seizures.

Make sure your garden is pet safe and keep an eye on them if they’re spending a lot of time in the yard. If they show signs of sickness, get them to the vet to ensure their safety.

Does Your Pet Have a Microchip?

Spring is here and the warmer weather is coming! This means that your pets may get Spring Fever and want to take themselves on a stroll around the neighborhood. Sometimes dogs and cats slip out of the door or the fence and before you know it, they’re gone.

No matter how your pet gets loose, you have only one wish… to bring them home safely.

A microchip in your pet can help you to be reunited with your lost dog or cat. Without a microchip, only 17% of lost pets are reunited with their families. A study at the University of Columbus found cats with microchips were 20 times more likely to return to their families and dogs were 2 and half times more likely to be reunited.

The way it works is simple: A small microchip—no bigger than a grain of rice– is inserted between your dog or cat’s shoulder blades.  It’s quick, easy and no more painful that getting a vaccination.  The microchip acts like a bar code.

Afterwards, if your pet gets loose, veterinarians and pet shelters can scan your pet to check for ID. If one is found, they’ll check the pet microchip databases to get your pet back home to you.

Though there isn’t a single central lost pet database, however the scanners can read microchips from a variety of brands.

The cost is typically $25-$50, plus a registration fee.  In addition to a microchip, ensure your pet’s tags are up to date too.  A clear name and phone number on a tag can make it easy to return a lost pet.