Q. We have a 14-month-old Black Lab mix (we think part Coon Hound). He barks quite a lot for no apparent reason–not all day, but a lot. Any suggestions?
A. Every dog will bark to some degree. Some hound breeds bark more than others. Excessive barking is certainly annoying and should be controlled.
The first step is to determine what has caused the dog to bark and then work to reduce the dog’s urge to bark. Many things can trigger a barking episode, such as protection of territory, fear, alarm, boredom, playfulness and seeking attention. It often takes a good deal of time to solve a barking issue so don’t give up. Shouting can encourage barking so speak calmly. Try saying “quiet” in a soft manner and when the dog responds, reward him with praise and maybe a treat. Wellness Pure Rewards Jerky Treats make a good training treat as they’re small and can be broken into smaller pieces if needed. There are training classes offered by many retail pet stores that can also help with resolving your issue so seek help if you need to.
Q. I have a 12 year old Bijon who has developed bladder stones and is now on a special food. We would love to give him treats, but have been unable to find any that would not harm him. Can you make any suggestions?
There are many types of bladder stones and all are different and need to be addressed individually. The two most common stones are Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) and calcium oxalate. Struvite is usually caused by infection and so using the proper antibiotic at the correct dosage for a sufficient time is essential. I would suggest working closely with your veterinarian to find a proper treat that won’t negatively affect the action of the diet.
The treat should encourage acidity so I would suspect a predominately meat treat would work. The Wellness Small Breed Petite Treats Crunchy Mini-Bites are a meat-based treat that may work. Again, it’s best to verify that your veterinarian feels comfortable with this option.
Q. What is the best Wellness food to feed a 6-yr-old Portuguese Water Dog who needs to lose weight? What supplements might I try for joint health?
A. Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight is a good choice for helping your dog lose weight, in addition to regular exercise. It has fewer calories per cup than other Wellness Complete Health recipes, and offers increased levels of fiber to help satisfy appetite. It also contains glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.
Before you start a weight loss plan with your dog, you may want to check in with your veterinarian. It’s best to take an initial weight and develop a goal. You can begin feeding according to the feeding guide on the bag (or alter based on veterinarian recommendation) and weigh your pet each week. If your pet is not losing weight, reduce the amount fed each day. If your pet losing weight at a rate greater than 2% per week, increase the amount fed to avoid losing too much too quickly.
Regular, daily exercise is essential in order to maintain weight loss. In addition, exercise keeps the muscles toned which also supports the joints and reduces discomfort. To ease your dog into regular exercise, avoid activities that are overly strenuous. A daily walk is a great form of exercise.
Q. I have our puppy on Wellness® CORE Grain Free Puppy Formula. She is a 6-month-old Shih Tzu who’s doing great on this food. What do you recommend to put her on as an adult and when?
A. The Wellness® CORE Grain Free Puppy Formula is an ideal grain free recipe for a small breed puppy and should work well until your puppy turns one. At that time you might want to consider switching to the Wellness CORE Grain Free Small Breed Adult recipe which has the same basic proteins and fat as the puppy diet. Usually adults don’t need as many calories as pups, so the Small Breed Adult has less fat and therefore less calories to help your dog maintain lean muscle mass.
Q. My dog has a mast cell tumor and I am trying to decide what food is best for her to be on. The vet suggested a low carbohydrate, low grain diet. Is there one you would recommend?
A. High carbohydrate recipes are known to support cancer cells, while a lower carbohydrate diet works to fight the diseased cells. For this reason, feeding a diet that is lower in levels of carbohydrates is recommended. Wellness CORE Original Formula would be a great recipe to try as it is lower in carbohydrates. Adding additional antioxidants would also be a good idea, one way would be with our Wellness CORE Superfood Protein Bars. I recommend talking to your veterinarian about certain supplements that have been shown to slow the process of some cancers.
Q. My standard poodle has a sensitive stomach. She often has diarrhea. I’ve had her checked for worms and she does not have them. What could this be?
A. There are some dogs that have what has been called a “sensitive stomach.” It is a very general term that can suggest that the dog seems sensitive to something in the diet or changes in the diet. This is usually expressed as intermittent vomiting and/or diarrhea.
Many times, the issue is an intolerance to an ingredient in the diet. It is not an allergy, but rather a non-immune mediated reaction to an ingredient in the diet. Allergies are to a particular protein, whereas a food intolerance can be caused by anything in the diet.
Feeding a natural pet food with limited ingredients and a single unique protein would be a possible solution to the problem. The Wellness Simple formulas are an ideal option to try. There are four diets each containing different ingredients as well as some natural supplements such as probiotics and Omega 3 fatty acids, both of which can help to resolve digestive issues. Keep in mind that with any dog experiencing digestive issues, a very slow transition (10-14 days) to the new food is always recommended.
Q. I rescued a cat off the street recently. He eats very well, but sometimes throws his food back up. It only seems to happen when he is eating dry food. I have tried giving him canned, but does not seem to like it very much. What can I do to stop him from throwing up his food?
A. Some cats, especially stray cats that have had a tough life trying to survive, will eat very fast and that can cause them to regurgitate some of their food. Feeding frequent small meals may help slow the process, adding a small amount of fish oil (salmon) to the dry food can also help. Many cats develop a texture preference and prefer the texture of dry food to that of many of the canned foods. Wellness makes many different textured canned foods. I would suggest trying different canned varieties such as Wellness Cat Cuts or Signature Selects which offer many options for picky eaters.
Q. I am feeding my golden your large breed adult food. 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 easily.
A. The feeding guide on the back of the bag is an approximate amount of food to feed based on the pet’s weight. It is merely a guide but is not appropriate for every pet. Age, breed, activity level, metabolic rate, time of the year and more are all influences that will affect your pet’s current caloric needs. The goal is to feed an adult dog just enough to maintain a slightly lean body mass. Many dogs will need less than the guide suggests and some will need more.
Q. We are switching our dog from Wellness® Complete Health Healthy Weight Deboned Chicken & Peas Recipe to Wellness® Simple. Do we have to go through the normal transition of mixing both?
A. We would not want your dog to experience any digestive issues while transitioning to a new Wellness recipe. While both foods are made by Wellness in our own state-of-the-art facility, we would strongly suggest that you do transition to the new food. Some dogs will transition more quickly than others and it is easier to transition from one food to another within the same brand, but I would still suggest you do take time to switch slowly from Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight to Wellness Simple.
Keep in mind that the Wellness Complete Health Healthy Weight recipe contains 340 calories per cup while the Wellness Simple recipes contain between 406 and 450 calories per cup so you will need to feed less Simple. Be sure to feed only enough to maintain a slightly lean body mass. Regular exercise is also an essential component to maintaining a healthy body weight.
Q. I was recently told that cats need wet food in their diet. I am wondering if this is true and if so why?
A. We recommend feeding at least a combination of canned and dry cat food. The most common reason cat owners take their cats to the veterinarian is for urinary issues. Many of these urinary issues arise when cats don’t get enough water in their diets. While quality cat foods like Wellness® do everything possible to reduce the chances of a cat developing urinary issues, cats may still develop them if they’re eating an exclusively dry diet.
Wellness Signature Selects™ Canned Cat Food
Since canned food is 78-80% water, eating this food helps cats increase their water consumption and lower their risk of urinary issues.
If you have more than one cat, providing several water bowls and litter boxes will encourage adequate water intake. In addition, many cats love moving water. Re-circulating water fountains may also inspire your cats to drink more water. Wellness provides many wet cat food options, such as our hand-packed Signature Selects recipes.