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.
Q. I have a 5 month old Akita puppy and need a recommendation on what to feed. What would you feed a 5-month-old, 65-pound Akita pup?
A. Akita’s are certainly considered a large breed, if not a giant breed, as they will easily grow to over 100 pounds as an adult. Large and giant breed puppies have significantly different nutritional needs. Their rate of growth must be controlled to prevent the risk of acquiring various developmental bone diseases. It’s important to limit their calcium levels and help them maintain lean body mass through their first year, which will reduce the risk of painful conditions.
Years ago we used to recommend large and giant breed puppy parents should only feed adult recipes as they are less caloric than most puppy foods. Today, there are specific large and giant breed puppy recipes that are lower in calories and in some cases lower in calcium.
The Wellness®Complete Health Large Breed Puppy Recipe is lower in calories and calcium and provides essential supplements like pre and probiotics which improve digestion, absorption of nutrients and immune system function. It also guarantees levels of specific Omega 3 fatty acids (DHA) which are essential for proper eye and brain development. This would be an ideal choice for your Akita puppy.
Q. At what age (if at all) should I switch my dogs to the Wellness® Complete Health Just for Seniors recipe? I have a Rottie and a Jack Russell Terrier who are turning 7 this year.
A. Dogs today are living longer than ever before, however, veterinarians still consider large breeds to be seniors at about 8 years of age, so most of that extended life will be as a senior. Your Jack Russell terrier, a small breed dog, would usually be considered a senior at 9-10 years of age.
A recipe such as Wellness® Complete Health Just for Seniors would be a good choice for your Rottie because it provides moderate protein, fewer calories and supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, omega 3 essential fatty acids, pre and probiotics and more to help slow the aging process. The Wellness® Complete Health Small Breed Senior recipe would cater to your Jack Russell terrier by providing the same age-specific vitamins & minerals as our other senior recipes while featuring a smaller kibble size.
In addition to feeding a senior diet that’s lower in calories, regularly exercising your older dogs is essential. It helps keep muscles toned, stimulates the heart and lungs and burns any additional calories to help maintain a lean body. The earlier you get your dogs started on a senior recipe, the more positive benefits you’ll notice.
Q: My dog has what appears to be a severe allergy; I have heard that it could stem from grain ingredients in his food. I have tried a small amount of grain-free food and he has responded well. I am soon going to deplete the food I have and am wondering if Wellness has grain-free dry foods.
A: Wellness offers several dry grain-free canine diets. They are CORE® Original Formula, CORE® Reduced Fat Formula, CORE® Ocean Formula, CORE® Small Breed Formula, and CORE® Puppy Formula. The sources of protein for CORE Original formula are Turkey and Chicken; for Reduced Fat Formula are Turkey, Chicken, and Whitefish; and for Ocean Formula are Whitefish, Herring Meal, Salmon Meal, and Menhaden fish Meal. CORE canine grain-free diets are also available in moist form (12.5 ounce cans). We now also offer two grain-free recipes of our Simple Limited Ingredient Diet. You could try the Simple Grain-Free Salmon & Potato Formula or the Simple Grain-Free Turkey & Potato Formula. With any severe skin condition, in addition to undertaking a dietary trial, your vet should be consulted to rule out atopy (environmental allergies), fleas, ringworm, demodex, scabies, secondary yeast and bacterial overgrowth or other underlying medical conditions.
Q: My cat has noticeable dandruff. Is this normal and is there anything I can do about it?
A: It is normal for your cat’s skin to slightly slough away resulting in what is commonly referred to as dandruff. Especially in cold winters, low humidity can dry the skin of an animal causing excessive flaking.
Diet can play a role in preventing dandruff. Be sure the foods you are feeding are complete and balanced, like Wellness Natural Pet Food, and contain optimum levels of the essential fats to encourage a healthy skin and coat.
Brushing your cat will help remove the flakes. Most cats are very particular about proper grooming and so when you see dandruff, it may be more than just the normal flaking of the cells of the skin. If your cat has excessive dandruff, it is important to have the problem checked by your veterinarian to determine the cause so an effective treatment can be developed.
Q: I have a Shar Pei mix rescue dog about 5 years old. She has very dry skin and a severe shedding problem.
A: Feeding a diet with optimum levels of Omega 3 fatty acids that are in the proper ratio with the Omega 6 fats may help to resolve the problem as they are essential for a healthy skin and coat.
The Shar Pei breed is known to have an increased incidence of skin problems. Many also suffer from food allergies or intolerances. If that is the problem with your pet, feeding a grain-free diet may help. Be sure to transition to the new diet slowly over at least a week’s time. When one suspects a food allergy or intolerance, one must give the new food at least two months (provided there is no negative reaction to the new diet initially), as it can take that long to rid the body of the offending allergens.
Keep in mind that there are other causes that can produce an itchy dry skin: external parasites, bacterial and fungal infections and several other common problems can cause the same symptoms and it is always advisable to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the cause, as well as the best procedure for resolving the problem.
Additionally, this could also be normal seasonal shedding. Regular brushing and mild shampoo baths will speed up the process and could help to resolve the itching.