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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.

March 2013 Ask the Vet

Q: My 1 1/2 year old Schnoodle has anal gland problems.  Is there anything I can do to prevent her from leaking this foul smell?

A: Anal glands are scent glands located around the dog’s anus which produces a strong smelling, oily secretion.  (The anal glands are located at 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock around the anus.)   They are supposed to empty when the dog passes stool and the anus is stretched.  The most common form of anal sac disease is impaction; other diagnoses are infection, abscess, or neoplasia.  Clinical signs are related to pain and discomfort— scooting, licking and biting at the anal area and painful defecation.

Overweight dogs and small breed dogs are at greater risk.

Anecdotally, a diet that is enhanced in fiber and produces a larger quantity of stool may help the problem of unexpected leaking.  For a diet with increased dietary fiber, try Wellness Small Breed Healthy Weight dry kibble.

In addition, your veterinarian may teach you to express canine anal glands manually when full.  Ask at your next wellness check up.

Q: My cat that is eight years old is peeing in her litter box every 15 minutes when she is awake. But only a drop. She seems to feel like she has to pee. And her poop is very small compared to my other cats. What can I do to help her?

A: Your cat is exhibiting signs of lower urinary tract disease.  Different types of urinary diseases occur in cats:  FIC (feline idiopathic cystitis), urolithiasis, and urethral plugs are the top three.  You should schedule an appointment for a health check.  After a diagnosis, your vet can help you with nutritional goals and possible environmental enrichment and behavioral management.

February 2013 Ask the Vet

Q: My cat throws up after eating.  I have tried several vets and tried various foods but she still throws up.  It only happens at certain times as she will not throw up for weeks then suddenly will throw up after every meal.

A: Defining an accurate cause of feline chronic vomiting is sometimes difficult.

Try feeding your cat a Wellness canned diet in several small meals per day.  Don’t feed all the food in one meal.  Do not let your cat have constant access to dry food and feed less if excess weight is an issue.  In this case- I recommend feeding feline canned Wellness® CORE® Grain-Free Indoor Formula.  It is lower in fat and carbohydrates while enhanced in fiber and contains 148 kcal per 5.5 oz. can.

Q: Our 50 lb dog has a sensitive stomach.  We give Wellness® Complete Health® Super5Mix® Chicken Recipe.  If we give her any kind of treat outside of that she gets very gassy which we believe is caused by allergies.  Are there any tests to perform to see what your dog is allergic to?  Or is it trial and error?

A: There are blood tests available for diagnosis of canine food allergies.  Most dermatologists do not rely on them as reliable for diagnosis; they believe that the elimination diet trial using a novel protein (trial and error) is the standard for diagnosis of food allergies.

If you and your vet determine that your dog can tolerate chicken recipe treats, you may want to try the Pure Rewards Chicken & Lamb Jerky.

December 2012 Ask the Vet

Q: Is it necessary for my senior dog to have senior dog food?

A: Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) does not describe the minimum diet profile for a senior lifestyle as they do for the adult maintenance lifestyle and the condition of growth and reproduction.

A senior type diet is typically described as being less dense in protein and fat with increased carbohydrate and fiber. For an example see Wellness® Complete Health® Super5Mix® Just for Seniors; it has a caloric density of 340 kcal per cup. This may be correct for some senior dogs, while not the first choice for others.  An example would be an old dog of thin body condition.

It is best to choose the diet based on your assessment of optimal body condition and body weight of each individual. Seek the input of your veterinarian concerning senior dog care and routine preventative programs available.

Q: My cat gets UTIs and I can’t figure out why.  Should I switch her food?

A: I would schedule a veterinary appointment to get to the bottom of the problem of chronic urinary tract symptoms; bloody urine, straining to urinate and urinating outside the litter box.  The workup should include a complete urinalysis.  At least one lateral radiograph should be taken as bladder stones are an issue in 20-25% of recurrent cases.  In the meantime feed a grain free, fish based, and moist diet like: canned feline CORE® Grain-Free Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Formula. It contains 192 kcal per 5.5 oz can.

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.

June 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, flaxseed, 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, flaxseed, and chicory root extract are included at low levels.

A 5.5 ounce can contains 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; salmon oil as a fat source; 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-based protein, with some sweet potato and flaxseed, fruits and vegetables.

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 one 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.

Ask the Vet – Special Allergy Issue

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

Q: We own a Biewer Terrier that weighs 3 lb. 11 oz. and is 2 1/2 years old. She has a very touchy digestive system and gets gastroenteritis on a regular basis. We feed dry food in the morning and canned food in the evening. She gets a treat in the evening and no table scraps. She gets a terribly growling stomach which leads to diarrhea. Her stool has been checked for parasites. Due to her small size, we are always concerned about dehydration when this flairs up. Any suggestions?

A: Dogs can experience “food intolerance” and “food allergy”, resulting in symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting or irritable bowel, itching, scratching, hot spots, hair loss, ear and eye secretions, or excessive licking. A dog may be born with specific allergies, or they may build over time from prolonged exposure to certain ingredients.

I would recommend Wellness Simple Grain-Free Salmon and Potato Formula Canned Dog Food for the elimination trial as the sole source of nutrition. Nothing else is to be fed (no treats or table scraps). Eliminate the use of the dry diet, and the evening treat and continue this elimination trial for 8 weeks.

Wellness Simple Dry Dog Food Formulas are all formulated with a single source of protein and easily digestible carbohydrates along with added pre and probiotics. These limited ingredient diets are designed to limit food sensitive reaction while providing 100% complete and balanced nutrition for dogs with food intolerances and food allergies. For your dog, I would recommend a dietary elimination trial using Wellness® Simple Dog Food Formulas for about 8 weeks. If clinical signs subside by the end of that period, you will know it was a particular ingredient that was consumed earlier but excluded in the elimination diet that was responsible for your pet’s adverse reaction.

Feed small frequent meals –at least two to three times per day. Monitor dietary response by recordings in a journal; note days your pet experiences digestive upset as well as days with stool that is not normally well formed.

A 3.11 pound Biewer Terrier dog requires about 200 kcal of energy per day to maintain body weight. Wellness Simple Grain-Free  Salmon and Potato Formula Canned Dog Food contains about 446 kcal of energy per 12.5 ounce can. In a day you should offer about 40-45% of the can. Don’t overfeed.

Remember to weigh the dog – feed less if it is gaining unwanted weight and more if losing weight.

Q: I rescue Shelties and most of them have serious skin problems. What Wellness diet would you recommend for dogs with skin problems and allergies?

A: When choosing a diet for a food elimination trial; we look for ingredients in the test food which the dog has not had exposure to, in the most recent 6 months to 1 year, in their commercial diet.

The recently updated Simple Formulas for Dogs are designed for dogs with food sensitivities; using novel protein sources like duck, lamb, salmon or turkey, along with easily digestible carbohydrate sources, pre and probiotics and flaxseed to support skin & coat health. Each formula offers a complementary dry dog food and canned dog food recipe.

When you feed this diet exclusively for 6 to 8 weeks with clinical success; it indicates that some ingredient in the previous diet was responsible for the adverse skin reactions.

You should enlist the help of your veterinarian to rule out any non dietary causes of poor skin condition.

Ask the Vet – March

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: You can certainly continue to feed Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Recipe dry dog food. 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 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 dog’s joints.

March – Ask the Vet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about weight loss for a Manx and switching to Senior Dog Food.

Q: My Manx has gained 2 lbs and I want to get her back to a healthy weight. I have been feeding her 1/2 cup of Wellness® Healthy Weight Recipe Cat Food per day. She is 11 years old and has not lost any weight just yet since switching from Wellness CORE. Do you have any suggestions on how I can help her lose weight?

A: The first step in any weight control program is to accurately measure body weight and estimate a body condition score.  Get a pediatric or small animal scale that you feel comfortable weighing the cat on at home; or visit your vet.  Also, assign a body condition score to the cat.  To find out how to do a body condition score, visit www.acvn.org and click on Statements and Endorsements– and then on AAHA Nutritional Assessment Guidelines.

You did not mention the body weight of the cat—so let us assume that your cat is 12 pounds and your goal is to get to an optimal weight of 10 pounds. At 10 pounds, the Resting Energy Requirement (RER) is about 215 kcal per day; for weight loss you want to offer 70% of this or 150 kcal per day. This translates to about 1/3 cup of Wellness Super5Mix® Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Cat Food per day.  Try to spread it out over at least 2 meals during the day.  This is a small amount of food — only about 42 grams, so expect to see hunger behavior.

Increase the cat’s activity as much as possible and weigh the cat on Tuesdays and Saturdays of each week.  Record the weight in a notebook with daily feeding information.   Remember cats should lose no more than about 1% of their body weight per week.  Modify the amount fed when the desired weight is achieved.


Q: I have an 11 year old Shih-Tzu and I’m thinking that I should begin using the Wellness Super5Mix® Just for Seniors Recipe Dry Dog Food. Would this be correct or should I be looking for physical cues before switching her purely based on age?

A: Just like humans; dogs and cats require special care as they grow older. Mature adult body size is a good indicator of longevity in dogs.  Small breeds of dogs such as the Shih-Tzu, tend to mature quickly (about 9 months of age) and become seniors in their mid to late teens.  On the other hand, large breeds like Great Danes , mature more slowly ( 15 -20 months) and become seniors by about 7 years. For this reason, small breed dogs generally have longer longevity than large breed dogs.

The first step in setting up a geriatric program for your aging dog is to schedule a senior wellness visit at your local veterinary clinic.  Make sure there is no disease or other condition which imposes specific dietary guidelines; and that the veterinarian does not recommend any type of special nutrient restrictions or enhancements.

In your healthy aging Shih-Tzu, I recommend feeding Wellness Super5Mix Small Breed Adult Health Recipe Dry Dog Food for now.  I am in favor of the enhanced level of dietary protein and omega -3 fatty acids for the long silky coat.  Note the omega 3 fatty acid contributing ingredients like salmon meal, salmon oil, menhaden fish meal and flaxseed found in this Wellness recipe.

Continue to monitor the senior dog’s body weight, drinking and urination behaviors, total food intake per day, stool quality, activity and skin and coat condition.  At some point you and your vet may consider feeding a traditional senior dog food like Wellness Super5Mix Just for Seniors, which has less protein and fat – and increased fiber to support weight maintenance.  Both Wellness Super5Mix Just for Seniors and Wellness Super5Mix Small Breed Adult Health Recipe dry dog food have added glucosamine HCl and chondroitin sulfate to aid in hip and joint health.

February 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: You can certainly continue to feed Wellness CORE Reduced Fat Recipe dry dog food. 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 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 dog’s joints.