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Ask Wellness: July 2014

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.

Caring For Your Senior Cat

Caring For Your Senior Cat
Today, cats are living longer lives thanks to improved veterinary care, better nutrition, and a heightened awareness of pet health and safety. As your cat approaches his or her senior years, it’s a good idea to learn what to expect so you can detect potentially serious health issues, as well as make adjustments to the way you care for your cat to ensure his or her comfort throughout the aging process.
Is Your Cat Considered a Senior?
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, you should begin senior care considerations when your cat reaches the age of seven. It’s recommended that healthy senior cats visit the veterinarian every six months. Regular veterinary visits are best way to catch diseases early and find a way to resolve them.
Physical and Behavioral Changes in Senior Cats
Aging cats experience many changes, so their mental and physical behavior may reflect those changes. Oftentimes, the normal signs of aging closely mimic symptoms of potentially serious conditions, so it’s always a good idea to report any significant changes to your veterinarian.
Here are several common changes in senior cats:
-Playing for shorter amounts of time, or sleeping for more hours in the day
-Not jumping as far, or hesitating when jumping
-Thinning or graying of the coat
-Changing appearance of the eyes including a slight haziness of the lens
-Changes in personality including increased or decreased vocalization, increased dependency on humans and avoidance of social interactions. Some of these changes may be attributed to the aging of the brain/memory loss
-Hearing loss
-Bad breath or dental issues
-Changes in litter box habits
Remember, many of the changes you may see in your aging cat could be related to an underlying medical condition so it’s best to ask your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have. The sooner you catch a health ailment, the better chance you have of curing it or managing it safely.
How to keep your aging cat healthy and happy:
You can help your aging cat to stay happy and healthy by following these tips.
-Give your cat regular exercise: Pay attention to your cat’s changing energy levels. Even though your cat is getting older, regular exercise will help keep your cat at a healthy weight, and it will also increase circulation and assist in maintaining lean muscle mass. To make sure you don’t overwork your cat, limit your play sessions to ten minutes, a couple of times a day and adjust to less or more as needed. If your cat seems to tire easily or experiences any breathing issues, consult your veterinarian.
-Brush your cat regularly: As cats get older, they may not be able to digest foods and hair (from grooming) as easily as they used to; this could mean an increase in hairballs. Help to prevent hairballs by brushing your cat once a day. Brushing also helps keep skin healthy. With your brush, you can help your cat groom those hard-to-reach areas that they may be missing.
-Maintain a Healthy Diet: Many cats, like people, will experience a slowing metabolism as they age, while others find it difficult to keep weight on. Start your cat on a natural recipe specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of senior cats. Wellness Complete Health Senior Health is a good option. It has tailored levels of fat and fiber to support an aging cat’s digestive system, and it includes the WellFlex® Hip & Joint Support Sytem that helps keep cats’ joints supple and limber. Wellness Senior Health is also packed with phytonutrients which may aid in disease prevention, slow the aging process and help boost your cat’s overall immunity.
Limit Stress and Keep Them Cool: Senior cats are not able to regulate their body temperatures as effectively as younger cats. Make sure to keep your cat cool in the summer to avoid heat stroke, and offer a warm blanket or heated cat bed in the winter for comfort. Senior cats may not adapt to change as easily as they once did, so it’s helpful to minimize their stress whenever possible. If you’re introducing a new pet to the family, be sure to take extra precaution to give your senior cat his or her own space, and alleviate stressors such as moving to a new house with extra affection during those trying times.
Although being a pet parent to a senior cat may be challenging in some ways, there are many things to be appreciative for as well. Each year spent with your cat only strengthens the bond you two have with each other. And rather than bouncing off the walls, older cats often display a unique wisdom and mellow, patient personality that really shines as they reach their golden years!

Today, cats are living longer lives thanks to improved veterinary care, better nutrition, and a heightened awareness of pet health and safety. As your cat approaches his or her senior years, it’s a good idea to learn what to expect so you can detect potentially serious health issues, as well as make adjustments to the way you care for your cat to ensure his or her comfort throughout the aging process.

Is Your Cat Considered a Senior?

According to the American Animal Hospital Association, you should begin senior care considerations when your cat reaches the age of seven. It’s recommended that healthy senior cats visit the veterinarian every six months. Regular veterinary visits are best way to catch diseases early and find a way to resolve them.

Physical and Behavioral Changes in Senior Cats


Aging cats experience many changes, so their mental and physical behavior may reflect those changes. Oftentimes, the normal signs of aging closely mimic symptoms of potentially serious conditions, so it’s always a good idea to report any significant changes to your veterinarian.

Here are several common changes in senior cats:

-Playing for shorter amounts of time, or sleeping for more hours in the day

-Not jumping as far, or hesitating when jumping

-Thinning or graying of the coat

-Changing appearance of the eyes including a slight haziness of the lens

-Changes in personality including increased or decreased vocalization, increased dependency on humans and avoidance of social interactions. Some of these changes may be attributed to the aging of the brain/memory loss

-Hearing loss

-Bad breath or dental issues

-Changes in litter box habits

Remember, many of the changes you may see in your aging cat could be related to an underlying medical condition so it’s best to ask your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you may have. The sooner you catch a health ailment, the better chance you have of curing it or managing it safely.

How to keep your aging cat healthy and happy:


You can help your aging cat to stay happy and healthy by following these tips.

-Give your cat regular exercise: Pay attention to your cat’s changing energy levels. Even though your cat is getting older, regular exercise will help keep your cat at a healthy weight, and it will also increase circulation and assist in maintaining lean muscle mass. To make sure you don’t overwork your cat, limit your play sessions to ten minutes, a couple of times a day and adjust to less or more as needed. If your cat seems to tire easily or experiences any breathing issues, consult your veterinarian.

-Brush your cat regularly: As cats get older, they may not be able to digest foods and hair (from grooming) as easily as they used to; this could mean an increase in hairballs. Help to prevent hairballs by brushing your cat once a day. Brushing also helps keep skin healthy. With your brush, you can help your cat groom those hard-to-reach areas that they may be missing.

-Maintain a Healthy Diet:

Many cats, like people, will experience a slowing metabolism as they age, while others find it difficult to keep weight on. Start your cat on a natural recipe specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of senior cats. Wellness Complete Health Senior Health is a good option. It has tailored levels of fat and fiber to support an aging cat’s digestive system, and it includes the WellFlex® Hip & Joint Support Sytem that helps keep cats’ joints supple and limber. Wellness Senior Health is also packed with phytonutrients which may aid in disease prevention, slow the aging process and help boost your cat’s overall immunity.

Limit Stress and Keep Them Cool: Senior cats are not able to regulate their body temperatures as effectively as younger cats. Make sure to keep your cat cool in the summer to avoid heat stroke, and offer a warm blanket or heated cat bed in the winter for comfort. Senior cats may not adapt to change as easily as they once did, so it’s helpful to minimize their stress whenever possible. If you’re introducing a new pet to the family, be sure to take extra precaution to give your senior cat his or her own space, and alleviate stressors such as moving to a new house with extra affection during those trying times.

Although being a pet parent to a senior cat may be challenging in some ways, there are many things to be appreciative for as well. Each year spent with your cat only strengthens the bond you two have with each other. And rather than bouncing off the walls, older cats often display a unique wisdom and mellow, patient personality that really shines as they reach their golden years!

What You’ve Been Waiting For? New Wellness Recipes!

Our Consumer Affairs team speaks with many Wellness Pet Food fans each day. Whether it’s addressing a concern, recommending a product or passing along a suggestion for a new recipe, they do it all. The team does a great job, and we all love receiving your feedback. Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to take some of your  ideas and make them a reality. We’ve added exciting new Wellness lines, as well as extended several existing Wellness lines. Here’s a complete recap of our new products:

Wellness Kittles™: Delicious, Crunchy Grain-Free Cat Treats

Who says dogs have all the fun? Indulge your cat with Kittles™ natural, grain-free treats. Kittles™ are crunchy cat treats that come in three scrumptious flavors: Salmon & Cranberries Recipe, Chicken & Cranberries Recipe, and Tuna & Cranberries Recipe. Each morsel also has under 2 calories,so pet parents can treat their loved ones multiples times per day with these guilt-free goodies. Learn more!

Wellness CORE Superfood Protein Bars: Grain-Free Dog Treats

Perfect pairings of hearty proteins, CORE Superfood Protein Bars feature delicious superfoods. No Meat By-Products, 100% All Natural & Grain Free, No Artificial Colors, Flavors or Preservatives, Only 16 Calories Per Treat, Made in the U.S.A. Learn more.

Wellness Toy Breed Complete Health Dry Dog Recipes: Small Kibble, Big Nutrients

Toy breeds have higher energy needs and don’t have the same metabolic rate, bite size, or daily caloric intake as bigger dogs. Wellness Toy Breed dog food features a small kibble size for tiny mouths and a crunchy texture to target plaque build-up and maintain oral health. Wellness Toy Breed recipes offer the right balance of protein, fat and calories to provide the energy your little one needs. Omega Fatty Acids are included to support healthy skin and a shiny coat. Learn more.

Wellness Simple Limited Ingredient Diets: Healthy Weight and Small Breed Recipes

Five of the 10 most common reasons dogs visit the vet can be food allergy or intolerance related. Our Simple Limited Ingredient Diets offer a single source of high-quality protein, and now you can maintain your dog’s weight while keeping food sensitivities in check with the Wellness Simple Healthy Weight Salmon & Peas Formula

Wellness Complete Health Dry Cat: Senior Health and Chicken-Free Indoor Health Recipes

The Complete Health Senior Health recipe provides the ideal balance of nutrients for aging, more sedentary cats, while the Complete Health Indoor Health Salmon & Whitefish Meal Recipe offers a poultry-free option for seafood-loving cats.

Wellness Small Breed Complete Health Whitefish, Salmon Meal & Peas Recipe

With mighty souls but little bodies, your small breed dog has a unique physical composition that creates special nutritional needs. Our Small Breed Complete Health Adult Whitefish, Salmon Meal & Peas Recipe is designed to support the unique health needs of smaller dogs through nutrient-rich whole foods. Learn more about this new poultry-free option.

Ask Wellness: January 2014

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.
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. 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.

Ask Wellness

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.

Does Small Dog Digestion Differ from that of a Large Dog?

You might think your 10-pound terrier has a different digestion system than a 70-pound lab but the truth is, small dog digestion doesn’t differ that much from larger canines.  They still have the same processing system, it’s just smaller.

All dogs are designed to bite off large chunks and eat quickly. In other words, don’t be alarmed if your pet gulps down his food, it’s part of what makes him a dog.  From there, the food gets broken down in the stomach and passes through the intestines to complete digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Of course, small dogs don’t have the storage capacity of large dogs when it comes storing calories.  They may need to eat frequent meals to keep their blood sugar up.  A morning and evening meal may work better for the small dogs than one bigger meal.

Slow-feed bowls are available for those dogs who continuously eat too fast. These bowls containers dividers in the bowl, which then forces your dog to eat around them, slowing down the process.

Wellness recently expanded our line of Small Breed food offerings, with the introduction of two new dry recipes and four new treats! From healthy weight maintenance, to skin & coat support and smaller kibble sizes, there’s sure to be a dry recipe that’s just right for your petite pup! Pair it with one of our new Petite Treats, available in four tasty varieties!

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.

Veggies Contribute to a Well-Balanced Diet

Did human table scraps play a role in the evolution of today’s pet dog?

A new study recently published in the journal Nature found this to be the case.

The study traces the evolution of dogs and found that as a result of hanging around early farm sites and eating human food scraps, our four legged companions are able to digest carbohydrates better than their wolf counterparts. Over time, their bodies’ developed the ability to digest carbohydrates and use them for energy.

What does this mean from a diet standpoint?

Veterinarians agree, a healthy, balanced meal is one that contains plenty of veggies -not just meat- in your dog’s diet. Veggies are excellent sources of healthy carbs and they help keep your dog’s immune system strong.

Carrots, potatoes, and real fruit like blueberries and apples provide essential vitamins and nutrients for your dog.

Check the Label

To know whether your pet is getting the right balance of nutrition, check the label. Labels are written based on weight so the first ingredient is the heaviest – and often most plentiful ingredient.  For example, protein is heavy. Wellness® Pet Food always lists real meat as the first ingredient because it’s the base of the food. Then come the fruits and veggies. We provide plenty of vitamins and nutrients so your dog is at his healthy best.

Does your dog have a favorite fruit or vegetable? Please share your answers on the Wellness Facebook page!

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!

Obesity Prevention for Pets

Keeping Pets at a Healthy Weight

Keeping a healthy weight is as important for our pets as it is for us!

If you think obesity is an epidemic that affects only people, you may be barking up the wrong tree. Pets also have to watch their weight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 44 percent of dogs and 57 percent of cats are overweight or obese and that percentage is rising, with older animals displaying an even higher incidence of falling victim to those extra pounds. Veterinarians report overweight pets are also more likely to suffer from arthritis, heart and respiratory diseases, liver disease, skin problems, hip and joint disorders and diabetes.

“Just as for people, eating right and getting exercise are fundamental to a pet’s health and true well being,” says board-certified veterinary nutritionist Edward Moser, MS, VMD, DACVN. “Paying attention to the ingredients and amount of food that your pet consumes, along with increasing their activity levels, will help the pounds come off and stay off.”

To help fat cats and pudgy pooches slim down, Dr. Moser says owners should choose a balanced diet with ingredients that can help naturally solve this challenging health problem. Like those recipes offered by Wellness® Natural Pet Food. For those plump feline friends, Wellness Healthy Weight Dry Cat Food is just the remedy. This special lower calorie recipe is formulated to help them achieve their weight loss goals. A healthy blend of fiber satisfies hunger and guaranteed levels of glucosamine and chondroitin support overburdened hips and joints. For health striving canines, Wellness® Super5Mix® Healthy Weight Recipe Dry Dog Food is a satisfying, lower-calorie blend of ingredients that helps less active dogs maintain a healthy body weight and overweight dogs lose weight. And it satisfies dogs’ appetites with increased fiber, reduced fat and a lower calorie count.

Instituting a controlled eating plan is a step in the right direction down your pet’s path to achieving wellbeing, but increasing your pet’s activity level is sure to help too. Exercise is essential for a pet’s happy and long life. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, but regular exercise is key. Setting aside a period of time each day for your pet’s physical activity helps encourage a routine with your pet and also gives them something to look forward to. Take your dog for frequent walks and be certain your cat has room to romp. That can help them burn off excess calories. “Remember, 2 extra pounds on a small dog can be like 20 extra pounds on a person,” says Dr. Moser. “It’s important to watch your pet’s weight.”