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5 Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween offers lots of opportunity for fun with your pet. Evening strolls, decorations and costumes can all add to the fun. However, all pets aren’t the same and what’s fun for one is terrifying for another. Here are a few guidelines for Halloween fun and safety.Halloween Dogs

1-Pets in Costume – Who doesn’t love a dog (or cat) in costume? Sometimes, it’s the dog or cat. Try the angel costume on your Yorkie but if she seems stressed by it, don’t force the issue. Even if your pet seems happy to entertain you by wearing this year’s ensemble, don’t leave him or her unattended. Pets could hurt themselves trying to tear off headgear, cloaks, etc.

2-Trick or Treating with Your Dog – Does your dog love socializing with other dogs and people of all sizes? If so, you may have a prime candidate for canine trick-or-treating. Dress your pooch as a pumpkin and stroll the neighborhood looking for a bone-a-fied good time. Just make sure to keep your pet leashed and visible with a lighted harness or glow stick. Halloween can be full of surprises.

3-Keep Track of Your Pets – Halloween offers the opportunity for lots of fun and scary times. Most cats and some dogs may be happiest spending the evening behind closed doors safely removed from human trick-or-treaters. Consider your pet’s temperament.

4–Keep Pets Away From Treats – Chocolate can be deadly to dogs. So can xylitol (an ingredient in many sugar free candies and gums). As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep sugar away from your pets. Wellness brand treats like Yogurt, Apples, Bananas yogurt bars are pet-friendly and delicious!

5Decorations—Candles, cords and paper or plastic decorations can all be harmful to your pets. Curious kittens and puppies can chew on things they shouldn’t or knock things over. If the flickering of a jack o’lantern or plastic decorations seem interesting to your pet, be especially vigilant.

Does your pet enjoy Halloween? We’d love to hear about it on our Facebook page. Pictures are welcome!

Ask Wellness Fall 2013

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

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.

Does Your Family Disaster Preparedness Plan Include Your Pets?

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month and it pays to be prepared. Planning for unforeseen circumstances can give you peace of mind—not to mention, keep your family safe.

When considering disaster preparedness for your family, it’s important to include plans for your pets. Here are some suggestions:

  • ID your pet. Tags get scratched or lost, and it’s easy to overlook replacing them as needed. Take a moment and review your pet’s tags. Do they need new ones? Dog with identification tag Have you moved and not replaced them with your current address? Is the information still legible? Refresh those tags either online or at the pet store. Proper ID makes it easier to be reunited if your pet gets loose. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet. A microchip implant is about the size of a grain of rice and is placed under your pet’s skin. According to the American Humane Association, “Microchipping serves as a permanent identification system that will always be with your pet. Nearly all animal shelters across the country routinely scan every animal upon intake for the presence of a microchip. Most veterinary clinics also have microchip scanners.”
  • Prepare food and dishes. Putting an extra set of dishes and some food and bottled water aside in case you have to evacuate quickly will help you in frenzied moments. If you pack kibble, make sure to rotate it out every few months so it doesn’t get stale and lose its nutritional value. If you pack canned food, make sure to include a manual can opener.
  • Speaking of evacuation, take your pet with you if you do leave. They are more likely to stay safe if they’re with you.
  • Think through where you could evacuate. Would you go stay with family? At a hotel? A shelter? Consider your options and make sure they’re pet friendly. Many shelters don’t take pets and though more motels and hotels do these days, it’s always a good idea to check it out ahead of time.
  • Make copies of your pet’s medical records. Put them in a waterproof bag or container along with a recent photo in case you’re separated.
  • Stash leashes, harnesses and carriers. These can all come in handy if you need to get your pet out of the house in a hurry. If you somehow get out of your house without them, having extras tucked away in your kit can be lifesaver. If you have cats, you may want to purchase cat harnesses to use in the case of an emergency where you cannot use your carrier.Cat on harness

The Humane Society recommends keeping a basic disaster preparedness kit in your car if you live in a hurricane or flood prone area and in your basement if tornadoes are prevalent where you live.

What about emergencies that prevent you from getting home to your pets? For example, there’s a bad ice storm and you can’t get there at your regular time? It’s a good idea to have a trusted friend, neighbor or family member you can contact during this type of situation. They’ll need a copy of your key and need to know where you keep the pet food, etc.

If you use a pet sitting service, ask them what their policies are for emergencies.

Spending a little time now on your family’s disaster preparedness plan can give you tons of relief later if you should ever need it.

What other suggestions do you have? We’d love to hear about them on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wellnesspetfood

Ask Wellness Fall 2013

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?Akita-Inu-Puppy

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.

5 Must Have Travel Accessories for Dogs and Cats

If you plan a summer or fall road trip with your pets, you know you need to do more to ready your pet than simply toss Max or Fluffy into the backseat. It takes a little preparation.

First, you’ll want to establish that your destination is pet-friendlythere’s nothing like showing up at your hotel 7 hours later with Max in tow to be told there are no more pet friendly rooms.

Cat car travel

Of course, you’ll also need a few other items as well. Here’s a list of travel necessities:

1—Restraint – Just as you use your seat belt when in the car, your pets should be secured. This prevents them from becoming projectiles if you are in an accident.

There are many options available today from harnesses that work similar to seat belts to traditional pet carriers. Which is best for your pet?  It’ll depend on factors like your pet’s temperament and comfort level with riding in the car—and, how much space you have. If your car will be full of kids and luggage, putting Fluffy in a carrier may be your best option.

2—Food/Water/Dishes – Be sure to pack enough food for the trip and bring a water supply for your pet. You’ll need dishes too. If you make a pit stop and realize you don’t have a water bowl, it can make for a little unnecessary complexity. Collapsible travel bowls pack well.

3—Comforting Items – Even if your pets are good travelers, they will feel more content with familiar items such as their favorite toy, or an old towel or shirt that smells like home.


4—Cleaning Supplies/Alternate Carrier
– Some pets are nervous travelers and may have an accident in their carrier. If this happens, you can minimize your pet’s discomfort by pulling over and cleaning out the carrier or swapping it for an alternate one.

5—Favorite Treats
–Your pets already appreciate their favorite treats. They’ll be very happy that you remembered to bring them!

Enjoy your travels!

Ask Wellness July 2013

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.

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.

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.