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Ask Wellness: March 2014

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 food intolerances can be to 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 recipes 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. 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.

Ask Wellness: February 2014

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?
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 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.

February is National Pet Dental Month- Dental Care Tips for Pets

Cats and dogs can be particularly prone to dental disease because they often do not have their teeth cleaned as frequently as their humans do. Dental check-ups should be a part of your pet’s regular health screenings. Brushing your pet’s teeth is something you can do at home to maintain their oral health.
Next time you’re at the vet, be sure to discuss the condition of your pet’s mouth. Your vet will explain whether getting a professional dental cleaning is recommended. Regular at-home brushing is recommended for cats and dogs in order to prevent plaque build-up. Plaque can lead to gum disease and, on rare occasions, problems that can spread through the body.
If your pets aren’t used to having their teeth brushed, it may take a while for them to warm up to the idea, but with the right tools and a little patience, you can feel better about your pet’s dental health.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
Pet Toothbrush– Pet toothbrushes have smaller bristles and a smaller head. Some of them fit on your finger too. This can make it easier for you to control the movement. If your pet has a smaller mouth or sensitive teeth, even a cotton ball with pet toothpaste applied to it will do the trick.
Toothpaste – It’s necessary to use special pet toothpaste for your cat or dog. Human toothpaste can be dangerous for pets and make them sick. Plus, pet toothpaste is flavored to appeal to animals, and it’s meant to be swallowed.
Patience— Your pet will need to adjust to the idea of having your fingers and/or toothbrush in his or her mouth. At first, you might spend a few minutes every day with a soft cloth rubbing his or her teeth. This can help remove plaque too.
The Process:
Approach your pet when he’s relaxed. Sit with him in a quiet location and speak in a soothing voice. Next, put the toothbrush to his mouth and gently move it around. It’s ok if you only brush one or two teeth the first few times.
Try again tomorrow. Your pet will eventually get used to it and will be more relaxed.
It’s not necessary to brush your pet’s teeth for as long as you would your own. Usually a few seconds is enough to apply the toothpaste which will stick to the surface of the teeth, helping to dissolve plaque, and preventing future build-up.
Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way of preventing tooth decay.
What about you? We’d love to hear your stories about brushing your pet’s teeth on our Facebook page!

Cats and dogs can be particularly prone to dental disease because they often do not have their teeth cleaned as frequently as their humans do. Dental check-ups should be a part of your pet’s regular health screenings. Brushing your pet’s teeth is something you can do at home to maintain their oral health.

Next time you’re at the vet, be sure to discuss the condition of your pet’s mouth. Your vet will explain whether getting a professional dental cleaning is recommended. Regular at-home brushing is recommended for cats and dogs in order to prevent plaque build-up. Plaque can lead to gum disease and, on rare occasions, problems that can spread through the body.

If your pets aren’t used to having their teeth brushed, it may take a while for them to warm up to the idea, but with the right tools and a little patience, you can feel better about your pet’s dental health.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

Pet Toothbrush– Pet toothbrushes have smaller bristles and a smaller head. Some of them fit on your finger too. This can make it easier for you to control the movement. If your pet has a smaller mouth or sensitive teeth, even a cotton ball with pet toothpaste applied to it will do the trick.

Toothpaste – It’s necessary to use special pet toothpaste for your cat or dog. Human toothpaste can be dangerous for pets and make them sick. Plus, pet toothpaste is flavored to appeal to animals, and it’s meant to be swallowed.

Patience— Your pet will need to adjust to the idea of having your fingers and/or toothbrush in his or her mouth. At first, you might spend a few minutes every day with a soft cloth rubbing his or her teeth. This can help remove plaque too.

The Process:

Approach your pet when he’s relaxed. Sit with him in a quiet location and speak in a soothing voice. Next, put the toothbrush to his mouth and gently move it around. It’s ok if you only brush one or two teeth the first few times.

Try again tomorrow. Your pet will eventually get used to it and will be more relaxed.

It’s not necessary to brush your pet’s teeth for as long as you would your own. Usually a few seconds is enough to apply the toothpaste which will stick to the surface of the teeth, helping to dissolve plaque, and preventing future build-up.

Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth is the best way of preventing tooth decay.

What about you? We’d love to hear your stories about brushing your pet’s teeth on our Facebook page!

Tips on How to Foster a Pet

Considering Pet Fostering? Here’s What You Need to Know

Dog with Foster Mom

Fostering a dog or cat can be a very rewarding experience. Many times, animal shelters rely on foster pet parents in emergency rescue situations. For example, a foster pet parent can prevent an animal from being euthanized by temporarily housing the pet until a safe option becomes available. They can help an animal recover from a sickness by providing special, individualized care or they can help keep a close eye on a litter of kittens until they are old enough to be adopted.

There are many reasons to consider fostering pets and just like adopting, it’s a good idea to think things through and ask a few questions before you bring home that wriggling, furry bundle of happiness.

1—What are the characteristics of the foster animal? Are you able to accommodate the animal’s size and medical/behavioral issues?

2—Will the pet get along with other people/pets in your household?

3—How long will you be fostering the pet? It’s best to compare expectations with the animal shelter before you agree to foster to make sure you’re on the same page.

4—Will the pet need training during the time you are fostering him/her? Many shelters rely on foster parents to assist with training or working with problem behaviors in order to help the pet become more adoptable.

5—Will the animal shelter be providing/financing veterinary care while you’re fostering?

6—Will the shelter/rescue group provide you with pet food while you’re fostering?

7—How will the dog or cat meet potential adopters? Will you attend adoption events or interact with the potential adopters in any way? The shelter may request that you take photos of the pet and/or provide a written description of the pet and its behavior so the shelter can post to Petfinder.com or to a social media page.

8—Will you have a say in who adopts the foster pet? Many animal shelters allow pet foster parents to be part of the decision on which adoptive family to pair the pet with.

10—If you fall in love, will you be able to adopt the pet?

When you foster animals, you free up space for the shelter or rescue to save another life. Plus, you’re providing important socialization for the pet to live a long and happy life. Fostering can be rewarding, yet, you’ll want to ensure you and the shelter have matching expectations of what fostering means.

Foster Dog with Foster Parent

Have you ever fostered a dog or cat? What’s been your experience? We’d love to hear your stories on our Facebook page.

Top Dog and Cat Gifts for the Holidays

Regardless of whether your cat or dog has been naughty or nice, we know you’ll want to spoil them during the holiday season. Below, we highlight our top dog and cat gifts. Our suggestions for Fluffy and Fido will keep all of you happy during this busy time.

Top Picks- DogClassic-KONG1-700x700

KONG Classic–We love the holidays, but they can certainly shake up our routine (and our pets’ routines too). During the holiday season, your pets may experience added stress from guests in the house, or they may get an upset tummy from indulging in too many table scraps. The KONG Classic can help alleviate both of these issues, and it makes a fun gift for your pooch! The natural rubber, USA-made KONG Classic is bright red and super-bouncy. It helps distract and engage stressed dogs by bouncing unpredictably, and it can be filled with healthy treats such as Wellness® WellBites® to curb excessive snacking. KONG Classic comes in many sizes and rubber strengths.

Wellness® Petite Treats Soft Mini-Bites With Lamb, Apples & Cinnamon–Smaller breed dogs have unique needs, even when it comes to treats. product-lg-dog-treat-petite-treats-lamb-apple-cinPetite Treats come in plenty of tasty flavors (we selected a holiday favorite with apples and cinnamon) and are bite-sized for smaller mouths. They are perfect to take on the road during holiday travel.

Top Picks- Cat

Kitty Scratch Pole–As you probably know, cats like to scratch. In fact, scratching is a way for cats to mark their territory, stretch, and “file” their claws.Untitled-1They typically scratch in highly visible areas, marking their territory on the drapes, carpet or sofa. You can avoid shredded furniture by strategically placing one or more scratching posts in the house. However, not all scratching posts are created equal, and the USA-made Kitty Scratch Pole proves that. Made from sustainable wood and recycled cardboard, this eco-friendly scratching post is designed with a refillable cardboard center. We love that when your kitty shreds the cardboard past recognition, you can just pop on a new cardboard piece (sparing the reusable base from the landfill).

Wellness Pure Delights Turkey & Salmon Jerky–Us humans get to sample some of the most delectable dishes during our end-of-the-yearproduct-lg-cat-treat-pure-delight-turkey-salmon festivities, and we all know ignoring the cat doesn’t work. Rather than share human food that might make your kitty sick, give her a few of the scrumptious, USA-made Wellness Pure Delights Turkey & Salmon Jerky treats. Pure Delights are wheat and grain free and contain no corn or soy! These perfectly-sized morsels will satisfy even finicky felines, while keeping calories in check with only 1.2 calories per piece.

We hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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.

dog-travel-car


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!