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Fireworks Safety: How to Keep Your Dog Safe This Fourth of July

Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays. When you think of 4th of July celebrations, what comes to mind? Celebrating our freedom? Of course. Family cookouts? Pass me a burger. We all may celebrate the 4th of July holiday a little differently, but let’s talk about the grand finale – the fireworks! While most people love a good fireworks show, we can’t say the same for dogs. This time of year can present many dangers to your dog, as fireworks can cause them severe anxiety. Let’s talk about how you can keep your dog safe this 4th of July.

Bring Your Dog Inside
If you know that your dog doesn’t like fireworks, or even if you have a new dog and are unsure, it is always best to bring them inside on the days surrounding the 4th of July holiday. Fireworks can cause your dog extreme anxiety, which can present many dangers if they are left outside alone. Possible dangers can include –

  • Injuries sustained as a result of attempting to jump the fence
  • Getting hit by a car while roaming frantically around the neighborhood
  • Wandering away from home to escape the noise and getting lost
  • Getting picked up by strangers (and not the nice kind) while roaming aimlessly

July 5th is known to be one of the busiest days for local shelters, due to these dangers that fireworks present to your dog. Play it safe, and bring your dog inside – they will be happy to join you.

Talk to Your Veterinarian about Anxiety Medication

This may sound a bit dramatic, but for dogs who experience severe anxiety from fireworks, this can be the best way to keep your pet safe and comfortable. If you using natural methods of medication, talk to your vet about that as well – chances are he can steer you in the right direction. Check out these natural remedies:

  • Chamomile
  • Lemon balm
  • Oat
  • Valerian
  • Skullcap

Always consult your vet before giving your dog any medication, even natural remedies, as doses can differ for different dogs and breeds.

Keep Your Dog Away from Windows

When you bring your dog inside, it is important to find a nice, comfortable spot for them to be while the fireworks are going on. A good tip is to try to find a spot away from any windows, as this can help to relieve their anxiety. Some cozy spots to consider –

  • A spacious laundry room without windows
  • A central room in the house that can be closed off
  • A comfortable room in the basement – “No scary basements, Mom.”

Make Sure Your Dog is Wearing Identification

This is a common rule that applies year round, but at times like these it is especially important to make sure that your dog can be identified in the event of getting lost. Even if you bring your dog inside, 4th of July is a busy time in most households, with people coming and going from the house a lot. If your dog were to slip out, make sure that someone can help him find his way back.

Keep Your Dog in a Kennel/Crate

Another things to consider is keeping your dog in a kennel during firework shows. This can often provide a safe escape for dogs in high-anxiety situations, especially if it is an enclosed kennel versus an open crate. Make sure you have the appropriate size kennel for your dog. Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around completely in their kennel. Keeping a dog in a kennel that is too small can be dangerous to your pet.

Skip the Fireworks and Stay Home

If fireworks cause your dog to experience severe anxiety, another option is to celebrate with your family at home, without fireworks. Sometimes we as pet owners have to make sacrifices for the comfort and safety of our dogs. We may not be able to control our neighbors when it comes to fireworks, but we can do our best to provide a safe environment for dogs in our own home.

However you choose to celebrate your freedom this year, be mindful of your four-legged friends as well as others in your neighborhood. Utilize some of these tips to keep your dog safe from the dangers of fireworks, and keep an eye out for your neighbor’s furry friends as well.

Ask Wellness March 2015

Q. Do you have a special dry food for cats prone to getting UTIs? My cat dislikes the prescription diet.

A. We’re sorry to hear that your cat has been experiencing urinary issues. Please know that we do not offer prescription diets, however, our Complete Health recipes contain a cranberry blend that may promote healthy urine PH. Another way to help cats maintain urinary health is by keeping them well hydrated. If your cat does not drink water regularly, you can help him get more hydration by supplementing his dry food with one of our Complete Health wet foods. We recommend that you discuss your cat’s nutrition options with your vet before making any changes. Best of luck!

National Animal Poison Prevention Week

For over 50 years, the third week in March has been celebrated as National Animal Poison Prevention Week. This week is all about bringing knowledge and awareness to all pet owners regarding the many poisonous hazards in and around one’s own home, and what to do if you know or suspect that your pet has ingested something that is potentially harmful. Let’s go room by room and talk about the potential poison hazards so that you can protect your furry friend from harmful substances. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way, and in this case, it could save your pet’s life!

Kitchen

We are starting with the kitchen because we believe it is one of the most important rooms when it comes to poison prevention. People often make the mistake of thinking that if a given food is safe for them that it is safe for their pet, but this could not be more wrong. We all want to treat our pets to something scrumptious from time to time, but people need to be educated regarding certain foods that can be toxic to animals. The following foods have been shown to be potentially harmful to pets –

  • Chocolate – especially dark chocolate, coffee, caffeine
  • Raisons and grapes
  • Yeast dough
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Table salt
  • Garlic, onion and chives
  • Avocado

These are just some of the most common foods that can be hazardous to your pet. It is always recommended that you don’t give your pet any table foods unless approved by your pet’s veterinarian. Besides, if you have your pets on the Wellness diet, then they are already getting all of the delicious nutrition that they need!

Bathroom

Let’s talk about medications. Human medications are a big cause of pet poisoning occurrences. First things first, all medications should be stored in a secure place at all times to avoid any accidental ingestion by your curious pet. It wouldn’t take long for some pets to chew right through a medication bottle, totally unaware of its harmful contents.

  • It is a good idea to store your own medications separately from your pet’s medications to avoid any confusion.
  • Always check the bottle before giving your pet any medication to verify it is the correct one, especially if you have multiple pets.
  • All human medications, whether OTC or prescription, should be deemed unsafe for your pet, unless otherwise advised by your veterinarian.

Cleaning supplies is another culprit. The chemicals can be very harmful to your pets. Keep them in a safe place and keep your pets away while you are cleaning with them to avoid any harmful contact.

Living Room

Household plants are a popular topic when it comes to poison prevention for our pets. There are some household plants that can be toxic and even potentially fatal to your pets. If you are a pet owner and you are in the market for some plants to display in your home, be sure that you do your research to be sure that they aren’t poisonous to your pet. Here is a list of 17 poisonous plants that can be harmful to your pet. Knowledge is power!

Miscellaneous Household Items That Can Be Toxic to Your Pet

  • Batteries
  • Potpourri
  • Insecticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Plant fertilizer/plant food
  • Antifreeze
  • Yarn, rubber bands, dental floss

How to Handle an Emergency

If you know that your pet has ingested something poisonous, or if you are suspicious due to your pet displaying signs and symptoms such as – fever, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors and/or lack of coordination – contact your emergency veterinary service immediately. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a possible fee of $65 per case.

National Animal Poison Prevention Week is a great time to educate ourselves on how to keep our pets safe from potentially harmful materials that can be found right inside our own homes. The moral of the story? Curiosity really can kill the cat – or dog, if we aren’t careful! Keep your pet safe!

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make with Your Pet

Around this time of year, we often start looking for ways to better ourselves: cutting out bad habits, adding healthier practices, and even adjusting our outlook on life. While the New Year rings in new resolutions for our own lives, the start of a fresh year is an opportunity to make some resolutions to better the lives of your pets as well. Luckily, what’s good for you is usually also good for your buddy, and with these suggestions, you’ll both be on the road to a longer life and a happier 2015.

Get Moving


When the clock strikes midnight on January first, sure there may be champagne celebrations and general merriment. But for many, this marks the occasion of the start of a new health or fitness regimen. OK, maybe it doesn’t start instantly, but there’s a reason that gym memberships are added in droves in January. The sad fact, though, is that by March, a good number of those folks have abandoned their good intentions. Studies (and logic) show that if you enjoy your means of exercise, you’re far more likely to engage in it regularly. So the real question is, what are your plans for movement this year, and how can you get your dog involved if he or she isn’t the most athletic pup?

 

 

Running and Walking: It’s the oldest (and least expensive) way to get moving, and it’s easy to incorporate Fido into the routine. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a sturdy leash, and you’re ready to roll. For maximum effect, pick up a pedometer to get an accurate snapshot of your progress, and set goals for yourself each week. The longest journey starts with a single step, and before you know it, you’ll have logged several miles. Be aware of your pet’s status throughout the route. Don’t expect a full sprint from a pooch who’s been dormant all winter, and know that some dogs may require footwear to protect delicate paws. It’s best to consider the weather when preparing for your run!

 

 

Pet-Friendly Yoga: Yes, this is a thing, (it’s actually called Dogya) and thanks to many pet-friendly communities, many yoga studios and community programs offer yoga for you and your canine companions. Of course they aren’t going to completely follow the routine, but it is called downward-facing dog for a reason–dogs love to stretch! If nothing else, this gives you a good stretch and strengthening time, while also inviting your buddy to a fun activity outside the house.

 

• Swimming: One minute of swimming is equivalent to four minutes of running for dogs. In addition to it being good exercise, water movement provides excellent benefits for dogs with joint and mobility issues. And swimming is also great for you! Not only does this give quality time for and your pooch, but water itself has been proven time and time again to provide healing for the mood and spirit.

 

Hey! What’s in that Food?

 

 


You may have noticed new human health trends popping up which place a heavy focus on ingredients. Many people are equally interested in knowing that they are feeding their pets high-quality, healthy ingredients. Our bodies function based on how we nourish them, so it’s plain logic that the better ingredients you eat, the better your body will respond. The same can be true for our pets’ diets, and don’t you want the best for your whole family?

 

• Live-Active Probiotics: A healthy intestinal tract and overall digestive system is imperative for good health, and this is true for both pets and people. Adding probiotics to our diets gives our systems an extra dose of the ‘good germs,’ which may help strengthen immunity.

 

• Add your Omegas: Fat isn’t always a bad thing, especially when we’re talking about fatty acids, like Omega 3 and 6. These are essential to cellular function, and promote healthy skin and hair for both you and your pet.

 

• Vitamins and Minerals: Remember as a kid taking a vitamin each day? Bring that habit back by making sure your food has the right vitamins and minerals. If it doesn’t add a supplement! In most cases, feeding your pet a high-quality, natural pet food will provide all of the essential vitamins and minerals they need. Certain pets may benefit from added supplements, but it’s always best to confirm with your veterinarian first.

 

• Protein: High-protein diets promote health and wellness, adding energy and endurance. Check the ingredients on your grocery list to make sure you are eating enough lean meats, like fish and chicken, and do the same for your pet’s food.


• Fruits and Veggies:
An apple a day keeps the…well, you know. But it’s a truth that has stood the test of time. This year, make it a goal to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Choose carrot sticks and apple slices over chips or candy, and in addition to giving your dog healthy treats, add some fresh foods. You’ll be surprised that your pets love the crunchy fun that cold veggies can provide—they won’t even know they’re eating healthier!

 

• Read the Bag: This is true for your food and your pets. Always read the ingredients and research unfamiliar terms. Some will turn out to be scientific words for everyday ingredients, while others maybe preservatives, additives and fillers. Be informed!

Rest, Peace and General Life-Loving

 

Happy New Year to you, and to your pet! 2015 can be the year you refocus on your whole family’s health. Making even small changes can make all the difference in the healthfulness and longevity of your pets and loved ones. And at the end of each day, find time to spend together and rediscover the importance of rest, peace and a general sense of loving the life you live. That makes all the difference.

How to Prevent Pet Diabetes

It’s National Pet Diabetes Month!

Diabetes isn’t just a human disease. It’s on the rise in our pets, affecting thousands of dogs and cats every year. According to Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK) diabetes more often affects cats than dogs. Diabetes typically develops in older pets, however, since diabetes is largely a lifestyle related disease, it is preventable.

Key Triggers

In both dogs and cats, diabetes is tied to obesity and age. If your pet is over 10 years old and weighs too much, he or she is at a higher risk for diabetes. To decrease this risk, you can work with your veterinarian to increase your pet’s exercise level and decrease his or her caloric intake.

Just like with people, if pets consume more calories than they exert, they will gain weight. However, not all calories are created equal. It’s best to choose higher protein foods, and many pet parents find that a grain-free pet food with natural ingredients helps prevent their pets from gaining weight. Wellness CORE recipes for cats and dogs are grain-free and provide high-quality protein sources. Because a higher-protein diet can be more nutrient dense (as well as calorie dense), you may need to speak with your vet about decreasing your pet’s portion size when you transition foods.

Some vets say that a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet may help prevent diabetes.

What is Diabetes Anyway?

You probably know diabetes has something to do with insulin. Insulin is a hormone that processes blood sugar (glucose) so your body has energy. When your body can’t process the glucose properly, sugar builds up in the blood and urine.

This leads to an imbalance that affects the whole body, and can become very serious if untreated.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats and Dogs

Although cats and dogs handle diabetes differently, they can exhibit similar symptoms of the disease:

-Increased thirst/increase in water consumption

-Weight loss

-Lethargy

-Vomiting

-Change in appetite

Many of the symptoms of diabetes in pets can mimic other diseases, so if your pet exhibits any unusual behavior, it’s best to take him or her to the vet promptly.

Although a serious disease, if the vet determines that your pet has diabetes, it can be treated effectively with medication, diet & lifestyle changes.

Wholesome Thanksgiving Ingredients for Your Pets

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and with the arrival of this beloved holiday comes thankfulness for the year behind us, the arrival of relatives to join hands around the table, the football rivalry that makes us not want to join hands around the table, the Thanksgiving Day parade that never ceases to entertain, and the cornucopia of delicious Thanksgiving foods that seem to make their grand appearance only once a year. While you are enjoying your own Day of Thanks this year, don’t forget about the four-legged members of the party who have set up camp under the dining room table, just hoping that something wonderful makes its way from your plate to their tummies. While most table foods are not recommended for your pet’s health, there are several delectable harvest foods that are not only tasty to your pet, but healthful as well!

Pumpkin

The Benefits
Pumpkin is not only an appetizing treat for your pet, but also a very healthy one to offer. A great source of fiber, pumpkin is a natural promoter of healthy digestion, which lends itself to the overall energy and vitality of your pet. Proper digestion is also a powerful aid in weight management, which can help prevent a whole host of other health problems down the road.

This colorful harvest symbol also helps with urinary health, as the natural oils in both the skin and seeds has been shown to increase urinary functionality. The seeds also promote healthy skin and coat (perfect for our pets with allergy problems!) Pumpkin is also a powerful source of Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, potassium and iron, attributing to longevity and cancer prevention.

Serving Suggestions
Fresh pumpkin is, of course, the best source for serving, but canned pumpkin also packs a hearty punch as well. It can be mixed in with dry food or given as a treat, and many pets find the flavor irresistible. Keep in mind that pumpkin can act as a laxative if too much is given, so consult with your vet about the quantity your four-legged friends can have on Thanksgiving. For a ready-made pumpkin treat your pet can’t refuse, try Old Mother Hubbard Soft Bakes with Carrots and Pumpkin, perfect for busy chefs in the kitchen or families on the go for the holidays.

Cranberry

The Benefits
The delightful red berries make their way onto many a Thanksgiving table, and luckily they can also find a place in Baxter’s bowl as well! Cranberries are rich in antioxidants and Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and just as they do for humans, they also promote good urinary health and can aid in the prevention of urinary tract infections and bacterial growth. By lowering the pH, cranberries make urine more acidic, which makes it harder for bacteria to grow, and cranberries also have at least two known agents that work to prevent bacterial growth.

These potent berries have also been found to reduce the incidence of bladder stones in dogs, as well as the development of Idiopathic Interstitial Cystitis in cats. If your pet has a history of urinary tract infections or otherwise bothersome urinary problems, these delicious red berries and their juice can be given as a very healthy supplement.

Need another reason to serve cranberries to your beloved pets? These little magic charms also work to prevent the formation of plaque on your pet’s teeth, containing powerful flavonoids and plyphenols that help protect your pets sensitive chompers.

Serving Suggestions
Avoid giving cranberry salad or other sugary versions of this healthful food. Many stores also carry ‘cranberry juice’ that is a very sugary version of an otherwise healthy drink. To serve to dogs, offer organic cranberries as a whole fruit, or mix in organic cranberry juice with food or water. The bitter taste may ward off the more sensitive pallets, so be wary that this healthful food may be served better if mixed with food or other treats.

Sweet Potatoes

These festive orange spuds have been a favorite of Thanksgiving-celebrators since the beginning of the holiday, and there’s no reason why your pet shouldn’t also be served a helping as well! Sweet potatoes, in plain, unseasoned form, have been recommended for pets for years to soothe a sensitive or upset stomach, or even just to offer a filling, healthy food that goes easy on those who have are ill or have recently undergone surgery.

Considered to be one of nature’s nearly perfect foods, sweet potatoes, or yams, are an excellent source of potent antioxidants that aid in healing, the prevention of cancer and easing the effects of aging. Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A, C and B6, as well as the minerals manganese, copper, and iron. They are also an excellent go-to for dietary fiber, preventing loose stools in for pets with upset stomachs.

Serving Suggestions
Sweet potatoes can be found as an ingredient in wholesome dog food or can be served whole to pets after baking. They can even be sliced thin and baked to make crispy, chip-like treats. Some of the best dog treats even combine two Thanksgiving favorites: sweet potatoes and, of course, turkey.

There’s no reason your pets can’t participate in the Thanksgiving festivities this year, and luckily, many of the items on your holiday shopping list can also find their place in Fido’s bowl. Be smart about ingredients, including any added sugars or flavorings, and always consult with your vet if you have any questions. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Take some time this year to let your pets know just how thankful for them you are.

How to Choose a Vet (in 10 Steps)

Your pet is a member of your family, and when it comes to his health care, it’s important to look for the best. Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or you’re looking to up the quality of your current animal care, there’s much to consider in your pet’s new doc. Keep in mind that this person should not only have a caring touch, but also be fully capable of handling any emergency situation that could arise. The hardest time to select a vet is when the need is urgent, so take the opportunity to scout around for the best choice now. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter what happens with your buddy, you have a great veterinarian on call.
License and Accreditation: You certainly wouldn’t visit an unlicensed doctor for your own healthcare, and your pet deserves the same. A professional license to practice in your state is required, and although a membership with the American Animal Hospital Association is not mandatory, it offers a step up in knowing your pet is in good hands. Additional training and certifications should be noted, particularly if your pet has specific health concerns that require specialized knowledge. Check your state’s requirements and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of certifications; responsible vets will have these clearly posted in their clinics.
Referrals: The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to say about the care they were provided at the veterinarian you are researching? Good and bad experiences should be noted, specifically those that made all the difference in the satisfaction of the client. How reasonable are the charges? How thorough are the examinations? Was the vet friendly, approachable, easy to talk to? These are all questions you should ask of those who have had their fur babies treated at the vet you are considering.
Connection with the Community: Pay attention to the vet’s connection within the community, something that can be very telling determining the kind of person this vet is with animal care. Does the veterinary clinic provide discounted services to rescued dogs, or discounted fees for spaying or neutering a new pet? A caring vet will reach out to the community as an advocate for proper animal care, serving as an example of how to treat our constant companions with respect and kindness.
Personal Touch: Busy veterinarians can struggle with allotting the proper time for each pet, and it’s not always easy to spend as much time as they would truly like to with your pet. However, a good vet will not lost the personal touch with your pet, regardless of how busy the day is or how many patients are waiting to be seen. Your pet is important, and you should never feel as though your visit is being rushed or that your concerns are being ignored. Sometimes an extra few minutes just to pet your dog or give him a special treat can make all the difference in both your pet’s experience at the vet, and yours!
Diet and Exercise Knowledge: A great way to keep your pet from visiting the vet for more than an annual visit is to provide the right food and treats along with an exercise program, and a good vet recognizes these natural life and health boosters. Responsible vets are knowledgeable about the right program for your pet, and they advocate for proper diet and exercise.
Continued Education: The medical profession is constantly changing, with new and exciting updates in healthcare happening every day. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and a worthy veterinarian will consistently update his knowledge with new techniques and treatments. Many veterinarians receive regular training to keep skills fresh and learn about new options for animal care, and your vet should do the same.
Office Maintenance: Hospitals and doctor offices are kept sanitized and sterilized for a reason, and veterinary clinics should be no exception. Ask for a tour of a vet before signing your pet onto the registry; a worthy clinic should have no problem showing you everything from the kennels to the surgery, and everything should be clean and orderly.
Staffing Requirements: When your pet is being seen at an animal hospital, he comes into contact with many other members of the staff, and each of these individuals should be properly trained and certified. It’s okay to ask the vet about his staffing requirements, what is required of each position, and who would be involved in the care and keeping of your best friend.
Office Hours and Location: Ideally, your vet is located close enough to be reached in an absolute emergency fairly quickly, and the office hours the vet keeps is critical as well. While many vets do not provide 24-hour service, they should at least provide the contact information for those who do. Routine treatments and annual visits need not be handled urgently, but when every second counts, you want a veterinarian who is on call and ready to handle any emergency.
The Most Important Vote: Trust your pet’s instincts when it comes to choosing a vet. It is, after all, his doctor, and it should be someone that he trusts, even during times of sickness or injury. Of course your pet doesn’t get the same excited feeling pulling in to the vet as he would the dog park, but there should be some level of “hey, I know these guys!” that puts your dog at ease. Your vet  and his or her staff should always try to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable for your pet as they can.
Take a few extra steps and check references, do your research and make sure a vet is the right choice for you and your pet. A little extra time spent in the decision can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your best friend.

Your pet is a member of your family, and when it comes to his health care, it’s important to look for the best. Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or you’re looking to up the quality of your current animal care, there’s much to consider in your pet’s new doc. Keep in mind that this person should not only have a caring touch, but also be fully capable of handling any emergency situation that could arise. The hardest time to select a vet is when the need is urgent, so take the opportunity to scout around for the best choice now. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter what happens with your buddy, you have a great veterinarian on call.

License and Accreditation: You certainly wouldn’t visit an unlicensed doctor for your own healthcare, and your pet deserves the same. A professional license to practice in your state is required, and although a membership with the American Animal Hospital Association is not mandatory, it offers a step up in knowing your pet is in good hands. Additional training and certifications should be noted, particularly if your pet has specific health concerns that require specialized knowledge. Check your state’s requirements and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of certifications; responsible vets will have these clearly posted in their clinics.

Referrals: The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to say about the care they were provided at the veterinarian you are researching? Good and bad experiences should be noted, specifically those that made all the difference in the satisfaction of the client. How reasonable are the charges? How thorough are the examinations? Was the vet friendly, approachable, easy to talk to? These are all questions you should ask of those who have had their fur babies treated at the vet you are considering.

Connection with the Community: Pay attention to the vet’s connection within the community, something that can be very telling determining the kind of person this vet is with animal care. Does the veterinary clinic provide discounted services to rescued dogs, or discounted fees for spaying or neutering a new pet? A caring vet will reach out to the community as an advocate for proper animal care, serving as an example of how to treat our constant companions with respect and kindness.

Personal Touch: Busy veterinarians can struggle with allotting the proper time for each pet, and it’s not always easy to spend as much time as they would truly like to with your pet. However, a good vet will not lost the personal touch with your pet, regardless of how busy the day is or how many patients are waiting to be seen. Your pet is important, and you should never feel as though your visit is being rushed or that your concerns are being ignored. Sometimes an extra few minutes just to pet your dog or give him a special treat can make all the difference in both your pet’s experience at the vet, and yours!

Diet and Exercise Knowledge: A great way to keep your pet from visiting the vet for more than an annual visit is to provide the right food and treats along with an exercise program, and a good vet recognizes these natural life and health boosters. Responsible vets are knowledgeable about the right program for your pet, and they advocate for proper diet and exercise.

Continued Education: The medical profession is constantly changing, with new and exciting updates in healthcare happening every day. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and a worthy veterinarian will consistently update his knowledge with new techniques and treatments. Many veterinarians receive regular training to keep skills fresh and learn about new options for animal care, and your vet should do the same.

Office Maintenance: Hospitals and doctor offices are kept sanitized and sterilized for a reason, and veterinary clinics should be no exception. Ask for a tour of a vet before signing your pet onto the registry; a worthy clinic should have no problem showing you everything from the kennels to the surgery, and everything should be clean and orderly.

Staffing Requirements: When your pet is being seen at an animal hospital, he comes into contact with many other members of the staff, and each of these individuals should be properly trained and certified. It’s okay to ask the vet about his staffing requirements, what is required of each position, and who would be involved in the care and keeping of your best friend.

Office Hours and Location: Ideally, your vet is located close enough to be reached in an absolute emergency fairly quickly, and the office hours the vet keeps is critical as well. While many vets do not provide 24-hour service, they should at least provide the contact information for those who do. Routine treatments and annual visits need not be handled urgently, but when every second counts, you want a veterinarian who is on call and ready to handle any emergency.

The Most Important Vote: Trust your pet’s instincts when it comes to choosing a vet. It is, after all, his doctor, and it should be someone that he trusts, even during times of sickness or injury. Of course your pet doesn’t get the same excited feeling pulling in to the vet as he would the dog park, but there should be some level of “hey, I know these guys!” that puts your dog at ease. Your vet  and his or her staff should always try to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable for your pet as they can.

Dr. Tonia Shatzel at 30-A Vet in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Take a few extra steps and check references, do your research and make sure a vet is the right choice for you and your pet. A little extra time spent in the decision can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your best friend.

Ask Wellness: August 2014

I have a 12 year old bijon who has developed bladder stones and is now on a special food Royal Canin Urinary SO.  We would love to give him treats, but have been unable to find any that would not harm him.  Can you make any suggestions?
There are many types of bladder stones and all are different and need to be addressed individually. The two most common stones are Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) and calcium oxalate.
Struvite is usually caused by infection and so using the proper antibiotic at the correct dosage
for a sufficient time is essential. In addition the stones can be removed surgically or they can be
dissolved, in time with a special diet which you are on now. I suspect that this is your problem and a strict diet is essential. I would suggest working closely with your veterinarian to find a proper treat that won’t negatively affect the action of the diet.
The treat should encourage acidity so I would suspect a predominately meat treat would work. The Wellness Crunchy Small Breed Petite Treats are a meat based treat that may work.

Q. I have a 12 year old Bijon who has developed bladder stones and is now on a special food. We would love to give him treats, but have been unable to find any that would not harm him.  Can you make any suggestions?

There are many types of bladder stones and all are different and need to be addressed individually. The two most common stones are Struvite (magnesium ammonium phosphate) and calcium oxalate. Struvite is usually caused by infection and so using the proper antibiotic at the correct dosage for a sufficient time is essential. I would suggest working closely with your veterinarian to find a proper treat that won’t negatively affect the action of the diet.

The treat should encourage acidity so I would suspect a predominately meat treat would work. The Wellness Small Breed Petite Treats Crunchy Mini-Bites are a meat-based treat that may work. Again, it’s best to verify that your veterinarian feels comfortable with this option.

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.

Ask Wellness: June 2014

Q. I have our puppy on Wellness® CORE Grain Free Puppy Formula. She is a  6-month-old Shih Tzu who’s doing great on this food. What do you recommend to put her on as an adult and when?

A. The Wellness® CORE Grain Free Puppy Formula is an ideal grain free recipe for a small breed puppy and should work well until your puppy turns one.  At that time you might want to consider switching to the  Wellness CORE Grain Free Small Breed Adult recipe which has the same basic proteins and fat as the puppy diet. Usually adults don’t need as many calories as pups, so the Small Breed Adult has less fat and therefore less calories to help your dog maintain lean muscle mass.