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Ask Wellness Summer 2013

Q. At what age (if at all) should I switch my dogs to the Wellness® Complete Health Just for Seniors recipe? I have a Rottie and a Jack Russell Terrier who are turning 7 this year.

A. Dogs today are living longer than ever before, however, veterinarians still consider large breeds to be seniors at about 8 years of age, so most of that extended life will be as a senior. Your Jack Russell terrier, a small breed dog, would usually be considered a senior at 9-10 years of age.

A recipe such as Wellness® Complete Health Just for Seniors would be a good choice for your Rottie because it provides moderate protein, fewer calories and supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, omega 3 essential fatty acids, pre and probiotics and more to help slow the aging process. The Wellness® Complete Health Small Breed Senior recipe would cater to your Jack Russell terrier by providing the same age-specific vitamins & minerals as our other senior recipes while featuring a smaller kibble size.

In addition to feeding a senior diet that’s lower in calories, regularly exercising your older dogs is essential. It helps keep muscles toned, stimulates the heart and lungs and burns any additional calories to help maintain a lean body. The earlier you get your dogs started on a senior recipe, the more positive benefits you’ll notice.

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.

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!

February 2013 Ask the Vet

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 2012 Ask the Vet

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

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

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

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

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

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

July Ask the Vet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about a cat with food allergies and keeping a dog’s coat shiny.

Q: I have a 5 year old cat with food allergies. She can’t have food with many grains and is allergic to chicken. Does Wellness have a type of food that she would be able to eat?

A: Working with your vet you have identified a sensitivity in your cat to feeding diets that contain chicken as a primary animal protein source and a long list of grains. For long term maintenance you want to identify Wellness feline diets that avoid chicken and turkey protein sources and limit grain ingredients. The Wellness canned diets of choice would be: Wellness CORE® grain free Salmon, Whitefish, and Herring Recipe, and Complete Health Beef and Salmon Recipe canned cat food.

The Beef and Salmon Canned Recipe has salmon and beef as primary protein sources, and contains no grains. Some carbohydrate is contributed by sweet potato, flax, and vegetables. A 3 ounce can contain 107 kilocalories of energy.

CORE Salmon, Whitefish and Herring Canned Recipe is also 100% poultry and grain free. In addition to fish; potato, cranberry, flax, and chicory root extract are included at low levels.

A 5.5 ounce can contain 192 kilocalories of energy.

Q: We love Wellness products! We have a 140 lb Bullmastiff that has suffered from chronic ear infections and skin issues. Wellness CORE is the food that keeps these issues at bay. I was wondering how I could bring more sheen to his coat. Will supplementing the dry CORE with wet food help give him get a shinier coat?

A: CORE is a natural, grain free pet food that is protein focused. Wellness CORE Original Recipe dry dog food is a chicken and turkey based protein source diet with potato as a carbohydrate source; canola oil and salmon oil for fat sources; and some tomato pomace for added dietary fiber. Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe dry dog food is a fish based protein diet with potato as the carbohydrate source; canola oil for a fat source, and a mix of pea fiber and tomato pomace as a source of dietary fiber. Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish, & Herring Recipe is a canned food that is fish protein based, with some sweet potato and flax, fruits and vegetables; and chicken fat and salmon oil added.

Wellness CORE Original is about 421 kilocalories per cup and Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe is about 417 kilocalories per cup; Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Recipe canned dog food is about 220 calories per 6 ounce can.

Assume you are currently feeding about 5 cups per day of Wellness CORE Original (2.5 cups in the morning and 2.5 cup in the evening); about 2100 kcal of energy per day; and you want to bring out more sheen in the coat. Some changes you may try:

Plan #1:

- Morning feeding- 2 cups Wellness CORE Original dry dog food and 1x 6 ounce can of Wellness CORE Salmon, Whitefish & Herring Recipe canned dog food.

- Repeat same as above for afternoon feeding.

Plan #2:

- Replace half the volume (cups) of Wellness CORE Original dry dog food you are currently offering daily with an equal volume of Wellness CORE Ocean Recipe dry dog food for dogs at each meal. That is 1.25 cups of each brand of dry food in the morning and 1.25 cups of each dry food in the evening. A total of 5 cups per day.

In both plan #1 and #2; we are manipulating the amounts and/or ratios of the fatty acids (omega 6 and omega 3) in the total daily diet for the dog. Monitor in a diary the results you see in skin condition, body weight, and stool volume and consistency.

Encouraging Healthy Hydration for your Feline Friend

catWater is an essential nutrient for your cat, accounting for 60-75% of an adult feline’s body weight.  Water helps your pet’s body digest food, regulate body temperature, eliminate waste (urinary issues continues to be one of the most common medical reasons pet parents take their cats to the veterinarian) and allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body. Encouraging a healthy daily intake of water can help keep your cat feeling and looking good.

The amount of water your pet needs depends on a variety of things such as their level of activity and environmental factors. While diet can play a significant role in helping to prevent problems like urinary tract issues, hydration or adequate water consumption are equally important. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering your cat’s hydration habits.

1. When considering the urinary system, an ideal diet for a domestic, household cat, whether it is a canned or dry recipe, should contain lower levels of magnesium and encourage an acidic urine. All Wellness® Canned Recipes for Cats are designed with these criteria in mind. Our variety of minced, sliced and cubed entrees for cats offer the hydration cats need with a savory gravy they’ll love, now available in new varieties and new larger 5.5 oz cans!

2. Along with feeding a proper diet, encouraging sufficient water intake is a major concern. Many cats love to drink running water. Re-circulating water fountains are very attractive water stations that in many cases, will stimulate a cat to drink more frequently.

3. Fresh, palatable water should always be available in more than one area in the house, especially if there are multiple cats in the family. You can also try moving the water from one location to another regularly as sometimes a new location stimulates pets to drink.

4. Canned foods are another great way to add water to your cat’s diet.  If your cat has had urinary problems in the past, canned foods should be a major part of their diet. You can even add more water to your cat’s canned food to encourage increased water intake. Wellness offers numerous recipes (including grain-free varieties) in both canned and pouch options to allow for a wide variety of choices for those sometimes finicky felines.

5. Multiple clean fresh litter boxes should be placed in out of the way places, making it easy for your cat to relieve himself without interruption.

6. The most common reason for insufficient water consumption is feline stress. Usually physical stress is the culprit, although sickness and disease can surely slow or stop the intake of water and food. In North America, the average cat owner owns more than one cat. Any time you have more than one feline in a home, there will be competition for dominance. It doesn’t have to be physical aggression, although that can occur. Many times all it takes is a certain look or a particular posture and the more sensitive, least dominate pet may run and hide under the bed for the rest of the day. While avoiding the confrontation and hiding, the kitty is not eating or drinking. This can go on for hours and the longer the kitty goes without food or water, the more concentrated the urine becomes and the more likely there will be a urinary problem. Be mindful of this if you do have a multiple cat household and be sure to get your bashful cat to replenish with plenty of water and canned food under times of stress.

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.”

March – Ask the Vet

Dr. Moser

Dr. Moser

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choosing a Grain-Free Diet for Your Pet

dog and cat3If you’re considering feeding a grain free diet for your dog or cat, we know sometimes it can be difficult to decide which formula is best for you.

Grain-free diets for dogs and cats are free of grains like rice, barley, corn, oatmeal and other grains have been traditionally used in pet foods to create complete and balanced dry and canned foods. The most common carbohydrate sources found in the grain-free diets are potato and tapioca. Generally, grain free diets fall into one of two categories; high protein diets with low carbohydrate levels and moderate protein diets with moderate carbohydrate levels. High protein diets with low carbohydrate levels can contain over 40% protein in the dog recipes and 50% in feline recipes with an accompanying higher level of fat as well (and therefore calories). For performance dogs that require large amounts of calories, these diets can be a great choice. However, for most of our furry family members,  such a high protein and low carbohydrate level may not be ideal. It’s  important to keep in mind when feeding a high protein and low carbohydrate diet, that high calorie diets can encourage pets to gain excess weight if they are not fed according to the feeding guidelines. A diet providing higher levels of fat than your pet needs can make it difficult to maintain a healthy body weight.

How is Wellness® CORE® different?

Wellness CORE Grain-free recipes for dogs and cats are based on the nutritional philosophy that pets, based on their primal ancestry, thrive on a diet mainly comprised of meat. Each kibble is packed with a high concentration of quality animal protein, without fillers or grains, along with a proprietary blend of botanicals and nutritional supplements including probiotics. Wellness CORE is designed by thoughtfully selecting specialized ingredients and managing nutritional ratios, to deliver protein-focused nutrition with moderate protein diets and moderate carbohydrate levels. For our Wellness CORE recipes, we believe everything should be in believe in balance, never in excess. Unlike many grain-free diets, we’ve considered your pet’s whole health by ensuring the overall nutritional equation remains appropriate for everyday feeding.

Wellness Grain-free CORE recipes for dogs and cats are made with a variety of high quality proteins to provide the amino acid building blocks essential for growth and cellular replacement. There are both life stage and special need recipes to meet the needs of all most all dogs and cats. In addition, there are a huge variety of grain free CORE as well as traditional canned foods for dogs and especially for our feline friends. This is grain-free nutrition the Wellness Way® – thoughtfully-balanced, nutrient-dense and created from the highest quality, cutting-edge natural ingredients. A diet so unique you can see it in your pet’s weight, coat, digestion and overall radiance. Unlock your pet’s core health with Wellness CORE.