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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.

How Pets Benefit Senior Citizens

They’re happy to see you. They enjoy resting nearby and they offer communication through tail wags and rubbing against you. They’re our pets and they bring great joy and happiness to millions of households.senior-couple-and-dog

Although all pet owners experience the benefits of having a pet, there are specific ways that pets enrich the lives of the older population. Studies show that older people with pets are in better health and spirits than those without.

3 Ways Pets Benefit Older People

  • Companionship – It’s no surprise pets provide reliable companionship. Having a friend around to snuggle provides comfort and solace for older people, whether they live alone or with a partner. When you hold and pet an animal, your body releases endorphins, or “feel good” chemicals. Regularly stimulating the release of endorphins can help reduce arthritis pain, depression and other ailments.
  • Dogs encourage regular exercise – Taking a dog for a walk is a gentle form of exercise. If mobility is limited, dog owners can split the exercise into several short walks throughout the day. People who maintain consistency with their exercise benefit the most—both  physically and mentally. Physically, walking helps manage conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Mentally, exercise eases anxiety, sharpens memory and inspires creativity.
  • Protection—Many dogs will bark to alert their owners of potential intruders. Dogs can protect you while on a walk, and possibly even get help in the event of a critical situation such as a heart attack.

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.

How to Pet Proof Your Living Room for a New Puppy or Kitten

It’s fun to bring home a new puppy or kitten. You can cuddle them, introduce them to family members, post pictures on Facebook and spoil them silly!

What’s not fun is when they chew something they shouldn’t—remote controls, shoes and  window blinds come to mind. Puppies and kittens are naturally curious. They’ll explore the nooks and crannies that even your vacuum may not have seen lately, and they’ll learn about new things by putting them in their mouths.

So, how do you pet proof your home? Each room will require a slightly different strategy and in this post we’ll focus on your living room. It’s a good idea to take some time before your new furry family member arrives and give your home a critical eye.

5 Steps to Pet Proofing Your Living Room

1) Pick up shoes and stow them in a closet or bin. Puppies are notorious chewers, but kittens may find shoelaces irresistible too. Plus, without house training, they may find shoes to be excellent places to “mark” their territory. Yuck!

2) Remove breakables. It only takes a swish of a tail or a bat of a paw to knock your porcelain or other fragile knick-knacks off tables or mantles. Not only will you be left with shards of glass to clean up, but Mimi could step on them and get cut.

3) Pick up children’s toys. To prevent pets from potentially choking on smaller pieces, store action figures and building toys in a box with a lid when playtime is over.

4) Identify and research your houseplants. Many common plants and flowers are poisonous to pups and kittens so they could get sick from gnawing on the petals or leaves. You may want to swap any questionable plants for safe ones, or store certain plants in a room with a closed door.

5) Give your new furry friend a soft cushion or pet bed in your living room. Your pets want to be with you and they’ll appreciate a cozy place nearby to call their own.

What pet proofing tips have you’ve gained from experience? Do you have a photo of your pet lounging in his or new digs? Share them on our Facebook page!

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.

Ask Wellness June 2013

Q: My cat has noticeable dandruff. Is this normal and is there anything I can do about it?

A: It is normal for your cat’s skin to slightly slough away resulting in what is commonly referred to as dandruff. Especially in cold winters, low humidity can dry the skin of an animal causing excessive flaking.

Diet can play a role in preventing dandruff. Be sure the foods you are feeding are complete and balanced, like Wellness Natural Pet Food, and contain optimum levels of the essential fats to encourage a healthy skin and coat.

Brushing your cat will help remove the flakes. Most cats are very particular about proper grooming and so when you see dandruff, it may be more than just the normal flaking of the cells of the skin. If your cat has excessive dandruff, it is important to have the problem checked by your veterinarian to determine the cause so an effective treatment can be developed.

Q: I have a Shar Pei mix rescue dog about 5 years old. She has very dry skin and a severe shedding problem.

A: Feeding a diet with optimum levels of Omega 3 fatty acids that are in the proper ratio with the Omega 6 fats may help to resolve the problem as they are essential for a healthy skin and coat.

The Shar Pei breed is known to have an increased incidence of skin problems. Many also suffer from food allergies or intolerances. If that is the problem with your pet, feeding a grain-free diet may help. Be sure to transition to the new diet slowly over at least a week’s time. When one suspects a food allergy or intolerance, one must give the new food at least two months (provided there is no negative reaction to the new diet initially), as it can take that long to rid the body of the offending allergens.

Keep in mind that there are other causes that can produce an itchy dry skin: external parasites, bacterial and fungal infections and several other common problems can cause the same symptoms and it is always advisable to work closely with your veterinarian to determine the cause, as well as the best procedure for resolving the problem.

Additionally, this could also be normal seasonal shedding. Regular brushing and mild shampoo baths will speed up the process and could help to resolve the itching.

Feed Your Pets Flaxseed for Shiny Coats

The phrase, “you are what you eat” goes for your pets too. Feeding flaxseed for shiny coats can give your pet more than just a healthy coat.

If they eat healthy, their eyes shine bright, their coats gleam and they feel good. Yet, certain foods have added benefits. These so-called “power” foods boost your pet’s immune system, moisturize their skin and help give them shiny coats. Packed with high levels of vitamins and minerals for maximum nutrition, “power” foods deliver for your pet’s health.

Flaxseed is one of those foods.

Flaxseed contains essential omega 3 fatty acids. A “good” fat, omega 3’s are great for your pet’s health inside and out. They repair and manufacture cell membranes so they stay healthy and increase the amount of oxygen coursing through your pet’s body. This increases the amount of nutrients flowing to cells.

The result? Flaxseed moisturizes the skin, reduces inflammation and can give your pet a soft and shiny coat. It also has a nutty flavor most dogs love. Feeding your pet a natural food containing flaxseed will allow you to provide all of these benefits and more.

Try our Wellness Complete Health Dry Recipes for Dogs or our Wellness Complete Health Dry Recipes for Cats.

Have you given your pet flaxseed for shiny coats and overall good health? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments below.

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!

4 Ways to Control Fleas and Ticks Naturally

Now that the weather’s getting warmer, it won’t be long before flea and tick season are here again.

Here are 4 Ways to Control Fleas and Ticks Naturally:

Apple cider vinegar can make a good spray too. Just mix it with water in a clean spray bottle, about ½ and ½. Then spray it on your pet daily. Pay special attention to behind the ears and the base of the tail where fleas tend to collect.

1–All Natural “Flea” Collars for dogs—rub one of the following essential oils onto a rope collar or bandana to keep fleas and ticks at bay.  Eucalyptus, lavender or citronella are all scents that repel pests.  You will need to do this weekly to keep it fresh and effective.

2—Supersonic –  This small electronic device looks like a tag or pendant and fits on your pet’s collar.  It emits a series of electronic pulses to prevent fleas and ticks from setting up camp on your furry friend.  It’s safe for dogs and cats.

3—Vacuum often – If you have carpeted floors, be sure to vacuum frequently to pick up any possible flea larvae.  Fleas can lay up to 50 eggs per day and they’ll fall off your pet into the carpet and furniture where your pet sits.  Frequent vacuuming can rid your house of these pests before they hatch.

4—Diatomaceous earth–  You can sprinkle this powder around your yard and pet bedding to prevent fleas and ticks.  It’s made of fossilized diatoms (a type of phytoplankton) and appears soft and powdery to the naked eye.  However, if you look at it under a microscope, it’s actually full of sharp edges. These sharp edges provide effective natural flea prevention. Because when fleas crawl through the substance, the sharp shell edges slice their bodies. They leak water from the soft tissue and dehydrate.

Side Effects: A word of caution, the sharp edges can harm your respiratory track so wear a mask and goggles when you’re applying it to large areas like your yard or pet beds.

Let it settle without your pet around so they don’t breathe in the substance.  Be aware, it’ll wash away in the rain for wait for a dry day and you’ll need to reapply it after heavy rains.

What’s your favorite method for preventing fleas and ticks?  We’d love to hear them in the comments below.