This month, Dr. Moser answers your questions about diet choices for an indoor cat and what to feed a 1 year old Boston terrier.
Q: I recently adopted an adult cat and am going to switch her to Wellness brand cat food. She is my only pet and lives indoors only. Is it better to feed her the dry Wellness Indoor Recipe or dry Wellness CORE?
A: I assume weight maintenance (not gain or loss) is the feeding goal that you and your vet agreed to during your initial veterinary wellness examination. Make sure to record the cat’s current body weight in your pet’s health record. Continue to weigh your pet frequently to detect weight changes that may signal the need to modify the amount of food or type of food offered per day.
Both Wellness Indoor Health (IH) and Wellness CORE use wholesome natural ingredients to create palatable diets that provide complete and balanced nutrition for adult maintenance. Essential trace minerals are provided in chelated form. Prebiotic organisms and an antioxidant blend are present. Both diets have desirable amounts of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Wellness Indoor Health dry cat food is a blend of meats, grains and fruits, with deboned chicken as the first ingredient. Dietary credentials include: crude protein 31%, crude fat 13% and crude fiber 4%. An 8 ounce measuring cup of IH contains 465 kilocalories. Wellness CORE Recipe dry food for adult cats and kittens is a meat protein focused-grain free diet. The first four ingredients are meat or fish. The dietary credentials are: crude protein 45%, crude fat 18% and crude fiber 3%. An 8 ounce measuring cup contains 502 kilocalories.
Initially, choose the diet that fits the feeding philosophy you would like to adopt. Add the new food to the current feeding program– gradually replacing old diet with new over a 5 to 7 day period. Have patience and remember that you can try one diet for two months and then switch to the other, comparing results you see. Base your initial feeding amount based on the low end of the label feeding recommendation. The goal is to feed the amount needed to maintain a desirable body weight. If gaining weight feed less. If losing weight, feed more.
Many owners experiment with adding wet food to the cat’s daily feeding program. You can choose from: Wellness traditional canned cat food, new canned cat cuts, or Healthy Indulgence® pouches. Coincident with adding Wellness wet cat food to the diet; remember to remove the same number of calories of dry cat food from the diet so that the total daily dietary intake of calories remains constant. When designing a feeding program for your cat, choose a “meal feeding” not a “free choice” feeding plan. Free choice means to leave a full bowl of food out all the time and allow the cat unlimited access. A better system is to feed a premeasured amount of food to the cat in several small meals in the day.
Q: Our Boston terrier is on the Wellness Super5Mix Just for Puppy Recipe dry dog food. She is doing very well on the puppy recipe and will be celebrating her first birthday soon! Do you have any suggestions on what we should feed her after she reaches 1 year of age? She stays about 15 pounds and is very active.
A: Now is a good time to incrementally switch your dog to one of the Wellness Small Breed Health Recipes. Since your dog is very active – initially try the Small Breed Adult Health dry food. The nutritional credentials include: a generous amount of crude protein at 28%, crude fat 15% and crude fiber 3%; the diet contains 420 kcal per 8 ounce measuring cup. It is best to feed 2 or 3 premeasured meals per day rather than allow free choice feeding. If the animal is gaining unwanted weight, feed less; if losing weight, feed more. Large amount of stool with “cow-pie” like consistency can indicate overfeeding.
Other small breed dogs may benefit from a diet that is still generous in protein, but lower in fat, higher in fiber and lower in caloric density per cup. This helps prevent weight gain and allows dogs to eat a larger volume of kibble, which may induce a full feeling (satiety) at a lower caloric intake. For this situation, use Wellness Small Breed Healthy Weight dry food. The nutritional credentials are: crude protein 28%, crude fat 9%, and crude fiber 5%.; the diet contains 335 kilocalories per 8 ounce measuring cup.