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Live Well
The official Blog of Wellness Natural Pet Food

Welcome to your guide for all things pet. At Live Well, we’re giving our pet parents everything they need to show their pets the love and care they deserve—from articles on pet health, behavior and nutrition, to special offers on our Wellness products—we’ve got you covered.

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Dog

Health & nutrition

Health issues / sickness

Common Cancer Symptoms In Dogs and Cats

50% of senior dogs develop cancer. The number isn’t quite as high for cats but it does happen. Like with people, there are a variety of cancers that can affect your beloved pet and as you probably know, many cancers can be treated if caught early. There are a few symptoms that specifically skew toward cancer which I’ll share in a moment. Unfortunately, the other cancer symptoms can seem a little generic – weight loss, change in energy levels, etc. so don’t panic if your pet shows these signs, but do make an appointment with your veterinarian to have your pet evaluated. One common cancer for both dogs and cats is lymphoma, this is a cancer of the lymph nodes which are located throughout your pet’s body. The lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system which works to filter toxic substances out of the body. Individual lymph nodes can swell up to be the size of golf balls so they can be very noticeable. In cats, lymphoma is linked to feline leukemia virus. There’s a vaccination against feline leukemia, which can protect your cat. Mast cell cancer is a type of skin cancer that can create noticeable lesions on your pet’s body. Now, since skin problems is one of those “generic” concerns that can mean all kinds of things, you’ll want a specialist to evaluate your pet. Plus, since this is a kind of cancer with multiple classifications, finding

Cat

Diet

Health & nutrition

Why Do Cats Seem More Finicky Than Dogs When it Comes to Food?

Pam Johnson-Bennett is a certified cat behavior consultant, best-selling author of 10 books and host of Animal Planet UK’s Psycho Kitty. With the release of her latest book, CatWise, she is currently on the national CatWise Cat Cafe Tour presented by Wellness. Cartoons and social media memes often portray the finicky feline image. It’s common to see the picture of a cat turning his nose up at the vast array of food his loving cat parent has set out for him in a desperate attempt to please the picky kitty. You don’t see those images of dogs very much at all though. Fido comes running at record speed, leaping over furniture to get to his bowl of food, no matter what kind is being served. So, are some cats really finicky? If so, what contributes to the behavior? Here are some reasons why it may happen and what you can do to help prevent the behavior. Cats are Creatures of Habit Finicky eating may happen as a result of a sudden change in meals. Cats take comfort in familiarity and that applies to just about everything in their life – territory, the litter box, where they sleep, and yes, their food. When a cat goes to his food bowl he expects the meal to smell and taste the same as previous meals. Even the texture of the food is important. If you make a drastic change, especially going from one

Cat

Diet

Health & nutrition

Finding Food Your Cat Will Love

Pam Johnson-Bennett is a certified cat behavior consultant, best-selling author of 10 books and host of Animal Planet UK’s Psycho Kitty. With the release of her latest book, CatWise, she is currently on the national CatWise Cat Cafe Tour presented by Wellness. Are you unsure whether your cat likes her food? Maybe you can’t figure out what her body language is saying as you prepare and serve the meal? Here are some signs that indicate your cat is giving her seal of approval. Keep in mind that your cat may not do all the following behaviors, especially if she is not as mobile, has a medical condition or impairment. Every cat is an individual but the following list sums up the typical behaviors cats show when they’re happy and content with their food. Your cat instantly appears when you’re preparing food. No matter where she is in the house, she suddenly shows up when you open the can, pouch or bag of food. As you prepare food, your cat weaves around your legs, reaches up and stretches against you or even jumps on the kitchen counter in anxious anticipation. Your cat purrs or meows as food is being prepared. She does a “happy” walk to the bowl with an upright tail. There’s no slinking body posture or hesitation. She may chirp or let out a happy “mew” as she heads to the bowl. The cat’s ears are forward or relaxed

Cat

Dog

Seasonal tips

10 Ways To Celebrate National Pet Day

Since 2006, April 11th has been celebrated as National Pet Day. This day was brought about to highlight the unconditional love that pets bring to our lives and also to encourage and raise awareness for animal adoption. There are so many animals around the world who are sitting in shelters, waiting to be given a second chance at life and these same animals have the potential to bring so much light and love into the lives of their owners – anyone who has adopted a shelter animal doesn’t need a national day of observance to know that the love of a pet should be celebrated. So, how can you celebrate this national holiday? Well, your pet would probably be happy with just an extra belly rub, but we’ve got some other ideas that your pet (or future pet) is sure to love! Going on daily walks is most likely one of your dog’s (or cat’s) favorite activities, so why not throw in an extra one or maybe even just make today’s longer than usual? Your pet is sure to appreciate it! We don’t know a pet in the world that doesn’t wiggle in excitement when you reach for the treat jar! Surprise your pet with some new tasty treats today. This is a great idea for the dog in your life. Dogs love a good romp in the yard with a fellow furry friend and it’s also great exercise! Your

Cat

Dog

Seasonal tips

7 Earth Day Celebration Tips For Pets

Earth Day is an annual holiday that encourages us to respect and care for the planet we all share. This year, we challenge you to consider all your four-legged friends when making your Earth Day resolutions. From cat trees to stuffed animals, there are tons of pet toys made from bottles, paper and other materials salvaged from the landfill. One great option, the Kitty Scratch Pole, is made in the U.S.A. from recycled materials and can be used indefinitely by replacing the refillable, recycled cardboard discs that come with it. There are dozens of pet shampoos on the market, but the eco-friendly option is to choose a pet shampoo made with natural ingredients which are safer for the environment and for your pet. Grocery bags take hundreds of years to break down in the landfill. Using biodegradable waste bags is the more earth-friendly option. If you can compost the waste–that’s all the better. Did someone have an accident indoors? Grab the white vinegar to clean up. Vinegar and baking soda are time honored all natural cleaning products. You’ll reduce your use of harmful chemicals and get the job done effectively. Most dogs love to get outside, enjoy some new sniffs and meet new friends. If hiking isn’t possible, go to a dog-friendly park and enjoy the Spring air. Are you more of a cat person? Try a car carrier or cat backpack and bring your kitty along to catch the

Cat

Dog

General care

Health & nutrition

How To Choose A Veterinarian

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. 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. The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to

Cat

Diet

Health & nutrition

Understanding Cat Food Labels

For a pet parent, reading the food label on your cat’s dry or wet food packaging, and, understanding the written content at a glance, offers peace of mind in knowing that your cat is getting a balanced and highly nutritional diet to support her overall health and well-being. The goal of all Wellness labels is to make the information takeaway as easy as possible to find on the packaging. Cats are carnivores (meat eaters). That means they require two to three times the amount of protein that humans do. Consequently, diets offering high meat, poultry or fish proteins, along with moderate amounts of fat and minimal carbohydrates boosted with vitamins and minerals are best to meet a cat’s nutritional needs. LABEL BASICS Like human foods, all pet food brands are regulated under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and must be truthfully labeled. Also they are governed by labeling regulations recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that set the basic ingredients guidelines that by law must be acknowledged on every label. Also, every label has to include the product name, net weight, statement of purpose or intent, ingredient list, guaranteed analysis, feeding directions, nutritional adequacy statement, and a statement of responsibility. The product name: The product name explains what kind of what food it is, highlighting the key ingredient/s, and the words used in the name must conform to AAFCO regulations. For example, a product

Dog

General care

Health & nutrition

New Dog Owner’s Guide

Taking on the responsibility of a new dog is a major commitment and one that will indeed change your life for the better. There are certain responsibilities that come with owning a dog and caring for them properly. Consider this your “New Dog Starter Kit” to caring for your new dog and keeping him healthy and happy! Your dog will return the favor by bringing an unconditional love into your life that you will be forever grateful for. Vaccinations Whether your new dog is a puppy or an adult, there are yearly vaccinations that are recommended. The recommendations vary depending on age, breed and health status of the dog. Upon doing a full checkup and physical examination, your dog’s veterinarian can inform you as to which vaccinations are recommended. It is always recommended that you choose a vet and take your new dog for a full health checkup as soon as possible. Some of the vaccinations that your dog may need are – Rabies – this vaccination is recommended for all dogs and may be given yearly or every 3 years depending on your veterinarian’s preference Parvo – this vaccination is usually recommended for puppies who have a high risk of acquiring parvo Kennel cough – this vaccination is recommended for animals who will be boarded for any length of time and exposed to the illness It is also recommended that you have your dog micro-chipped, which is the placement

Cat

Dog

General care

Health & nutrition

The Benefits of Spaying and Neutering Your Pet

There are many benefits to having your pets spayed or neutered. While it is indeed beneficial to both you and your pet, it is also considered to be an important responsibility as a pet owner. There is a reason, or many rather, why shelters require any animal to be spayed or neutered before being adopted out of their facility. Let’s talk about some reasons as to why spaying and neutering is so beneficial to both you and your pet. Some of you may be wondering how putting your pet through surgery could possibly benefit their health. First of all, these surgical procedures are performed using the most minimally invasive techniques possible. In the case of spaying and neutering your pet, the benefits far outweigh any risk involved. Some of these benefits include: Eliminating the Risk of Ovarian and Testicular Cancer: Spaying or neutering can reduce the risk of mammary gland tumors and/or uterine cancer, especially if done before the female’s first heat cycle. Reducing The Desire to Roam: which will help keep your pet safely out of the streets. Bolster Their Longevity: Pets who have been spayed or neutered have been shown to lead longer, healthier lives. Spaying and neutering your pet can help to correct behavioral issues that you may be having with your pet. Reduce Aggressive Behavior: Some animals that remain intact have been known to display some aggressive behavior. This is most common among the males, and neutering has been shown

Cat

Health & nutrition

Life stage

Our Checklist for New Kitten Owners

Congratulations! If you are reading this, chances are you are either a new owner of an adorable kitten or soon to be, and that is exciting news! Adopting a new kitten carries with it certain responsibilities, so we are here to help make the transition easier for you and your new furry friend. We are going to give you some tips for bringing your new kitten home, getting him properly trained, and making sure that he loves the scratching post more than your household furniture. This is important stuff, folks. Tips for Adopting and Bringing Home a New Kitten We are so happy that you made the decision to adopt a kitten, we could squeal! Kittens are such a fun addition to the household and are much more self-sufficient than dogs. However, there are certain responsibilities that come with bringing a new kitten into your home, and we’ve got some tips for you. The drive home – Be sure and keep your kitten in the carrier on the drive home from the shelter. This will be less stressful for both you and the kitten. Arriving home – Set up a starter room for your kitten in a quiet, closed off area of the house. Set the room up with a litter box, comfy bed, scratching post, toys, food and water. Let them adjust – A new home can be overwhelming for your kitten. Give him time to adjust and once

Cat

Dog

Health & nutrition

Q&A: Does Your Pet Have Seasonal Allergies?

If you’re someone with seasonal allergies, you may be used to the influx of uncomfortable symptoms that arrive with the changing of the leaves in autumn and the sprouting of the grass in the spring. What you may not know is that it’s possible for your dog or cat to experience environmental allergies as well. Like us, pets’ allergies tend to flare up during the changing seasons. Below, Wellness veterinarian Dr. Al Townshend delves into this topic, answering some of the most common questions pet parents have about allergies in dogs and cats. A. There are higher levels of environmental allergens in many parts of the country during the fall and spring months. In the fall, many common weeds such as Ragweed and Goldenrod are pollinating. Mold allergies can also arise in the fall as leaves and compost piles accumulate at the end of the growing season. In the spring, the majority of plants are producing pollen. Reactions to these allergens can be exacerbated by the dramatic shifts in temperature and moisture levels occurring during the changing seasons. A. The symptoms of seasonal allergies are very similar to those of food allergies and commonly include intense itching and scratching, hot spots, runny eyes and nose, sneezing and dry and flaky skin and coat. A. It can take some experimenting to determine the main cause of your pet’s allergies. The big difference between the two types of allergies is that food

Cat

Diet

Health & nutrition

How to Transition Your Cat to Natural Wellness Kibble

Whenever introducing your cat to a new kibble, it’s a good idea to gradually transition to the new dry food recipe over a 7 – 10 day period. An extended transition time frame allows acceptance of the new flavor in the food bowl. And, it will also avoid potential stomach upsets that could cause diarrhea as a slow changeover allows the digestive system to adjust to new ingredients. Add about 10 per cent of the new kibble to the bowl every day. If after a few days, your cat notices the difference and there are signs of resistance, reduce the new food by ten percent, and, if necessary, hold off on the transition for a couple days before trying again. There is no rush! And remember, if you cat is really resistant to a particular new recipe, the unused food, still in the original bag, along with the receipt can be returned to the store where it was purchased for a full refund. All Wellness dry food recipes are covered by this Catisfaction Guarantee. At the same time you are transitioning the new kibble into the food bowl, consider serving it to her as a treat. It can be as few as five or six kibble. If you feed more than that, remember to make the calorie and amount adjustments to her food bowl so that you are not over-feeding during this transition phase. Serving the food in the right

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