► HOW DO I CHOOSE PET FOOD?
Think quality! First of all, with pet foods, as with most things, you get what you pay for. Cheap dog foods use cheap ingredients, have poor quality control, are not well digested and may have excesses or deficiencies in vital nutrients, which can harm your pet. We suggest a well-known name brand. And by all means, please ask us for recommendations.
Keep in mind that a fancy pet store brand is not necessarily better, it may just have a higher price and francier brochure. Your pet will usually do best if you pick one complete food that is appropriate for their age and activity level, and stick with it. Animals do not really need variety in their diets if they are eating good quality food, and they are more prone to digestive upsets when on a varied diet or table scaps. This can also cause problems for you by developing a finishy eater when you constantly switch foods. If you need to change from one food to another, do so gradually by mixing the two diets together for a few days. This will help prevent diarrhea from a too sudden change in food.
For a puppy, this means puppy food. Young, rapidly growing animals need more nutrition than adult food can provide. As a pet ages, gains weight or develops health probnlems, nutritional needs may change.
A dry food is best for your pet's teeth and gums, so the majority of your dog's nutritional needs should be met with a chow type of food, unless specific health problems dictate otherwise. Canned foods are much more expensive to feed, as you are paying for a lot of water and extra packaging. Many people like to supplement their pet's diety with some canned food, and this is fine as long as you pick a good one, and don't overdo it. Canned foods are more likely to have excesses of protein which can cause or contribute to kidney disease as your pet ages, as well as being worse for your pet's teeth. If you have any questions, please ask us, that's what we're here for!
• PET FOOD RECALL INFORMATION: CLICK HERE This information is from USDA and the list kept updated. Plus we will tweet about any new recalls.
► WHAT ABOUT TREATS?
Most dog owners feed treats to their pets, as well as their regular food. Treats are rarely "complete and balanced", and are often loaded with salt, fat, artificial colorings and preservatives, all of which comprise "junk food" for animals. Stick with a crunchy biscuit type of treat for your dog. Read the labels before you buy treats. Some dogs like carrots, cherry tomatoes, green beans or other vegetables, and these are great low calorie snacks. Fruit is okay in moderation too. Stay away from brand treats not made in the USA. Foreign manufacturers are allowed to use formalin as a preserative in these rawhide chews, which is harmful to your pet. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and should never be fed. Chocolate is toxic, too. In short, be careful what you feed your pet and as us if you aren't sure.
► SUPPLEMENTS and CALORIES
Do not give any vitamin or mineral supplements to your dog without our advice. These types of supplements can easily cause harmful nutrient excess, especially calcium and the fat soluble vitamins: A, D, E and K.
Puppies need lots of calories to grow on, and plenty of fresh water. Until they are 4 months old, feed at least 3 meals a day, giving as much as the puppy will consume in a ten to fifteen minute feeding. It is much easier to housebreak a puppy if you feed it at set times every day. Puppies will then have regular, predictable potty times.
Once your dog is 4 months old, you can cut back to 2 meals per day, and a 6 months you can reduce that to one meal per day if desired. We recommend delaying a little longer in large breeds of dogs, which may still be growing rapidly at 6 months of age. Continue to feed a diet made for puppies until you dog is 1 year old, again; go longer for large dogs who won't be mature until 15 to 18 months of age.
The most important daily contribution you will make to your pet's health is its diet. So choose wisely, and feel free to consult with us about any nutritional questions you may have.
► DENTISTRY FOR YOUR DOG
Your pets, as well as you, deserve regular dental care, from being a puppy to being a senior dog. After your pet reaches a few years of age, tartar begins to build up at the junction of their gums and teeth. If this tartar is not removed, it increases until it undermines the tissue and causes receding gums. The area then becomes infected, which is called periodontal disease. Infection leads to foul breath, as well as pain and constant unsavory taste for the pet. If the situation is not soon remedied, severe gum infections, abscessed teeth, and cheek ulcers will develop. Unfortunately, chronic infections of the teeth and gums result in problems elsewhere in the body. Bacteria enters the bloodstream from infected teeth and cause infection in organs such as the liver, the kidneys, the heart and the joints. Good dental care lengthens pets' lives an average of 10 to 20% through the prevention of these secondary problems. Talk with us about good oral care for your dog.