Saturday, February 8, 2014

Feed cats and dogs fresh produce, and they will reap the health benefits

By Shawn Messonnier, D.V.M   
I believe fresh organic food contributes to improved health in my patients. There are many foods that are easy to grow, appeal to most pets, and provide health

Fruits and vegetables are generally low in calories, which means they make great treats for pets on a diet. As for how much to feed a pet, I don't suggest a particular amount, as long as the vegetables or fruits make up no more than 20 to 25 percent of a dog's diet (if you are feeding a processed natural food) or 40 to 50 percent of a natural homemade diet.
Carrots. Most dogs like carrots, either whole or cut into pieces. The tops of carrots can be fed whole to pet rabbits and rodents, or chopped fine and used as a topping on dog food.
Beans. Many owners give their dogs varieties of green or string beans. Bean pods (including the seeds) can be used whole or cut into small pieces.
Broccoli. Broccoli is one of my favorite recommendations to pet owners, especially for pets with disorders of the immune system, including cancer.
Dark leafy greens. Any dark green leafy vegetable is good for pets. Some dogs will eat the greens after they are cooked.  
Dark-colored berries. I think of fruit as more of a dessert than a main ingredient; therefore I recommend no more than 10 to 15 percent of the diet contain healthy organic berries
Foods to Avoid
While most pets can eat pretty much anything you grow, there are some things to avoid due to potential toxicity. Cats and small dogs are sensitive to some of the chemicals in onions and garlic, as these foods can cause red blood cell damage leading to anemia. All pets should avoid onions. Garlic has many health benefits (antibacterial, anti-blood clotting, immune system support), and I like my patients to have small amounts if their owners desire. I recommend one small clove per 10 to 25 pounds of body weight per day. Regular blood testing (every 3 to 6 months) can detect anemia, wh
ich is unlikely at this dosage. Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in dogs and should be avoided.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Top 5 Pet-Related Resolutions for 2014 By | Pets

Every year it's the same thing. You attempt to shape up, slim down, spend less, live more or quit something for good. So how about this year you resolve to do something you'll easily achieve? For all you pet people I've got just the thing: Resolve to accomplish something on your pet's behalf instead!
Interested? Consider the following five New Year's resolutions I've devised (with my patients in mind, of course):
1. Trim down. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38 percent of humans made weight-related New Year's resolutions in 2012. So why not extend that to our pets this upcoming 2014? We know that our pets are chunky and getting chunkier, so why not resolve to start trimming her down now? Not sure where to start? Ask your vet how.
SEE ALSO: 10 Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2013

2. Get pet insurance. If you can't afford a big vet bill in the event of an emergency, you may be facing the unthinkable unless you put a financial solution in place. My sister's dog, Maddie, almost died of salmon poisoning last year, and had it not been for a $13,000 reimbursement to cover 80 percent of the cost of university-level healthcare, he'd have surely succumbed. Who can afford that kind of expense without help? Resolve to get your pets a policy this year!
3. Walk your dog. If you've made resolutions to lose weight and never managed to keep them, consider that long-term weight loss is often more easily achieved when pet owners exercise with their pets. In his book Walk a Hound Lose a Pound, vet surgeon Dr. Phil Zeltzman evangelizes about this concept in a way that's truly inspirational. So this year resolve to get moving in a way that's both fun and doable.
4. Take your cat to the vet. It sounds pretty basic, and yet a recent study conducted by Bayer in conjunction with the Association of Feline Practitioners found that 52 percent of owned cats did not see a veterinarian in the past year. Annual wellness visits for cats, though universally recommended by veterinarians to help prevent and manage serious disease, aren't something most cat owners manage. Resolve to beat the odds and take your cat in this year!
5. Start brushing! I know, I know. You all hate it. But it works! You'd never think not to brush your own teeth, and yet you'd rather hand your pet a highly caloric, dubiously effective "tartar control" chew than whip out the toothbrush and spend 30 seconds brushing. What's up with that? Resolve to fix that this year!