Pet Vitamins and Supplements

Most healthy pets that eat a high quality, nutritionally complete commercially prepared food do not need to receive a daily vitamin and mineral supplement.  Reputable pet food manufacturers go to great lengths to make sure that their diets provide the correct amount of vitamins and minerals. Adding more can actually be harmful if excesses build up to toxic levels or interfere with the absorption of other vitamins and minerals.

This does not mean that vitamin and mineral pet supplements are always a bad idea.  Here are some instances when they can be life-savers:

  • Some diseases can be treated with vitamins and/or minerals (e.g., vitamin K for dogs to combat poisonings with certain types of rodenticides).  Your veterinarian will prescribe the correct supplement or combination of supplements to treat your pet’s condition.
  • Animals that eat home-prepared foods should receive broad-spectrum vitamin and mineral supplements.  It is almost impossible to create a balanced diet without them.  A veterinary nutritionist should always be involved in designing recipes for home-cooked pet foods.
  • Some pets are so finicky that they will only eat extremely small amounts or will only accept diets that are of questionable quality.  A multivitamin/mineral supplement can help prevent nutritional deficiencies in these cases.

Talk to your veterinarian to determine whether your pet should receive feline or canine supplements.

Is your Four-Legged Friend Going on a Raw or Organic Diet?

In recent years, Americans have been spending more money than ever on organic and natural foods.  It should come as no surprise that many people are also beginning to buy natural or organic foods for their animal companions. Many of us feel like our dogs and cats are members of our family. As we begin to think more about finding healthy foods for ourselves, many of us are also becoming interested in feeding our pets better foods too. At pet stores around the country, new foods are cropping up featuring specialty ingredients like blueberries, alfalfa and brewer’s yeast.

There is some debate, however, as to whether these more costly “natural” foods actually have health benefits for your pet. It certainly can’t hurt your pet to keep them on a diet made from higher quality ingredients however some brands may be lower in important nutrients such as potassium, calcium and phosphorus. Grain-free foods also promise many benefits but there is debate as to the truth of these claims. According to some veterinarians, grain-free foods mainly benefit pets with specific food allergies.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide if a natural diet would be a good thing to try with your pet. If your pet has allergies or suffers from any feline or canine digestive troubles, paying more attention to their diet might help improve their overall condition. Rest assured, even if you can’t afford the additional cost of organic, specialty pet foods, more traditional brands are still a safe and cost effective way to fill up that furry little tummy.

Feline and Canine Diabetes on the Rise

Giving insulin shots to your pet twice daily may seem like a lot of work, but a recent report reveals that more pet owners than ever are being faced with taking care of a diabetic cat or dog.

According to data revealed in Banfield Pet Hospital’s 2011 “State of Pet Health” report, diabetes diagnoses are rising at an even faster rate for pets than they are for people.  Nationally, diabetes rates have risen by 16 percent among cats and nearly 30 percent among dogs in the past four years. By comparison, the rate of diagnoses for people has increased 10 percent over the same time span.

This spike in canine and feline diabetes is undoubtedly linked to the rise in obesity among pets. For this reason, the best thing we can do to prevent our furry companions from becoming another statistic is to keep them at a healthy weight. Plenty of exercise and healthy eating habits will decrease your pet’s likelihood of acquiring diabetes and other serious conditions.

Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased urination and weight loss despite having a healthy appetite.  As with any medical issue, it’s best to contact your pet’s veterinarian with any questions or concerns.

February is Responsible Pet Owner’s Month!

February is a reminder to all pet owners that their furry family members need more than just love. Owning a pet is a serious responsibility that should be thought through before a purchase or adoption is made. When taking a pet into your home, you are accepting responsibility for the entirety of that animal’s lifetime.

Pets require a big time investment. It’s hard to come home from a long day at work and pick up that doggy leash or play a game of fetch, but daily play and exercise time is part of responsible pet ownership. Pets need plenty of human interaction to lead healthy and happy lives.

Another big commitment involved in pet ownership is the medical cost. Cats and dogs need regular veterinary checkups, vaccinations, and some require medications for various health issues. Nutritional supplements available from discount retailer vetdepot, like Dasuquin or Azodyl, are also sometimes recommended to support the health of your pet. Taking a pet into your home means accepting responsibility for all of its medical needs.

Proper training, nutrition, socialization, and shelter are also on top of the pet owner responsibility list.  Providing these basics to your pet is a small price to pay for all the years of love and loyal companionship you’ll get in return!

Kroger Co. Pet Food Recall

Kroger Co. has recalled certain packages of pet food due to a possible contamination of Aflatoxin.  Aflatoxin is a poisonous byproduct from the growth of fungus on common crops such as corn. Aflaxtoxin poisoning can cause liver damage and can be lethal. Symptoms of poisoning due to Aflatoxin include lethargy, loss of appetite, discoloration of eyes or gums, and diarrhea.  If your pet is experiencing these symptoms, contact their veterinarian immediately.

According to the FDA, the Kroger grocery store chain is recalling the following pet foods:

•Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088128.

•Pet Pride Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071357.

•Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111088152.

•Pet Pride Tasty Blend Poultry & Seafood Cat Food sold in 18 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074580.

•Pet Pride Kitten Formula Food sold in 3.5 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071903.

•Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 22 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074566.

•Old Yeller Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111074563.

•Kroger Value Cat Food sold in 3 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111000018.

•Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 15 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code: 1111071559.

•Kroger Value Chunk Dog Food sold in 50 lb. packages with a sell by date of OCT 23 11 DP and OCT 24 11 DP under the following UPC code:1111000108.

Affected Kroger stores include those locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. For a full list of stores and pet foods affected by the recall, visit http://www.fda.gov/Safety/Recalls/ucm237459.htm