Posts tagged diet

Great Advice : A good diet for Corgis, and all dogs!

The Customer Care team at Only Natural Pet Store is a great and helpful resource for our customers.

Researching and purchasing products online is awesome, but what’s even more awesome is when you get a little stuck and you can email or call a real, live, human who is passionate about your concerns.  Here is an example of a recent email exchange between an avid pet-owner and one our great customer care peeps. One of the many great reasons to consider Only Natural Pet Store for your pet care needs!

Question: Hi – I have 2 Corgis on Honest Kitchen “Preference” & ground beef.  They’re fed once a day & once a week given turkey necks in place of their meals.  Both are in great condition – one is used in herding competitions & both are always getting complemented by people saying “I thought Corgis were always fat & yours aren’t!”  Anyway, I just wanted to know if I’m doing what I should be, if I should have them working on more raw bones (don’t want to have slab fractures in teeth) or anything different….

Thanks for your time – A Happy ONPS Customer

Reply: What you’re doing sounds great!!  I also have a Corgi who has a waistline – how unusual!  It’s a simple concept – just feed a whole food diet and your dog will look and feel great, and this is true for every dog, not just Corgis.

As far as what you are feeding, I recommend rotating proteins on occasion, and even rotating to other dehydrated foods.

My favorite dehydrated food is Sojos Europa Grain-Free Dog Food Mix.  The 8 pound bag of Sojos lasts for six weeks at my house with one very large dog (110 lb White German Shepherd), and one small dog (22 lbs) eating it every day.  I feed a 50/50 proportion of Sojos/protein most of the time, and will include yogurt, eggs, cottage cheese, beans or lentils, mackerel, and sardines as the protein, as well as other kinds of meat.

My Corgi eats mostly chicken meat with raw bones/poultry necks 2-3 x per week.  Both my dogs eat eggs as their protein at least 4x per week (morning meals, mostly).  My big dog eats a completely raw diet with a beef blend as his main protein source.  I bring in, intermittently, things like Stella & Chewy’s Frozen Raw Food for Dogs (duck); ZiwiPeak Daily Dog Cuisine Dry Food (venison or lamb); or Complete Natural Nutrition Real Food Toppers (wild salmon).  So, for example, once a month I would buy one of these products and include it in the meals of my two dogs and cat for a week or so at a time, or until the food runs out.  Then we go back to their normal staple protein.

I also recommend the following supplements:

~ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS are essential!  For joint health, brain development, skin coat nourishment and EFA’s also carry toxins out of the body.  These are important to give every single day!
Ultra Oil Skin & Coat Supplement with Hempseed Oil

~GREENS are loaded with enzymes, and they make food they are added to more digestible and nutritious, and are very cleansing. Excellent for all dogs, and especially dogs that are healing or out of balance.

Dr. Harvey’s MultiVitamin, Mineral & Herbal Supplement (my personal favorite – fantastic ingredients!)

~DIGESTIVE ENZYMES make food much more bio-available and take the burden off the pancreas.  In the wild, canines would eat raw enzyme-rich foods, never having to dedicate their own enzymes for digestion. Since our canines eat cooked and processed food, it’s only fair to replenish these important elements every single day:

Animal Essentials Plant Enzymes & Probiotics -  or
Prozyme

I hope this is helpful.  Please let us know if you have further questions or concerns.

- Sarah in Customer Care

If you ever have a question or concern, absolutely give us a call or email!

Telephone Orders & Customer Service: 1.888.937.6677
Monday through Friday: 7am – 5pm (Mountain Time)
Saturday: 9am – 3pm

Comments (1) »

Fur Loss – What’s the Problem?

Is your pet “going bald?” There are many reasons why a pet might lose fur, but in most cases, it’s because the of overgrooming: chewing the hair and breaking it off, or pulling it out completely. Those 12 tiny incisor teeth between the canines (fangs) are designed for grooming, and under normal circumstances, they’re used to “comb” through the hair to remove debris, mats, and parasites.

Hair loss from any cause is called “alopecia” (“aloe-pee’-sha”).  Sometimes you’ll actually catch your pet in the act of chewing, or notice that he’s scratching or grooming more than usual, but more often you’ll glance down and suddenly notice a bare patch where the fur used to be. Areas where alopecia can develop without you noticing are the tummy, tail base, and front legs. Dogs are especially prone to work intensively at an itchy area and develop raw, open sores called “hot spots.” When cats do this, they cause even worse damage because of their rough, barbed tongues.

Parasites

The first essential step is a trip to the veterinarian’s to diagnose the cause of the problem. Far and away the most common reason for both dogs and cats to pull out their hair, especially around the base of the tail, is flea-bite allergy. It only takes a single flea bite to produce an intense and prolonged reaction. Your vet can prescribe an effective and safe flea preventive and help you get rid of fleas and eggs in and around the house, or you can use more natural methods. Once the fleas are gone, the skin will heal up on its own, or you can use homeopathy to hasten the process.

Another parasite that may be far more common than many vets suspect is mites. There are several species of mites that produce a condition called “mange.” Sarcoptes mites (scabies) cause unrelenting, severe itching. They are most often found on the belly, but can wander anywhere. Scabies mites prefer warm, moist areas. Cheyletiella (“walking dandruff mite”) and Demodex may or may not be itchy, but if the infestation grows out of control, they can cause scratching and hair loss. Demodex is a normal parasite of humans and animals (we have them in the hair follicles of our eyebrows–eew!), but if the immune system is weak, it can explode into a nasty infestation. Sometimes cat ear mites will get into the skin, particularly around the head and neck. All of these can cause animals to lick, scratch, rub, and chew to try to relieve the itching. Strengthening the immune system is the most basic support for a parasitized pet.

Most mites have one thing in common—they are easily transmitted, and they are not picky about where they set up housekeeping. In a household with scabies, multiple animals and people are likely to be infected. Your vet will do a skin scraping and put it under the microscope to check for mites, which are very tiny and hardly visible to the eye. However, scabies mites are very hard to find. It’s been estimated that only 20-30% of pets with scabies are ever definitively diagnosed, even by multiple skin scrapings. If there are two or more itchy individuals (of any species!) in the household, treatment for mites may be indicated.

Ringworm (which is actually a fungus) is also frequently implicated in cases of hair loss, especially around the face, feet and ears. It is more common in cats than dogs, and even more so in kittens–but all animals, including humans, can get them. The hair disappears in small patches, and the skin turns dry, gray (or red, especially in people), and flaky. The time between initial contact and the appearance of lesions varies from one to three weeks. Ringworm is extremely contagious! While it doesn’t seem to bother the animals much, in people it can be extremely itchy! Treating ringworm can be difficult and time-consuming.There are a number of effective topical creams that can be used if the lesions are small and localized, but a pet with a major infection may need to be shaved and bathed in a special shampoo for a month or more. Alternatively, there are oral medications or herbs that must be given consistently, usually for several weeks. They have serious side effects, so be sure to discuss the options thoroughly with your vet. Homeopathic treatment can be very helpful.

Internal Disease

Along with parasites, the veterinarian will also consider other potential causes of hair loss. Certain patterns, such as symmetrical hair loss along the sides, may point to an endocrine disorder; i.e., a problem with one of the hormone-secreting glands, such as the thyroid or adrenals.

Localized pain may also cause the excessive licking. A brewing abscess is painful, and will inspire a lot of licking before it opens and drains. Hair loss over joints may indicate arthritis pain. I once examined a cat who had suddenly started licking at one particular spot on her right side. As I mulled over which organs were in that part of the abdomen, I became suspicious, and ransome tests. It turned out she had acute pancreatitis, which we successfully treated before it became a full-blown, life-threatening problem.

Allergies

Contact allergies, while rare, are possible. A new carpet, cedar bed, or different detergent used to launder the pet’s bedding can cause a local allergic reaction that causes the pet to lick at the itchy area. Hair loss and rash will occur in the areas where the pet most frequently comes into contact with the material, such as feet and tummy.

Once parasites and medical problems have been ruled out, there are still two major players to consider. The first is diet. Food intolerances or allergies may show up first in the skin, causing tiny red crusty sores that spread or coalesce as the pet rubs or scratches at them. Secondary bacterial infections are common once the skin becomes irritated. Food allergies are much more common in cats than in dogs. Lesions around the face, feet, and ears are typically seen with food allergies. Allergies to inhaled substances, such as dust mites or pollen, may produce identical signs. A diet trial with low-allergen food, skin or blood test (good diagnostics for dogs but notoriously inaccurate in cats), or trial treatment may be used to assess allergies. Treatment consists of improved diet including added essential fatty acids and other natural products.

“Fat Deficiency”

The skin and coat are also the first to suffer when the diet is inadequate in certain nutrients. Pets on all-dry, “light,” or “low-fat” diets may develop dry, flaky skin, and the coat may be dull or greasy feeling. The skin may be irritated and the coat may become thin because hair is falling out. Or there may be plenty of fat in the diet, but not the right kind of fat.

Supplementation with essential fatty acids and/or Vitamin E may provide a great deal of relief. Omega 3 fatty acids, in particular, found in fish oil and cod liver oil will help calm underlying inflammation, and condition the skin and fur. There are a number of good products for animals, such as Nordic Naturals Pet Omega 3 or Cod Liver Oil.

Many cat lovers have also found that homemade and raw diets, which eliminate the colorings, preservatives and other additives found in commercial cat foods, has done the trick. Simply getting rid of the dry food in favor of any wet food, such as canned, is the ticket in many cases.

It’s All in the Head?

Some herbs have mild sedating or calming effects. There are combinations made especially for animals. These would be appropriate to use if you know what the stressor is, and can dose appropriately whenever the stress will occur. For instance, if your pet gets upset when he’s left alone, you would give him the herbs right before you leave for work or school.

Other Treatments

Hherbs can help soothe and heal the skin.

Homeopathy can also be very beneficial in treating alopecia related to itching.

One of the best and simplest modalities for treating stress on the pyschological level is flower essence therapy.

Alopecia is a  sign that something’s wrong, and it’s often uncomfortable for the pet. While it’s not always easy to find out why your pet is pulling out her hair, it’s very important to get to the bottom of it, and to treat it appropriately.

Comments (6) »

Senior Pet Nutrition

Benefits of Senior Formula Foods

Is a senior formula food right for your pet? Well, we’d say it depends on what kind of food it is. Many commercial pet food makers have blindly copied human diet trends for older people in their pet food formulas, disregarding the physiological differences between human and canine or feline species. Lower protein and fat content with higher fiber and more carbohydrates is not the one-size-fits-all answer for senior pets. Cats in particular have trouble digesting carbohydrates, as they lack the enzymes that omnivores like humans and dogs have.

What’s worse, the generally poor quality of ingredients in most commercial pet foods can cause more harm than good in aging pets. Fiber ingredients in these foods may come from peanut hulls or even newspaper pulp – not something you want your pet eating!

While reducing protein content may be of benefit to your pet, it isn’t an absolute. Keep in mind that most pets thrive on a diet that mirrors what their wild counterparts eat (almost all protein). Unless your pet has a medical condition that requires reducing dietary protein, don’t assume that the food with the lowest protein percentage is the best option for your senior companion. For more information about the importance of protein in pets’ diets, please see our article, “The Role of Protein in Good Nutrition.”

Natural foods for senior pets offer lower protein and fat, while adding back important nutrients like probiotics, enzymes, and sometimes extra omega fatty acids and joint support ingredients to help senior pets. Check out our picks for natural senior foods below.

Comments (1) »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 65 other followers