Understanding Cat Food Labels

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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 cannot be named “chicken” unless 95 percent of its weight is chicken, not including moisture content. If a product contains two key ingredients, such as chicken and fish, then the product has to contain more of whichever one is named first, but together they must add up to 95 percent.

The statement of responsibility: This statement lists the name of the company responsible for making the product, as well as the address and, where possible, a toll-free phone number so that customers can quickly and easily obtain product information. In addition to stating that the product is guaranteed, the company should indicate what action would be taken to meet customer expectations, such as replacing the product or giving a money-back guarantee.

All Wellness cat recipes whether they are in bags, cans or pouches all have a 100% Catisfaction Guarantee, whereby any unused product in its original packaging, along with the purchase receipt can be returned to the store where it was bought for a full, no-questions-asked refund.

The net weight: This has to state exactly what the food in the container weighs.

The statement of purpose or intent: The packaging must state that the food is specifically for cats. This is to draw the consumer’s attention to the fact that cats have specific nutritional needs. Most Wellness packaging has an image of a cat too.

The AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement means that the manufacturer has to detail for which specific lifestyle and age of cat the food is intended.

All Wellness Natural Pet Food recipes include all this relevant information and meet these AAFCO basic guidelines. However, because they are just guidelines, pet foods can differ in terms of the quality and the ingredients in their recipes. And the Wellness feline formulas offer cats balanced nutritional meals that go beyond these basic requirements.

The purpose of all the latest packaging is to highlight on both the front and the back of dry food bags (and of course of canned labels) all the key ingredients and to explain the role that the proteins, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the right amount of vitamins and minerals play in a cat’s overall diet to thrive. This demystifies the list of ingredients and eliminates the guesswork is trying to ascertain what is right for your cat.

HIGHLIGHTING THE INGREDIENTS THAT GO INTO A WELLNESS RECIPE

In an effort to inform pet parents about the individual recipes, the Wellness products also highlight the various other ingredients that are included, spelling out why they are recipes essentials for overall feline health.

For example, the Complete Deboned Chicken, Meal and Rice details the nutritional requirements essential to excellent feline health as follows:
• Essential vitamins and minerals such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids support a healthy skin and coat.
• Prebiotics and probiotics along with a chicory root extract and fiber are in the recipe to aid healthy digestion.
• The levels of Calcium, phosphorous and vitamin A support healthy eyes, teeth and gums.
• While vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin A are included to promote a healthy immune system.

The way these nutritional facts are presented makes it very easy to cross-reference them on the ingredients list.

It’s equally important for a pet parent to be aware of what is not included in the recipe your cat loves such as meat by-products, wheat, corn or soy, artificial preservatives, colorants and flavors. It is these exclusions that make an all-natural recipe different from non-natural pet foods.

When it comes to small cans and pouches, although the ingredients are listed, space precludes detailing the benefits of the ingredients. So it’s a really good idea to do your homework on the website before shopping. Of course you can always reference information on the dry food packets as this relevant ingredient information crosses over to wet food recipes as well.

20 Best Social Media Sites for Pet Owners

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With the point behind social media being to engage with people of like interests, it makes sense that there are countless social media sites and accounts that pet owners can follow to get tips, share photos and videos, and to get information from other pet owners.

Catster & Dogster are the Websites for All Things Cats & Dogs

Catster and Dogster are two different websites both equally devoted to all things cats and dogs. Sign up for e-mails, ask questions and get answers about your pet, view pet photos, get tips for taking pet photos, watch videos, and more on the sites. Keep up with the latest feline pictures and news on the Catster Facebook and Twitter pages and with canines on the Dogster Facebook and Twitter pages.

Twitter’s All a Twitter for Cats & Dogs

Speaking of Twitter, the site is great for seeing the cutest, funniest, and cleverest pet photos and videos around. Start following these profiles to stay social with your pet:

  • The essential sites are @dogs for all things dogs and @cats for all things cats.
  • Keep up with the world’s most “memed” cat, Grumpy Cat by following @RealGrumpyCat
  • Check out the cutest rescuers ever, Emergency Pugs @EmergencyPugs
  • Follow professional pooches on @DogsTrust (#dogtrust; #adogisforlife; #dogsatpollingstations)
  • Crossover social media platforms by following Cats of Instagram on Twitter @catsofinstagram

Finally, share your own pet tweets with the world using the hashtags #CatsofTwitter or #DogsofTwitter.

Pets with Insta-Fame on Instagram

You can probably guess there’s a catsofinstagram page as well as a dogsofinstagram page, but there are also a lot of furry celebrities on Instagram –pets with millions of followers and for good reason.

  • Agador, the poochofnyc is the “Bob Ross of Dogs” and is hilariously photographed in a variety of outfits and scenarios.
  • Marnie of marniethedog will melt your heart. This precious Shih Tzu with a bizarrely long tongue wasn’t adopted until age 11, but with 2.1 million followers it’s safe to say she’s one of the most lovable canines ever.
  • Follow puppystagrams and tag yourself to get your puppy featured on their Instagram page.
    For gorgeous, documentary-style puppy-soul bearing images, follow thedogist.

Picture These Pets on Pinterest

While private accounts dominate Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms, better-known names have some of the best Pinterest content. Accounts to follow are:

The animal cruelty prevention organization ASPCA. See ASPCA workers at work as well as adorable pets and rescues.
Petfinder has several boards with images, tips and furry feel-goods. Definitely pin down the pet adoption site as one to follow on Pinterest.
Perhaps better known as a monthly pet subscription service, BarkBox has one of the most engaging and entertaining (and helpful!) Pinterest boards around. Get dog humor, dog memes, human treats, dog projects, care tips and more.

Put Your Furriest Face(book) Forward

Like Pinterest, the top Facebook pages for pet owners to follow are those that everyone is talking about.

Boo, the world’s cutest dog, looks like a stuffed animal, but he’s not; he’s a pint-sized pooch with just under 17 million followers.

Speaking of famous pets, People Pets is the page to follow if you want to see celebrities with their furry loves.
Finally, what Facebook page could be more fitting for animal lovers than the Animal Planet page? It’s the place to go for all things pets and animals.

There are lots of great social media sites pet owners should follow for entertainment, information and to connect. The most important thing is finding sites that help you connect with the one you love the most—your pet.

Any site dedicated to healthy, well-loved pets warms our hearts. If you want to stay up to date on pet news and pet nutrition, follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest accounts.

Photo Credit: @EmergencyPugs

Pam’s 10 Tips for Creating Mealtime Success When Feeding Your Cat

By Pam Johnson-Bennett

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Feeding your cat. Sounds pretty basic, right? Well, there are some things cat parents can do that may influence how successful the mealtime routine is for their cats. What you feed your cat, when you feed, how food is offered and even where the feeding station is located are all contributing factors to whether kitty gives it a paws up or a paws down. Here’s my list of 10 tips to help you create a mealtime environment that follows your cat’s natural instincts and desires.

Tip 1: Start with the Right Food

Feed a high-quality, natural food that’s appropriate for your cat’s life stage and health. It’s also important to feed the right amount of food based on stage of life, health and physical activity level. Wellness recently introduced new Complete Health Grain Free dry recipes for cats which may be a good option. If you’re unsure of how much food your cat should be eating, talk to your veterinarian.

Wellness Complete Health Grain Free Dry Cat Food
Tip 2: Create a Comfortable Feeding Station

Create a feeding area that takes your cat’s natural instincts and preferences into consideration. Avoid the mistake of placing the feeding station close to the litter box. It may seem tempting to create a convenient “cat area” but a cat’s natural survival instinct is to eliminate away from the nest in order to avoid attracting predators. If you place the food bowl close to the litter box it may cause stress when it’s time to eat or it may even result in a litter box avoidance problem. If the feeding station and the litter box must be in the same room, make sure they are on opposites sides with maximum distance between them.

The most common location for the feeding station is in the kitchen. This works well for most cats but if the kitchen area is chaotic or noisy, your cat may prefer a more quiet, private area. Choose a feeding station location that allows your cat to eat undisturbed.

Tip 3: Use the Appropriate Food Bowl

Cat eating wet food

A bowl is a bowl you say? Not true. Let’s start with the cat’s whiskers. Those long whiskers on your cat’s face are very sensitive and most cats find it uncomfortable for them to be squished or bent. If the food bowl is too deep or narrow, your cat will either have to withstand having the whiskers bent, or she may start dipping her paw in the bowl to scoop the food out. This is common in cats who experience whisker stress or discomfort. The food bowl should be shallow so your cat can easily get to her meal without any discomfort. This applies to the water bowl as well. While you want to make sure your cat always has an adequate supply of fresh water, if the bowl is too narrow, she may experience the same whisker stress.

Tip 4: Put a Distance Between Your Cat’s Food and Water

Many cats prefer their water to be separated from the food. In fact, it’s a good idea to have several water bowls scattered throughout the house to make it convenient for your cat and to encourage more water intake. When your cat is thirsty and looking for water between meals, she doesn’t necessarily want the scent of food nearby. It comes down to a cat’s natural survival instinct and even if your cat never sets one paw outdoors, she still retains those instincts.

Avoid using double feeding bowls that keep the water and food connected. Food can easily fall into the water, causing contamination and it also changes the taste of the water.

Tip 5: Feed The Appropriate Number of Meals

Cat playing with food puzzle toy

In the wild, a cat would typically eat several small meals per day. Cats have small stomachs and aren’t like the lions on the Savannah who gorge on food and then don’t eat for a while. Cats hunt small prey because they’re small animals. If unsure about the quantity to feed, talk to your veterinarian about how much your cat should eat in a day and then divide up that portion into several smalls meals. If you’re gone for long periods during the day, consider a timer-controlled feeder that will keep wet food fresh and open for feeding at the precise time you set. There are also timer-controlled feeders for use with dry food. If you do feed dry food, there are many food-dispensing toys you can use to give your cat the added bonus of having playtime during meals. Working for food is a natural concept for a cat so batting a puzzle feeder around to get a food reward can add more fun to mealtime.

Tip 6: Don’t Feed Cold Food

Feed wet food at room or body temperature. Cold food straight from the refrigerator may cause stomach upset and also isn’t as appealing. In order for the enticing aromas to do their magic, food should be at least at room temperature. Cats aren’t scavengers and in the wild, they determine whether a food is safe by the temperature and smell. A cat uses her nose to detect temperature and freshness.

Tip 7: Ease Your Cat Through Changes

Variety is good in a cat’s diet but changes must be done gradually to avoid causing tummy upsets or food rejection. Cats are creatures of habit and an abrupt change of food may cause her to turn her little nose up at what might be a high quality, highly nutritious meal, just because it’s unfamiliar. When changing to a new flavor or formula, add a little of the new food into the current brand and increase the amount over the course of a few days.

Wellness wet cat food
If you’re transitioning to a new food and your cat doesn’t eat, it might be that you’ve added too much of the new food too soon. Back off on the amount for a few more days until your cat has adjusted to the change. Your cat is an individual so go at the pace that works best for her. She’ll let you know when you’re doing it correctly.

Tip 8: Decrease Stress in Multicat Feeding Environments

Although cats are social animals, they are not social eaters. If you have a multicat household, you can greatly decrease stress and increase a sense of security by making sure each cat has their own individual bowl of food. Cats don’t necessarily feel comfortable eating side-by-side as well, so separate the bowls to provide more comfort and peace. If any of your cats engage in resource guarding or there’s tension between them, set up feeding stations in different rooms so everyone feels safe and you eliminate any feelings of being threatened.

Decrease stress in a multi-cat home

Tip 9: Don’t Leave Food out to Harden or Spoil

If feeding wet food, take up the dish after about 20-30 minutes so it isn’t left to dry and harden. It’s very unappealing for a cat to walk by the feeding station and get a whiff of old, rock-hard wet food. Take the bowl and wash it, wipe up any spills and keep the feeding station area clean so it’ll be most appealing for the next meal. Wash water bowls daily and refill with fresh, clean water as well.

Tip 10: Encourage Activity

Cat pouncing

Use playtime before meals to help encourage a healthy appetite. As a hunter, if a cat had to depend on her own skills to obtain a meal, she’d have to go through some physical activity as she stalks, chases and pounces to capture dinner. The concept of working for food is natural for cats, and luckily, you can incorporate that in a fun way by using playtime. Engage in an interactive play session with your cat before meals. Use a toy based on a fishing pole-type design so you can maneuver it like prey to encourage your cat to show off her skills. Customize the play session to fit your cat’s age, health and physical ability. Even a quick little game may ignite a spark of energy for a cat who may have been sleeping much of the day. Then, after a job well done, the might hunter gets her reward in the form of a healthy, delicious meal.

Dog Park Etiquette: Playing by the unwritten rules

Dog parks – the social scene of the dog world. Taking your dog to a dog park is a great addition to their exercise routine and a great way for your dog to maintain healthy socialization skills. However, there is proper etiquette to be considered when visiting the dog park. If you want the other dogs to wag their tails in approval and the other dog parents to greet you with a smile, then there are certain rules that should be followed – here is a list of ‘Dos & Don’ts’ to follow at the dog park.

5 Dog Park Do(s)
Here are some tips that are guaranteed to help you and your dog both win the popularity vote at the dog park.

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-Scoop the poop.
This one is first on the list because it is THAT important. If you aren’t cleaning up after your dog poops in the park then you are probably on someone else’s list – a blacklist. If you really want to earn some brownie points, pick up any other dog’s messes that have been left behind.
-Exercise first, dog park second.
Taking your dog to the dog park should not be their primary source of exercise – it should supplement an already existing exercise routine. In fact, the proper thing to do is to exercise your dog before taking him to the dog park, in order to release any pent up energy that could affect his behavior at the park.
-Supervise your dog while at the park.
Let’s be honest – we’ve all seen the dog owner at the park who sits on the bench and stares at their smartphone while their dog terrorizes all of the other dogs at the park. Don’t be this person.
-Leave the kids at home.
We know that your kids probably love their dog and a trip to the dog park probably sounds like a dream come true to them, but the dog park isn’t really a place for small children. There is a lot of heightened interaction going on between dogs at the park and not all dogs are crazy about kids.
-Be cautious about handing out treats.
If you are using treats for training purposes while at the park, be sure that there are no other dogs in close proximity to you. The best advice would be to skip the treats until after you have left the park to avoid any unnecessary confrontations and don’t ever give treats out to a dog other than your own.

5 Dog Park Don’t(s)
It is important to always promote peaceful and pleasant interactions at the dog park so that everyone can enjoy their visit to the park. There are certain things that you just shouldn’t do while at the park with your dog.
DON’T bring a sick or unvaccinated dog to the park.
If your dog is sick, not up to date on vaccinations, or if you are unsure of your dog’s current health status, leave them at home until you know that your dog isn’t capable of spreading disease at the park.
DON’T allow your dog to bully other dogs.
If you notice that your dog is causing problems or is being the dog park bully, remove them from the park immediately.
DON’T bring your BLT to the dog park.
Never bring human food into the dog park – we shouldn’t have to explain the problems that this could create.
DON’T bring a dog to the park who doesn’t respond to verbal commands.
Does your dog come when they are called? Do they respond to your commands? These are basic training skills that your dog should have before turning them loose at the dog park. First things first.
DON’T keep your dog on a leash in a ‘no-leash’ dog park.
It doesn’t really make much sense to take your dog to the dog park if you plan to keep them on a leash the entire time. Plus, it can present safety issues for other dogs, especially if you are using a retractable leash.
Are you ready for your next trip to the dog park? Brush up on your dog body language signals so that you know how to recognize signs of trouble. A little dog park etiquette can go a long way to making the dog park a happy place for both pets and owners!

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. So it makes sense to share a few cancer symptoms that pet lovers should be aware of.

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.

3 Typical Cancer Symptoms

1—Unusual lumps and bumps – 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.

checking dog for bumps

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.

2—Visible sores on the skin – 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 out what you’re dealing with is your best shot.

3—Unusual bleeding – whether from the eyes, nose, mouth, or in the urine, bleeding or unusual discharges are a sign of sickness.

Other possible cancer symptoms include a bad smell emanating from the body or mouth. Plus, weight loss, extreme change in energy levels – from happy and active to sluggish all the time.

Pet Cancer Prevention Tips

A healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward keeping your pet feeling great so keep them at a healthy weight, get regular exercise, and feed a quality diet. The basics are powerful.

Speaking of a healthy diet, when you include anti-inflammatory ingredients like blueberries, salmon, and other good-for-your-pet ingredients in your pet’s diet, you can reduce inflammation. As you may know, inflammation is a leading cause of disease.

Now that you know some of the typical pet cancer symptoms, you can keep an eye on your pet and make a note of any unusual behavior. As always, regular wellness visits with your veterinarian can help catch cancers and other diseases early. Twice a year visits for pets 8 and older is recommended unless your vet says otherwise.

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

By Pam Johnson-Bennett

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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 particular texture to an entirely different one, it can be enough of a curveball to cause a cat to reject the food. Changes should be done gradually by adding a little of the new food into the current one so your cat has time to adjust.

I’ve seen cat parents buy so many brands of food and then open a new kind every day in the hope that kitty will like the latest and greatest flavor. What usually happens though is that the cat gets stressed and confused by all the drastic and abrupt change.

Cats are Hunters and not Scavengers

A cat uses his nose to detect the temperature of food to determine whether it’s fresh. His nose is an important tool in pre-tasting a potential meal. For a cat who must rely on his hunting skills for food, this is an important safety feature to help ensure that he doesn’t accidentally ingest spoiled food. Your cat uses that same safety feature even though his meal is conveniently served to him. If food is left out too long, however, a cat will often reject it because it no longer smells or tastes fresh. This can be the case if you place wet food down for your cat to nibble on at his convenience. He may not come to the feeding station right away and by the time he does make his way there, the food may be too dry or hard. This mistake can even be made with dry food if a mound of it is left in the bowl for so long or if you just top it off without ever emptying uneaten food. If it has been sitting too long, it goes stale.

Don’t serve cold food straight from the refrigerator. The temperature is uncomfortable for the cat’s stomach and it also won’t release enticing aromas. Cold food is a common contributor to finicky eating, as is heating food in the microwave to an unsafe temperature.

Bribery, Begging and Bad Choices

Finicky eating may also develop if you’ve fed your cat from the dining table. Why should kitty eat his own food when he can get his fill of rich, spicy food off your plate? Feeding your cat from the table means he won’t have enough of an appetite for his own food. In addition to finicky eating, this type of behavior also means the cat won’t be getting the appropriate nutrients and may even be getting foods that are harmful to him.

Some cat parents try to entice their cats back to the food bowl by mixing in bits of tasty food from the table. What often happens is that the cat starts eating around his food instead.

Stressful Mealtime

In nature, a hunter makes sure he’s in a safe location before he begins to eat. That precaution is necessary for survival and even the most pampered indoor cat has that instinct as well. Mealtime should be a time of security, calm and safety. If the feeding station is located in a chaotic area of the house, the cat may not feel comfortable to sit and finish his meal or maybe he’ll develop the habit of just nibbling now and then when the coast appears to be clear.

Stress can also be related to the type of food bowl you use. A bowl that’s too narrow may cause discomfort to his sensitive whiskers if they get bent or squished. The cat may develop the habit of paw-dipping to get food.

If you have a multicat household, it’s very important to ensure the feeding station for each cat provides safety and peace. If there’s tension between the cats or if one cat intimidates at the food bowl, it can create a situation where a more timid cat may become a finicky eater.

Cats have a social structure but they’re not social eaters the way people are. We love to gather around the table and socialize as we dine, but for cats, the security of the resource is more important. To help encourage healthy appetites and stress-free dining, make sure each cat has their own food bowl and don’t place them close together. In some cases, you may even need to have multiple feeding stations in various locations in the home or feed on different levels. For example, if an older cat has started to reject his food because he prefers the taste of his new companion’s kitten formula food then you must make sure to either supervise during mealtime or feed the cats separately. If the older cat is not as mobile, you might be able to feed the kitten in an elevated location.

The key is to evaluate your specific set-up, pay attention to the dynamics between your cats and make adjustments to create a more peaceful mealtime.

Feeding Station Maintenance

Dirty food or water bowls can contribute to finicky eating. Remember, cats rely on their noses to determine if food is safe. Even fresh food won’t taste fresh if it’s placed in a dirty bowl or if it’s sitting next to the water bowl that has bits of old food floating in it. Wash the food bowl after every meal and clean up any food spills. Wash the water bowl every day and replenish it with fresh water.

Negative Associations

For some people, the thought of medicating the cat brings images of engaging in feline wrestling while trying to avoid becoming the target of a sharp claw or tooth. To make it easier, the cat parent may try to disguise the medication in the food. Sadly, this practice often backfires because the cat’s incredibly sensitive nose is often able to detect the food manipulation before the first bite. If the cat does start to eat, the medicine may ruin the taste of the food enough to cause future rejection. Some pills, for example, are very bitter and meant to be swallowed intact so the protective coating can remain until the medicine reaches the cat’s stomach. It’s very sad to see a cat no longer want to eat the food he has always loved because of this unpleasant association.

If you have to medicate your cat and are unable to do it, talk to your veterinarian about other options. Your veterinarian or veterinary technician can show you several techniques for administering medicine. There are also soft treats available that are manufactured specifically to hide pills. Some medications can be compounded into transdermal forms or can be flavored with tastes that are cat-appealing. Don’t resort to hiding medication in food.

The Benefits of Probiotics for Your pet

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Do you know how important your pet’s digestive health is to their overall well-being? A healthy gut prevents disease, improves digestion, aids in better nutrient absorption and boosts the immune system. So, in other words, digestive health is extremely important and that’s where probiotics come into play. What are probiotics? Probiotics are the good bacteria that live in our pets’ intestines and without the right balance of that good bacteria, your pet can experience major health issues. Let’s talk about the benefits of probiotics for your pet and how you can help to maintain that balance.

Happy Healthy Dog

Benefits of Probiotics
So, what are the actual benefits of giving your pet food with a healthy amount of probiotics, or even adding probiotic supplements to their food?

Promote a Healthy Digestive System

Overall, a diet that is rich in probiotics will help your pet to achieve digestive balance and promote a healthy gut.

Slow and/or Eliminate Diarrhea

If your pet doesn’t already have a diet with added probiotics and they start to suffer from diarrhea, a probiotic supplement can help to treat the diarrhea. Once you start feeding your pet a probiotic-rich diet, such as Wellness TruFood, they will be less likely to suffer from digestive problems such as diarrhea.

Ease Gastrointestinal Ailments
Does your pet suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome or any condition similar to it? Probiotics can help to soothe most gastrointestinal ailments that your pet may be suffering from.

Healthy Dog

Do All Pets Need a Probiotic?
Because the digestive system is so closely connected to a pet’s immune system and overall health, all pets should have some form of a probiotic as part of their diet.

Probiotic Diet vs. Probiotic Supplement

While both forms of probiotics can be beneficial to your pet, feeding your pet a probiotic diet is the most proactive way to improve their health. Generally speaking, most pet foods that include a proper amount of probiotics are also among the healthier choices of pet foods. These foods will generally have more natural ingredients and are overall better choices for your pet.

Are you ready to start feeding your pet a diet that is rich in probiotics? Any chance to improve your pet’s overall health and potentially add years to their life is a chance that’s worth taking.

Understanding Food Labels

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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 cannot be named “chicken” unless 95 percent of its weight is chicken, not including moisture content. If a product contains two key ingredients, such as chicken and fish, then the product has to contain more of whichever one is named first, but together they must add up to 95 percent.

The statement of responsibility: This statement lists the name of the company responsible for making the product, as well as the address and, where possible, a toll-free phone number so that customers can quickly and easily obtain product information. In addition to stating that the product is guaranteed, the company should indicate what action would be taken to meet customer expectations, such as replacing the product or giving a money-back guarantee.

All Wellness cat recipes whether they are in bags, cans or pouches all have a 100 per cent Catisfaction Guarantee, whereby any unused product in its original packaging, along with the purchase receipt can be returned to the store where it was bought for a full, no-questions-asked refund.

The net weight: This has to state exactly what the food in the container weighs.

The statement of purpose or intent: The packaging must state that the food is specifically for cats. This is to draw the consumer’s attention to the fact that cats have specific nutritional needs. Most Wellness packaging has an image of a cat too.

The AAFCO Nutritional Adequacy Statement means that the manufacturer has to detail for which specific lifestyle and age of cat the food is intended.

All Wellness Natural Pet Food recipes include all this relevant information and meet these AAFCO basic guidelines. However, because they are just guidelines, pet foods can differ in terms of the quality and the ingredients in their recipes. And the Wellness feline formulas offer cats balanced nutritional meals that go beyond these basic requirements.

The purpose of all the latest packaging is to highlight on both the front and the back of dry food bags (and of course of canned labels) all the key ingredients and to explain the role that the proteins, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as the right amount of vitamins and minerals play in a cat’s overall diet to thrive. This demystifies the list of ingredients and eliminates the guesswork is trying to ascertain what is right for your cat.

HIGHLIGHTING THE INGREDIENTS THAT GO INTO A WELLNESS RECIPE
The first three ingredients listed on the packaging label are the biggest clues as to what each individual recipe contains because they are considered the main ingredients. For example, the Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal and Rice recipe, the first three ingredients are actually included in the name of the recipe.

(to be safe, I would remove this paragraph as we don’t want to confuse consumers to think they are by-products, which we do not use)
In an effort to inform pet parents about the individual recipes, the Wellness products also highlight the various other ingredients that are included, spelling out why they are recipes essentials for overall feline health.

For example, the Complete Deboned Chicken, Meal and Rice details the nutritional requirements essential to excellent feline health as follows:
• Essential vitamins and minerals such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids support a healthy skin and coat.
• Prebiotics and probiotics along with a chicory root extract and fiber are in the recipe to aid healthy digestion.
• The levels of Calcium, phosphorous and vitamin A support healthy eyes, teeth and gums.
• While vitamins such as vitamin E and vitamin A are included to promote a healthy immune system.

The way these nutritional facts are presented makes it very easy to cross-reference them on the ingredients list.

It’s equally important for a pet parent to be aware of what is not included in the recipe your cat loves such as meat by-products, wheat, corn or soy, artificial preservatives, colorants and flavors. It is these exclusions that make an all-natural recipe different from non-natural pet foods.

When it comes to small cans and pouches, although the ingredients are listed, space precludes detailing the benefits of the ingredients. So it’s a really good idea to do your homework on the website before shopping. Of course you can always reference information on the dry food packets as this relevant ingredient information crosses over to wet food recipes as well.

How to transition your cat to new food

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Cats are known as being picky eaters. If you want to switch your feline to a new food, we’ve got some tricks to get picky cats to convert.
Upgrading your kitty’s diet is a great way to ensure she’s getting all of the nutrition she needs to both look and feel great. And as more pet parents become informed about the ingredients found in commercial pet foods, they want higher quality wet and dry meals for their beloved furry companions.
If you’re ready to transition your cat to a new diet, just beware that doing so could lead to digestive upset, so taking things slowly is the key. In this way, your kitty’s body can adjust to the new food without symptoms like diarrhea getting in the way.
Here’s what you need to know to make the switch:
Transition over the Course of 7-10 Days
A good tip to follow is to transition your kitty from her old diet to her new diet gradually over the course of about 7 to 10 days. Mixing the two foods gradually will give your cat a taste of the new food without shocking her system.
Begin with a mix of 25% of your cat’s new food and 75% of her old diet. Feed this for about two to three days. Slowly, increase the amount of new food so that you have a 50/50 mix for your cat to enjoy. After two to three days of half and half, you can move on to a mix of 75% of the new food and 25% of the old diet. Keep that up for another 2 or 3 days before you switch over to 100% of the new food.
Digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, or gas could occur at any point during this transition. If that happens, just slow down on the time between mixes to give your kitty more time to adjust to the new food – instead of two to three days per mixes, stretch it out to four to six days. Remember, every pet is different. But if problems persist, it’s a good idea to contact your veterinarian.
Trick a Picky Kitty
Cats are creatures of habit, so dealing with a picky kitty is common. They like what they like and they aren’t big fans of change, especially when it comes to their diet. But there are things that you can do to entice your pet to eat a new food:
• Drizzle some tuna juice over the food
• Sprinkle some dry food on top of wet food
• Try a different texture, as your cat might prefer meaty morsels over a pate, as an example
New and Improved Wellness Options
Are you ready to feed your pet a higher quality canned or dry food? Wellness is renovating and re-launching their existing dry and wet food lines for felines, making them better than ever.
Here’s what your cat is in for:
• Expect new recipes, renovated recipes, and new packaging for Wellness Complete Health and Wellness CORE lines
• All Wellness recipes will be grain-free and carrageenan-freefree of meat byproducts, fillers, and artificial flavors
• Dry foods will feature a new kibble size and shape that’s more attractive to cats, while wet foods will have additional forms and textures for even the pickiest eaters

With Wellness’s new, healthier cat food, you’ll likely find her begging for more. The key is to get her there gradually, and maybe even being a little clever when it comes to convincing her that a new food will be better than her old one. And once she gets a taste of Wellness’s new and improved line, she’ll definitely become a feline foodie!

New Dog Owner’s Guide

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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 –

  1. Rabies – this vaccination is recommended for all dogs and may be given yearly or every 3 years depending on your veterinarian’s preference
  2. Parvo – this vaccination is usually recommended for puppies who have a high risk of acquiring parvo
  3. 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 of a micro-chip that enables you to locate your dog if he or she were ever lost. This can be done in the vet’s office.

Training Tips
Training is one of the most important parts of owning a dog. You should begin training your new dog as soon as you bring them home. Dogs respond well to discipline and it gives them a sense of security. Here are a few training tips for you and your new dog –

Dog Training With Wellness Natural Treats
Treats – You need to pick out some special treats to reward your dog with when he responds to your command. Rewarding good behavior is one of the most helpful training tips.
Consistency – You have to be consistent in your training methods in order to get good results from your dog. Other members of the household should follow these training methods as well.
Reward behaviors that you like – make sure behaviors that you don’t like aren’t rewarded.
Small steps – Keep training sessions short, and work on one thing at a time. Don’t overwhelm your dog by trying to teach him everything at once.
Feeding
The food that we give to our dogs has a direct effect on their health. You will want to find a brand of food that is packed full of wholesome and natural ingredients that will give your dog the nutrients that he or she needs, without all of the harmful additives.

Feeding dog Wellness Natural Pet Food
Another important part of feeding is keeping your dog on a schedule. Try to feed your dog at around the same time each day. This helps your dog’s digestive system to naturally prepare for feeding time and gives your dog a sense of security.

Exercise
Exercise is very important to your dog’s physical and mental health. The amount of exercise that your dog needs is dependent upon the breed. A more active dog may require more vigorous exercise, multiple times a day, while a less active dog may only require one long, leisurely walk per day. Either way, exercise is extremely important to your dog’s health. Dogs with a lack of exercise have been known to have more health problems as well as behavioral problems. Lack of exercise can also cause your dog to become depressed.

Dog Running
These are all things that can help you get started on the right track to taking proper care of your new dog. Your dog is depending on you to provide him with the life that he deserves. If you put in the effort, you will surely reap the benefits – a healthy, happy dog that loves you unconditionally!