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.

Dog Park 2

-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.

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!

Celebrating Senior Pets

Of course they say that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks (which we don’t believe) but you can celebrate your senior pets this month with some good old fashioned awareness and appreciation. Our older pets have a much closer spot in our hearts, as they have lived alongside us through different stages and journeys in our lives. If dogs could talk, imagine the stories they would tell! This month we have some great tips for caring for the oldest members of our pet families.
New Habits
Bathroom Breaks
Just like people, elderly animals require more frequent trips to the bathroom, and it’s important to recognize that as your pet gets older, he may be less and less likely to alert you to the fact that it’s time to go NOW. With your dogs, be aware of changing bladder and bowel function, and adjust your walking schedule accordingly. And with your cats, be sure to keep the litter box clean to account for increased use. For both cats and dogs, be sure to alert your vet to any significant changes such as constipation, diarrhea or an increased urgency to urinate.
Behavioral Changes
In their younger years, Fido and Fluffy may have been bursts of energy, racing after toys or running circles around the yard. As they grow older, their need for play may lessen and their behavior in general could change. Once outgoing pets could become more quiet and need more time to themselves, or on the flipside, quiet pets may suddenly need your attention more and more. Understand that, just like us, gaining in years can sometimes make our buddies tired, grumpy or anxious. Be patient with your friend and understand that sometimes he’s just feeling his age.
Dietary Changes
Packing on the Pounds
As pets get older, their metabolism can slow and they can start packing on the pounds. Senior pets need you now, more than ever, to pay attention to the ingredients of the food going into their bowls. Even if your pet is just a little husky (and I don’t mean Siberian!), it’s up to you to modify the type and portion size of their food. Luckily, dedicated pet food experts have worked for years to develop tasty offerings that help manage your pet’s weight. Selecting the best food for your pet doesn’t have to be complicated, and you can always ask your veterinarian for guidance on your pet’s diet.
Fiber and Other Needed Nutrients
Regardless of food type, as pets age, more fiber should be added to their diets to help regulate their digestion. Bran, apples, and even pumpkin can all add a powerful punch of fiber in your pet’s food, and this added boost of fiber will help ensure proper digestion, decrease risks of certain types of cancer, and encourage weight loss, among other benefits.
New Health Focus
Feeling it in the Joints
Arthritis can set in fairly quickly for our senior pets, and the discomfort it can cause can change a pet’s entire daily routine. Some dog breeds are more prone to joint or bone problems in later life, so it’s important to know what is to be expected with your particular pet. Upon seeing the first signs of joint stiffness, it’s a good idea to increase the intake of certain joint-friendly supplements, like fish oil or glucosamine, both of which can be found in certain types of foods and treats as well as in oil or pill form.
Dental Care
As pets grow older, more attention must be paid to their dental care. Offering toys that promote cleaner teeth is a good place to start, along with regular brushing and plenty of access to fresh water. With bi-annual veterinary visits, your vet can alert you if it’s time for a full cleaning, or if there are any issues that require stronger attention, such as an abscessed tooth.
Vision and Hearing Loss
Cats and dogs may experience some vision and/or hearing loss as they age, so it’s important to have the veterinarian check your pet’s eyes during each visit. If you or your vet determine there is sight or hearing loss, you can make proper adjustments to ensure the safety and comfort of your senior pet, both at home and outside the house.
Comfort
Sleeping Arrangements
Your beloved little buddy may have always slept on the foot of your bed, but pay attention to what he needs now and make arrangements for him to have restful nights in his older age. Many pet care companies now make orthopedic bedding specifically for aging pets, so do some research on what type of bed can provide your pet the most comfort at night.
A Little Help, Please
Dogs that have always been allowed on the couch or bed, or even invited along for rides in the car, may have more difficulty now getting situated in their normal spots. Sporting dogs who have always jumped eagerly into the back of a truck may now find it difficult to make it past their front paws. Placing steps or ramps in typical places of entry can help your dog feel at home in all his favorite places, no matter how tired his bones feel that day.
Our pets are our friends, companions who have stayed true to us through thick and thin. And now, as they are growing older, it is our responsibility to provide them with the proper care and courtesy afforded to any respected elder. Take good care of your buddy and keep him for as long as you can and he will love you his entire life.

How to Choose a Vet (in 10 Steps)

Your pet is a member of your family, and when it comes to his health care, it’s important to look for the best. Whether you’ve just moved to a new place or you’re looking to up the quality of your current animal care, there’s much to consider in your pet’s new doc. Keep in mind that this person should not only have a caring touch, but also be fully capable of handling any emergency situation that could arise. The hardest time to select a vet is when the need is urgent, so take the opportunity to scout around for the best choice now. Give yourself the peace of mind that no matter what happens with your buddy, you have a great veterinarian on call.
License and Accreditation: You certainly wouldn’t visit an unlicensed doctor for your own healthcare, and your pet deserves the same. A professional license to practice in your state is required, it offers a step up in knowing your pet is in good hands. Additional training and certifications should be noted, particularly if your pet has specific health concerns that require specialized knowledge. Check your state’s requirements and don’t hesitate to ask for proof of certifications; responsible vets will have these clearly posted in their clinics.


Referrals: The best form of guidance can be found in the referrals of others. What do current (or former) patients have to say about the care they were provided at the veterinarian you are researching? Good and bad experiences should be noted, specifically those that made all the difference in the satisfaction of the client. How reasonable are the charges? How thorough are the examinations? Was the vet friendly, approachable, easy to talk to? These are all questions you should ask of those who have had their fur babies treated at the vet you are considering.

Connection with the Community: Pay attention to the vet’s connection within the community, something that can be very telling determining the kind of person this vet is with animal care. Does the veterinary clinic provide discounted services to rescued dogs, or discounted fees for spaying or neutering a new pet? A caring vet will reach out to the community as an advocate for proper animal care, serving as an example of how to treat our constant companions with respect and kindness.
Personal Touch: Busy veterinarians can struggle with allotting the proper time for each pet, and it’s not always easy to spend as much time as they would truly like to with your pet. However, a good vet will not lost the personal touch with your pet, regardless of how busy the day is or how many patients are waiting to be seen. Your pet is important, and you should never feel as though your visit is being rushed or that your concerns are being ignored. Sometimes an extra few minutes just to pet your dog or give him a special treat can make all the difference in both your pet’s experience at the vet, and yours!

Diet and Exercise Knowledge: A great way to keep your pet from visiting the vet for more than an annual visit is to provide the right food and treats along with an exercise program, and a good vet recognizes these natural life and health boosters. Responsible vets are knowledgeable about the right program for your pet, and they advocate for proper diet and exercise.
Continued Education: The medical profession is constantly changing, with new and exciting updates in healthcare happening every day. The same is true for veterinary medicine, and a worthy veterinarian will consistently update his knowledge with new techniques and treatments. Many veterinarians receive regular training to keep skills fresh and learn about new options for animal care, and your vet should do the same.
Office Maintenance: Hospitals and doctor offices are kept sanitized and sterilized for a reason, and veterinary clinics should be no exception. Ask for a tour of a vet before signing your pet onto the registry; a worthy clinic should have no problem showing you everything from the kennels to the surgery, and everything should be clean and orderly.
Staffing Requirements: When your pet is being seen at an animal hospital, he comes into contact with many other members of the staff, and each of these individuals should be properly trained and certified. It’s okay to ask the vet about his staffing requirements, what is required of each position, and who would be involved in the care and keeping of your best friend.
Office Hours and Location: Ideally, your vet is located close enough to be reached in an absolute emergency fairly quickly, and the office hours the vet keeps is critical as well. While many vets do not provide 24-hour service, they should at least provide the contact information for those who do. Routine treatments and annual visits need not be handled urgently, but when every second counts, you want a veterinarian who is on call and ready to handle any emergency.
The Most Important Vote: Trust your pet’s instincts when it comes to choosing a vet. It is, after all, his doctor, and it should be someone that he trusts, even during times of sickness or injury. Of course your pet doesn’t get the same excited feeling pulling in to the vet as he would the dog park, but there should be some level of “hey, I know these guys!” that puts your dog at ease. Your vet and his or her staff should always try to make the experience as pleasant and comfortable for your pet as they can.
Take a few extra steps and check references, do your research and make sure a vet is the right choice for you and your pet. A little extra time spent in the decision can make all the difference in the health and happiness of your best friend.

A Note From Wellness

Dear Valued Consumers and Community,

At WellPet, our team takes food safety matters very seriously, so in an abundance of caution, we are voluntarily recalling a limited amount of one canned dog food product.

Recalled Product Details:
• Wellness 95% Beef Topper for Dogs – 13.2 oz/374g
• The affected product is limited to one best-by date of 30 AUG 2019. located on the bottom of the can

(Please click here for a photo of the product and how the Best-By Date appears.)

A small amount of one recipe has the potential to contain elevated levels of naturally occurring beef thyroid hormone. Elevated levels may affect a dog’s metabolism and can be associated with increased thirst, increased urinary output, restless behavior and weight loss. Even though the chance of a dog being affected is remote, we are voluntarily recalling this recipe and only these three best-by dates as an extra precaution.

Our Consumer Affairs team has received no reports of any health problems as a result of feeding this recipe. No other Wellness products are affected.

Given that the recipe is a mixer or topper and intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only, the likelihood of a dog being affected is remote. Multiple studies indicate that, for the vast majority of pets, symptoms are reversible as soon as the pet stops eating product with elevated thyroid hormone.

If you have any of the 13.2 oz/374g recipe with this best-by dates, please email us at Australia@wellpet.com or call us at 1300 959 154.

Please know that safeguarding the health and wellbeing of pets is of the utmost importance to us. We fully intend on maintaining the trust you have placed in us to keep your pets healthy and happy, and are removing this product as part of our ongoing commitment to quality and food safety.

Sincerely,
Camelle Kent's Signature
Camelle Kent
Chief Executive Officer