We hear many misperceptions about pet food and pet care from our customers here
at Only Natural Pet Store. We would like to debunk a selection of these myths
that we hear most often so that we can separate fact from fiction for our readers.
Here are the top 20:
1. The best foods are those the veterinarian sells such as Iams
and Science Diet.
While many pet guardians have been under the impression that these brands and others
sold by their veterinarian are premium, top of the line foods – one look at the
ingredients by an educated eye will reveal the truth. Most of the formulas from
these large, heavily marketed manufacturers derive far more protein from grain or
grain by-product sources such as corn gluten meal and brewer’s rice than from meat
Moreover, these so-called “premium” foods contain ingredients such as “chicken by-product
meal” which consists of the leftovers in meat processing that are unfit for human
consumption including head, necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines – basically
everything BUT clean meat. It is a cheap, low quality source of protein – and far
less digestible protein than clean chicken meal. Truthfully, if it is unfit
for human consumption, then it is unfit for our companions as well.
Meat, and specifically a named meat meal (i.e. chicken meal, lamb meal, etc) should
be listed before any grains in a pet food. Dogs and cats are carnivores – they are
designed to derive protein from meat sources, not grain. The high grain content
of many pet foods is one of the main contributors to the growing obesity problem
and increase in allergies in dogs and cats – they just do not do well on such high-carbohydrate
foods. (This does not mean that all grains are bad for dogs and cats – see myth
#7) For more information on selecting a truly premium food for your companion,
Quick Guide to Natural Pet Foods and
What You Need to Know About Your Pet's Food.
2. Dry food cleans a dog's or cat’s teeth.
This one you might even hear from some veterinarians - but it is most definitely
not true. Actually, if one wanted to stretch things a bit, kibble might clean
the very tips of the teeth, but that's about it. Take a look in your companion's
mouth. Dogs and cats have very pointed teeth; even their molars are sharp
edged, not flat. These are teeth that were designed to bite, tear and chew
raw meat. When a dog or cat eats kibble they either swallow it whole or, when they
manage to bite down on a kibble or two, it will shatter. Kibble does not scrape
down onto the lower parts of the teeth or near the gums - which is where dental
problems start. In fact, kibble can contribute to dental problems when small
bits lodge between the teeth and promote bacterial growth.
Dental care for dogs and cats is vitally important as poor dental health can
lead to other chronic disease conditions. Healthy teeth start with a healthy
diet of course, and with regular brushing. Please see our article "Dental
Healthcare for Your Companion" for detailed information on caring for your four-legged
Raw meat and bones are a terrific way to promote healthy teeth and gums as they
require the dog or cat to gnaw and chew in a way that the sinews of the meat and
hard bone will scrape teeth and massage gums. The longer they gnaw and chew
the cleaner the teeth become - so big chunks of meat or meaty bones like chicken
or turkey necks are ideal. The size of the meat or meaty bone should be appropriate
for the size of the animal; for example cats can chew chicken necks, but not turkey
If raw meat and bones are a bit more than you bargained for in caring for Fido's
or Max's teeth, then brushing is a must. In addition to
regular brushing, powder supplements such as
Proden PlaqueOff or Wysong Dentatreat can assist in discouraging the bacteria that cause plaque
buildup on teeth. Jaw exercise and gum massage are important components of
dental care, so try
Zukes Z-Bones for a healthy, non-raw chew. Some cats like to
chew, too. Catnip filled toys such as the
Chase the Hemp Cat Tails or the
Yeowww! Organic Catnip Fruit Cat Toys are enticing to many kitties.
Feline Greenies Dental Cat Treats are a tasty dental treat for cats as well.
3. Dogs and cats should be fed a food appropriate to their
life stage - puppies need puppy food, kittens need kitten food and senior pets need
Stage of life diets were really created as a marketing tool. The more bags
of food a particular manufacturer could come up with, the more shelf space they
could command. While it is true that puppies and kittens need more food for
their size than adult animals, they do not necessarily need a specially formulated
puppy or kitten food. A high-quality, varied diet is the best option for most
youngsters. For puppies this can include dry kibble, canned, freeze dried,
dehydrated, and raw food. For kittens, kibble is not recommended to be a large
portion of the diet (nor for adult cats) as it can contribute to dehydration, urinary
tract issues and less than optimal health over time. Cats are obligate carnivores
- which means they are designed by nature to eat meat and very little carbohydrates.
The newer higher meat content grain-free foods may be a good option if kibble is
to be fed to kittens, but canned, freeze-dried, dehydrated and raw are better choices.
Puppies, especially large breeds, can be at risk of growing too fast and experiencing
joint problems - so overfeeding a high-protein food can be detrimental.
Feeding younger animals more frequent meals - 3 times per day, is helpful while
they are in their biggest growth phase. After three or four months of age,
two meals per day should be sufficient for most animals. Puppies and kittens
should be kept slim, just like adult animals. The pictures shown in many puppy
or kitten food advertisements of round, roly-poly fur-balls are misleading.
It is just as unhealthy for younger animals to be overweight as it is for adults.
If you choose to feed a puppy or kitten food for the first few months, keep an eye
on your little companion's waistline and don't let them get round. Transition
to adult foods by three to six months of age.
Senior animals tend to slow down as they age, just as we humans do. While
their calorie requirements may shrink, their need for the healthiest food you can
provide is never greater than in the senior years. As animals age they require
excellent nutrition to keep their immune system as strong as possible and their
joints in good working order. Continue to feed a high-quality varied diet
right into your companions final years, just feed a little less of it. Again,
watch their waistline. Older dogs and cats are the most susceptible to the
many health issues that obesity can give rise to including diabetes, arthritis,
urinary tract problems and a shortened life span.
4. People food is bad for dogs and cats.
This is another one you may have heard in the past from your veterinarian.
Most holistically trained veterinarians, however, encourage the practice of feeding
people food to pets. Healthy leftovers are an excellent supplement to your
companion's regular fare. There are only two rules with people
food for pets: 1) It must be healthy for them - meat, steamed or finely chopped
veggies and fruits, baked sweet potato, rice, oatmeal; you get the picture - no
junk food. 2) If you give them some of what you are eating, remember to feed
less of their own food so they do not put on extra pounds. And skip the onions,
grapes and raisins - those can be detrimental for dogs and cats.
Even beyond leftovers, home-cooking is becoming quite a new trend among dog and
cat lovers. Homemade food has never been easier as a matter of fact. There
are a number of pre-mixes available to which all you need to add is meat.
The premix contains vegetables, vitamins and minerals to make the meal complete.
Sojos has varieties with and without grains as well as an organic blend.
Honest Kitchen offers
Preference, a grain-free blend.
Dr. Harvey's makes a premix for home cooked food that contains organic grains
with an amazing blend of herbs. You don't have to cook every meal for your companion
to benefit from fresher food - even the occasional homemade dinner is a wonderful
5. Only complete and balanced meals should be fed to cats and
Pet food companies have a pretty big interest in perpetuating this myth.
Is every meal you eat complete and balanced? How about every meal you feed
your kids? Even the most health-conscious among us do not worry about meeting
the proper balance of nutrients at every meal. We know that over the course
of the day or week our diet will be fairly complete, so we don't worry about eating
exactly what the food pyramid recommends on a daily basis. Many of us take
vitamins and supplements to fill in any gaps because even eating a very healthy
diet of whole foods may not provide all the vitamins and minerals our body needs
to stay healthy in this day and age.
Variety is the key to a healthy diet for humans, for dogs and for cats.
If you are feeding at least 50 - 60% commercially prepared foods that are designed
to be "complete", then you are well on your way to providing a majority of the "balance"
of nutrients. Adding canned meats, raw or cooked meats, people food, fresh
vegetables or other "incomplete" foods to your companion's meals can boost the overall
nutrition of the diet as long as it is not overdone. Providing a
daily multi-vitamin adds extra insurance. One caveat here - meat is higher
in phosphorus and lower in calcium. When adding more than 15 - 20%
extra meat to your companion's diet on a regular basis, keep the calcium and phosphorus
ratio balanced over time by including raw bones or adding a
6. Feeding raw food is dangerous due to the risk of Salmonella
and E. Coli.
The digestive tracts of dogs and cats are very different than those of humans.
The human digestive tract is approximately 25 to 28 feet long with a stomach acidity
between 1.5 and 2.5. Dogs and cats have a much shorter digestive system at
an average of 10 to 13 feet for dogs (shorter for cats) with an acidity of less
than 1. Raw food moves through the dog or cat's system in less than half the
time it would through a human's system, and the high acidity kills most bacteria
such as salmonella. Even if the food was contaminated, it likely would not
enter the animal's bloodstream. Commercially prepared raw food manufacturers
take measures to control against the presence of unwanted organisms such as salmonella
and e. coli, so for those concerned the frozen raw diets are a good option.
If you eat meat, then you are aware of the precautions to take when handling
raw meat. The same precautions apply to raw pet food as to raw meat destined
to be cooked for human consumption: wash bowls, utensils and your hands after feeding
and handling the meat. Keep the meat frozen until two to four days before
feeding, and thaw in the refrigerator. Don't leave the food down for your
pet for more than 30 - 40 minutes, after this time throw any leftovers away.
With a bit of common sense, raw food is no more difficult or dangerous to feed than
any other pet food.
Some folks like to argue that the wild relatives of dogs and cats have shorter
life spans than our companion animals and blame this shortened life on consumption
of raw food. While it may be true that wild dogs and cats (or their close
relatives) are less long-lived than our pets, it is not due to their diet.
Animals living in the wild are at far more risk from predators, competition for
food and the harsh elements than they are from eating raw meat. Our companions
are living longer lives due to their comfortable living conditions with regular
meals provided - no hunting required, and no stress other than whether or not they'll
get caught on their favorite sofa.
For more information see "All
About Raw Food" in our article archives.
7. Dogs and cats should not eat grains.
This particular "myth" can be true for some animals - especially cats.
Again we must look at the teeth and digestive tract for clues here. Humans
and herbivores have flat molars that can move back and forth to grind grasses and
grains into fine particles. We produce the enzyme amylase in our saliva which
begins to break down carbohydrates - even before they reach the stomach where the
job is finished. Dogs and cats do not produce amylase in their saliva.
Their teeth have sharp edges and do not move from side to side - they cannot "grind"
anything in their mouth.
Dogs are considered omnivores of sorts - they can eat and digest grains and vegetables
IF they have been somewhat pre-digested as they would be in an herbivore's stomach
or intestines. Therefore cooked grains are an acceptable source of carbohydrates
for most dogs - note that they are an acceptable carbohydrate source, NOT an acceptable
source of protein. Cats on the other hand are obligate carnivores. They
do not digest grains well and become far more easily dehydrated eating dry foods
high in carbohydrates. Cats in the wild tend to derive all their moisture
from their prey - they rarely drink water. Many holistic veterinarians believe
the growing prevalence of obesity and diabetes and many other chronic diseases can
be at least partially blamed on diets too high in carbohydrates for cats.
Grains should be whole or whole ground grains such as rice, oats, barley, millet,
etc. Wheat is a common allergen, so is avoided in the top quality pet foods as is
corn. Wheat and corn are also less digestible for dogs. Grain by-products
such as corn gluten meal, brewers rice, cereal fines and others are less expensive
and less nutritious options than whole grains. Any time a food with grains
is fed to a dog or cat
digestive enzymes should be added to the food. This helps improve digestion
and enhance utilization of the nutrients in the food. Digestive enzymes are
one of the two most important supplements you can provide for your companion, along
with essential fatty acids (fish oil).
For more information please see "Is
Grain Free Food Right for Your Companion."
8. Ash Content is an important guideline in choosing a cat food.
Concern about ash content in pet foods came about as veterinarians and cat guardians
were looking for the cause of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD - formerly
known as FUS). In the 70’s & 80’s veterinarians thought ash was a factor in causing
crystals in the urine. There are, however, a variety of causes and ash is no longer
considered a factor in causing FLUTD. Further research has shown that the main problem
was the formulation of commercial pet foods: most pet foods were creating a more
alkaline urine (higher pH) which lead to an increase in struvite crystals.
Most dry kibble diets are formulated with a high vegetable and grain content which
creates a more alkaline urine. An all meat diet such as a cat would eat in nature
creates a more acidic urine.
A high protein diet is the best way to maintain a low urinary pH naturally. Cats
eating canned diets have fewer problems with FLUTD than those eating primarily dry
kibble diets. This could be due both to the higher meat content of canned diets
as well as the higher moisture content. Increased hydration also prevents crystal
formation. A raw food diet is ideal for maintaining a lower urinary pH and providing
proper hydration. Focusing on low-ash foods will not solve FLUTD problems,
but a healthier diet and proper hydration will.
A more effective means of preventing FLUTD than stressing about the amount of
ash in your companion's food is focusing on stress reduction. Stress is an
often overlooked contributing factor to FLUTD. (Lack of exercise is another.)
When your companion is stressed their immune system is compromised. Furthermore,
when you are stressed, your companion is far more likely to be stressed. A
great way to ease the stress for both of you and create a deeper bond is through
meditation. It may sound a bit "new age,"
however scientific studies at major universities have demonstrated the power of
meditation and healing with visualization.
Flower Essences are another excellent stress reduction and emotional support
tool. Cats are especially responsive to flower essences and can benefit greatly
from their use. There is a flower essence designed for every emotional state,
so look through the large selection and choose the one or two remedies that best
match your companion's issues. Dosing can be as simple as adding a few drops
to the water or massaging them into the ears or paws.
Please see the following articles in our Holistic Healthcare Database for more
Lower Urinary Tract Disease", "Ash,
Magnesium and FLUTD", "Flower
Essences and How They Work" and "Treating
9. Changing formulas or brands of pet foods is hard on a dog
or cat’s digestion.
A healthy dog or cat can eat a different food at each meal without issue - provided
they are high-quality foods. Holistically minded guardians and veterinarians
know that variety is important for several reasons. The most important of
these is to avoid the development of sensitivities to any particular food or protein
type. When the same food is fed for many months or years at a time, an animal
can develop an allergy or sensitivity to that food or a specific ingredient in the
food. Many holistic veterinarians believe that feeding the same food for many
years is a contributing factor to the development of inflammatory bowel disease.
Variety provides a wider range of nutrition for your companion as well.
While foods may be formulated to meet AAFCO standards, that does not mean that every
food that meets those standards meets the needs of every dog or cat. As a
matter of fact, there are many foods on the market that meet AAFCO standards that
many cats and dogs cannot tolerate due to the grains and grain by-products used
as protein sources. A more diverse diet is more likely to meet the nutritional
needs of your companion over time. Besides all that - would YOU want to eat
the same meal day in and day out for months at a time? Even if there was a
"people kibble" that was formulated to meet all your nutritional needs - would you
really enjoy that? And remember - every meal does not need to be perfectly
balanced as long as the diet is balanced over the course of a week or so.
Whenever feeding a diet of cooked or processed food, digestive enzymes are essential,
and will help your companion transition from one type of food to another with ease.
Digestive enzymes help animals maintain a healthy digestive tract and
get the most nutrition from their food. Essential fatty acids from fish oil
provide the omega 3 fatty acids missing from most processed pet foods that nourish
the skin, coat and digestive tract.
Probiotics are important for animals on medication or those experiencing digestive
upsets. For animals in need of increased digestive support due to chronic digestive
issues, Only Natural Pet GI Support provides herbs and nutrients to soothe and heal
the lining of the digestive tract.
10. Spaying or neutering an animal will cause it to gain weight.
Sorry, but that one just doesn't hold up. Spaying and neutering may alter
hormone levels, but it does NOT cause obesity. The causes of obesity in our
companions are overfeeding, feeding high carbohydrate diets to less active animals,
and not enough exercise. Spaying and neutering our companion animals is a
responsibility not to be taken lightly. Spayed and neutered animals live longer,
are protected from a variety of health problems and are much less prone to behavioral
problems than intact dogs and cats. Thousands of unwanted animals are killed
every day in shelters across America. These are preventable deaths, and the
best means of prevention is the spaying and neutering of our companion animals.
The myth about weight gain in spayed and neutered animals may stem from the fact
that most cats and dogs are spayed or neutered around 6 months of age, which is
the time when their greatest growth period slows dramatically. Many guardians
continue to feed the same amount of high-energy food they were feeding during their
companion's growth phase, and this leads to weight gain. Feed a high-quality
diet appropriate to your companion's activity level and watch their waste line.
Weigh your animal periodically if you cannot judge their condition through visual
evaluation and feeling their ribs.
Exercise is vital for your companion's physical and mental health. 10 to
15 minutes of "chase the feathers" or "catch the mouse" twice a day can go a long
way toward keeping your kitty happy and healthy. Try the
Go Cat Da Bird or the
Laser Keychain Cat Toyfor lots of fun and exercise. Play time encourages
bonding and will ease the guilt you may feel from being away all day.
Exercise is a bit easier for dog guardians since they can snap on the leash and
go for a brisk walk. Some dogs may need more than a walk - they may need a
vigorous game of
fetch (can't beat the
Chuckit for that) or the
West Paw Zisc to really get their energy out. A great way to provide a bit of
exercise and mental stimulation for your dog is to make them work for their dinner
or treats using the
Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Mazee. This is also handy for easing the guilt of leaving your companion
behind - leave them with a Mazee full of kibble and they will be occupied,
fed and happy.
An overweight pet is susceptible to many chronic health problems. Please see
the article "Weight
Management for Dogs and Cats" in our newsletter archives as well as updates on our
Only Natural Pet Blog about
the rise in obesity among companion animals for additional information.
11. Dogs and cats need vaccination boosters annually.
Vaccinations do not need “boosting”.
Studies have shown that a single vaccination for parvovirus, distemper and panleukopenia results in long-term protection from disease - from 7 years to a
lifetime of protection. Simple blood tests can determine if your companion’s
antibody levels for parvovirus and distemper remain high enough to resist
infection. Even the American Veterinary Medical Association has changed it's
recommendations to suggest vaccinating very 3 years (for adult animals) rather
than annually. Yet, many veterinarians continue to send yearly reminders
to their clients urging vaccination boosters. Next time your veterinarian suggests a booster shot, request the
blood test first (called a serum antibody titer).
Research which vaccinations are truly necessary in your area and for your
companion's lifestyle. A dog that does not go to doggy daycare, stay in a
kennel or go to dog shows does not need a vaccine for kennel cough (bordatella).
Other vaccines that may be unnecessary include lyme disease, corona virus,
canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, FeLV, FIP, ringworm, and rota
virus infection. Contact holistic veterinarians in your area or pet
associations to learn which vaccinations are absolutely necessary in your region
of the country.
While preliminary studies show that rabies vaccines can provide protection
for 7 years or longer, all states require the vaccine be administered at least
every 3 years with some states still requiring annual vaccinations. A
group of dedicated veterinarians and concerned guardians have created the
Rabies Vaccine Challenge Fund and Study to complete the research necessary
to change these regulations. We strongly encourage you to support this
study and help change the laws that are forcing over-vaccination.
Homeopathic Nosodes are an alternative some guardians are using when choosing
to limit vaccines. They can safely be used before three months of age if an
animal is at risk or is exposed to disease. Many guardians use these homeopathic
medicines to help protect their companions against Parvovirus, Distemper, Kennel
Cough, Panleukopenia and FIP. Some nosodes seem to work more effectively than
others. Homeopathic nosodes are not vaccinations. They do not produce titers
against these diseases like a vaccination. They do seem to offer some protection
by reducing the severity of illness if the animal is exposed, even if they don't
PetAlive offers several homeopathic combination remedies that can be used in
For additional information about vaccinations please see the article "What You Need to Know About Vaccinations" in our newsletter archives.
12. One year for a dog or cat's age is equal to 7 human years.
Well, if that were true, a one year old dog or cat would be equivalent to a 7
year old human. However, both dogs and cats can reproduce at the age of 1
year, but humans do not reach sexual maturity until almost twice that age.
Determining your companion's age is a bit more complicated than straight
multiplication. A simplified but a bit more accurate calculation is
generally to compare a 1 year old dog or cat to a teenager of approximately 15
years, and a 2 year old dog or cat to human of about 24 years old. For
each of your companion's years after that add 4 years.
Dog ages are even more complicated due to the size differences between breeds
- a 7 lb. Yorkshire Terrier ages more slowly than a 150 lb. Mastiff. Here
is a helpful graph showing approximate dog years versus human years, followed by
a chart showing approximate cat years versus human years.
The chart for cats shows the approximate age that cats are
considered seniors as 7. Dogs are considered senior somewhere between 7
and 9 years old, depending on size. This delineation varies by individual,
of course, but it is a good marker for when to consider extra support for
your companion's aging immune system, digestive system and joints. Most
holistic veterinarians will recommend a transition from regular multivitamin
supplements to a senior formula or the addition of an antioxidant formula around
this age, as well as preventative supplementation for joint support. As
our companions age, their digestive systems become less efficient and they
produce less of the enzymes necessary for proper digestion and assimilation of
nutrients. While all animals on a processed or cooked diet should receive
digestive enzymes with their food, this becomes even more important as your pet
reaches her senior years. Geriatric support daily vitamins, like Only Natural Pet Vitamins and Enzymes Senior Formula are a convenient way to
improve your senior friend's nutrition while also providing extra help for his
joints. For additional antioxidant support, a supplement such as
Only Natural Pet Whole Food Antioxidant Blend or Dr. Harvey's Coenzyme Q10 Dog & Cat Supplement are excellent choices. Many of
our older companions can benefit from an herbal tonic to support energy levels
and mental clarity such as Animal's Apawthecary Senior Blend.
13. A wagging tail is the sign of a happy, friendly dog.
Not always! Canine body language is a study unto
itself, but some basics are very helpful to know when approached by a dog you
are not familiar with. Check out the rest of the dog's posture; walking
stiffly with the head and tail raised high and wagging slightly or twitching can
be an aggressive stance - be especially cautious if the dogs hackles are raised.
If the dog's head and front legs are lowered in a play-bow style, then she is
being friendly. Recent studies have also shown that dogs wag their tails
asymmetrically depending on how they are feeling about the person approaching.
Wagging more strongly to the right indicates positive feelings and curiosity,
wagging more to the left indicates negative feelings or apprehension.
Anxious dogs are frequently more likely to show aggression.
Help your furry friend relax with new friends by supporting her emotional
well-being. Pet Naturals Calming Formula is an excellent remedy for those occasions when
you know your companion will be faced with stressful circumstances or will be
meeting new friends. For the those animals struggling with
aggression, try Pet Alive Aggression Formula or Pet-Essences Out of Control/Aggressive Blend.
14. Nervous or skittish dogs and cats were abused when
they were young.
While abuse as a puppy or kitten can lead to nervous or
anxious behavior later in life, it does not always. Furthermore, countless
companion animals that have been in loving, caring homes since shortly after
birth have anxiety problems. Making broad assumptions about the cause of a
skittish animal's behavior can be quite misleading. The importance of
socialization before the age of six months should not be discounted, but even
well-socialized individuals can still suffer from anxiety.
If you hesitate to adopt a dog or cat from a shelter for
fear of coming home with a nervous pet, keep in mind that most animals will
respond beautifully to lots of love and the security of a dependable guardian.
Dogs and cats thrive on routine, and given a month or two to acclimate will
typically ease into their forever home and relax.
For those animals who do have anxiety issues the proper
training (yes, cats respond to training, too) and support through calming
remedies can provide a solution.
Sentry Pheromone Calming Collars or Only Natural Pet Phero-Soothe are a great way to provide a calming atmosphere in
the home. In addition there are many herbal, homeopathic or flower essence
remedies to address an individual's needs (click
here to see our full selection). Finding the best remedy for your
companion can take some trial and error, but is worth the effort. Please
Holistic Healthcare Library for more helpful articles and information about
helping a nervous or anxious companion.
15. A hot dry nose means your companion is ill.
Your dog or cat's nose will not tell you whether they are
ill or have a fever - you'll need a thermometer for that, (the rectal kind).
Normal dog and cat temperatures can range from 100.5 to 102.5. So, how do
you know if your dog or cat is under the weather? Through changes in
appetite and behavior for the most part. While a single episode of stomach
upset resulting in a day of poor appetite, vomiting or diarrhea is not usually
cause for concern, repeated episodes can be a sign of serious illness. If
your companion becomes more withdrawn and lethargic, a trip to the vet is due.
For more assistance in determining when you need to seek professional help, see
When Is It Time to See The Vet?
A great tool in monitoring the health of our furry friends
PetCheckup Kit. This home-monitoring kit can be especially helpful for
those aging pets that are more susceptible to some of the chronic diseases that
can develop slowly without obvious symptoms.
16. Eating grass is a sign that a dog or cat has an
Well, maybe - but not usually. While it is true that
dogs and cats will sometimes seek out and chew grass to ease an upset tummy, a
perfectly healthy animal is just as likely to graze on fresh green grass.
There are a wide variety of theories about why some companions like to nibble on
grasses, no one has a definitive answer. Some feel it may be a craving for
fresh food containing live enzymes. Others think this behavior may result
from a craving for the tripe, or digestive tract contents, that dogs and cats
would enjoy when consuming prey in the wild.
Whatever the reason, there is no need to deny your furry
friend's craving as long as they are grazing on clean, untreated pastures.
If you do not know if the lawn or park grass has been treated with chemical
pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers, then find a better source for their daily greens. Animal Essentials Organic Green Alternative, Halo's Vita-Dreams Daily Greens or Ark Naturals Nu-Pet Granular Greens may satisfy your companion's needs.
You can also grow your own with the
Kitty's Garden kit.
17. It is fine for dogs and cats to eat each other's
While there are a few canned formulas available that meet
the needs of both species, most foods are designed specifically for cats or
dogs. Cats require a higher percentage of protein and fat than most dogs
and they have specific requirements for additional taurine. Dogs that eat
too much cat food are at risk of weight gain and even pancreatitis. Cats
that eat dog food are at risk of weight gain when the food is high in
carbohydrates, as well as deficiencies of important amino acids.
If Fido and Fluffy insist on sharing, try a food formulated
to meet both their needs such as
Nature's Variety Instinct Canned Diets - the pictures on the cans are
different, but the contents are the same. Or try an all-meat variety like
Evanger's Game Meats to supplement their individual meals.
18. Animals lick their wounds to promote healing.
Dogs and cats will lick any area that irritates them -
whether it be a wound, bug bite or itchy spot. Some animals will tend to
lick more than others, and this does not promote healing. A wound or
hot-spot that is over-licked can heal more slowly or become infected. It
is best to discourage your companion from fussing over it's sore spot.
Bandaging the are will be enough to discourage some
animals, but not all. Try
Herbal Ointment to soothe irritation and speed healing. For hot spots
or itchy skin try
Fido Derm Herbal Spray or
Doc Ackerman's Hot Spot Relief Spray. While Elizabethan collars (known
as e-collars) can look like a torture device to sympathetic guardians, sometimes
it is necessary for proper healing of wounds or sutures.
19. Only male dogs "hump" other dogs or lift their legs
Male dogs will exhibit these behaviors more consistently
than others, but even female dogs will lift their legs and urinate to mark
territory or hump another dog to establish dominance. Some dogs can become
downright obnoxious about it and may begin humping it's human companions or even
pillows or furniture. Others are so determined to be top-dog they are
continually marking and posturing for dominance. Overly-assertive
behaviors can be quelled through proper training and behavior modification
techniques. A calming remedy or two can help as well, including Pet Alive Problem Pet or Dr. Harvey's Relax. Flower Essences, like Spirit Essences Bully or Peace Maker formulas may be helpful as well.
20. You can't teach an old dog new tricks.
You didn't really believe that one, did you? Dogs are
trainable at any age and even cats can be trained with the right combination of
patience, practice and the proper motivation. Proper motivation, of
course, comes in the form of irresistible treats! Try
Northwest Naturals Liver Treats,
Whole Life Pet Treats (chicken is most cats' favorite), or
Newman's Own Organic Training Treats.
Need some helpful hints from an expert? Our training
consultant recommends the books
The Other End of The Leash or
Don't Shoot the Dog.
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The articles and information in the Holistic Healthcare Library are presented for
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The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian.
Instead, the content offers the reader information and opinions written by our staff,
guest authors, and/or veterinarians concerning animal health issues and animal care
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