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Store-Bought Food, Make It Better!

We're sure your pet's meal plan is healthy, but could it be improved? No matter what diet you feed your best friend, it probably can be made more nutritious and appetizing with a few simple additions to the menu. There are a few guidelines to keep in mind to ensure Fluffy and Rover's mealtime changes go well. First, reduce the regular food you give your buddy depending on what you're adding to their meals; we don't want them to gain weight. Also, only switch about 25% of their full meal with an add-in to avoid an upset tummy.

Here are some great foods to add to increase the taste and nutrition for your buddy.

Eggs are a great addition, and most pets love them. Eggs are a high-quality protein and provide several vitamins and minerals.

Another great add-in is yogurt or kefir. Although some dairy products can cause an upset stomach, these usually don't because they are very low in lactose. These are inexpensive, have probiotics, and are an excellent source of protein. Stick with plain low-fat or no-fat varieties.

Plain pumpkin is excellent for dogs and cats. It has vitamins and minerals and due to it's fiber content it will help a pet who has the runs or is constipated. Just be sure it has no added spices or ingredients. You can freeze pumpkin puree in the summer for a cool treat!

Sardines are an excellent food for both your cat and dog. They supply taurine and Omega 3 fatty acids. Because they are a small, short-lived fish, they contain very few toxins and are considered "clean."

Bone broth is another excellent add-in for your dog or cat. Most pets love the flavor, and adding it can increase your pet's hydration in the summer. You can mix it with pumpkin and freeze it for a summer treat. Make sure there is no added salt.

There are many fruits and veggies that are nutritious and tasty. Berries are very high in antioxidants, as are bananas, apples, and melons. Healthy veggies include carrots, leafy greens, zucchini, or peas. Cooked vegetables are easier for your pet to digest.

Your cat is a carnivore and doesn't need fruits and veggies. However, many felines like them, so there is no harm in adding a few at meal time. Steer clear of cruciferous veggies like broccoli - they can cause gas. Starchy veggies like corn or potato can lead to weight gain.

You'll not only increase the nutritional value of buddy's meals, but he will eat with more gusto too! Below are a few links to foods your pet may enjoy.

Foods your dog can and can't eat.
(please note this is a can and can't eat list -  read carefully)

Foods your cat can eat.

Is Your Dog Clueless about Cues?

Do the statements, "my dog has selective hearing" or "he only responds when he feels like it," sound familiar? If you made these comments to a dog trainer, the first thing she would ask you is, "Are you sure your dog knows your cues?"

One of the most confusing things for any pet is when we use different words for the same cue. For example, if you want your dog to lay down, you must use the same cue every time. You can't say "down" one time, "lay down" the second time, and "hit the floor" the third time. Even more confusing is if someone tells the dog "down" when he jumps on a guest or hops on the sofa. Remember, you are trying to teach your dog a foreign language (human), so using different words for the same command will confuse Fido.

If this touches a chord, then we think a family meeting is in order! Review what cues you are going to use for each situation. This isn't as simple as it sounds. Sit can mean just having the dog's fanny hit the ground. Other pet parents want the dog to sit next to their leg. Make that a separate command; maybe use the term "place" to specify your dog should sit next to your leg. Discuss various scenarios with your family and have a follow-up meeting to ensure the cues work. Post those cues on the refrigerator so everyone can easily remember!

If you want Fido to learn faster, use both a visual and a verbal cue. Dogs are visual animals, so adding a hand signal with your cue will help your dog learn more quickly. There are no hard and fast rules to which commands or hand signals you use; be sure everyone uses them. This YouTube video shows that some dogs understand verbal cues just fine.

Many trainers will tell you to avoid repeating a command since loudly repeating yourself can stress everyone out. Give your pooch time to respond; if he doesn't, ask yourself why. Are there other dogs nearby or a squirrel? Commotion in your training area? Maybe Fido looks confused. If so, then go back a step or two in your training regiment and reduce distractions until Fido understands.

A few essential keys: Don't work with Fido when he is geared up; take him on a walk or toss a frisbee to bring his energy level down. Make sure Fido's emotional state is calm and keep yours the same way - calm and steady. Go back to basics, be consistent, and train frequently. Soon you'll see your dog "getting it."

Is Your Cat Flakey?

Dandruff can be an itchy and uncomfortable condition. But don't just brush it off as a cosmetic problem. While sometimes the cause of dandruff can be simple, there can be more serious reasons.

Once you identify the cause of your cat's dandruff, you'll know more about how to fix the problem. Some illnesses can lead to dry skin. If the solutions below don't solve your feline's flakey skin, it's time to visit your veterinarian.

Let's look at the various sources of cat dandruff.

Dehydration - Cats don't need as much water as dogs do, but they do need water - about 4 ounces per 5 pounds of body weight. Many cats are not great water drinkers. If you feed your cat dry kibble, the chances of dehydration are greater than if you feed your cat wet food. To counteract this, you could switch to wet food or pour a little water or bone broth over the kibble. Your cat might be more interested in drinking from a water fountain instead of a bowl.

Omegas - Your cat needs fatty acids in her diet to be healthy, so you can try adding some in the form of a supplement. These are often made from fish oil. Oddly, some cats will not eat food with a fish oil supplement; you might try a cat treat containing these fatty acids. Or you could try feeding your kitty salmon, sardines, mackerel, or tuna, which contain Omega 3's. It will take a few weeks to see a difference, but these omegas are very beneficial for a cat's fur and skin.

Grooming - An essential way cats maintain healthy skin and fur is through grooming. However, many cats have trouble reaching their lower back and neck area. If your cat is overweight, these areas are even harder to reach. Spend a little time every few days and brush Fluffy.

Allergies - Some cats suffer from seasonal allergies just like we do! They can also get contact allergies from laundry soap, fabric softener, and shampoo you use. These allergies can make Fluffy's skin itchy.

Like dogs, some cats are allergic to certain things in their diets, so switch up their food and see if dandruff and scratching improve. Try switching to a soap brand that has no scent or coloring. Also, air fresheners, perfume, and cigarette smoke can cause skin and coat issues.

Bugs - Lastly, parasites can also cause flakey and inflamed skin. Look at your cat for fleas, ticks, or a rash when grooming them. Even indoor cats can have fleas! Ask your vet for parasite treatments if you find them.

Try the above ideas and see if your cat's dandruff improves; it will in most cases! If not, it's time for a vet visit!

Great Pet Links!

August is

National Immunization Awareness Month

August 8 - International Cat Day
August 10 - Spoil Your Dog Day
August 17- Black Cat Day
August 20 - Clear The Shelter Day

A Dog On The Small Side
These Cats Know How To Chill
Indoor Games For Your Dog
Read About This Service Cat, Thula!
Does Your Pet Have A "Go Bag?"


August 2022 Newsletter