Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish
Best Friends Pet Care : The Dog Dish

Alternative nutrition trends for your pet: are they all they claim to be?

Pet Food and Other Fresh IngredientsCompanies have discovered that pet food is big business and as a result, there is an explosion of new diets out there for pets. According to the American Pet Products Association, pet owners spent approximately 23 billion (!) dollars just on pet food in 2015. Diets ranging from organic to raw to limited-ingredient varieties have hit store shelves and can make choosing the best diet for your pet a very daunting experience. So how do you know if they are as good as they say they are? Here’s a primer on what to consider next time you are shopping in the pet food aisle.

Organic diets

Organic diets for pets are another hot new trend. Many of these diets may indeed contain “human-grade” or “sustainably-sourced” ingredients however, there is no standardized definition as to what qualifies as organic when it comes to pet foods. Treats can be made with fully organic ingredients but when it comes to complete and balanced organic pet foods, there is no way to certify non-organically produced components such as vitamins, minerals, or other additives. Further, certifying organizations differ in their interpretation of USDA rules about whether a pet food qualifies as Certified Organic. Bottom-line, while high-quality organic pet foods exist, you can’t believe everything you read (or see on the label) and you may be wasting your money.

Limited-ingredient diets

Limited-ingredient diets, sometimes also called limited-allergen diets, are diets that have been created specifically to help animals with medical conditions including allergies or intestinal diseases (e.g., food allergy, inflammatory bowel disease). These diets are typically made with a single protein source and a single carbohydrate source. The thought is to limit things in the diet which can exacerbate the medical issue being treated, so often a novel protein source such as duck or rabbit is used. Unlike other diets, there is actual research that indicates that these diets are helpful in managing specific medical conditions. The type of diet that is best for your pet will depend not only on the condition being treated, but on your pet’s age, activity level, or concurrent medical problems.

Raw food diets

There is a lot of misinformation out there about this category of diets in particular. Proponents of raw food diets claim that these are superior to ‘processed’ diets because they are more like what our dogs and cats ate in the wild and are more nutritious than standard foods. Many of these superiority claims however have no scientific basis at all.

The other big consideration with these diets is the risk of illness that can occur due to bacterial contamination or transmission of parasites in uncooked meats. This risk is present not only for your pet, but for you and your family as well. This applies to all households but is particularly risky in households where there are elderly people, children, or people with poor immune systems.

If you are thinking of making a change to your pets diet or have questions about what diet is best for your particular situation, be sure to talk to your family veterinarian. And don’t believe everything you read on the internet!

Tags: Limited Ingredient Diets, Organic Pet Food, Pet Food, Raw Food Diets

Angel Tree Campaign Raises $25,000 for Homeless Animals

Walt Disney World Angel TreeBest Friends Total Pet Care and it animal-loving clients across the country showed their concern for homeless dogs and cats this recent holiday season by donating more than $25,000 worth in cash and supplies to the company’s 15th annual Animal Angel Tree campaign.  

All donations will be used to help the homeless pets in the care of 75 animal shelters and rescues.  Each of those organizations has provided a “wish list” of items needed and Best Friends staff will be using the cash to purchase those items – from food and treats, to leashes and collars, to crates and cat trees.  Beneficiaries range from large shelters like Chicago Canine Rescue and Northeast Animal Shelter to small rescue groups like Shaggy Dog Rescue of Norwalk, Connecticut, and Buddy Dog Humane Society of Sudbury, Massachusetts.

“We are thrilled with the response of our clients and friends to this year’s Angel Tree campaign,” said Adam Wendt, Vice President of Marketing of Best Friends Total Pet Care. “Since the Angel Tree program began in 2000, we’ve donated hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of food, toys and pet care supplies to more than 100 different shelters and rescues across the U.S.  We know our program makes a difference in the lives of many pets in need.”

The Angel Tree campaign started in November and ended the first week in January. Donations will be delivered to the shelters and rescue this month.

Best Friends Total Pet Care (www.bestfriendspetcare.com) is a leader in the pet care services industry, operating 38 pet care centers and 15 veterinary hospitals in 20 states.

Tags: Angel Tree, Animal Shelters, Dog Rescues, Dogs, Donations, Holidays

It’s the New Year! Did you make resolutions for your pets in 2016?

Lots of Dog Food

It’s that time of year where hope springs eternal and we resolve to make positive changes for ourselves AND our fur babies. Given the temptation of yummy treats over the holidays, these resolutions are often centered around health and weight. Be honest, did your pet put on a few pound over the holidays? If you and your pet have resolved to greet 2016 with a new food attitude, here are some tips to help you, help your pet:

  • Portion control

Many of us “guesstimate” the amount of food that we feed our pets but doing this can really overestimate the amount of food that they should be getting. Be sure to measure the amount every time you feed. The recommended guidelines on the bag of food are a good place to start but, depending on your pets age and level of exercise, you may need to cut this back a bit as well (usually by about 10%-20%). For example, older pets or those with sedentary lifestyles may not have the same calorie requirements of a young or very athletic dog.

  • Watch the snacks

Snacking can quickly add up to too many calories and excess weight so keep an eye on how often you are giving your pet snacks. If you like to give snacks as rewards and are watching your dog’s weight, some healthy options include apples (no seeds/core), strawberries, watermelon (no seeds), green beans, or carrots.

  • Get out there and exercise

If just taking a walk doesn’t sound appealing, how about trying a new activity with your dog? Hiking or swimming are great ways to spend time with your dog and a great way for both of you to get some exercise. For cats, new prey toys, food toys, lasers, or catnip toys are great ways to encourage your favorite feline to get moving and burn some calories.

  • Schedule a visit with your veterinarian

A trip to the vet is an important part of your pet’s health and should happen at least once every 6 to 12 months. Your vet and the veterinary team are a great source of information about diet and exercise for your pet. They can help you decide on the best diet for your pet based on their age, activity level, or underlying health concerns. They are there to help, so don’t be afraid to ask for their advice.

 

With a little diligence and behavior modification, you can make sure that your pet has a happy and healthy 2016.

Tags: Cats, Dogs, Food, Pet health, Treats
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