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  • Which Human Foods Are Safe for Dogs?

    Dog food provides all the nutrients your furry friend needs for good health, but that doesn't mean your pet can't enjoy a taste of some of your favorite foods from time to time. Confused about which foods are safe for dogs? Take a look at our list of people food you can share with your pet. Meat, Poultry, and Fish Meat, poultry, and fish, the staples of many human diets, also appeal to dogs. Beef, liver, lamb, chicken, turkey, shrimp, and fish are high in protein, which your dog needs for a sleek coat, healthy weight, and strong muscles and immune system. Although these foods are good for your dog, offer small samples to prevent weight gain or gastrointestinal issues. Serve these foods after cooking to prevent bacterial or salmonella infections. Remove any bones, particularly when offering poultry or fish. Choking or damage to the mouth, throat, or digestive system lining can happen when cooked bones break or splinter. Cut off fat before offering your dog a taste of your meal. Eating fat can cause diarrhea or could increase your pet's risk of obesity or pancreatitis. Seasonings might make your food taste better, but highly seasoned food can sicken your dog or cause gastrointestinal issues. If you plan to give your pet a taste of meat, poultry, fish, or seafood, omit the seasoning from a small area when cooking or wash off seasonings after cooking if possible. Make sure dishes don't contain onions, garlic, shallots, chives, or leaks. These ingredients can be toxic to dogs and may cause a dangerous condition called hemolytic anemia. Onion and garlic powders are even stronger than fresh onions and garlic, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC), and should be avoided. Unfortunately, some dogs are allergic to meat, poultry, or fish. Symptoms of food allergies include vomiting, diarrhea, gas, itchy skin, hives, or swelling in the eyelids, lips, or ears. Vegetables Want to share your love of vegetables with your pet? Some dogs love them, while others turn their noses up at veggies. These vegetables are safe for your pet: Bell Peppers Broccoli Brussels Sprouts Cabbage Cauliflower Celery (with strings removed) Carrots (cooked) Corn Green Beans (cooked) Peas (cooked) Potatoes (plain, skinless, roasted) Spinach (cooked, in small amounts. Large amounts can cause kidney or bladder stones or irritate your dog's stomach.) Sweet Potatoes (plain, skinless, cooked) Zucchini PetMD notes that broccoli, peas, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage can cause excess gas and bloating. If that's the case for your pet, only offer small amounts of these vegetables or don't feed them to your dog at all. Fruit Your dog may enjoy some of the same fruits you do, including: Apples Bananas Berries Cantaloupes Kiwis Mangoes Oranges Peaches Pears Pineapples Pumpkin (cooked) Watermelon Peel oranges, cut off watermelon and pineapple rinds, and remove seeds and pits before offering fruit to your dog. Eggs and Dairy A hardboiled egg (without the shell) or a scrambled egg make tasty snacks for your pet. Eggs contain protein, selenium, riboflavin, and vitamin D, nutrients that enhance your dog's health. An occasional sip of milk is fine for many dogs, although some are lactose intolerant. If your dog can't digest lactose, it may experience stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or lack of appetite due to nausea. Dogs can also eat plain yogurt, although pets with lactose intolerance will also want to avoid this food. Small amounts of cheese makes a good occasional treat if your dog isn't lactose intolerant. The AKC recommends offering mozzarella and cottage cheeses or other lower-fat cheeses. Other Foods Your dog can also safely eat bread, unsalted cashews and peanuts, unsalted peanut butter, honey, rice, quinoa, and unsalted, unbuttered popcorn. Do you have a concern about your dog's diet? Let us know how we can help! Get in touch with our office to ask a question or schedule an appointment. Sources: American Kennel Club: People Foods Dogs Can and Can’t Eat, 3/14/2024 https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/human-foods-dogs-can-and-cant-eat/ PetMD: What Vegetables Can Dogs Eat, 11/17/2022 https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/what-vegetables-can-dogs-eat Forbes: What Fruits Can Dogs eat (And Which Are Bad for Them), 4/3/23 https://www.forbes.com/advisor/pet-insurance/pet-care/fruits-dogs-can-eat/ ASPCA: Sharing is Caring: Foods You Can Safely Share with Your Pet, 1/28/2021 https://www.aspca.org/news/sharing-caring-foods-you-can-safely-share-your-pet

  • The Benefits of Dental Chews for Dogs

    Are your dog's teeth clean enough? Plaque and tartar buildup on your furry friend's teeth can lead to painful dental disease. Offering your pet dental chews is a simple way to reduce the risk of tooth loss and pain. What Are Dental Chews? Dental chews are dog treats that help remove plaque from your dog's teeth. As your dog chews the treats, the crunchy morsels brush against the teeth, reducing plaque buildup. Although dental chews aren't a substitute for teeth brushing and professional teeth cleaning, they may help your dog avoid gum disease and tooth loss. Why Is It Important to Remove Plaque? Plaque is a clear bacterial film that coats teeth and gums every day. If you don't remove plaque, it turns into a hard substance called tartar in just a few days. Unlike plaque, tartar is visible. Yellowish-brown tartar deposits first appear on the base of your dog's teeth but may eventually cover the entire surface of teeth. The rough surface of tartar offers the perfect breeding ground for bacteria above and below the gums. Tartar and plaque buildup can cause gingivitis, the earliest form of gum disease. If your dog has gingivitis, its gums may look red and swollen. You may also notice that your pet's breath smells terrible. If plaque and tartar aren't removed through dental cleaning, your dog may develop periodontal disease, the most severe form of dental disease. Periodontal disease causes infections that can damage bone and gum tissue, causing teeth to loosen. Periodontal disease signs include bleeding gums, worsening pain, bloody saliva, drooling, difficulty eating, bad breath, and weight loss. In some cases, bacteria on your dog's teeth may enter its bloodstream and travel to the heart and other organs. 4 Ways Chews Improve Dental Health Periodontal disease is a common problem in dogs, affecting 80 to 90% of dogs over age 3, according to the Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center. Luckily, reducing your pet's risk for periodontal disease can be as simple as giving your dog a dental chew every day. Dental chews offer several benefits, including: Less Plaque. Dental chews offer an effective way to reduce plaque on teeth. Removing plaque stops tartar from forming. According to a research study published in the Journal of Veterinary Dentistry, dental chews significantly reduced plaque and tartar buildup in dogs that ate a dry food diet and received one dental chew daily. In another study published in the Journal of Animal Science, dogs that ate a dry diet and a daily dental chew had lower tartar scores and lower plaque coverage and thickness scores. No Pain. Living with gum disease is painful. As the disease progresses, eating becomes uncomfortable, which may prompt your dog to avoid food or become irritable. Dental chews help your pet avoid the pain of dental disease. Improved Breath. As much as you love your dog, you might not be so fond of its awful breath. The bacteria in plaque and tartar release smelly volatile sulfur compounds, causing that terrible smell when your dog opens its mouth. In both research studies, researchers noted that a daily chew improved breath odor. Better Health. Dental chews help your dog reduce its risk of heart disease or damage to organs caused by the bacteria in plaque and tartar. Which Chews Are Best for My Dog? Wondering which dental chew to offer your pet? The Veterinary Oral Heath Council offers a list of chews that meet its standards for effective plaque and tartar control. Among the products on the list are Canine Greenies, WHIMZEES Toothbrush Dental Dog Treats, Pedigree Dentalstix Advanced, Checkup Chews for Dogs, Tartan Shield Rawhide Chews and Improved Milk-Bone Brushing Chews for Dogs. WebMD advises against using bones, pigs' ears, and rawhide bones as dental treats. Some products may be too hard on teeth, while others can cause gastrointestinal obstructions or may contain too much fat. Dental chews, regular teeth brushing, and professional dental cleanings will help you protect your dog's teeth. Is it time to schedule your furry friend's next cleaning? Contact our office to make an appointment. Sources: Cornell Richard P. Riney Canine Health Center: Periodontal Disease https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments/riney-canine-health-center/canine-health-information/periodontal-disease PubMed: Journal of Veterinary Dentistry: Oral Health Benefits of a Daily Dental Chew in Dogs, Summer 2013 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24006717/ Journal of Animal Science: Effects of Novel Dental Chews on Oral Health Outcomes and Halitosis in Adult Dogs, 9/2020 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7511057/ Veterinary Oral Health Council: VOHC Accepted Products https://vohc.org/accepted-products/ WebMD: Dog Dental Treats, 11/9/2022 https://www.webmd.com/pets/dogs/dog-dental-treats NBC News: 7 Best Dog Dental Chews and Treats, According to Veterinarians, 10/18/2022 https://www.nbcnews.com/select/shopping/best-dog-dental-chews-ncna1299919

  • How and When to Introduce Solid Food to Your Kitten

    Although kittens are initially dependent on their mothers for everything, those wriggling bundles of fur are ready to try solid food for the first time in just a few weeks. If you're not sure when you should offer your kitten solid food, you'll want to take a look at our suggestions. The First Few Weeks - Getting Ready to Eat Your kitten's mother provides the milk needed to nourish your growing pet during its first few weeks of life. Kittens are born blind, but their eyes gradually open during the first two weeks. As your kitten's vision sharpens, it will begin to venture a little farther from its mother's side. Since good vision is essential for finding food, this is an important milestone. Your kitten's baby teeth appear by the time it's about 3 weeks old. Kittens need those teeth to mash and grind solid food. The baby teeth will be replaced by permanent teeth at three to four months of age. When to Introduce Solid Food In the wild, mother cats bring live prey to their babies when they're about 4 weeks old, according to International Cat Care. Four weeks is also the ideal time to introduce solid food to your kitten. PetMD notes that kittens are ready for solid food when they have baby teeth, are interested in their mother's solid food, and have become curious, playful, and mobile. Deciding What to Feed Your Kitten Kittens need extra calories and nutrients that will help them grow into healthy adult cats. Growing kittens need more protein, amino acids, minerals, and vitamins than adult cat foods can provide. When you shop for your pet, look for foods that are specifically intended for kittens. How can you tell if a food is a good choice for your kitten? Look for a statement that the food meets the nutritional requirements of the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This statement is usually located under the list of ingredients on the kitten food package. If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by all the food choices, your veterinarian can make a few suggestions. Starting Solid Food As your kitten adjusts to eating solid food, it will still need to nurse or drink formula from a bottle. Start the weaning process slowly by adding some warm water to a tablespoon of canned kitten food and offering it to your pet. The ASPCA advises against mixing food with cow's milk, as milk can cause an upset stomach and diarrhea in some kittens. During the next week or two, gradually increase the amount of food you provide and decrease the formula if you've been hand-feeding your kitten. If your kitten is nursing, WebMD suggests separating the mother and kitten for a few hours every day. Separating the kitten will increase its interest in eating solid food rather than nursing. By the time your kitten is 5 or 6 weeks old, you may be able to introduce dry food moistened with water. Both dry and wet kitten food provide the nutrients your kitten needs. You may find that your kitten prefers one kind or enjoys both wet and dry food. If you only feed your kitten dry food, make sure you offer plenty of fresh water to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections. Canned food contains 70% water, while water only accounts for 10% of dry food, according to PetMD. Most kittens that follow this weaning process are solely eating kitten food by the time they're 8 to 10 weeks old. If your kitten is having trouble adjusting to solid food or isn't gaining weight, let your veterinarian know as soon as possible. Regular veterinary visits are essential to your kitten's health and offer the perfect time to discuss feeding issues and other concerns. Ready to make an appointment for your new addition? Contact our office to schedule a visit. Sources: International Cat Care: Bringing up a Litter of Kittens: Health Considerations, 7/31/2018 https://icatcare.org/advice/bringing-up-a-litter-of-kittens-health-considerations/ PetMD: Weaning Kittens: When and How to Introduce Solid Food, 11/21/2023 https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/weaning-kittens WebMD: Weaning a Kitten from Mother's Milk to Solid Food, 9/9/2023 https://www.webmd.com/pets/cats/weaning-kitten PetMD: Wet Cat Food Vs. Dry Cat Food: Which Is Better, 1/19/2021 https://www.petmd.com/cat/nutrition/wet-cat-food-vs-dry-cat-food-which-better ASPCA: Cat Nutrition Tips https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/cat-nutrition-tips

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