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  • Winter Weight Gain and Your Pet               

    Nulo weight management in cats

    It’s not uncommon for people to put on a few pounds over the holiday season. With the onset of colder temperatures, activity levels drop, and hibernation mode sets in. However, this is not limited to humans, as your pet may also experience winter weight gain.

    Dogs who used to get a daily walk outside and cats accustomed to exploring the yard are now confined to the cozy indoors. Meanwhile, we are tempted to indulge our pets with tasty treats and special foods during our celebrations. Lower activity levels and extra holiday treats can put our pets at risk for taking in more calories than they can burn – resulting in weight gain. So, what can be done to help?

    Prevention is Key

    If your pet is already in good shape and active, make sure they continue to exercise throughout the winter months. Whether this means a game of indoor fetch, a romp through the snow in the backyard, or a good hike when the weather allows, try to be active as often as possible to allow your pet to work off excess calories.

    If your pet isn’t getting near enough exercise time regardless of the changes you’ve made, consider cutting back on their calorie intake a bit to compensate for the lower level of activity. Gradually offering fewer treats and lowering the amount of kibble being fed at mealtimes should help offset the effects of lower activity levels during the winter. It’s also worth noting that the quality of treats being fed can significantly impact the health of your pet. Opt for low-calorie, superfood-type treats with wholesome, recognizable ingredients rather than treats high in calories that contain ingredients like sugar, molasses, and rice syrups.

    A little math can also help ensure that you are not offering so many treats that you are essentially canceling out the reduction in calories made by decreasing your pet’s mealtime portions. All pet treats should have a calorie content listed on the back of the packaging. Similarly, this information should also be available near the Guaranteed Analysis on the back of your pet’s food packaging, usually in calories (or the equivalent Kcal) per cup format. If your pet’s kibble contains 400 calories per cup, for example, and you typically feed a cup per day but have now decreased this amount to ½ cup, you have created a calorie reduction of 200 calories. To see the benefits of your pet’s winter dietary changes, you will need to ensure that you are offering less (ideally much less) than 200 calories of treats per day; otherwise, your well-intended changes may cancel out. Therefore, finding quality, low-calorie treats for your pet is equally essential to long-term weight management.

    Weight Loss Plans

    If your pet is already overweight, a bit more change will likely be required. High-calorie treats should be eliminated, and meal portions should be cut back significantly to get your dog or cat on the path to healthy living. You may also consider transitioning your pet to a ‘Trim’ or ‘Weight Management’ recipe, which can help decrease the amount of fat in your pet’s diet. These recipes may also contain ingredients like L-Carnitine, an amino acid that can help your pet metabolize fat in their diet.

    As with any major changes to your pet’s lifestyle, we recommend talking with your vet before beginning a new weight-loss plan. It is important to first confirm that your pet doesn’t have any underlying conditions that could be causing weight gain. Once cleared, your veterinarian can also help you determine an appropriate daily amount of food to provide your pet and help you structure and implement an achievable exercise regimen.

    Monitoring your Pet

    If you are concerned about your pet gaining weight during the winter, pay a visit to the veterinarian at the start of the season and have their weight recorded. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to look and feel for certain landmarks of an overweight or obese body condition, such as feeling for the ribs and spine. It could also be helpful to weigh your pet once a month to make sure the pounds aren’t creeping up and that they are maintaining (or losing) weight as needed. Maintaining a healthy weight in your pet will help ensure a longer, healthier life and even aid in joint health as your pet ages by keeping off excess pounds that could add strain to bones and joints.

  • Feeding Your Pet for Healthy Skin & Coat

    Dogs walking

    The skin is your pet’s largest organ and the first line of defense for their body. Your pet’s skin needs proper care and nutrition to maintain its barrier function and protect the internal body from the environment outside. The skin also contains tens of thousands of hair follicles in every square inch, which are responsible for continually growing and replenishing the fur that makes each of our four-legged friends so soft and lovable.

    Here’s what can you do to help keep them looking and feeling their best at any age.

    Healthy Skin & Coats Start From Within

    Healthy skin and a soft, shiny coat can say a lot about your pet’s overall well-being. Because the two are closely related, strategies to care for the skin and coat often go hand-in-hand. While a regular grooming routine is essential for removing dirt, debris, and odors on the surface, it’s at the cellular level where your pet’s skin health and coat quality are most profoundly impacted. 

    The skin is a complex network of trillions of specialized cells that need the resources to grow, function, and replicate properly. Some resources can come from inside the body, but most need to be replenished, and often, in order to keep up with the body’s continuous metabolism and cell turnover. That’s why a healthy diet is essential to provide the nutrients that cells need to keep normal processes running smoothly. But not all foods support skin and coat health equally.

    What should you look for in a food for skin & coat health?

    Optimal skin and coat health nutrition include ample protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals. Without the proper amounts of these nutrients, the skin can become easily damaged, dry, and flaky; and your pet’s fur can become brittle and shed excessively. By providing the body’s necessary tools to maintain and repair itself, you can support your pet’s skin and coat from within.

    • Animal-Based Protein is a rich source of amino acids, which are the building blocks your pet’s body needs to repair cells, synthesize the keratin, collagen, and elastin, and produce pigmentation that gives your pet’s coat its characteristic color. Good animal-based protein sources include meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and organ meats. 
    • Omega-3’s, 6’s, and 9’s are families of healthy fats that have important roles in your pet’s cell membranes and are precursors to important immune modulators that play a vital role in their immune, hormonal and inflammatory responses. Marine fish oils (like salmon, menhaden, sardine, herring, mackerel, or anchovy) are excellent sources of DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids. Certain animal fats and plant oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, such as chicken fat, canola oil, and safflower oil. Omega-9’s make up a large portion of the fatty acids found in Palm and Coconut Oils.
    • B Vitamins such as biotin (B7) help the body break down glucose, fatty acids, certain amino acids for cellular energy. Together with niacin (B3) and choline, pantothenic acid (B5) helps protect the skin by promoting the synthesis of skin fats, while riboflavin (vitamin B2) helps build proteins in the skin and offers protection against environmental damage. Good sources of B vitamins for dogs and cats are organ meats, fish, and yeast.
    • Vitamin A is required to form and repair normal, healthy skin cells and the production of sebum, which is the natural oil that helps protect your pet’s outermost layer of skin. Good sources of Vitamin A are organ meats like liver, fish, and eggs. Vitamin A can also be added in a supplemented form to complete and balanced pet foods.
    • Vitamin E protects skin cells from free radical damage as an antioxidant. Free radicals are produced by cells through normal metabolism, pollution, and sunlight and contribute to the aging process and cellular death. Good dietary sources of Vitamin E include supplements (alpha-tocopherols) and many plant oils and grains.
    • Zinc is a co-factor in more than 100 enzymes, with cell replication, nutrient metabolism, and cell membrane structure roles. Zinc is also involved in the transport of Vitamin A into the blood and collagen and keratin synthesis of new skin cells and wound healing. Red meats such as beef, lamb, and organ tissues are naturally rich in zinc. This mineral is also commonly added to dog and cat foods in a supplemented form as Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, or Zinc Amino Acid Chelate.
    • Iodine is required only in very small amounts by dogs and cats but has an important role in the production of thyroid hormone. The thyroid regulates your pet’s growth, development, and metabolic rate, including cellular turnover rate and hair regeneration and loss. Sea kelp is one of the richest natural sources of iodine, but this mineral is also commonly added to dog and cat foods in supplemented form.
    • Copper is an essential mineral that participates in the synthesis of melanin, a pigment that helps give your pet’s hair and skin color. Copper is found naturally in organ meats and shellfish but is commonly added to dog and cat foods in the form of Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, or Copper Amino Acid Chelate.
    • Selenium plays a vital role in hair growth and helps to reduce cellular damage caused by free radicals. Dietary sources of selenium include organ meats, shellfish, eggs, and the supplements Sodium Selenite and in some diets for dogs, Selenium Yeast.

    Providing a balanced diet with proper ratios of essential nutrients, using skin-supporting nutritional supplements, as well as keeping them hydrated with plenty of fresh water, are great ways to help your pet maintain healthy skin and a beautiful, shiny coat. Always consult your veterinarian to determine the best plan for your pet’s healthiest skin & coat regimen.

  • Supporting Your Pet’s Joint Health

    Dog and cat playing

    As a pet parent, you know your best friend needs both mental and physical exercise to stay happy and healthy. But just like humans, dogs and cats experience less flexibility in their joints as they get older. So what can you do to help ease joint stiffness due to normal daily exercise and activity?

    First, let’s talk about joint anatomy.

    What is a joint?

    A joint is a structure in the body at which two parts of the skeleton are joined together. At the joints, bones are covered in a special type of connective tissue, cartilage, which helps to cushion and support the bones where they bend and move.

    Synovial joints are the most common in a dog’s body and serve two primary functions: enabling movement and absorbing shock from weight transfer, allowing them to run, jump, and play with agility. With normal daily exercise and activity, the joint cartilage, surrounding tissues, and lubricating synovial fluid need to be maintained in order for your pet’s joints to stay healthy. Cold weather generally causes muscles to feel stiffer and synovial fluid in joints to have less pliability, making it extra challenging to maintain normal activity this time of year.

    How can you support your pet?

    Start by bringing your pet to your veterinarian for an examination. Routine veterinary care can help to identify any concerns and provide a recommended plan for your pet’s optimal joint care throughout their lifetime.

    You can also find several joint-supporting foods and functional supplements that help by providing the building blocks for your pet’s synovial fluid, cartilage and connective tissues, including:

    • Glucosamine may stimulate the production of proteoglycans which help maintain the health and resiliency of joints and connective tissue.
    • Chondroitin Sulfate is a natural component of cartilage and works together with glucosamine to help support the maintenance of your pet’s joint cartilage.
    •  Hydrolyzed Beef Collagen is made from enzyme-treated cartilage (type 2 collagen) with high bioavailability for incorporation into the structure of your pet’s joints.
    • Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is rich in organic sulfur and plays an important role in synthesis of collagen and glucosamine, both of which are vital for healthy bones and joints.
    • Organic Turmeric’s main active component, curcumin, has potent antioxidant properties that help protect cells and tissues from oxidative damage.
    • New Zealand Green Mussel contains glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidants, and minerals that help maintain healthy cartilage and joint function.
    • Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is rich in EPA and DHA, omega-3 fatty acids that support a healthy inflammatory response.
    • Eggshell Membrane contains Hyaluronic Acid, which helps maintain the synovial fluid that lubricates joints.
    • Vitamin E supports healthy cartilage cells and protects cells against oxidative stress damage.
    • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) supports collagen, the main protein in joint tissue and bone.

    With the guidance of your veterinarian, use joint-supporting foods and health supplements, and establishing a regular exercise routine that works well for you and your pet, you can help your pet maintain normal joint function and mobility.

  • 5 Tips to Ease Your Dog’s Travel Stress

    Dog traveling with Nulo Calming Soft Chew Supplements

    Travel can be stressful for you and your pup, so we’re here to ease your dog’s travel stress with five tips for keeping your dog calm while you travel.

    Get your dog used to the car or their carrier in advance

    Your dog will be most comfortable if their first time in the car or a carrier isn’t on their first long trip! Several weeks ahead of time, make the car or the carrier a comfortable and relaxing place for your dog by introducing them to the area with lots of tasty treats and familiar smells, like a t-shirt or a blanket that smells like you. Make sure to reward behaviors you want them to continue, like laying down and relaxing! Keep it short at first with lots of positive reinforcement, and increase the time they spend in the car or the carrier over several days.

    Pack food, treats, water, etc. in dedicated bags and containers


    Keep your pup’s items in their own bags or containers, so they’re easier to locate during your trip! You can prep each meal in its own baggie or airtight container to make mealtime simpler, or you can transfer the amount of food you’ll need into a larger container for easy access. Collapsible bowls for water and food take up less space and can be put away after each stop. And don’t forget to pack water from your home or bottled water to keep your dog’s tummy happy and healthy on the road!

    Make frequent stops for potty breaks

    When dogs are stressed, they may need to use the bathroom more frequently. You know your dog’s needs best, so plan to stop every 1-3 hours to allow your dog to relieve themselves! Of course, be sure to pack waste bags and clean up after your dog at rest stops.

    Keep your dog entertained with puzzle toys or chews

    Many dogs would rather play than sleep on trips, so pack your dog’s favorite treats in a puzzle toy they can easily work on while traveling. Frozen Kong toys with peanut butter or Greek yogurt keep lots of dogs entertained for hours! Natural chews like bully sticks, split antlers, water buffalo or goat horns, and beef femurs are a great option for heavy chewers as well. Puzzle toys and chews give dogs the mental stimulation they need to stay relaxed!

    Consider a calming supplement to keep your dog comfortable

    Some pets may do best during travel with a bit of help from a calming supplement. Nulo’s new calming soft chew supplements contain a variety of natural ingredients like hemp seed oil, chamomile, ashwagandha, L-tryptophan, and L-theanine to help calm your canine! Give your dog the recommended amount of chews for their size 30 minutes to an hour before travel, and your dog should stay stress-free during your trip.

  • Are vegetarian and vegan diets good for dogs and cats?

    vegetarian cat

     Dr. Abby Huggins | Veterinarian & Triathlete

    We may treat our pets like family, however it’s important to feed them based on their biological needs. To learn more, we asked our resident veterinarian Dr. Abby Huggins about plant based diets and our pets.

    Are vegetarian and vegan diets healthy for my cat and dog?

    For cats, it is an easy decision. Dogs, however, require a more nuanced answer.

    Much of the response is based on the evolutionary biology and natural history of these species – in particular, their respective degree of domestication. It is theorized that dogs began their domestication journey from gray wolves as they ate the scraps of left-over human meals. Those that could digest the starches in those left-over scraps were thereby better able to survive in proximity to humans.

    Food is an emotional choice, but, ultimately, it must be a scientific choice, especially when we are choosing that food for our beloved pets. Even though our pets are family, they are not little humans. Their dietary choices need to reflect their unique anatomy and physiology. A diet that contains high-quality animal source proteins most closely aligns with their nutritional requirements.

    Does that mean my dog can eat a vegan or vegetarian diet? 

    It’s very nuanced, but bottom line- just because they CAN doesn’t mean they SHOULD.

    Due to a long history of domestication, dogs have a heightened ability to use and digest starches as a form of energy compared to their wolf ancestors. However, the ability to digest certain food sources does not replace the need for animal-based sources of meat protein as a key component in a healthy diet.

    High quality animal-source proteins contain all the essential amino acids a dog requires; many plant-based proteins do not. Additionally, dogs have a shorter GI tract than humans and herbivores, meaning they have less time to break down and efficiently absorb nutrients from their food. With a higher acid content in the stomach to digest bones and raw meat, dogs tend to do better on foods that are more readily broken down, but can struggle with more complex foods such as plants. Ultimately, while dogs have the capacity to digest plants, utilizing solely plant-based proteins may not be the healthiest long-term diet for most dogs.

    High quality animal-source proteins contain all the essential amino acids a dog requires; many plant-based proteins do not.

    What about cats? Can cats live a healthy, happy life without meat?

    Vegan and vegetarian diets lack preformed vitamin A, taurine, and other specific amino acids, which can only be found in animal-meat proteins. Even when these nutrients are added as supplements to their food, they are unlikely to meet the dietary requirements of cats.

    Bottom line, cats require meat-based protein to thrive.

    Cats cannot be vegans or vegetarians- they are indisputably, obligate carnivores. 

    Should Pets Eat Like their Owners?

    Pets are members of the family. It is only natural, then, to want to offer them the healthiest options, so they can live their best lives. Many times, we deem what is best for us, must be best for them.

    Fad Diets Don’t work

    However, the opinions on what constitutes the healthiest diet for humans are wide and often conflicting. Sugar-free, ketogenic, Whole30, intermittent fasting, paleo are all recent dietary trends. Frequently motivated with an initial goal of weight-loss, people adopt rather restrictive diets to feel better, look better, and perform better.

    Vegetarianism and veganism (the avoidance of all animal-based foods), however, often stem from a deeper motivation beyond one’s own health, including ethical concerns for animal welfare, environmental impacts, and religious dietary restrictions.

    Subsequently, calling either of these dietary preferences a trend undermines the motivation, as it is a lifestyle choice for many. Stemming from a desire to feed their pets a similar diet to their own or to avoid violating their own dietary rules, many pet owners seek vegetarian and vegan pet food diets for their dogs and cats.

    Food is an emotional choice, but, ultimately, it must be a scientific choice, especially when we are choosing that food for our beloved pets. Even though our pets are family, they are not little humans. Their dietary choices need to reflect their unique anatomy and physiology. A diet that contains high-quality animal source proteins most closely aligns with their nutritional requirements.

    So, how can a vegetarian or a vegan find a balance between his values and the nutritional needs of his cat and dog?

    In life, we are often confronted with situations where we must find space for compromise. While we may not always be able to attain absolutes, we can still make choices that align with our beliefs and our goals. Nulo has developed a network of family farmers in the central U.S. that focus on free-range beef, chicken, and turkey, and sustainable wild caught fish that adhere to the requirements of the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch Program. Nulo foods are produced in USDA, FDA, and AFFCO approved facilities in Kansas, Nebraska, and North Dakota, equating decreased pollution from fossil fuel usage for transportation. Through responsible and compassionate choices, Nulo offers not only high-performance, nutritionally-rich pet foods, but foods that are made with a conscious effort to minimize environmental impact. #HealthierTogether

  • Kitten Nutrition: How Much To Feed Your Kitten & More

    kitten staring at camera

    Congratulations on your newest addition (or two)!

    Among the many decisions you will encounter during your pet’s life, what you feed your kitten is hands-down one of the most important. Your kitten’s nutritional needs are just as special as they are! Starting them off on the right foot (err, paw) with a high-quality diet will help their body and brain grow to its best potential.

    Kittens experience an explosive growth trajectory and thus have extremely high energy requirements – three times that of an adult, in fact. During their first several months of life, your little purr-pot’s caloric and nutritional needs are the highest they will ever be due to the high metabolic rate and energy demands associated with growth.

    Think of metabolism as how fast or efficiently calories are utilized. In the adult animal, whose growth is complete, calories are being used for day-to-day energy to run the machine. In the growing animal, these calories are not only being used to fuel the machine, but to build the machine from the ground up!

    To build that purring machine, kittens need the same essential ingredients they will require throughout life, but the proportions of these ingredients need to reflect the demand of rapid growth. Likewise, caloric needs are substantially higher in immature animals.

     An ideal kitten diet should offer high-quality and high-proportion animal meat proteins, healthy fats, appropriate fiber content, and supply the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids essential for complete and balanced nutrition.

    • Proteins: to build tissues and support the developing immune system
    • Fats: energy-dense ingredients; omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA to support skin, brain, and coat health
    • Vitamins, Minerals, and Amino Acids: Vitamins A & D; Taurine, etc. to create a complete and balanced diet

    How often to feed

    When kittens are little, their stomachs are tiny as well and cannot hold the volume of food that their adult stomach will be able to accommodate and their GI tracts are still immature. However, kittens require more food on a daily basis than their adult selves. Feeding multiple small meals throughout the day circumvents this issue. Kittens are “grazers” by nature and tend to do well with free-feeding, which provides a more consistent supply of energy. Moistening the food or adding in canned food can also make the meals more palatable and readily digestible.

    When your kitten reaches 4 months of age, she has already achieved the majority of her adult size (with the exception of large breed cats like Maine Coons). At this point, you can transition to scheduled meals and twice a day feeding. If you have more than one cat or kitten, it is wise to provide them each with their own personal bowl, so that feeding can be individualized as needed.

    How much to feed

    High-quality commercial diets like Nulo have suggested feeding amounts listed by body weight and age in the feeding guidelines sections on the bag and website. Remember, these are guidelines. Every kitten is special, down to its individual metabolism and body type, so nutritional requirements will vary.

    Ideally, we want to feed a diet that supports an average growth rate. We certainly want to ensure that we are feeding enough, but we also want to be mindful that we are not overfeeding. Having an awareness of your cat’s body condition score (“how well she fits in her clothes”), will help you gauge an appropriate amount to feed. When we overfeed young cats, we can set them up for a lifetime of battling obesity. In humans, the number of adipose (fat) cells that are acquired in our immature years are the number that we will keep as we proceed into adulthood. Essentially, the number and size of our adult fat cells is “set” during childhood; it is the amount of fat that is stored in those cells that fluctuates as we age. When a young cat is overfed, that excessive number and size of fat-storing power can more readily result in obesity as an adult.

    Your vet will be seeing your kitten regularly through her first several months of life for wellness checks and vaccines. Your doc can be an excellent resource to determine the appropriate daily volume to feed. 

  • Puppy Nutrition: How Much To Feed Your Pup & More

    Congratulations on your newest addition!

    Among the many decisions you will encounter during your pet’s life, what you feed your puppy is hands-down one of the most important. Your puppy’s nutritional needs are just as special as they are! Starting them off on the right foot (err, paw) with a high-quality diet will help their body and brain grow to its best potential.

    During the first several months of life, your pup’s caloric and nutritional needs are the highest they will ever be due to the high metabolic rate and energy demands associated with growth. Think of metabolism as how fast or efficiently calories are utilized. In the adult animal, whose growth is complete, calories are being used for day-to-day energy to run the machine. In the growing animal, these calories are not only being used to fuel the machine, but to build the machine from the ground up!

    To build that machine, puppies need the same essential ingredients they will require throughout life, but the proportions of these ingredients need to reflect the demand of rapid growth. Likewise, caloric needs are substantially higher in immature animals.

     An ideal puppy diet should offer high-quality and high-proportion animal meat proteins, healthy fats, appropriate fiber content, and supply the vitamins and minerals essential for complete and balanced nutrition.

    1. Proteins: to build tissues and support the developing immune system
    2. Fats: energy-dense ingredients; omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA to support skin, brain, and coat health
    3. Vitamins and Minerals: to create a complete and balanced diet

    how often to feed

    When pups are little, their stomachs are tiny and cannot hold the volume of food that their adult stomach will be able to accommodate. However, puppies require more food on a daily basis than their adult selves. Dividing their daily total food volume into multiple small meals throughout the day circumvents this issue. Regularly spaced small meals also helps promote healthy digestion, establish a potty-training schedule, and keep pups focused on their food at mealtime. Multiple meals also provide a more consistent supply of energy, which is especially important in small and toy-breed dogs who are more prone to hypoglycemia (dangerous dips in their blood sugar level).

    A good rule of thumb is to feed 3-4 meals per day until your pup is 3-4 months of age. Moistening the food or adding in canned food can also make the meals more palatable and readily digestible. When your pup reaches 4-6 months of age, you can transition down to twice a day feeding. As you know, every pup is unique; your veterinarian can help tailor that feeding schedule to one that is optimal for your dog.

    how much to feed

    High-quality commercial diets like Nulo have suggested feeding amounts listed by body weight and age in the feeding guidelines sections on the bag and website. Remember, these are guidelines. Every puppy is special, down to its individual metabolism and body type, so nutritional requirements will vary from pup to pup.

    Ideally, we want to feed a diet that supports an average growth rate. We certainly want to ensure that we are feeding enough, but we also want to be mindful that we are not overfeeding. When we overfeed puppies, we can set them up for a lifetime of battling obesity. In humans, the number of adipose (fat) cells that are acquired in our immature years are the number that we will keep as we proceed into adulthood. Essentially, the number and size of our adult fat cells is “set” during childhood; it is the amount of fat that is stored in those cells that fluctuates as we age. When a puppy is overfed, that excessive number and size of fat-storing power can more readily result in obesity as an adult.

    Additionally, we also see a host of developmental orthopedic (bone and joint) issues associated with too rapid a growth trajectory in our large and giant-breed dogs. For these breeds, it is exceptionally important to maintain a controlled and steady growth pattern.  A good rule of thumb is the larger the dog will be at maturity, the longer it takes for them to reach adulthood. Hence, small and toy breed dogs reach maturity (both adult size and sexual maturity) at an earlier age, some as young as 5 to 6 months of age. Conversely, large and giant-breed dogs will continue to grow well into 15 – 24 months of age.

    Certainly, predicting the adult size of a mixed breed or rescue dog can be more challenging. It is important to remain flexible and amend your feeding plan along the way. This is an excellent opportunity to seek your veterinarian’s help. Your vet will be seeing your pup regularly through his first several months of life for wellness checks and vaccines. Regular weight checks will help better predict your dog’s mature size. Your doc can be an excellent resource to help determine the appropriate daily volume to feed.  

    take home points

    1. While your pup is growing, the amount and frequency of feeding will be GREATER than when he is an adult.
    2. Based on your pup’s estimated adult size, you will need to adjust that amount and timing accordingly. As he approaches adulthood, his caloric intake and frequency of mealtimes should decrease.
    3. The goal is to achieve an average and steady growth rate for your pup. Overfeeding and too rapid a growth trajectory may lead to obesity and orthopedic issues, among other concerns, as an adult.
  • Senior Pets: How Much To Feed Your Pet & More

    Older dog and cat napping

    One of the greatest gifts of pet ownership is the privilege of watching your 4-legged pal enter their senior years. As your beloved friend ages, their nutritional needs will change as well, necessitating adjustment in both the amount and the formulation of their diet.

    With aging comes lower energy requirements. It is just a fact – the body is no longer investing its energy in building. Instead, its focus is on repair and repair does not require the same number of calories as active growth. Even if your pet is as active, energetic, or youthful as they have always been, they simply don’t need as many calories to fuel their system. Excess calories are deposited as fat; that is why there is a tendency to gain fat and lose muscle as the body ages. While much of this is natural, an optimal senior diet can mitigate this muscle loss and fat acquisition. We need to be smart about our calorie sources and ensure that the sources your pet consumes are high quality and appropriately balanced.

    In addition to decreased caloric requirements, kidney and immune system function sometimes also decline with advancing age. For years, nutritional thinking has centered on decreasing dietary protein as a means to lessen the load on aging kidneys. While this seems to make sense in theory, in reality, an animal eating a protein-restricted diet will end up breaking down its own muscle for energy. This leads to muscle wasting, decreased strength and stamina, and decreased body condition. Therefore, an optimal senior diet should focus on supplying high quality animal source protein to help maintain lean muscle mass. Some animals, such as those with advanced kidney failure or liver disease, may require special dietary modifications, so a conversation with your veterinarian about your pet’s unique nutritional needs is always recommended.

    In addition to lower calorie and optimal protein levels, a senior diet also needs to offer healthy fats as a source of energy, as well as key elements for support and repair. Antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids help the body continue self-repair and support a normal inflammatory response. L-carnitine helps the body utilize fat for energy, instead of depositing it for reserves.

    Changes in digestion also occur with age. You may notice some of your pets’ senses like sight and hearing attenuate with age. Taste and smell are no different. Add that to wearing or altogether loss of teeth and you may find an animal who has difficulty chewing and swallowing as well. Enhancing the palatability of their diet with the addition of more aromatic ingredients and textures (like pouch or canned food diets) can improve their olfactory experience and provide a softer mouthful for her to chew. Additionally, pouch and canned food diets have a higher moisture content than kibble; hydration is key in supporting normal organ health. Ensuring sufficient water consumption can also help with occasional constipation that many older animals experience. Dietary fiber, as well as the addition of pre- and probiotics, are also important in keeping material moving along the GI tract.

    Age IS just a number, but there are anticipated changes in the body’s metabolism and function as an animal grows older. Feeding a diet that matches these changes is your best defense to help your sweet friend to continue to live her best life.

  • Seasonal Allergies in Pets

    Dog rolling in grass

    Do you know that 70% of your pet’s immune system cells reside in their gut?

    The immune system is the body’s day-to-day defense against anything unfamiliar, such as bacteria and other immune-challenging concerns. The immune system and intestinal microbiota develop over your pet’s lifetime in a symbiotic relationship that helps to protect your pet and keep them healthy.

    Occasionally seasonal allergens and normal stress can disrupt this balance, causing the immune system to overreact to substances in the environment that are normally harmless. If you notice your four-legged friends are scratching themselves, sneezing, licking their paws, or shedding more than before, seasonal allergies could be at work.

    How can you support your pet?

    First, start by taking your pet to your veterinarian for an examination. Routine veterinary care can help to identify the reason for any changes in your pet’s behavior or appearance and recommended a plan to address any specific concerns.

    For normal healthy pets, there are several foods and supplements that can help to support their microflora and a healthy immune system, including:

    • Bovine Colostrum is an antibody-rich fluid produced from mother’s first milk during the first few days after giving birth that helps support the immune system.
    • Mannanoligosaccharides (MOS) are special fibers from the cell walls of yeast that support the immune system and provide a food source for bacteria living in the gut.
    • Krill Oil contains omega-3’s that are in their natural phospholipid form that are easily absorbed and supports a normal inflammatory response.
    • Organic Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent antioxidant that helps support a normal inflammatory response.
    • Bee Pollen is made by honeybees from the dried nectar of plants that contains antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin, that helps support overall cellular health and a normal inflammatory response.
    • Apple Cider Vinegar is rich in acetic acid, which helps support a healthy intestinal pH and normal functioning of immune-system cells.
    • Licorice Root contains phytocompounds, such as glycyrrhizin and isoflavones, that have antioxidant properties and support a normal inflammatory response.
    • Dried Yeast Fermentate is a combination of Saccharomyces cerevisiae fermentation metabolites and yeast cell wall fragments that may help with occasional seasonal allergies.
    • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) is a potent antioxidant that contributes to immune defense by supporting normal cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system.
    • Probiotics help support a balanced microflora and helps maintain normal functions of systemic and mucosal immune cells in the gut.
  • Travis Dermott & Niylah

    Travis Dermott on ice with dog Niylah

    A native of Newmarket, Ontario, Travis Dermott is a professional hockey player in Toronto. Travis was selected 34th overall in the 2015 Entry Draft after which he enjoyed three outstanding seasons playing junior hockey in the OHL before making his pro debut in the 2015-16 AHL playoffs. Now, he is proving to be an integral part of the Toronto defensive core as he continues to excel at his role night after night.

    Off ice, Travis leads an active lifestyle and is always on the go with his Australian Shepard, Niylah. Niylah, whose name was inspired by the Canadian singing icon Shania Twain, is an energetic and obedient dog that has fit so perfectly into Travis’ life in Toronto. 

    Travis and Niylah stay busy learning new tricks, heading to the park to play and going on new adventures. She has brought so much joy to Travis’ life and he couldn’t imagine coming home after a tough practice and not having her there to greet him. That’s why he is dedicated to keeping her happy, energized and healthy so she can continue to live her best life together with Travis for years to come.