Pet Forum

Tips for Feeding Your Adult Cat – The Do’s and Don’ts!

As our cats reach adulthood, from the ages of two to eight, their needs change from when they were mere kittens.  Each cat has his or her own set of quirks and preferences and as your cat gets older, you will get to know what makes them well ‘meow’ and fit.  As they graduate from kitty-hood, so does their energy level and it is important to cater your cat’s feeding accordingly.

The below are some general tips to help your cat thrive during adulthood.

Make sure to feed your adult cat a high- quality cat food

Adult cats should eat enough of a high-quality, nutritious food to meet their energy needs and to maintain and repair body tissues. The amount you feed your adult cat should be based on his or her size and energy output. Cats vary widely in their activity levels. A cat with a relatively normal activity level should eat enough to maintain his energy level. Most food labels are accurate in feeding amounts and you can adjust accordingly depending on the activity level of your cat.

 

no milk for an adult cat

No milk for an adult cat!

 

Milk is hard for your adult cat to digest

Contrary to popular belief, milk should not be fed to cats as a treat or a substitute for water. Cats do not possess significant amounts of lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk. Feeding milk and milk-based products to cats can actually cause them to vomit or have diarrhea, especially upon reaching adulthood.

A happy cat is an active cat

Since we don’t take our cats for outdoor walks (although some people do), it is important to make sure they stay active during the day.  If you are gone all day, leave interactive toys, or something to keep your cat stimulated. When you get home, play with your kitty and get him up and off the couch!  We don’t want our kitties to become overweight and have the health issues that accompany an overweight cat such as diabetes.

Cats Are Carnivores

All cats require taurine, an amino acid that is important for normal heart function, vision and reproduction. Although most mammals can make taurine from other amino acids in the body, cats cannot. Since taurine is found only in animal-based protein, all cats need meat-based diets to meet their nutritional requirements.

Water, water, water

Unless advised otherwise by your vet, your cat should always have free access to fresh, clean water. Water bowls should be cleaned every day to keep it appealing to your furry kitties. 

Cats in extreme weather might need more food

As with people, extreme hot or cold weather can increase a kitty’s energy needs. Both keeping warm and keeping cool use up extra energy, so you may wish to consult with your vet about what to do when the temperatures become very hot or very cold.  Indoor cats are still affected by extreme weather.

Cats, if possible, should have two meals a day

Cat owners should always consult with their veterinarians to determine the best feeding schedule and types of food for their cats. However, as a general rule, it is recommended that all cats be fed twice a day using the portion control feeding method. Simply divide the amount suggested on the label of your cat’s food into two meals, spaced eight to twelve hours apart. You may need to adjust portions as you learn your cat’s ideal daily “maintenance” amount.

There are different feeding methods you can try for your cat

It isn’t always easy for some cat owners to accommodate normal two-meal-a-day feeding regimens. There are other ways to meet both you and your cat’s needs and circumstances. The different types of feeding methods are as follows:

1. Portion-control feeding which entails measuring your cat's food and offering it as a meal, thereby controlling the amount of food that can be consumed. This method is used for weight control programs and for cats who might overeat if fed free-choice. Food can be provided in one or more meals daily.

2. Free-choice feeding is also known as free feeding when you have dry food available at all times, as much and whenever your kitty wants it. This method is more appropriate when feeding dry food, which will not spoil if left out. However, some cats will overeat when fed free-choice, which can result in obesity so keep an eye of your kitty’s weight if you decide to use this method.

Cat treats should be given in moderation

We all love to give our cats treats. However, treats should be given in moderation and should represent less than five percent of a cat’s daily food intake. The rest should come from a nutritionally complete cat food.  And the same goes for ‘human’ food.  Make sure to give your kitty protein pieces in moderation, if at all, to see how your cat reacts to it and that your cat can digest it fully.

If you feed your cat a healthy diet with a high quality cat food, give your kitty plenty of water, and make sure your adult cat is stimulated with play and/or toys, your adult cat will thrive.

 

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How to Make Dog Training More Enjoyable

Guest Blog by Jordan Walker

Anyone who takes care of a dog will want his or her dog to be well behaved and obedient. To achieve these important qualities, a dog needs to undergo training. When a human mentions training, the brain immediately associates it with serious demeanor where the person focuses intently on learning what is being taught.

However, a serious, unsmiling approach seldom works when it comes to training dogs (even with humans, for that matter). To be able to train effectively, a dog owner will need to sustain the dog’s interest in the activity. Although prompt responses to commands are expected of a well-trained dog, getting all serious and stern will not be very effective training. The best way to get a dog to respond eagerly to anything is to retain its attention using food and fun.

Dog Training More Enjoyable

Understand How Dogs Learn

In order to train a dog effectively, an owner needs to understand how a dog learns its tricks. A dog learns primarily by association. Dogs are eager to please. They love to receive praise and strive to do the things that bring rewards. Conversely, they feel bad when they do something that does not please their masters. An owner can take advantage of these canine traits by associating the behaviors they want their dogs to learn with reward, like a treat (food or toy), affection, or both. On the other hand, if an owner does not want to encourage certain behaviors in a dog, they simply take away the reward and/or ignore a dog. An owner should never get into the habit of physically punishing the dog. First of all, physical punishment hurts. Second, pain is unnecessary for a dog to learn its lessons. Third of all, pain takes away the fun in the learning exercise.

Apply Consequences

Apply Consequences Immediately

Unlike humans, dogs cannot make connections between events that are separated by time. They keep their attention to the now, in the present. So that a dog may learn the approved behaviors quicker, an owner must train the dog by applying the consequences of its actions, that is, getting a reward or not, immediately. If it does something good, the reward should be implemented right away to enable the dog to associate the reward with the behavior. The opposite holds true: when a dog does wrong, the consequence (no reward or getting ignored) should be immediately demonstrated.

Consistency is Key

It is important that the consequence should immediately follow the act. Otherwise, the lesson is lost on the dog. Say a dog sits when told then pees behind the couch right after. If the owner gives the reward for sitting only after the dog pees, the dog will associate the reward with the peeing, not with the sitting. In addition, consequences should be consistently applied. A dog learns by repetitive association. If the owner cannot establish a consistent action-consequence approach, the dog won’t be able to learn what is expected of it effectively. When a dog meets other people, the owner should advise them on how to interact with the dog consistent with its training.

Keep Sessions Short But Sweet

Dogs have short attention spans. Training times should be kept short but sweet and in a location free of potential and ongoing distractions. They can also become bored or inattentive if the session goes on too long. The length of training depends on the dog but should probably not go beyond 15 minutes. So that a dog enjoys training and looks forward to it, an owner should know what treats, toys, and games to employ that will hold the dog’s interest.

All’s Well That Starts and Ends Well

Training time should be approached with a lighthearted attitude. Although the lessons are important, the dog will learn best if it has fun doing so. A dog can sense its master’s mood even before the session begins. On this note, an owner should probably not undertake dog training when stressed, troubled, or tense. When the training does go well, it’s better to quit while ahead. The session should end on a pleasant note, before either owner or dog gets tired, bored, or frustrated.

Take Baby Steps

Dogs will learn better if tasks are broken into small steps. When an owner is just beginning to teach a skill, he/she can start by instructing the dog in short intervals and gradually increase the time with repetition. Sometimes, an owner will require a dog to learn a more complex skill. It is better to divide it into parts, then teaching each part one at a time until the time comes when the parts can be put together. As the dog learns, the difficulty can be gradually increased.

Tips on Treats

Treats form an important component of effective and fun training. When looking for a dog treat, an owner should choose what most appeals to his/her dog’s palate while making sure that it is appropriate to give a dog. When shopping for treats at the supermarket, it’s best to read the label to ensure the treat is free of harmful ingredients. Treats that are made from whole foods and free of preservatives are best.

As well, some foods like organ meats can be very palatable to a dog. Humans may not love these meats, but dogs will. Another important note to keep in mind, many human foods are toxic to dogs. When deciding to use human-grade foods as treats, an owner should know whether it is safe for a dog to consume to prevent poisoning. Finally, for treats to be effective in training, they should be given sparingly and should not be a regular component of a dog’s meals. Trainings are thus probably best scheduled in between feedings.

Dogs are very intelligent and are willing to work for what a master wants from them. They may not understand language, but can associate those bits of language with the behaviors expected of them. By taking advantage of a dog’s natural learning method and combining it with food and fun, any owner can produce obedient, well-behaved dogs.

Coop and CagesAuthor: Jordan Walker

Jordan is the lead content curator for Coops And Cages, as well as a couple of other pet related blogs. His passion for animals is only matched by his love for 'attempting' to play the guitar. If you would like to catch him, you can via Google+ or Twitter: @CoopsAndCages.

 

 

 

  

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One Dog Organic Dog Treats- Healthy, Chemical Free Treats that Your Dogs Will Love!

Dog owners love to give their dogs a daily dose of food and treats. Dog Treats are a great way to keep your dogs feeling satisfied throughout the day and add a little variety to their meals.  And, of course, treats are a great way to train your pups and reward them for good behavior. However, with so many treats on the market, how do you choose some that are healthy, enticing and won’t ever be recalled!  Well, One Dog Organic is your answer.

One Dog Organic offers healthy GMO-free dog treats

As with human food, you worry about feeding your dogs treats that have chemicals or are unhealthy.  One Dog Organic offers enticing treats for your dog that are all wheat, corn, soy, gluten-free, organic, GMO-free and always baked fresh in small batches when you order.   You don’t ever have to worry about your pup eating something that might not digest just right.

One Dog Organic

One Dog Organic offers GMO-free, fresh ingredients from the USA, and make every treat by hand and baked them in small batches to ensure freshness and quality.  Their recipes NEVER include chemical preservatives, artificial colors, flavorings, salt, hormones, fillers or by-products. In fact, these treats are good enough for humans to eat! All their treats are rigorously human tested for quality, and every product must receive the “paw” of approval.

One Dog Organic also offers dog treats for allergic dogs

If your dog has food allergies, it is really hard to find them treats if your dog is be allergic to one specific ingredient.  One Dog Organic has provided a way to purchase dog treats even if your dog has a very specific allergy.  Their dog treats can be custom ordered to fit the needs of your dog.  If your dog is allergic to oat flour, for example, One Dog Organic will take out the oat flour and bake treats with another ingredient to make sure that it digests well and is safe for your pet.  Talk about custom ordered!

One Dog Organic Products

Treats can be made specifically for your dog’s needs

There are many different dog treats that you can purchase for your dog: 

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter & Honey Bones?

One Dog Organic offers a peanut butter and honey recipe treat that is all natural, nutritious, organic and gluten-free, made with 100% human grade ingredients. They are an excellent source of protein as well.  Honey is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and due to its antibacterial properties, honey benefits dogs who are suffering from gastrointestinal issues.

One Dog Organic Samplers

If you just can’t make up your mind which of their delicious flavors your dog might enjoy, you can select from one of their sample bags.

Gluten-Free Dog Treat Variety Pack

Sometimes your dogs’ want a little variety in their lives which is why they now offer their signature recipes in a variety pack. You can select your favorite flavors from all of their delicious samples.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Crunchy Delights

Their pawsome pumpkin spice treats are handmade, all natural, nutritious, organic, gluten-free, and contain 100% human grade ingredients. Dogs love the taste of pumpkin which is also high in potassium, beta carotene, Vitamin E and is naturally low in calories.

How about some great gifts for the holidays?

Looking for a great gift for your friends with dogs for the holidays?  One Dog Organic offers great gift baskets filled with samples of their most popular treats!  AND they are also partnering with eco-friendly businesses to offer additional products and toys for your favorite pets!

 One Dog Organic Gift basket

There are so many reasons to buy your dogs (or your friends’ dogs) some of the amazing, healthy treats from One Dog Organic.  Your furry friends will wag with joy and you will love how you’re giving your pups a healthy, easily digestible treat. Purchase some today at http://www.onedogorganic.com and you and your dogs will be happy you did! If you use coupon code REINDEER14, you can get 10 % off your order and free shipping.

About One Dog Organic

Veronica Glynn, founder of One Dog Organic had a cat that suddenly died of kidney failure. She and her family even fed their kitty a premium cat food that eventually made her sick! When the food was recalled due to a tainted ingredient, it was too late. The damage could not be repaired.  Veronica then made a commitment to do what she could to safeguard her pets and started baking organic treats for her dog Milo and then began sharing with friends and family. The treats got rave reviews from dogs and people! What started as a mission to protect her animals quickly expanded to a business and One Dog Organic was born. 

Veronica understands that their products are not meant to take the place of regular food, but wanted to help bridge the nutritional gap left behind by so many dog foods and treats on the market today. Their high standards and implemented food safety protocols means that your treats will always be of the best quality and made with safe ingredients.

 

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Pet Diabetes Awareness in Our Dogs

November is Pet Awareness Month

Guest Blog by Veronica Glynn, Founder of One Dog Organic

As with humans, diabetes can take pet owners by surprise and if left untreated, can be fatal.  Statistics show that approximately one in every 200 cats and one in 400-500 dogs are diagnosed with diabetes. (1)

In dogs, diabetes usually develops between the ages of 7-10 years but can occur at a much younger age. Seventy percent of dogs with diabetes are female and 30 percent male. The following breeds are at higher risk than others:

•    Dachshunds

•    Poodles

•    Miniature and Standard Schnauzers

•    Cairn and Australian Terriers

•    Springer Spaniels

•    Keeshonds

•    Samoyeds

•    Golden Retrievers (1)

Diabetes mellitus, or more commonly referred to as diabetes, is caused by a deficiency of a pancreatic hormone called insulin which affects the bodies’ ability to use energy found in food (sugars and starch). Normally these are broken down into something called glucose which then fuels the cells in the body but we need the insulin to help our bodies use this glucose. Because we cannot convert the glucose it builds up and can cause damage to the kidneys, heart, eyes or nervous system. If left untreated, diabetes can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and nerve damage.

While diabetes is not curable, it can be maintained with proper medication, diet and exercise. When these three items are properly maintained, your pet can live a long and healthy life.  Below are some signs and symptoms to watch out for. Always contact your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Pet Diabetes Awareness

 

Early signs and symptoms:

Excessive urination

Excessive thirst

Hunger

Weight loss even with normal appetite

A dog who is affected by diabetes will be hungry a lot of the time due to the glucose not getting converted to energy and making its way to the brain. The glucose levels in the brain are too low so it keeps sending out the signal “I’m hungry!!”

Later signs and symptoms

Anorexia or complete loss of appetite
Lethargy and depression
Vomiting

Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) can also be an issue. As the sugar in the blood spills over into the urine, the animal will need to urinate frequently and in large volumes. This can in turn lead to dehydration, which then causes the dog to drink more water, which causes more urine which causes more… see the loop we just entered? Dogs who are hyperglycemic may appear confused, tired or shaky. They may collapse or have seizures due to all of the excess glucose flowing through their bodies.

After reading these signs and symptoms you may be alarmed and convinced your pet has diabetes. I know that my dog, Milo, has exhibited some, if not all of the symptoms listed above at one point or another. Hungry? Check. Thirsty? Check Check. Vomiting? You betcha.

If you are concerned your pet may have diabetes, there are home tests you can purchase from your local pharmacy or retailer such as Target or Walmart. I do caution people about playing doctor (which I am guilty of myself) as sometimes these ‘test-at-home’ kits can be faulty or the results may be unclear. If your pet does test positive for diabetes, the great news is that it can be maintained and with due diligence, your pet will live a long and healthy life. We had a diabetic dog while I was growing up and she required daily insulin shots and diet modification. She was a great dog and lived to be a very happy 13 years. 

 I am frequently asked if our treats are safe for diabetic dogs and the simple answer is, yes. However, because diabetic dogs are generally on special diets, I like for owners to get the okay from their veterinarian prior to feeding their pet new foods. After much research and careful consideration, we will be announcing a new recipe this holiday season specifically for our diabetic canines. We are so excited to offer a safe, nutritious treat that pet parents can feel confident feeding their beloved pet. If you have a diabetic canine and would like to be included in our pre-launch testing and sampling, please email me at vglynn@onedogorganic.com. Participating in our product testing is a great way to try new recipes and get free cookies!

See below for more information or for helpful tools to help you with your pet’s diabetes.

1.    Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine’s brochure on feline diabetes provides a link to a wonderful website on home glucose testing in dogs and cats. (2)

2.    The Food and Drug Administration approved the VetPen in March of 2014. The VetPen is the first insulin pen approved for use in dogs and cats with diabetes. For cats and dogs needing insulin, the use of this pen may make dosing more precise and giving insulin easier for pet owners. Dogs and cats receiving proper treatment for their diabetes have the same expected lifespan as those dogs without diabetes. (3)

3.    For nutritional information about your cat or dog with diabetes, the University of California Davis provides excellent information. (4)

About One Dog Organic: Founded in 2014, we are dedicated to making organic dog treats using 100% human-grade, GMO-free, fresh ingredients from the USA. Using pet nutritionist-approved recipes, every treat is made by hand in small batches to ensure freshness and quality. Our trusted recipes do not include chemical preservatives, artificial colors, flavorings, salt, hormones, fillers or by-products. If we won’t eat it, we won’t sell it! All of our treats are rigorously human tested for quality, and every product must receive the “paw” of approval.  Take a look at http://www.onedogorganic.com and begin making the change to a safe, nutritious treat for your pet today.

Source:

  1. http://www.diabetescare.net/authors/clara-schneider/dogs-and-cats-with-diabetes#ixzz3I2RU3bjl
  2. http://www.sugarcats.net/sites/harry/bgtest.htm
  3. http://www.merck-animal-health-usa.com/news/2014-3-19.aspx%20and%20here:%20  http://www.vetsulin.com/cat-owner/faq.aspx#c11
  4. http://nutrition.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/client_info_sheets/diabetes_mellitus.cfm

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Do Our Pets Grieve?

We all know how hard it is to lose one of our beloved furry family members when they cross to the rainbow bridge.  The mourning and sadness we feel is profound and we never forget our pets but learn how to cope with the grief.  However, what happens when our pets outlive us?  Do our pets grieve for their owners?

Studies show that both cats and dogs sense the loss of another pet, especially if they were close friends.  Cats can usually deal with the grief more readily and/or just don’t show the loss as readily.  Pets may also show signs of loss and mourning in ways that the remaining family or caretaker may not recognize. Although somewhat different, dogs do feel the loss of loved ones. Many dogs have a significant degree of attachment to their owner that leads to anxiety and distress when even short-term separation such as a vacation occurs and therefore the loss can be felt deeply.

Do all dogs feel the loss of their owner?

Dogs that are extremely attached to their owner and have a sense of separation anxiety are likely to be hit hard following their owners passing.  Some of the signs of these types of dogs are when the following has occurred in the past: bark, whine or howl immediately after you leave, exhibit destructive behavior in your absence (and often directed toward doors and windows); house soiling when you are away and/or depression when you go for a short trip.

Do Our Pets Grieve1

While we can't ask a dog how he feels, we can (and do) sometimes see all the visible signs of depression in grieving dogs that we see in a recently bereaved or an otherwise depressed person.  Dogs that are mourning will be unenthusiastic and lethargic, mope, eat less, become anti-social, sleep more or sometimes show the opposite spectrum and are restless.  Most dogs will lose weight and mope.  The signs are not that different than a human in mourning.

Dogs, like people, will usually get over their depression in time

As time goes on, dogs like humans, will become less depressed over time.  It can last a few months and sometimes even longer depending on the bond of the dog with his owner.

Below are some recommendations on how a new caretaker can help our dogs get through the loss of a loved one:

Allow time to heal the wounds and merely be supportive and loving to our dogs. Make sure the grieving dog continues to eat and drink, even if this means helping the dog eat his favorite foods.  Keep the dog on the same amount of food and maybe extra treats.  Spoil the dog!

If possible, try to have the dog with you or the new caretaker during the daytime and at night. Have the dog sleep in the bedroom with his caretaker or new family so he can have a new sense of belonging.

Provide distractions during the day such as toys, delicious food treats, games, daily walks so that the dog is gainfully entertained. Some coaxing may be necessary to get the dog off the couch and up!

Try to interest the dog in interacting with people or dogs. Sometimes a visitor dog to the house will stimulate the affected dog's appetite and activity to help get over the grief.

Daily exercise is extremely important as it has a calming, soothing, and mood elevating effect. Aerobic (running) exercise is best if this can be done to get the dog’s happiness level back up.

Medication, as a last resort, must be prescribed by a veterinarian and only when the anxiety is too severe for a dog to handle.

A dog’s grief is proportional to the bond with the owner

As much as we love our dogs, their separation anxiety and grief is directly proportional to the strength of the bond with us and is a function of the dog's reliance and dependence on us. Owners who feed into a dog's intense dependence on them are more likely to have dogs that do not cope well when left alone for any reason. The emotional pain dogs feel on their owners death is an extension of, an extreme version of separation anxiety.  It isn’t recommended that you detach yourself to your dog, but try to make it healthy.  If they are independent, your dogs will be better suited to deal with all kinds of separation anxiety, even just leaving them for the day.

Think of your pets as your kids

If you have friends or family that take care of your dog or dogs when you are away, have a plan in case something happens to you.  We want to make sure that our dogs or even cats are left in good hands with a home that will love them.  We spend so much time with our pets and they give us so much love that we need to think ahead as to whom and how they will be cared for in our absence.

 

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