Frequently Asked Pet Questions
What is the “best” dog/cat food?
“Best” is what your dog/cat does the best on. It is different for every animal. Every dog or cat has a different metabolism and different nutritional needs than the next one. So the food I fed my pets and that they do well on might not work the same for you and the opposite is just as true. No matter how good the ingredients or how expensive the feed, always rely on the results you see in your pet, nothing else. You should see healthy skin, a shiny coat and maintained bodyweight. Poor coat, diarrhea, or gas after the first 30 days of feeding a new food can show that your pet isn’t metabolizing the nutrients in the food efficiently and that it is time to try something else. I wish I could give you an easy solution and name a brand and type of food, but that would be like me telling you what types of food don’t upset your system. If there was one best food for all dogs/cats, then there would only be one food on the market.
Why are there so many different protein (meat) sources available in dog/cat foods?
Because every dog/cat is different. My dog/cat might do well on chicken, while yours might do terrible on chicken and do great on lamb. Try different things, see what works best. When you trial a new food, feed it for 4 weeks before you make a determination, a lot of dogs have sensitive stomachs and in the first few weeks you can have diarrhea and gas as their system gets used to the new food. By 4 weeks, you should be able to see any positive changes that will occur.
Are grain free foods better?
Not necessarily. Over time, dogs/cats have become more allergic to some of the common fillers such as corn and wheat and there is no doubt that eliminating those 2 ingredients almost always improves the pet’s health. Typically, grain free foods have a higher meat content and better quality ingredients, and most dogs/cats will do better on them, especially pets with food allergies. Grain free foods can sometimes be too rich for a dogs system. Cats will almost always do better on a grain free food. Their bodies need taurine, which is found in meat, and the higher meat content does them good. Trial and error… this will be the only way to figure it out.
Should I feed the same food all the time or change to a different food every time?
If your dog/cat is food sensitive or has a sensitive stomach, then find something that works and stick to it. Once you find something that works well, you only run a chance of messing things up if you change. But if your dog/cat does well on lots of different foods and doesn’t have any problems with switching foods, then there is no problem with switching every time.
What is the difference between all the different types of food? (Puppy, adult, senior, lg breed, sm breed)
The magic of marketing. Companies have figured out that if they can make a food that the consumer feels is made just for them, then they will pay more money for it. And the more types of food they make, the more shelf space they occupy in a store, making them stand out more. Puppy food is slightly higher protein than adult food, senior food is slightly lower to account for a slowing metabolism as an animal ages. Senior foods also sometimes have a different type of fiber in them to make them more digestible. Senior formulas and large breed formulas will usually have glucosamine in them for hips and joints. Large breed formulas have lower protein and small breed formulas have a smaller kibble. That’s it. There’s nothing else that makes them special.
Should I feed Canned food?
If you have a male cat, then yes, canned food is important. An all dry diet can aid in urinary tract problems in male cats. For everyone else, it’s up to you. They usually like it better, but it is more expensive (75%-80% water). Try it out and see how they do on it.
Does my dog/cat have worms?
Some signs that your dog may have worms include:
Visible worms or eggs in the feces. This is the most common sign of infection. However, not all kinds are visible to the naked eye.
Visible worms in fur or around dog’s rear. Tapeworms may appear as small moving segments which later dry out to resemble grains of rice. Roundworms look pieces of string or cooked spaghetti noodles. Hookworms and Whipworms are much smaller than roundworms or tapeworms and look like a strand of thread or hair. Their small size tends to make them appear translucent, and they can be more difficult to see without close examination.
Scratching or rubbing of rear. If you dog scratches their bottom on the ground or against furniture, they may be itchy due to infection. Itchiness however can also have other causes.
Visible worms in vomit.
Bloated stomach or belly. This is often seen in puppies who get worms from their mother.
Weakness, increased appetite, constant hunger, and weight loss. Worms steal their host’s nutrition.
Diarrhea, particularly with blood.
Can I get heartworm medications or rabies vaccinations over the counter?
Nope, not in Texas. Here in the Lone Star State, these medications are only available from a veterinarian.
Can I get my puppy shots or yearly booster shots over the counter?
You bet! The 5-way and 9-way dog vaccinations, which you would give subcutaneously, are the most common. One size fits all. The 5-way shot is what is considered a core vaccine and covers Parvovirus, Distemper, Parainfluenza, Adenovirus type 1, and Adenovirus type 2. This is what you would use in puppies and adult dogs with low exposure to kennels, lots of other dogs, and wild animals. The 9-way shot covers the 5 core vaccines and also vaccinates for 4 types of leptospirosis, which you would give to dogs in higher risk environments.
How do I get rid of fleas?
Actually, adult fleas are easy to kill and almost any insecticide, organic or chemical, will kill them. The problem is the other life stages… and this is where it gets a little complicated. The eggs and larvae can be affected by insect growth regulators, but the pupa can’t be affected by insecticides or IGR’s and they usually stay in this cocoon state for a week or two. Your other problem is that if you have an infestation in your yard, house, and animal, then you have to treat all 3 simultaneously. If you treat one or two and not all three then you will be reinfested fairly quickly. Also, the spot-on type products work well at killing fleas, but they don’t kill fleas immediately, and the fleas can still lay eggs while on the dog or jump off before they die. So here’s how I do it:
For the dog/cat, I would use a flea spray as regularly as the instructions allow. You could also use a spot-on treatment to help manage reinfestation. I like the Natural Chemistry Flea & Tick Spray and Frontline Plus topical treatment.
For the house, I would use some type of carpet/upholstery spray with an insect growth regulator in it to knock out the adult population as well as the eggs and larvae. I like the Adams Plus Flea & Tick Carpet Spray.
For the yard, you have more choices. Any insecticidal spray or granule labeled for fleas will work.
The real trick is the length of time you are affecting the fleas. Because every day you have fleas in different life stages and changing and hatching, if you go untreated for any length of time while you are in the process of killing them, they can get a toehold back in. Persistence will win it for you. 5 weeks seems to be the magic amount of time it takes to really eradicate a population. So for 5 weeks, go by the instructions on the products you are using and reapply as often as they allow leaving no gaps of application.