Educational Articles

  • Dog food labels can certainly be confusing to interpret. In the United States, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has developed model laws and regulations that states use for animal feeds. In Canada, pet food labeling guidelines are regulated by the Consumer Packaging and Labeling Act administered by Industry Canada. The Canadian government's Competition Bureau also has an extensive working group that upholds a voluntary code of conduct for the labeling and advertising of pet food. The most important information when comparing one dog food to another is the guaranteed analysis. Ingredient lists are somewhat useful when evaluating a particular dog food, but it is important to recognize the limitations. Talk to you veterinarian about the ingredient list and nutrient profile to help choose the diet that is right for your dog.

  • Designer diets cover a range of options that target specific canine nutritional needs. While some designer foods include certain ingredients like novel protein sources, others exclude certain ingredients like grains. There is a potential link between heart disease and diet. Determining which type of diet is best for your dog should include a discussion with your veterinarian as there is no documented data that designer diets are any better for the average, healthy dog than are traditional, commercial preparations.

  • Treats are a great way to bond with your pet but can be a major contributor to obesity. Treats should be no more than 5-10% of your dog’s caloric intake as they add calories, and in greater quantities, can create a nutritional imbalance. Excellent treats that are low calorie and satisfying are vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, and cauliflower as well as air-popped popcorn. Many homemade treat recipes can be found on the internet, but be sure that these are not too high in calories or contain inappropriate ingredients for your individual dog. Check the recipe with your veterinarian before having your dog taste test them!

  • My dog produces so much gas! It is really a problem when we have guests over. Why does she pass so much gas?

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stand united in their position (based on very robust data) that feeding raw food to dogs is potentially dangerous to both the dog and to you.

  • Periodontal disease is the most common problem affecting dogs in all age groups. The very best way to prevent periodontal disease is daily dental home care, but it is useful to add in effective, evidence-based dental food to provide daily plaque control. Your veterinarian can make a specific nutritional recommendation of a product proven to be effective in enhancing canine oral health.

  • This article reviews the benefits and disadvantages of semi-moist, dry, and canned cat foods. Semi-moist foods are not generally recommended as a sole diet due to their high sugar and sodium content, as well as the addition of artificial colors, preservatives, and flavor enhancers. Dry food, or kibble, is easy to portion control and can be fed in puzzle toys. Canned food is a good option but more expensive than kibble and may contribute to periodontal disease. Feeding a combination of canned and dry daily is recommended.

  • This article reviews the benefits and disadvantages of semi-moist, dry, and canned dog foods. Semi-moist foods are not generally recommended as a sole diet due to their high sugar and sodium content, as well as the addition of artificial colors, preservatives and flavor enhancers. Dry food, or kibble, is easy to portion control and can be fed in puzzle toys. Canned food is a good option but more expensive than kibble and may contribute to periodontal disease.

  • Dog food has been made so palatable that it can easily create gluttonous behavior. Meal feeding and portion control are important to prevent obesity. Owners should not give in to begging behavior. Dogs that are still hungry after their meal can be supplemented with snacks such as green vegetables recommended by your veterinarian. Dogs that eat too quickly can be fed creatively to slow down eating.

  • Ferrets are true carnivores and cannot handle a diet containing more than 4% fiber. There are several good commercial ferret foods available that are dry foods. Ferrets have a very quick gut transit time (the time from eating to defecating) of three to four hours, so they appear to eat and defecate constantly. Fresh water should be available all the time.