Puppy vs Adult Dog – Nutrition requirements change with the life cycle development

Puppy vs Adult Dog – Nutritional Requirements

During the early growth phase a puppy requires a relatively larger and frequent portion of food. At 6 to 8 weeks the need is four to six meals averagely. By 6 months, when they achieve almost 75% of their adult size, the need for frequent meals decreases.

Good quality puppy food with the appropriate amount of proteins and calcium food has several advantages over adult dog food. Any nutritional imbalances might lead to severe and even irreversible health.The growth period of a dog is approximately the first 8 to 10 months and post 12 months the diet can be further switched to an adult one.

Giant breed dogs (Good examples of these giant breeds are Labrador, Golden Retriever and German Shepherds) typically weighing more than 23 kgs as an adult, are susceptible to  a multitude of growth and weight related abnormalities such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia or fractures, if not fed properly during the critical growth period. To avoid these abnormalities following a  formulated diet with  is imperative for larger breed puppies.

Majority of puppies lose the ability to digest milk sugar (lactose) due to the absence of the enzyme lactase post-weaning. While small amounts may be tolerated, feeding milk is not a sensible option for dogs as it could lead to various gastrointestinal problems because of improper digestion.

Dietary requirements vary over the lifetime of any animal or being. Similarly, older dogs, especially those over 7 years of age, will benefit from a diet formulated towards their needs. In the senior years, dogs’ metabolism slows down and he’s less active, needing fewer calories, higher protein, lower sodium, and fewer carbohydrates.

Many also contain ingredients such as prebiotics or probiotics to maintain healthy intestinal microbial balance, increased omega-3 fatty acids and other antioxidants to combat inflammation and help in increased cellular survival. Glucosamine to promote joint health, and medium-chain triglycerides to help slow down changes to the brain for better transmission of signals is commonly added to senior diets.

 

Nutritional Needs For Different Breeds of Dogs

Each pet is different and their nutritional requirements differ based on age, size and more importantly the breed. It’s not something we put a lot of thought into, but even the shape of the kibble is important when considering a feed. Smaller shaped kibbles are easier to eat for smaller breeds and pets with brachycephalic (short/small skull) jaws. Similarly larger dogs benefit from a bigger, crunchier kibble.

Tailor made recipes also target breed-specific health conditions such as cardiac function, skin conditions and weight control depending upon the skeleton structure which varies with each breed.

Alternatively, there are pets with mesocephalic jaws (medium skull) who encounter genetic-based dental problems. Breeds such as West Highland White Terriers, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Poodles, Jack Russell Terriers, Maine Coons, and Ragdolls may encounter these genetic problems. These pets tend to do well with a food that has a dental benefit such as specified kibble shape and calcium chelators further helping in the mineralization of the teeth. Breeds specific foods also alleviate problems such as fussy appetites, urinary health, joint and heart support solutions by providing preventative nutrition.

Do cats need meat?

CATS CANNOT PRODUCE THEIR OWN NUTRIENTS:

Cats are obligate carnivores, i.e they are specially adapted to a diet consisting they meet their nutritional needs by consuming other animals and have a higher protein requirement than many other mammals. With the passage of time and evolution, cats have lost the ability to synthesize amino acids and vitamins like that of a herbivore and omnivore. They also need specific amino acids and vitamins such as taurine, arginine, niacin, arachidonic acid, Vitamin A and Vitamin B12 which are found only in meat to function efficiently. Without a steady supply they can suffer from multi-organ dysfunction including liver and heart problems, skin irritation and hearing loss. Taurine, an amino acid responsible for the metabolic rate and biological function, supports a cat’s vision, nerve functioning, immune system, and cardiac motility.

Most omnivores get glucose from breaking down carbohydrates while cats yield their energy through gluconeogenesis, which means they use non-carbohydrate sources to meet their glucose requirement.

 

FROM  A DIGESTIVE POINT:

The digestive tract of cats is substantially shorter than that of animals that eat plants. Plants are digested by fermentative bacteria and yield a high amount of fiber, thereby requiring a  longer digestive tract. The short digestive tracts of cats enables them to digest raw meat more rapidly.

 

BIOLOGICAL FEATURES:

Cats have 4 canine teeth at the front of their mouths to help them tear into meat. They also have razor-sharp carnassial teeth on the upper and lower jaws to help them deliver a final blow to small prey, assisting them with their flesh-eating habits.

How to remove ticks from your dogs: Dos and Don’ts

Tick the ticks away from your Dogs

Ticks are spider-like, egg-shaped, blood-sucking creepy crawlies; relatively small and parasitic in nature. Easily adaptable they can survive in various environments such as the woods, the beach, grass, lawns, forests, and even in urban areas. Ticks aren’t picky eaters: they suck the blood of mammals, birds, and even other insects for their nutrition.

When a ticks bites your dog they are capable of carrying various infectious organisms, and cause illnesses like Lyme disease, Babesiosis, and Ehrlichiosis. Pathogen transmission can occur as soon as three to six hours of the bite, so the sooner you remove the tick the less chance there is that your dog will get sick.

 

DOs

  1. To ensure your safety wear gloves to avoid any direct skin contact to the tick.
  2. Ensure your pet is relaxed and sitting at ease.
  3. Use a tick-removal tool, or a good pair of curved tweezers to dislodge the entire tick from as close to the skin as possible. Make sure to get rid of all parts of the ticks’ body removed from the skin
  4. After removal, clean the bitten area with a disinfectant such as rubbing alcohol or iodine, and wash your hands as well.
  5. Dispose the tick by killing it in alcohol or flush it down the toilet.
  6. If you’re concerned about tick diseases, save the tick in alcohol for testing.
  7. Look out for any unusual symptoms in your pet. If you notice any unusual behaviour or symptoms be sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian and have your dog examined.

 

DONTs

  1. Handling the tick with bare hands, could transmit infection or illness to you as well.
  2. Don’t squish or crush a tick. It increases the risk of infection for you and your dog as it can force infected body fluids through the tick’s mouth.
  3. Don’t attempt to burn the tick with a lighted cigarette or hot match.
  4. Don’t put things like nail polish, vaseline, alcohol or oil on the tick that will let the tick stick around longer than desired.
  5. Don’t grab the tick’s body or neck, you may end up squeezing infected fluid into your pet.
  6. Don’t throw the tick away, release it outside in the open or flush it down the drain

 

Prevent future bites

To get ahead of the problem, tick checks should be a part of your daily routine. Start by running your fingers or a fine tooth flea comb slowly over your dog’s entire body. Look between the toes, inside the ears, around the neck, in the fur, and between the legs and carefully scan for ticks. Wash your pet’s bedding weekly, and bathe your pet with a medicated pet shampoo. Mow areas of the lawn and keep bushes short around where your dog spends time.

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Why Do Dogs Eat Grass?

Is the grass greener on the dogs side

Many dogs have a very uncommon condition known as Pica, which means they tend to eat things that aren’t food, including dirt, faeces, toys, and yes, grass. Most experts concur with the fact that grass eating is normal canine behaviour. Though, this type of pica usually doesn’t cause too many problems, the question is, why grass?

Grass Tastes Good

It’s safe to assume that some dogs simply ‘savour the flavour’ and texture of grass. Grazing on grass acts as a source of fibre and even provides traces of vitamins and minerals,  often an indication of nutritional deficiency.

To Induce Vomiting

Consuming grass by a healthy dog generally does not create any gastrointestinal disturbance nor does it induce further vomiting. However, one might observe such episodes on grass consumption especially when the dog is new to it. These occasional grass eaters may be attempting to use it as a natural emetic to stimulate vomiting when they feel unwell to clear their alimentary canal.

Stomach distress

The grass is also believed to be a form of self-medication. When your dog has tummy troubles, they often tend to turn to grass for relief. If the behaviour starts abruptly or if your dog seems to be anxious about needing to eat the grass, often extending his neck and making swallowing motions, and then vomiting afterwards, it could be assumed that the dog is eating it as a cleansing mechanism.

How can stop my dog from eating grass?

If your dog’s grass-eating has started to concern you, there are some things you can try to help curb the habit. As previously mentioned, your dog may have a nutritional deficiency that is causing their upset stomach, so making adjustments to their food or eating habits could have an impact on your pet’s behaviour over time.  Consult with your vet to understand what will help with your dogs digestive issues. Also note that you should transition your pet’s food gradually over time giving them time to slowly adapt.

 

Dog Ear Infections: Natural Remedies that Work

Ear infections could happen due to a multitude of reasons such as food allergies, fleas, mites or even bacteria. If you notice him whimpering, scratching his ears or head incessantly, or if you see a foul odour coming from his ears, your dog most likely has an infection.

Food allergies like wheat gluten sensitivity or an excess of sugar can cause an ear infection. Dogs being carnivores, completely lack the machinery, enzymes, and microbiota for plant material or a carbohydrate-rich diet, particularly wheat gluten protein. Luckily, we have gluten-free diets in Drools that focus on pet food.

Dogs show signs like excessive scratching, skin rashes, and itchy skin which further leads to an infection that starts in the ear flap. Subsequently, the ear canal will swell a little, turning red and heating up, as blood and immune debris rush to the area. This irritates the dog, resulting in a random head shaking. There is also a production of dark brown wax and odor as a further sign of the infection.

Other than food allergies, care should be taken to carefully trim all the hair growing in the ear canal. Hair growth generally acts as a barrier and a filter but excessive hair growth obstructs airflow into the ear, causing the canal to be dry and susceptible to infection.

Dogs ears are nice and warm and all that an infection needs is a little moistness, say from licked paws or simply a moment’s innocent wetting, and yeast or bacteria will bloom. If your pet develops a bacterial infection and is uncontrollable, then visit the vet to avoid any further implications to it.

 

How To Clean Your Dogs Ears

Step 1: Give the ears a wipe with cotton swabs to remove dirt from inside the ear, giving better access to the ear canal

Step 2: The best ear cleaner for an ear infection is apple cider vinegar. Whip up a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar and warm olive oil.  Use a cotton ball and soak half of it in the mixture. Place it in the ear and massage the ear over it, paying particular attention to the base of the ear (where the canal is). The cotton ball will absorb the excess solution and it will grab onto the debris. You can change the ball a few times.

Step 3: Use cotton swabs again to wipe the ear clean and dry. Wipe once, dump, repeat. Remember to keep changing the swabs each time and to use a new one for the other ear.

Step 4: A final wipe with a solution of choice is now recommended. If you suspect yeast then a final wipe of apple cider vinegar will dry out the area, sucking water from the yeast.

Applying a warm compress to the ear several times a day significantly reduces the swelling and the infection and thus the pain. A regular dose of Vitamin C to the dog will be beneficial as it ensures good aural health and prevents future ear infections.

 

 

The furry cats with their fur.

What are hairballs?

Cats naturally keep themselves very clean and in the process of self grooming they often end up swallowing a lot of their loose and dead hair, forming tufted balls in their stomach commonly known as hairballs. Feline tongues anatomically have barb-like features that trap loose, previously shed hair. On swallowing,  the hair mixes with the saliva, gets ingested and accumulates as a ball in the stomach. Most times the hairballs are harmless and easily pass through the digestive system without a problem. On other times, if not through the stool, the cat will vomit up the trapped hair.

Which cats are more likely to develop hairballs?

Generally, all cats develop hairballs at some point in their lives. However, breeds with long fluffy hair and felines with constant grooming sessions are more prone to hairballs.

Symptoms of Hairball Problems

  • Lethargy-your cat will be slow, sick, and uninterested in its normal activities.
  • Hacking, Coughing, and Gagging
  • You cat constantly trying to regurgitate the hairball, but unable to expel it from its mouth.
  • Weight Loss
  • A decrease in the appetite could be a possible sign of hairball formation causing a digestive tract obstruction.
  • Change in Bowel Movements
  • Frequent diarrhoea or constipation might be the result of the digestive tract obstruction due to the hairball formation.
  • Distended Belly
  • An unusual swelling on your feline’s stomach due to the accumulation of hairball

 

At-Home Treatments

Sometimes a simple treatment that you can perform yourself is all your precious furry needs to feel better. Here are a few techniques:

  • Give your cat oils or butter. A little oil or butter to ingest will lubricate the intestinal system and help pass the hairballs through the stool
  • Use Hairball Gels. These treatments lubricate your cat’s stools and ease the passage of it through the alimentary canal. They can also help regulate your feline’s digestive tract.
  • Specially designed treats can help your cat get rid of a stubborn hairball

Surgical Options

If a hairball is causing a dangerous obstruction and the cat is unable to pass it on its own, you will have to rely on surgery. Be sure to contact your vet as soon as you think something is wrong and remove the obstruction as soon as possible to prevent any further complications.

  

How to Prevent Hairballs

  • Brush your cat’s fur daily. Regularly grooming your cat, means there is less loose hair to be swallowed.
  • Keep your cat hydrated. Adequate hydration makes it easier on their digestive tract. The liquid hydration keeps it lubricated and running smoothly.
  • Felines are carnivores and it is difficult for them to sustain on a carbohydrates. Give your cat a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Poor nutrition will cause digestive issues and increase the likelihood of hairball formation.
  • Feed your pet supplements that will improve their digestion. There are several formulas that encourage your cat’s digestive tract to pass the hairball instead of regurgitating it.
  • Give your cat catnip or cat grass. This treat can provide extra fibre for your feline which helps them expel the hairball.