You are what you eat

Easter bunny dachshund.So much to cover in this new installment of our recurring series, “You are what you eat“.  Dig in!

  • Happy Easter! Play it safe & pet-proof your Easter.  Chocolate; candy; artificial sweeteners in sugar-free candies (xylitol); wrappers; lilies; artificial grass; and small plastic parts are all hazards to your dog & cat.  Are eggs & food coloring safe for your pet?  Barring any allergies or sensitivities, small amounts should be OK.  But always check with your vet.
  • Spring fever is contagious! Read our post on enjoying spring with your pet.  (Ever wonder why dogs eat grass?  No fertilizer, please!)  Looking for a fun, spring-time way to improve your dog’s diet, as well as your own?   Create an herb garden!
  • Good news for our food supply? In our Jan. ’08 post, we hoped for more vigilance & transparency from the growers, suppliers, manufacturers & agencies who bring food to us & our pets.   These articles illustrate the progress that’s been made since then:

“Salmonella outbreaks lead to food-safety changes” (usatoday.com, 4/2/09).

“Official calls for ‘country of origin’ food labels” (msnbc.com, 2/18/09).

“Is a food revolution now in season?” (nytimes.com, 3/21/09).

  • We’re going nuts! First peanuts, now pistachios & spices.  Salmonella-caused recalls continue.  Proceed with caution.  (We’ll keep you posted…)  By the way, non-contaminated pistachios & peanuts can upset Fido’s tummy due to their high fat & salt content.  Again, always ask your vet first!
  • The confusing controversy continues regarding which diet is best for your pet. Should you feed Fido a processed diet?  If so, is kibble better than canned?  Would a raw or cooked diet be better for Fluffy?  (As always, consult with your vet about your pet’s diet.  Check our diet pages, as well as our reading lists.)  We love Christie Keith’s summary of the debate in her article for sfgate.com:  “Raw Food for Pets?”.  Though we don’t usually recommend articles from online retailers (biased!), onlynaturalpet.com’s list of “Common Myths About Pet Food & Nutrition” is worth reading.
  • If you wouldn’t eat it, should your pet? And – if your pet’s eating it, you are, too.   As we’ve learned from salmonella recalls & melamine contamination, human & pet food supplies are one-in-the-same.  We really need higher standards for all food sources.  For example, some veterinarians say that by-products are an acceptable ingredient in our pets’ processed diets.  Their reasoning is that by-products often contain nutrient-dense organ meat & mineral-rich bones.  But we don’t know that’s true in each case because pet-food manufacturers aren’t yet required to list what their “by-products” include, or the countries-of-origin for ingredients on that list.  Without definition, they are suspect.  Sadly, the FDA has found that ambiguous ingredients like “meat and bone meal”,  “animal fat” & “animal digest” in dog food could contain pentobarbital (euthanasia solution).  Please educate yourself & draw your own conclusions:  Read Susan Thixton’s article, “Stop the Confusion!” .
  • A recession-proof diet? Cooking for Rover to pinch pennies isn’t as simple as it may seem.  Do your research to make sure a home-made diet meets your pets’ species-specific nutritional & mineral needs.  Work closely with a vet or an animal nutritionist certified by the ACVN.  Read & watch this story.  Check our site for more resources to help you & your vet develop the best diet for your pet.
  • Just for fun:  We couldn’t decide between the bunny born with 2 noses (still cute!); the “Smile” video; or the adorable pics of pets & kids sleeping.  It’s very possible that Lucille’s corn-on-the-cob skills top them all!  (Caution:  Only small amounts of tepid, cooked corn for your Lucille.  No butter or salt.  And cobs can cause an obstruction if swallowed.  Never leave your dog alone with one.)

Have a howling-good Easter holiday!

Information provided on this site is not a substitute for veterinary care. See your vet before you begin a complementary health care or exercise plan. The statements on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

© 2009 Critter Consulting

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