886 S Pine St, PO Box 277

Grantsburg, WI 54840

Phone: (715) 463-2536

1(800) 924-0588

140 Evergreen Square SW

Pine City, MN 55063

Phone: (320) 629-7474

March is National Pet Food Nutrition Month

3/1/2017

National Pet Food Nutrition

The original purpose of National Nutrition Month was to promote the importance of nutrition for children and adults. Over the years, the veterinary industry has used the month of March to highlight the importance of healthy food choices for companion animals. The most important thing you can do for your dog, cat, or other pet’s long-term health is to select nutritious food, limit treats, and ensure that he gets plenty of exercise. 
 
People don’t always put a lot of thought into the food they buy for their pet. They may naturally choose the brand with the lowest price or pick up something at the most convenient store. However, some pets have special health issues such as joint problems or food sensitivities that require owners to consider their food more carefully. It’s also important to keep in mind that your pet’s nutritional needs change as she passes through each stage of life.
 
Evaluating Food for Your Dog
You may see the word premium on a dog food label and assume that it’s a higher quality than other dog foods. What you probably don’t know is that a dog food manufacturing company can call a product premium as long as it contains a minimum of one percent beef. We encourage you to look closer at pet food labels and have higher standards for the products you purchase. 
 
The healthiest diets for dogs have animal protein listed as the primary ingredient. If you notice grains, fruits, or vegetables, they should be in pure form and not processed. That is because processing these ingredients strips the food of nutrients and vitamins that your dog needs to maintain good health.
 
Evaluating Food for Your Cat
Cats also receive maximum nutritional benefit when an animal protein is the most plentiful ingredient in their food. Some cat owners try to avoid grain-based ingredients because they’re concerned about their cat maintaining a healthy weight. In this case, it’s important to note the carbohydrate content in your cat’s food. Anything containing vegetables or potatoes can have a high carbohydrate count. Small amounts of carbs are okay since your cat can easily convert them into energy.
 
All pet food should have a Guaranteed Analysis on its packaging. This symbol means that the food has met minimum requirements for protein, water, fat, and fiber. For cats, it’s especially important that the food contain fish oil.
 
Speak to Our Staff About Your Nutritional Concerns
Every pet has different nutritional needs based on age, species, lifestyle, general health, and other factors. The annual preventive care exam is an excellent time to go over your pet’s diet with Dr. Palmquist or another member of our staff. We also encourage you to schedule an appointment soon after bringing a new pet home to get off to a great start.

If your pet requires a special diet, keep in mind that we carry Royal Canin, Purina Pro, and other brands in our online store. We also carry the same brands as well as Taste of the Wild directly at Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic.

Photo Credit: Bluebeat76 / Getty Images

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February is National Pet Dental Health Month

2/16/2017
National Pet Dental Health Month
 
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AMVA) started National Pet Dental Health Month several years ago as an initiative for pet owners to follow an at-home oral healthcare routine. It also hoped to underscore the importance of bringing companion animals to the veterinarian for a regular check-up and professional cleaning. 
 
The AMVA started this awareness campaign in response to the startling statistic that up to 80 percent of cats and dogs have at least a mild form of gum disease by age three. This causes bacteria to attack the gum tissue and can lead to tooth loss, infection, and numerous other serious health conditions. Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, starts when food debris and bacteria build up on tooth surfaces and eventually get underneath the gum tissues. If bacteria reach the bloodstream, it can cause problems with your pet’s kidneys, liver, or heart.
 
Most Common Signs of Periodontal Disease in Cats and Dogs
Persistent bad breath is one of the first signs that your pet could have an oral healthcare issue. Although this problem is extremely common, many pet owners don’t realize they should have their pet evaluated by a veterinarian because of it. We also encourage you to schedule an appointment at Grantsburg Animal Hospital or Wild River Veterinary Clinic if you notice loose or discolored teeth, reluctance to eat, difficulty chewing, or excess drooling.
 
You’re in good company if Dr. Palmquist diagnoses periodontal disease in your pet. According to the AVMA, it’s the most frequently diagnosed health condition among cats and dogs. He will work with you to find solutions for reversing your pet’s gum disease, such as daily toothbrushing, feeding your pet nutritious food, and returning to one of our clinics for regular follow-up appointments.
 
The Importance of a Consistent Oral Healthcare Routine at Home
Dental exams and cleanings performed by a veterinarian are important, but they can’t replace the care your pet receives at home. We find that many people avoid brushing their dog or cat’s teeth because they’re afraid of their pet becoming aggressive. While your fear is understandable, keep in mind that pets love to please their owners and should eventually come to accept toothbrushing if you remain consistent in your approach and expectations.
 
If you have never brushed your pet’s teeth before, it’s important to start small. Try placing a small amount of toothpaste on a treat and allow him to lick it off to experience the taste. If that goes okay, approach your pet when he’s calm and massage his jaws to get him to open his mouth. Place the toothbrush in his mouth, but don’t start brushing yet. That can wait until he tolerates you placing something in his mouth. Start by doing just the front teeth and then work your way up to brushing all the teeth for a full two minutes.
 
Be sure to give your pet lots of praise and affection for any amount of cooperation. However, don’t reward her with treats beyond the first session. Giving her a treat each time will defeat the purpose of daily toothbrushing in the first place. Please let us know if you have additional questions or would like a demonstration of toothbrushing at your pet’s next preventive care exam.
 
Photo Credit: photodeti / Getty Images
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