The Wet Nose Press Pet Blog

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April 7, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Contrasting Meat-Based and Grain-Based Diets For Dogs

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It is a well-known fact that dogs are primarily carnivores and have evolved as meat-eaters. Although we have managed to domesticate our pets, they have not managed to evolve a rumen in their digestive tract to ferment cellulose and plant based material. Neither does their pancreas secrete cellulose to digest and convert the cellulose into glucose molecules. Dogs and cats have not become very efficient at digesting and using plant-based material as a source of protein.

However, certain plant materials like soybean meal, corn and rice have some usefulness in the diet of a meat-eater. Wheat, corn, rice, barley and soy are not harmful or bad for cats and dogs. But they are not good choices for the optimal nourishment of animals that have been meat-eaters for ages. What are the major differences between meat based and grain based foods for pets?

To start with, there are twenty two major alpha amino acids which are needed by mammals for metabolic activities. Cats and dogs can synthesize twelve of them internally, but need a diet that has ample quantities of the other ten. Since these ten are acquired only through the food they eat, they are referred to as essential amino acids.

Herbivores have billions of microorganisms in their lengthy G.I. tract that produce the amino acids we need. Dogs however, have shorter and simpler tracts. They have no way of capitalizing on amino acid synthesis by microbes and require the essential acids to be present in their ingested food.

What makes a balanced diet?

Fats are easily acquired from animal and plant origin. Minerals and vitamins are inexpensive, and are very well documented as to amounts and types, and they can be conveniently added to any diet in the form of supplements. Carbohydrates are also useful to cats and dogs as they provide burnable fuel for metabolic and muscular activities. Cheap sources of carbohydrates include corn, rice, barley, soy and wheat. The biggest advantage of carbohydrates is that animals use it to spare the protein in their body – that is, if carbohydrates are available in their system, they will use it for their energy needs before dipping into their protein supply.

This brings us to proteins. They are the most essential cornerstone of any balanced pet diet. Substances that provide protein include chicken, beef, fish, lamb, eggs and meat by-products (these do not include hide, hair, feathers or hooves, but refer to organ meats like kidney, liver, heart, stomach, spleen, blood and more). Meat by-products are a great protein source for meat-eaters.

For the diet to have all the necessary amino acids, you need to choose the best protein source – egg whites. It has one of the widest amino acid profiles and is readily digestible. AS a matter of fact, egg whites are used as a standard to measure other protein sources against. Other good choices would be poultry, meat or fish. Make sure you feed your dog high-quality dog food. Stay away from meat and bone meals as they are made from slaughterhouse offal and are harmful to your dog’s health and well-being.

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April 6, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Wet vs. Dry Foods – What’s Better For Your Pet?

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You have to decide on a pet food, but are not sure what to choose – the turkey or the tuna? The beef or the lamb? The dry or the wet? It can be confusing, but in reality, it is not all that complicated. Most people decide on the pet food based on their previous experience. Some of them follow the advice of their friends, breeder or vet. This is not counting the influence of the magazine and television advertisements, all of which boast the highest quality. So, which one do you choose?

The advantages of wet foods

Most dogs consume less than their daily water requirement. Wet foods are a great hydration source if your pet is reluctant to consume the necessary amount of water. There are a few other health considerations that make them a practical choice. Some senior dogs lose the power of their olfactory sense as they age. They will be more inclined to eat food with a richer flavor and scent, which is the case with most wet foods. They are also a great alternative if your pet is ill and cannot smell that well, or if he has a low appetite. This way, you can ensure that they get the essential vitamins, minerals and proteins that they need to maintain their health. If your dog has missing teeth, badly aligned jaws or a small mouth, wet food will make it easier for him to eat food.

The advantages of dry foods

Dry kibble is the most convenient food, for both feeding and storage. You can leave it out for your pet to eat at his own pace without having to worry about it getting spoiled. A lot of pet owners prefer the convenience of filling their pet’s bowl with an entire day’s food and not having to worry about feeding their pet on time. In the case of cats, you can fill the bowl to feed them for days while you go for short trips away from your home. They are also extremely easy to store – all you need is a big plastic bin with an airtight lid. That will keep it safe from rodents and insects. They are also extremely cost-effective if you have multiple pets to feed. They are great as training treats and supplements for dental health. Some of the dry foods are formulated to clean the teeth of the animals as they chew on it.

Final decision

Both of them are good choices to meet the nutritional requirements of your pet, as long as they have the right balance of nutrients and made using high quality ingredients. It is just a question of what will suit your pet and lifestyle in the long run. You can also choose to mix them both in the same bowl. Talk to your vet if you have any doubts, since there are a lot of considerations for your dog’s age and breed.

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April 5, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Herbal Remedies For Your Dog

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Herbs have a long history of being used for treating and preventing ailments in humans. Apart from adding the extra punch to your food and smelling good, they can help your dog too. If you have the space in your house to grow herbs (a window box would do), grow plants that can treat some of the common ailments. You can save a lot of money on vet visits.

  1. Aloe Vera – The medicinal value of this spiky herb has been well documented since ancient times. It helps to heal stomach ulcers and wounds, among other things. You will be happy to know that it is beneficial to your dog too. It can be applied topically – you can use the natural gel in the leaf for treating scrapes, minor irritations, and burns or administer it internally to help with conditions like constipation, gas, or infections.
  2. Calendula flowers – The sunny and bright flowers of this herb is used for treating scrapes, cuts and wounds in humans as well as dogs. While it has a variety of applications (anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and cooking supplement), it is mostly used on wounds. The flower petals are great as a wound dressing. You can also brew into a tea and use it as an antiseptic wash. It will help prevent the growth of bacteria on your dog’s skin.
  3. Ginger – Apart from tasting really good, the root of the herb has been used for ages as a medicinal herb. It can be made into a tincture or tea, and is perfect for settling upset tummies.
  4. Goldenseal – This has nothing to do with seals or gold, sadly. This herb is pone of the most powerful natural antibiotics and it is extremely effective in preventing bacteria from attaching themselves to the cell wall. It can be brewed into a tea, or used as a tincture or wash for dogs that have weepy eyes or eye infections. It is also useful in treating bowel and stomach ailments.
  5. Milk thistle – This herb guards the liver against any damage and also improves its function. If your dog has been on any medication that affects his liver, this is a great supplement to use.
  6. Chamomile, Valerian and California Poppy – These three herbs are perfect for treating hyperactive dogs. They are the best natural relaxants for your pup, and they also have additional health benefits, like lowering the blood pressure, controlling asthma and working against those pesky little parasites. Teas, extracts, and tinctures all work really well. With Valerian, you need only a few drops.

Of course, as is the case with any treatment, make sure that you consult the vet beforehand. Also read a guide on how to grow an outdoor or indoor herb garden. Your dog has every right to benefit from these naturally occurring wellness boosters, but it must be done under professional supervision.

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April 4, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Pet Safety Tips For the Hurricane Season

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The hurricane season is about to start in just a couple of months. If you live on the Gulf or Atlantic coasts, you know this already, but are your prepared or are you waiting till the arrival of the first storm scare? Hurricanes, like brushfires, floods, and tornadoes, are difficult to get through without adequate preparation. However, if you arm yourself properly, you can make things safer and easier for yourself and your pet.

  1. Plan it out – Set down a course of action and make sure that you can get going in a moment’s notice. Have all the necessary supplies ready in a safe and easily accessible spot. It is like having a flashlight or a candle under your sink in case you have a black out. You might not need them, but you don’t have to stumble in the dark in case there is a blackout.
  2. Stick to your decision – Whatever course of action you decide on, stay with it. Otherwise, you risk putting your pet in danger. If your plan is to leave your town at the sign of the first warning, then do so. Changing your plan or your mind can lead to an unnecessary accident, as you will no longer be completely prepared.
  3. Keep your kit ready – An emergency kit for your pet is not very different to yours. Make sure it contains non-perishable food items, water for at least three days, a solid carrier, plastic bags, puppy pads, both you and your pet’s medical supplies and records in a waterproof container, an extra leash, litter and litter box, and your pet’s picture in case you get separated. Microchipping or tagging your pet will also make it easier to find him if he gets lost.
  4. Staying in – If you are going to stay at home till the storm passes, keep your pet on a leash or in his carrier. There is no telling when you will be forced to evacuate. Even if you don’t have to clear out, you do not want to be in a position where you have to track down a petrified pet in the middle of chaos. Therefore, it is extremely important to secure your pup before the storm.
  5. Going out – Keep track of the latest news. If you are asked to evacuate by the authorities, you must do it as soon as you the warning. It helps if you have all your supplies packed and are ready to go. We suggest carrying a knapsack or a backpack that holds all your essential supplies. Make a note of where all the shelters are located and how to get there.
  6. Remain calm – Whether you choose to stay, leave early or asked to evacuate due to damage to the house of the severity of the storm, it is important to stay calm. Pets can read our emotions. So, if you stay calm, your pet will panic less. And make sure that you talk to your pet in a cam and soothing voice.
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April 1, 2016
by Lynn Merton
1 Comment

Is Your Dog Stressed? Here’s How You Can Help Him

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Has your dog been behaving strange? Perhaps he is depressed or overly anxious. Stress is more prevalent in dogs than you would have guessed. Worse yet, it can have a markedly negative impact on their health. Here are some common signs of anxiety and stress in dogs:

  1. Constipation, diarrhea, or some other digestive issue – Although these conditions are more commonly attributed to food intolerance or disease, gastrointestinal issues like constipation and diarrhea can also result from anxiety. Speak to the vet if the constipation or diarrhea is severe, particularly if it has lasted for more than a day or if your dog has bloody diarrhea. Blood in the stool or vomit could indicate a food borne illness.
  2. Lower appetite – Dogs do not go on diets or fasts like we do. It is extremely important to contact the vet if your pet loses his interest in food or stops eating all of a sudden. It could be due to some underlying condition (including anorexia) or stress, which can cause your dog to refuse to eat and reduce its food intake so much that it leads to a dramatic weight loss.
  3. Isolation – Dogs like their alone time every now and then. However, if your pup is constantly isolating himself from other people or pets, he may be suffering from a sickness or anxiety. Your vet can help you in identifying the cause of his strange behavior.
  4. Increased sleep – People who have had their pet for a while must have gotten accustomed to their sleeping patterns. Speak with the vet if you find your dog sleeping more than usual or if he seems excessively lethargic. Lethargy is a symptom of injury, sickness or trauma. It could also be symptomatic of a host of other conditions, including liver and heart problems, diabetes, diarrhea and dehydration, tumors, anemia, poisoning and hypothyroidism, among other conditions.
  5. Aggressive behavior towards other animals and people – Aggressive actions towards other people and animals is a sign of a sick or stressed dog. Consult the vet or a behaviorist before the problem gets any worse. Most of the aggressive signs are often accompanied by a fearful facial expression and body posture, as well as submissive behavior. Treatment for aggressive behavior focuses on behavior management methods that will help your dog with his anger and anxiety. Devices like muzzles can also be effective when the dog is not at home, with the treatment focusing primarily on preventing any injury to other animals, humans and to the dog himself.

How to help your dog if he is stressed?

Here are few tips to alleviate the stress and anxiety in your dog:

  • Play/exercise with him regularly – Physical activities like playing fetch or walking around the block are great stress busters for dogs.
  • Make a safe zone – Set apart a space in your home where your dog can escape to in the case of high-stress events like parties and thunderstorms. Provide him with a security blanket like a toy and visit him often. If it is possible, stay with him till the event has boiled over.
  • Give him high quality dog food – The diet of your dog is an integral part of his well-being. Providing him with an imbalanced diet for his lifestyle and stage can lead to unforeseen repercussions that can cause stress and anxiety.