This Holiday Season, Everybody Wins With DIY Pet Treats

When it comes to making DIY pet treats, you can bet there is a niche market for the exact type of product you’re looking for. You can also develop your own recipes and become a social media influencer yourself! At the very least, Goldorado Animal Hospital hopes your pet has a satisfying, even indulgent, holiday season, one that is free from worry.

Protecting Them From…

Let’s face it, the months between Halloween and Easter can be really dangerous to pets. Chocolate is everywhere, toxic plants, and more household visitors can mean greater exposure to hazards. 

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Grain Free Pet Food and Other Potentially Fatal Fads

When it comes to choosing the best food for your pet, the choices are overwhelming at best. On top of that, it seems that everyone has an opinion. If you ask (or even if you don’t) you are likely to be bombarded by information from your pet store clerk, breeder, trainer, best friend, and various pet food review websites. So how are you to know what the right choice is?

Goldorado Animal Hospital is here to help! We hope that you will consider our stance with a little more weight given our education and history of providing care with your pet’s best interest at heart. 

Learn why we are taking a tough stance against grain free pet food and other fad diets lacking scientific background. 

Where the Grain Free Pet Food Fad Turned

Grain free pet food, all meat diets, and other fad diets featuring “holistic” ingredients are nothing new. The veterinary community has long recognized that these types of pet foods are largely popular due to marketing with little, if any, scientific basis. 

Until recently, though, veterinarians have turned a mostly blind-eye to these types of feeding regimens. While we have found them to be mostly unnecessary, client demands and media pressure have made us relatively silent on the matter. After all, for most pets these diets were harmless, albeit expensive.

That has changed. As of July 12, 2018 the FDA released an alert to veterinarians after recording a significantly increased number of animals diagnosed with a serious heart problem called dilated cardiomyopathy. The pets being diagnosed had one thing in common: they were all dogs eating grain-free or other boutique or exotic diets (kangaroo, bison, etc.) containing peas, lentils, potatoes, or other legume seeds. 

Dilated cardiomyopathy is nothing new. We have historically diagnosed this potentially fatal heart issue, especially in predisposed breeds such as Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Great Danes. The FDA alert in 2018, however, noted reports in breeds that we have previously not  had a significant problem in, including Golden Retrievers, Miniature Schnauzers, and Labs.

Perhaps the scariest part of this whole debacle is that no one yet knows for sure what is causing this to happen. The best information that we have is that there is a strong correlation between the diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy and pets being fed BEG diets (those made by boutique companies, made with exotic ingredients, and grain-free).

Our Advice

So what is a pet owner to do? It is difficult to know how to proceed. No one wants to put their pets at risk of a serious heart condition, yet there are opinions on all sides. The resounding advice from veterinary nutritionists and the educated veterinary community is to steer clear of these BEG diets, though. 

So where do you even begin?

Stick with feeding trials — When commercial diets are produced, AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) they can be approved as a formulated diet which means that the nutrient profile on paper appears adequate for the type and species they are intended for. Look for diets that have been approved via feeding trials, which means that live animals have been shown to do well on them.

Don’t look to taurine — In cats we have discovered that the amino acid taurine must be supplied through diet in order to maintain healthy heart function. This is why cats don’t do well on vegetarian diets. Some people wishing to continue to feed BEG diets are supplementing taurine. At this time, though, while it appears that some pets suffering from diet-induced taurine deficiencies, this is mostly not true. Taurine supplementation will not always prevent DCM in pets on suspect diets. 

Raw or homemade isn’t better — In the face of this apparent nutritional concern in the pet food industry, many pet parents are tempted to turn to raw or homemade diets for their pets. This is a risky move, however, as the problem has also been identified in pets fed these types of diets. Pets fed homemade diets are also at high risk for other nutritional deficiencies and imbalances as well.

Proceed with caution — If your dog currently eats a BEG diet but doesn’t have any sign of heart trouble, the choice is yours. Because we don’t know exactly where the problem lies, and because it doesn’t appear that every or even most dogs on these diets have a problem it is hard to offer advice on whether it is safe to continue or not. Because dilated cardiomyopathy is a potentially fatal disease and can be difficult to detect in the early stages, it is often best to reconsider your pet’s BEG diet. 

If you are overwhelmed by the choices, please give us a call. We are happy to help guide you. We also recommend using resources provided by board-certified veterinary nutritionists such as the website through Tufts University.

There is a lot of information out there when it comes to feeding your pets. We hope that you will turn to us when it comes to sorting through all of it. Our education, experience, and compassion should speak for themselves. 

Ick-Ick! Parasite Prevention and Best Practices for Removing a Tick from a Pet

Removing a tick from a pet is an important part of outdoor pet safetyWith the arrival of tick medications like Bravecto (which is taken once every 3 months and can totally kill ticks), it is possible to avoid the unpleasantness of the “icky” tick.  However, if your pet hasn’t been on an effective medication, beware. Because in the case of ticks, they’re everywhere! They lie in wait on tall grass and brush, are predominant in wooded areas, and active all year except winter, so it’s a good idea to know the score about removing a tick from a pet.

The Yuck Factor

Few bugs inspire such hatred from people. Related to spiders and mites, ticks are found around the world and throughout North America. The difference between these arachnids is that ticks are parasitic blood-suckers that just so happen to spread terrible diseases (like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever). Read the rest of this entry »

Too Hot to Trot: Summer Pet Safety 101

Summer pet safety can help prevent heat stroke in petsThe dog days of summer are in full swing, and here in Cameron Park that means plenty of heat, sun, haze (and perhaps a strong urge to nap during the hottest part of the day). As the season progresses and temperatures continue to rise, it’s important for pet owners to take the well-being of their pets into consideration, when it comes to summertime hazards such as heat stroke, dehydration, and noise-related anxiety.

Being aware of the risks and planning ahead are the keys to enjoying some fun in the sun with our pets. Whether you are at home or on the go, keep our summer pet safety tips in mind. Read the rest of this entry »

New Year’s Resolutions Include Shedding Pet Obesity

 

In the United States alone, an estimated  43.8 million dogs and 55 million cats are overweight or obese – yes, that’s a lot of fat cats! Even though we bipeds have our own weight issues, pets are quickly catching up to us on the scales. Pet obesity is a major epidemic that affects every age, breed, and locality. Common consequences of pet obesity  include:

  • Heat intolerance
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Breathing problems
  • Ligament injuries
  • Kidney disease
  • Many types of cancer
  • Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

Regardless of where your pet is on the scales, our Goldorado team is here to help! Here are our best strategies for addressing obesity in pets: Read the rest of this entry »

Top Ten New Years Resolutions for You and Your Pet

Setting goals is not just for all of us bipeds, your pets love to get in on the action too! This is a great time of year to take a step back and figure out how to make 2015 the happiest and healthiest yet. We are counting down the top resolutions for both pets and people:

10. Measure Portion Sizes

Most people just eyeball the amount of food we feed ourselves and our pets. That’s why a recent study found reduccat steals sausage from the refrigeratoring dish sizes can help us lose weight – and the same goes for your pets! Rather than just filling their bowl every day (or several times a day), measure out the amount of food according to the feeding guide on your pet food bag. For best results, feed to your pet’s “ideal weight.” This is something that the Goldorado team loves helping out with! Read the rest of this entry »

Day At The BRAND NEW Dog Park!

HaciendaPark4

Last week we had the immense pleasure of joining with our friends at the El Dorado Dog Owners Guild (EDDOG) for the grand opening of the first official dog park in El Dorado county! Now, officially
known as the “Hacienda Dog Park”, we all have access to a safe and well maintained space to play with our pets.

Located just half a mile from our office on Cameron Park Drive, you might be able to catch members of our team enjoying the shade with our companions during lunch breaks or on the weekend. We are so excited about the creation of GoldoradoMapthis park because it provides a designated and enclosed space where we can let the furry ones off leash. No more worrying about them chasing that darned squirrel into the road!

The grand opening was attended by hundreds of our local furry friends and their human companions. Several members of our team represented Goldorado including Dr. Prince (with Mrs. Dr. Prince and Jr. Dr. Prince in tow) and our chief of kennel operations, Leah, who made sure every pooch went home with a “doggie” bag full of free treats, chews, and toys: Read the rest of this entry »