Just like people, some pets may be hardwired to turn their noses up at the foods they're "supposed" to be eating—such as the dog or cat food you bought specifically for them at the pet store
Even if you don’t own a pet, you should still be concerned about pet food, says EatingWell nutrition advisor Marion Nestle, a professor at New York University and best-selling author of What to Eat. “Contaminated pet foods are early warnings of the safety hazards of globalization.”
Animal by-products are often the parts of the animal that Americans don't like to eat—organ meats, blood and bone from mammals—and can also include necks, feet and underdeveloped eggs from poultry. (Horns, hair, teeth, hooves, intestinal contents and feathers are prohibited.) By-products can add flavor and nutrients to pet food. In fact, these ingredients often have higher levels of iron, copper, calcium, vitamin A, B12 and many other essential nutrients than muscle meat.
Cats are pretty savvy about knowing what they should—and shouldn't—eat, so pay attention when your feline starts snacking on stuff that isn't food. Sometimes it signals a bigger issue.
Medical problems: Bring your cat in for a vet check if you notice sudden changes in appetite. For example, an increase in appetite may be a sign of hyperthyroidism in older cats. And eating litter may be a sign of anemia.
You probably picture farm dogs guarding cattle or herding sheep, but these canines are learning new tricks to help grow our food.
Pictured: This pooch is sniffing for citrus disease. Identifying and removing infected trees before they show symptoms helps slow the spread of diseases including citrus greening and canker. Photo courtesy of Scentworx.
Citrus Disease Take-Down
Here's what you should know to make sure your pooch has a healthy and safe trip.
In warmer weather, pet foods have a higher risk of spoilage. Foods high in fat or with added fish oils or omega-3s are more likely to spoil (since the fats can break down) and potentially make your dog sick. Pack pet food and treats in an airtight container. Use a cooler to keep food cool and dry and bring the food into your hotel room instead of leaving it in your hot car.
"Should I let my dog sleep with me?" Nearly three-quarters of pet owners answer this question with "yes." In one small study, 41 percent of pet owners said their pets help them sleep by providing a sense of comfort. (On the other hand, 20 percent said their pet kept them awake.) Whether your cat or dog helps or hurts your sleep depends on your pet's temperament, so there is no definitive rule.
Seeing by-products in dog food or cat food ingredient lists probably isn't cause for pause when you're buying pet food, despite the bad buzz this ingredient has gotten.
Cat or dog acupuncture, the practice of inserting small needles into specific points on your pet's body to produce a healing response. It's commonly used for muscle or skeletal problems. It is safe and, anecdotally, it may help relieve pain by increasing blood circulation, relieving muscle spasms and releasing natural pain-controlling hormones. If you want to try it, seek out a vet with the right credentials, such as Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists, or go to the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture website.
From stepping on ice to suffering from dry, cracked paws, walking in a winter wonderland can be a less-than-joyful romp for your pets. Here are some winter pet care tips to keep them safe this season.
When snow falls, towel off their paws after going outside and trim the hair around their feet (including the hair between their toes!) to prevent debris and ice from clinging.