Q.Is Taste of the Wild irradiated?
Food irradiation is a process in which foods are exposed to radiant energy, including gamma rays, electron beams, and x-rays to eliminate food-borne pathogens.
For a number of reasons, we do not irradiate Taste of the Wild pet food (in Australia or in the USA where it is manufactured). The most important of which is that it is not guaranteed to kill 100% of pathogens present. Irradiation also has the possibility to accelerate the oxidation of the fat in the food and make it spoil faster. If misapplied, irradiation has proven to be hostile toward vitamin activity, especially B1 (thiamine). A thiamine deficiency in cats can cause numerous health concerns, including neurological disorders.
Q.Can I feed any of these foods to my puppy or kitten?
We have two great puppy formulas in the Taste of the Wild line—High Prairie Puppy and Pacific Stream Puppy. These two formulas have special features to help support optimal health and well-being for growing puppies.
Our two feline formulas—Rocky Mountain and Canyon River—are both formulated to meet the needs for all life stages, including kittens.
Follow the recommended feeding guidelines on the package and adjust up or down as needed to maintain your pet in an ideal, lean body condition.
Q.Do I need to supplement my pet’s diet?
Do you need to? No. All of our pet foods are complete and balanced. If you want to though, you can—with caution. In most cases, supplements will do no harm. However, it is important to remember that human supplements may contain things that are harmful to pets, and you should always check with your veterinarian prior to using any supplement for your pet.
Sometimes veterinarians will prescribe supplements to treat specific conditions. It is becoming more common that veterinarians are turning to natural therapies, either in combination with traditional therapies or alone, to treat different conditions. One such example would be the use of probiotics when an antibiotic is prescribed. Probiotics add back “good” bacteria to the digestive system to keep it healthy. Many antibiotics will actually kill the good bacteria in the digestive system, leading to diarrhea. Probiotics, when administered at least one hour before or after antibiotics, will help to minimize the digestive upset that can be associated with the use of antibiotics.
Q.Does the heat of the cooking damage nutrients in your food?
Yes and no. It is true that some of the nutrients in the food are diminished by the cooking process. Because of this, we make sure to add higher than necessary levels of these particular nutrients so that the finished product provides optimal nutrition and meets our guarantees.
The food must be cooked under certain conditions (including heat of approximately 200 degrees) to guarantee that the starches in the food are gelatinized. This means that the chemical structure of the starches (or carbohydrates) in the food are altered so that they are able to be digested by the animal eating the food.
While there are some nutritionists who believe that raw foods are the only way to feed ourselves and our pets, we know that you can provide your pet excellent nutrition by feeding a high quality, convenient dry product like ours.
Q.How much food should I feed my pet?
There are feeding guides on every package. It is important to remember that the amounts listed on the package are expressed in the number of 8-ounce measuring cups (a standard kitchen measuring cup, not the Big Gulp cup you found in your cabinet) to be fed per day. So, if it says 2 cups in the chart and you feed your dog twice daily, each meal should be 1 cup.
However, each dog is different. Do you have a friend who can eat everything and never gain an ounce? How about a friend who complains that she looks at food and gains weight? Well, people have different metabolic rates and so do dogs. They also have different activity levels. Feeding guides on pet food packaging designed for adult dogs use one equation, figuring that most adult pets are “moderately” active. Obviously some dogs will need more food than the moderately active adult because of higher activity levels and some dogs will need less food because of their “couch puptato” lifestyle.
Puppies have a much higher energy requirement per pound of body weight than adult dogs do. Very young puppies need more calories than older puppies as well. So, if you have two puppies that both weigh 10 pounds but one is 10 weeks old and the other is 10 months, you will find that the 10-week-old puppy actually will need to be fed quite a bit more food than the 10-month-old puppy.
Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s body condition. It is best for your pet’s health to be kept in lean body condition. Feed the amount of food that keeps your dog lean and fit, and remember it might not be the amount that is listed on the package. If you find that you are feeding less than half of what is recommended on the package for your dog’s age and weight, you likely need to consult your veterinarian and consider a switch to a lower-calorie formula.
Q.How much water does my pet need?
Your pet should have free access to fresh water at all times. Most pets will drink the amount of water that they need. In very rare situations, dogs can develop a behavioral condition called psychogenic polydipsia. This simply means that a dog drinks excessive amounts of water with no apparent medical cause. This can be a real challenge to diagnose and treat, so if you suspect this condition, make sure to work very closely with your veterinarian.
Pets that are outdoors or very active will drink more water than pets that live indoors or lead a sedentary lifestyle. Monitor how much water your pet typically drinks. If he is suddenly licking the bowl dry faster than before, a visit to your veterinarian is important. An increase in water consumption can be an indication of many different health problems including diabetes, kidney disease and even infections.
Q.How often should I feed my pet?
This is a common question, and really a matter of personal preference, but it also depends on your pet’s age and lifestyle.
Starting with dogs: If you have a very young puppy (less than 4 months of age), consider 3 to 4 meals per day. For toy breed puppies (5–10 pounds full-grown), you should feed 3–4 meals per day until they are 10–12 months of age to prevent hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. Between 4 and 6 months, feed 2–3 meals per day and after 6 months, feed 2 meals per day.
Some people choose to leave food out all the time or feed one large meal per day. As a veterinarian, I do not prefer the free-choice feeding method. My concerns about this method are multi-dog households where one dog may eat too much food and become overweight. Often pet owners compensate for the empty bowl by adding more total volume so the “healthy eater” of the group will still eat too much but now the more timid eaters are getting the proper amount instead of too little. This method may also not reveal if a dog is not eating well, especially if you are using a feeder that holds multiple days worth of food. Illnesses may go undetected for some time because you are unable to see that your dog is not eating well. One large meal a day works fine for many dogs. However, large and giant breeds that are prone to bloat should be fed multiple smaller meals per day (at least two). The reason for this is that one large meal tends to stretch the ligaments that support the stomach, and over time, this relaxed ligament will make the stomach more likely to twist if the dog bloats. Bloating is bad, but bloating and twisting is much worse.
A final reason for feeding two meals per day is for those dogs that need medication on a daily or twice daily basis (example: a dog with diabetes needs insulin injections twice daily). When you are feeding two meals per day, it is easy to time the medication with the meal, which is some cases is a requirement.
Now for cats: Free choice feeding is the method that many people choose if they feed dry food. Veterinarians used to support this method, then more veterinarians began advocating meal feeding, and now you can find proponents of both methods. The benefits of meal feeding are the same for cats as they are for dogs: controlled portions, you know if your cat is not eating well right away, and the ability to time medication with meals.
What about cats with bladder problems? After cats eat, the pH of their urine rises even if the food is acidified for urinary tract health. When the pH is high, struvite crystals can form in the urine. We used to think that if a cat snacked multiple times per day, the pH rise more frequently and this would be a problem for cats with urinary tract disease. However, studies have shown that free feeding does not have a negative impact on urinary tract health. Remember, diet is not the only factor involved with urinary tract disease and we are finding that it actually plays a much smaller role than we once thought. Read more about urinary tract disease in cats in our medical library.
Q.I heard salmon is bad for dogs. Why do you use it in your foods?
There is a parasite that lives in the bodies of some salmon, mostly in the Northwestern United States. Dogs that eat raw salmon can become extremely ill if exposed to this parasite. Because our foods are cooked, and cooking kills the parasite, there is not a concern with feeding dogs our foods that contain salmon.
Q.I’ve been hearing a lot about the rotation diet. What is it and should I feed it to my pet?
The rotation diet is exactly what it sounds like, a rotation of the foods that you present to your pet. Certain manufacturers of pet foods are strongly advocating the rotation diet, and since it is getting some time in the press, you are hearing about it. Why should you rotate? Well, the wisdom behind this diet is that nutritional deficiencies may result when a pet is fed a single food every day because of the inability of that pet to process a certain ingredient or because of something lacking in the diet that no one is yet aware of (think taurine in the ’80s—no one knew that taurine had to be added to cat foods). Another rationale for rotating foods is the possibility that this decreases the risk of developing food allergies by providing a varied diet. Food allergies are not common in pets, but when they do develop, it is after prolonged exposure to a particular protein source. By varying the diet, possibly the body won’t develop an allergy to a particular food.
Rotation can be done daily, weekly, every bag or any other desired schedule. It is important to remember that some pets are sensitive to food changes, so be cautious when beginning a rotation program. It is not a bad idea to visit with your veterinarian about the rotation diet, particularly if your pet has an existing medical condition.
Q.Is it ok for me to feed my pet table scraps?
It is really best if you do not feed your pet table scraps. Some individuals choose to add human foods to their pets diet for variety, freshness and flavor. This is not necessary, but is not harmful as long as you choose wisely and your pet still eats adequate amounts of a complete and balanced diet so that nutritional deficiencies do not result.
The problem with table scraps is really the way that we cook. We often use seasonings that are too strong or even potentially harmful to pets. Garlic and onion are two things that pets should not consume. The way we prepare our meats is also problematic because of the high fat content. When veterinarians suggest feeding meat to a dog because of an upset stomach, we always say that the meat should be boiled. This gets rid of most of the fat in the meat. Rarely do we boil meat that we ourselves are going to be eating for our evening meal.
Feeding from the table encourages begging during mealtimes. Feed your pet his own healthy meal during your regular mealtime. This will ensure that he is satisfied and will not be begging for a morsel from the table. Feeding table scraps also encourages finicky behavior. Your pet may begin "holding out" for the stuff that comes from the table. You may interpret this as your pet not enjoying his food as much when this is not really the case. He just is not as hungry because you are feeding him from the table, and he knows he might get something if he skips that kibble in the bowl.
Do yourself and your pet a favor and feed a healthy, balanced diet that is designed for pets and stick with it. If you want to give a treat, try a spoon of canned food, a treat or biscuit, or even a dental treat to help keep the teeth clean.
Q.Isn’t the protein in these foods too high for my dog?
Absolutely not! There is not any reason to be fearful of higher protein levels in pet foods unless your pet is suffering from very specific kidney or liver diseases. Quality protein provides the necessary amino acids for your pet to remain in a healthy, lean body condition. Muscles use amino acids as building blocks. When dogs are overfed, they become overweight, just like people. Providing protein that your dog can use to maintain lean body mass will help keep him lean and healthy. You can still overfeed these foods, so if your dog is gaining weight, make sure to reduce the amount that you are feeding.
There is a myth that high protein causes allergies. This is absolutely not true. Proteins themselves are the components of foods that pets may be allergic to. If a pet has a mild allergy to a particular ingredient, it would make sense that the allergy symptoms would become worse when the pet is exposed to higher levels of this ingredient. It is not protein that is the problem, but the specific type of protein.
Q.What does the guaranteed analysis tell me?
The beauty of the guaranteed analysis is that it gives you a lot of information about what is inside the bag of pet food. Once you understand how to read it, you will be better equipped to compare different varieties of pet food.
By AAFCO regulations, the guaranteed analysis is only required to list four nutrients: crude protein, crude fat, crude fiber and moisture. However, many pet food companies list additional guarantees not only to provide you with more information about the food but also as a mark of quality. The more things that are guaranteed, the more things that regulatory agencies can test for and fault a company if they do not meet the level on the label. Because of variances between different types of laboratory equipment, sometimes foods can be faulted even if they truly are not deficient in one of their guarantees. Added guarantees mean that the company is working hard to manufacture a precise formulation each and every time, and you can be assured that bag to bag, that product is likely to be more consistent than a product that only guarantees the four required nutrients.
The first nutrient listed is crude protein. This is a measurement of the guaranteed minimum level of protein in the food. If the food guarantees a minimum of 21% protein, it is not going to contain 32% protein. By AAFCO regulations, a diet that states a guarantee of 21% protein may have no less than 20.4% protein. There is not a specified maximum, but the protein is typically within 2% of the target. So a 21% protein formula would range from 21% to 23%, but would most often be right at 21% or slightly higher. Your dog will benefit from a food that has protein from animal protein sources. After you check the level of protein, look at the ingredient listing to see where that protein is coming from.
The next listing is crude fat. This is also a minimum guarantee, with a 10% allowed variance. So, if the guaranteed minimum fat content is 15%, the minimum allowed by AAFCO would be 13.5%. Most foods very closely target the fat level, so expect very little variance in this nutrient.
Next comes crude fiber. This is typically pretty low, 2–3%, and is a maximum level. In hairball formulas for cats and weight loss formulas, you will usually see a higher level of fiber, usually 6–8%. Higher fiber formulas will result in larger stools than low fiber formulas, but this is to be expected.
Finally, you will see the moisture guarantee. In dry formulas, this is typically 8–12% maximum, and in canned formulas it is typically 75–85%.
Protein and fat will show the widest variance among different types of pet foods. Cat foods have higher protein content than most dog foods. Formulas specifically designed for athletes, puppies, and low carbohydrate formulas for dogs will have high protein content and often high fat content as well.
Q.Why are the protein levels different in the puppy formulas versus the adult formulas?
Our real protein sources add essential nutrients to our formulas, and puppies need higher percentages of some of these nutrients to ensure proper growth and development. All of our formulas provide an ideal balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins to keep your pet healthy.
Q.Do I need to brush my pet’s teeth?
rushing your pet’s teeth is the best way to remove plaque from the surface before it can become hardened into tartar. Plaque is a soft substance that is made up of food particles and bacteria. When the minerals in the saliva bind to the surface of this plaque, it becomes hard. This is called tartar and must be scraped off the surface of the teeth, usually under general anesthesia during a procedure called a dental prophylaxis. Most pets age 2 and older have some degree of dental disease. Dental disease is progressive, and if it is allowed to continue, it becomes irreversible and leads to illness, mouth pain and tooth loss. Start brushing your pet’s teeth when they are young. Use a gauze pad or small piece of cloth, apply a pea-sized amount of pet-friendly toothpaste, and rub the surface of the teeth gently. It is best to do this when your pet is calm and relaxed and not when it is play time. Your pet will soon become used to the brushing, and you can switch to a soft toothbrush to brush the teeth as your pet grows. Daily brushing is most effective. If you are looking for something a bit easier to keep your pet’s teeth clean, consider a dental treat that is endorsed by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC). There are several brands of treats that have gone through extensive testing to prove their effectiveness. Diamond Pet Foods manufactures one such treat, under the brand name Bright Bites. If you are having a busy day and miss the brushing time, you can use the treats as an alternative. Some people give their pets dental treats as the main method for maintaining a healthy mouth with an occasional tooth brushing session thrown in for good measure.
Q.How can I tell if my pet is too fat or too thin?
Veterinarians do not talk about weight as much as they did in the past. Body condition score is now more commonly used for assessing whether a pet is too fat or too thin. It is not very common that we see a pet that is too thin, as the obesity epidemic in pets is mimicking that of the human population in the United States. More than half of all pets that are seen in veterinary clinics are overweight or obese. If a pet is too thin, there is often a medical explanation.
If you are concerned that your pet is too thin, please contact your veterinarian right away. To determine whether your pet is too thin, look at them from the top and the side. If you can see the outline of each rib, your pet is too thin. If you can see the actual hip bones when looking down on your pet, this is also an indication that your pet is too thin. If you are seeing these things but your pet has a large belly, there is most likely a medical problem that needs to be addressed immediately. In this case, your pet’s weight may be normal, but the body condition score is too low.
A normal, healthy pet will have a nice waistline and a tucked-up abdomen. From the side, your pet’s belly should go up at the end of the ribs. You might be able to see the last rib and this is okay, but you should not see more. If you don’t see any ribs, this is probably okay too: rub your hand gently across your pet’s ribcage. The ribs should be very easy to feel, with very little fat between the ribs and the skin. From the top, your pet’s waist is very visible. Between the rib cage and the hips should be a nice indentation. Unless your dog is very furry, you will probably be able to see the outlines of the major muscles in their legs.
If you think your pet is too fat, he probably is. If you have to press your hand against your pet’s side to feel the ribs, there is too much fat. If you look at your pet from the side and the abdomen does not go up at the end of the ribcage, there is too much fat in the belly. And finally, when looking from the top, if your pet is a solid sausage with no waistline, he is too fat.
Being overweight is not only a burden to your pet’s bones and joints but is also a health hazard. Dogs that are overweight are more likely to suffer from pancreatitis and heart disease than dogs that are at a healthy weight. Research has proven that dogs live longer when they are kept at an ideal lean body condition than if they are allowed to be overweight. Cats that are overweight are susceptible to type 2 diabetes, just like people. They are also more likely to suffer from breathing problems and fatty liver disease.
Talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s body condition score and start making an effort to get your pet to the ideal lean condition.
Q.How do I add a new pet to my household?
Introducing a new pet into the household can be a fun and rewarding process with proper planning. First, think very hard about whether or not your household is ready for another pet (or a first pet). If this is your first pet, consider all members of the household in your decision. If you have a toddler, it might not be a great idea to get a puppy, and certain breeds of dogs can be problematic with young children. Research the breed that you are interested in and choose wisely. There will never be a shortage of dogs in this world, so if you decide it would be best to wait, then wait. NEVER go to the store to pick up some milk and bring home the “cutest little puppy that they were giving away in the parking lot.” Unless you were already planning to add a puppy to your household, you will likely be unprepared and sorry.
So, you’ve made the decision to add a pet to your household and you have researched and have purchased all the required items. Oops—we need to know what the required items are.
Stainless steel or glass bowls for water and food
Food (You might want to find out what your new pet has been eating so you can get the same food, at least initially. You can always change later.)
Collar (breakaway) and ID tag if your cat will ever be venturing outdoors
Scratching post/cat tree/perch/bed—these are not all necessary, but one or two would be nice
Stainless steel or glass/ceramic bowls for water and food
Collar (consider a Gentle Leader or Promise Collar, head halters that give you better control and prevent your dog or puppy from pulling on the leash)
Crate or kennel with a soft bed for sleeping
Toys for chewing—these are a must for teething puppies
Now we are ready for our new pet’s arrival home. If you have dogs at home and are bringing home a cat, it would be best to put your dogs away and allow your new cat to explore the house undisturbed. Let the cat approach the door behind which the evil dog beasts are hiding (just kidding), so that she can sniff her competition. Show her the litter box and any cat trees or hiding spots you have selected for her. When you introduce the dogs to your new cat (especially if they have not been around cats before), put the dogs on a leash and let the cat be loose. Maintain good control of the dogs at all times and let the cat choose how much and when to interact. Well-mannered dogs can be told to leave the cat alone, and the transition should go smoothly. If your dogs are not well-mannered, consider spending the money on obedience classes before you expand the pet population in your home.
If you have dogs at home and are bringing home a puppy or a dog, the procedure is very similar, but all dogs should be leashed and under control during the face-to-face introductions.
If you have a cat or cats at home and are bringing some new invader into the house, be prepared for some resistance. This is especially true if you have had one or two cats for a long time and they have never had to deal with anyone else in their space. Potential behavioral problems that can occur are inappropriate elimination, fighting, hiding, and anorexia. Watch closely for any of these things, and intervene immediately. Talk to your veterinarian about specific methods of intervention.
So, follow the same steps listed above. Allow the cats to meet through the closed door first. You should probably not allow face-to-face interaction for several days. Give everyone their own food bowl and their own litter box. You might throw in one extra litter box just to prevent problems. Make sure that all the cats have their own special places to sleep or rest. If you are bringing a dog home to your cat, you might see some of the same problem behaviors. Your cat may just try and avoid the new dog, so make sure that your cat can easily get to food and water and especially the litter box without being bothered.
Whatever you do, do not rush the process or everyone might end up unhappy. Keep in close contact with your veterinarian and address any problems as soon as they occur. Usually, a well-balanced household with lots of happy pets can be achieved with a relatively small amount of work.
Q.How do I get rid of fleas?
Fleas are a common problem for dogs and cats and are the number one cause of allergies in pets. Flea allergy dermatitis can occur even after the bite of a single flea, so you will not necessarily see the evidence of an infestation on your pet.
The best medicine in this case is prevention. Depending on what climate you live in, you may be able to use seasonal prevention or have to deploy year-round prevention. Your veterinarian will be able to tell you which method is best in your part of the world.
The best medications to use are those that you purchase from your veterinarian. There are several different brands available, and most veterinarians will offer several varieties or possibly just their favorite brand. These topical medications are applied to the surface of the skin and are absorbed into the fatty layer of the skin. They are not absorbed into your pet’s circulation so are nontoxic. Most products are applied monthly and will prevent fleas from getting onto your pet and taking a bite.
Use caution when considering a natural remedy or preventive. Garlic is toxic to pets and has not been proven to be effective for flea control, so think twice about using this for your dogs or cats. If you want to choose a natural preventive, talk to a holistic veterinarian about which substances are safe to use.
Q.How do I know if my dog is considered a small breed or a large breed?
Small breed dogs usually weigh less than 20-25 pounds as adults. Large breed dogs are usually dogs that are heavier than 50-60 pounds as adults.
Q.How does a dog or cat get heartworm?
Dogs and cats get heartworms when they are bitten by a mosquito that is carrying the larvae. If the dog or cat is not taking a heartworm preventive, the larvae that are injected into the bloodstream will circulate and grow and develop into mature heartworms. This takes about 6 months. If the dog or cat is taking a preventive medication, the larvae will not be able to develop into adults and the pet will not become infected.
Adult heartworms live in the blood vessels of the lungs and also in the heart if the numbers are very high. This can lead to congestive heart failure. Dogs may have infections with hundreds of worms, while cats may only have a few worms.
Often the first symptom of a heartworm infection is weight loss, especially in dogs. Once there are symptoms of heart failure, such as exercise intolerance or coughing, the infection is advanced. There is no treatment for heartworm infection in cats. Dogs can be treated with a poison that will kill the worms. The treatment is expensive and requires that your dog be kept very still as the worms can break loose and get into the small vessels of the lungs and act like a clot.
Heartworm infection is most common in the southeastern United States. It is also most prevalent where the population is high. Living in a lower-risk area does not necessarily mean that your pet will not get heartworms. Do the right thing and talk to your veterinarian about the best preventive to keep your pet safe and healthy.
Q.My cat has bladder problems. Do you have a diet for this?
We do not manufacture any prescription formulas for the treatment of urinary tract disease in cats. All of our adult cat formulas are designed to maintain a urine pH of 6.1–6.4. This is adequate to prevent struvite crystals from forming. In most cases, this is also enough to help prevent calcium oxalate stones, but some cats may need a diet that produces a higher urine pH, such as a senior cat formula.
Feeding a canned product is thought to help prevent stone formation by increasing the total water intake and thus diluting the urine. Cats normally have concentrated urine, and diluting it seems to help prevent urinary tract problems. Also, cats with chronic urinary tract problems seem to have an excessive response to stress. Any stress in their environment can trigger a flare-up of bladder trouble. Sometimes even a diet change (even when switching to an appropriate diet) can trigger the development of a problem.
Any cat with a history of medical problems such as bladder stones should have a thorough checkup and a nutritional consult with his veterinarian. If changing diets, switch very gradually (2–4 weeks) to help prevent a problem.
Q.My dogs are eating feces. Why do they do this?
This is a behavioral problem, not a medical concern. Dogs that eat their own feces or more commonly, eat the cat’s feces, are doing so because they like it, they’ve seen another dog in the household doing it and don’t want to miss out or maybe they are bored. Walk your dog on a leash, immediately pick up the feces, and separate your dogs when they go out after meals to help break the cycle. If you have cats, we suggest keeping their litter box somewhere that is not accessible to the dog.
Q.My pet has diarrhea every once in a while. Could it be from the food I am feeding?
Diarrhea or soft stools are a common complaint from pet owners, especially dog owners who walk their dogs on a leash and cat owners who are responsible for cleaning out the litter box. Dietary intolerances can certainly cause digestive upset, leading to vomiting and/or diarrhea. However, if your pet is not tolerating something in their regular diet, you would expect to see signs of digestive upset every day, not every once in a while.
For dogs that have occasional diarrhea, the most likely culprit is something they ate that was not part of their regular diet. This could be a treat or it could be something tasty that they found in the yard or on your walk around the neighborhood. It is impossible to prevent a dog from EVER picking something up and swallowing it that they should not. Some dogs do this infrequently, but some dogs do this on a daily basis. If the diarrhea occurs every time you feed a certain type of treat or a certain type of people food, try stopping this particular item and see if the problem stops.
If your dog suffers from an occasional bout of diarrhea, talk to your veterinarian about adding a probiotic into your routine. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that support good digestive health. Yogurt is an example of a food that contains probiotics. Plain, nonfat yogurt added to your pet’s dish once in a while may work wonders (not all pets tolerate yogurt and this is not recommended for all types of pets, so talk to your vet first).
Cats with diarrhea are a bit trickier. Intermittent diarrhea is not that common in a cat. Stress may cause diarrhea, but it more typically causes blood in the stools. If your cat has diarrhea one day and then is fine for months, there is probably not anything that needs to be done. However, if your cat is having intermittent diarrhea, a trip to the veterinarian is warranted.
Q.Should I expect stool changes when feeding Taste of the Wild?
Any time you change the diet that you are feeding to your pet, there is a possibility for changes in the quality or character of the stools. This is especially true if the new diet is very different from the previous diet that was being fed.
When making a diet change, it is best to do so very gradually. This means that the first time you feed the new food, it should make up only 25% of the ration that is being fed that day. So, if your dog eats 1 cup of food two times daily, feed 1/4 cup of the Taste of the Wild mixed with 3/4 cup of the previous diet. Do this for 2–3 days. If the stools are firm, increase the Taste of the Wild to half of the daily ration for another 2–3 days. If the stools are still firm at this point, increase the Taste of the Wild to 3/4 of the daily ration for another 2–3 days. Finally, feed only the Taste of the Wild.
Dogs are similar to people in regards to the population of bacteria that live within their digestive systems. Because of this, digestive upset caused by a diet change can sometimes be prevented by mixing some plain nonfat yogurt in with your dog's food each day during the transition. The live cultures in the yogurt will help balance the flora in the digestive system and minimize flatulence or loose stools that are sometimes occur with a diet change.
We certainly expect that the stool quality is equivalent if not improved with a switch to the Taste of the Wild, and while this may be true in most cases, there will be some dogs who simply do not tolerate this recipe. This may be because of an intolerance to a particular ingredient or even an allergy to a particular ingredient. Symptoms of a dietary intolerance include larger stools than normal, foul-smelling stools, diarrhea, vomiting the food back up and even skin problems. If your dog suffers from an apparent intolerance after a gradual transition, try a different recipe with different protein sources.
Q.My pets are eating grass. Why?
Dogs and cats will often “graze” as a normal behavior. There are various types of “cat grass” that can be purchased for indoor growing to offer your cat something appropriate to chew on instead of your houseplants. If dogs are grazing to the point that they are vomiting, you should contact your veterinarian. Your pet might be suffering from an upset stomach.
Q.Do you have a vegetarian diet?
At this time we do not have any vegetarian diets. We believe strongly in the value of high quality animal proteins for optimal health and lean body condition. We offer a variety of formulas with a variety of animal protein sources to appeal to many different pets and their owners. The blend of amino acids that are found in animal protein sources better meet the nutritional requirements for dogs and cats. This does not mean that a balanced vegetarian diet is not possible, but we have decided to stick with quality animal protein sources for now.
Q.Can I feed any Taste of the Wild formula to my small breed dog?
Yes, any of our formulas are suitable for your small breed dog and will meet their nutritional needs.
Q.Does this food contain Ethoxyquin?
Taste of the Wild Pet Foods sources all protein meals (chicken meal, fish meal, etc) from vendors that do not add ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin is a common preservative throughout the fish meal supply. We work with our fish meal suppliers and pay a premium such that our fish meals are not preserved with ethoxyquin.
Internal testing has shown that our ethoxyquin levels are at true trace levels or below, 5 parts per million (ppm), 0.0005% or one half of one thousandth of a percent.
Q.How do probiotics help my pet?
Probiotics help to maintain balance in the digestive system by suppressing bad bacteria and helping the body break down food and distribute nutrients more efficiently. They also help support a healthy immune system.
Q.Is Southwest Canyon a food solution for any particular problems dogs may experience?
Southwest Canyon was made specifically for those dogs that thrive on a red meat diet. Because Southwest Canyon includes peas and chickpeas instead of potatoes, this formula has a lower glycemic index. Utilizing ingredients with a lower glycemic index results in more stable blood glucose levels for your dog.
Q.What are probiotics?
Like humans, dogs and cats have both “good” and “bad” bacteria in their digestive systems. Probiotics, or good bacteria, help to restore balance in the digestive system by suppressing bad bacteria.
Q.What is pea protein?
Peas are a legume. They are made up of protein, fiber and carbohydrates or starch. Peas can be separated into these different components and sold for use in pet foods. We use the protein portion, pea protein, to add amino acids to the diet, which does not contain the higher ash levels that come from dry animal protein sources.
Q.Where does the wild boar in Southwest Canyon come from?
Wild boar is a species of pig (Sus scrofa). They are known by various names, including wild hogs. The wild boar in Taste of the Wild Southwest Canyon is wild-caught boar, sourced from a supplier in Texas.
Q.Why did you change the probiotics in Taste of the Wild?
We are committed to continually developing new products to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers and their pets. The K9 Strain Probiotics are the only species-specific probiotics available and were developed from bacteria strains found in the canine GI tract. Canine-specific strains are more effective in reducing the risk of irritation and allergic reaction.
Also, for maximum benefit, the bacteria in a probiotic must be viable, or alive and able to multiply. Often, probiotics are added prior to the cooking process where the cultures are killed and no longer active. We now add the probiotics to Taste of the Wild formulas after the cooking process and can guarantee that for every cup of food live, active cultures make it into your pet's system.
Q.Why is Southwest Canyon not named as a beef formula?
Although the main protein source is beef, we wanted to highlight the unique, exotic red meat alternative used in the formula: boar.
Q.Why is venison a good protein source?
Venison is a highly digestible, lean protein source that can add variety to your dog’s diet. For dogs with protein sensitivities, this is a protein that may be helpful to them. Venison is a heart-healthy protein that provides the necessary nutrients to support strong bones and muscles.
Q.Where are your foods made?
We have four manufacturing facilities, all located in the United States. One is in northern California, one in central California, one in Missouri and one in South Carolina.