Reining Cats and Dogs
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Raleigh, NC
919-870-6712
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Diet and Nutrition

Is my pet overweight?
Natural pet treats
Chewing on their paws
Grain free diet

Preventative Care and Health

Knowing your pet's health
Proper pet dental care
Hairballs and the jeopardy they pose

Eliminating Toxins

Organic Flea and Tick Care

Exercise

The benefits of regular dog walking
The importance of exercise
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Reining Cats and Dogs
Healthy Pet Corner
"We are extremely pleased with the
excellent pet sitting service you
provided. Most important, of course, was
the (very obvious) loving care you gave
our beloved retired racers. And with all
the extras, it gave us complete peace of
mind to fully enjoy our vacation. Thank
you so much."
 Pat S.  Raleigh, NC

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Reining Cats and Dogs
Pet Sitting
Raleigh, NC
919-2
80-0186
"Exceeding Your Expectations!"
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Reining Cats and Dogs
Healthy Pet Corner
Reining Cats and Dogs Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, and Horse Care.
What Are You Feeding Your Pet?
By Brian Lapham, D.V.M.
Southpoint Animal Hospital
One of the most commonly asked questions (and rightfully so) by pet owners is which pet food to buy.
There is, of course, no single correct answer, just as there is not one meal or single style of cooking
that is best for all people. Many factors come into play when choosing pet food, including individual pet
preferences, finances, and how much time one is willing or able to put into preparing their pet's food.

There are several general categories of feeding schemes to be considered: dry (kibble), canned,
home-prepared, raw, or my personal favorite - a combination. They all have their own pros and cons,
which I will discuss below with my general recommendations.

The first thing I consider when selecting a diet is the individual pet itself. Some pets have different
requirements (young, aged, or cancer patient) or specific needs (food allergy, sensitivity). I also
consider the human client, as they are the ones purchasing and preparing the food. For example,
vegan clients may have difficulty with the thought of chopping up frozen chicken for their furry kids!

Next, I look at the diet itself, keeping in mind that my patients (mostly dogs and cats) are carnivores -
just look at those teeth! Cats are even considered to be obligate carnivores, meaning they would die
without meat in their diet. In other words, we should be feeding carnivorous diets to carnivores. And
yet, take a good look at most diets, and the ingredient list reads like a cereal box. Certain key words
that turn me off of a diet are ambiguous ingredients like "animal digest," "animal byproduct," and
"animal protein." I don't know what those are or where they come from, so I won't feed them to my pets.
Whole foods that have not been overly processed are most beneficial, such as whole meats or whole
vegetables - not their broken down components. Excess processing, cooking, and altering all
deteriorate the quality of food. I want to get hungry reading the label!

Beyond the food ingredients themselves, also look at what preservatives may or may not be included.
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), and ethoxyquin have no place in pet
foods (or ours). Some preservation is needed in dry foods to keep fats from going rancid, but this can
be accomplished with antioxidants such as Vitamin E or rosemary. The best option is to serve a food
that does not require any preservation (fresh, raw, canned). Artificial colors and flavors are generally
used to make the food appeal more to our senses than those of your dog. Most of these are
considered GRAS (generally recommended as safe) ingredients (for more information, visit the Food
and Drug Administration's website, keyword: GRAS). GRAS ingredients also have no place in pet
foods. If the food does not taste great without these additives, it should not be fed to your pet.

To ensure a diet meets minimum standards, it should meet the requirements of the Association of
American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). More information is available on their website as well. One
step better is to put the desired diet through a feeding trial. Feeding trials are quite expensive and
typically only the "Big 4" pet food manufacturers (who also happen to produce some of the less-quality
diets) do these. With homemade or raw diets, several services can help formulate the diet, or can
analyze the food itself. Caution must be observed with some of the formulating sites because the
computers are set up to make cereal (carbohydrate heavy diets) a large component of the diet, but at
least they will give general nutrient content and ratios that are important in a good diet.

I also look at the manufacturer of the preparedtype diets (dry, canned, and freeze dried) to get an idea
of what sort of ingredients they use, how well they are prepared, and whether or not there have been
any issues with manufacturing processes in the past. Humangrade ingredients manufactured in an
inspected facility are a good indicator of acceptable food. A history of recalls and processing issues
makes me hesitate to recommend a product. I am not at every food manufacturing plant every day to
ensure quality product s, so I have to depend on track records.

Finally, and most importantly, how does the pet do on the diet? I have had pets experience horrible
intestinal symptoms from the best diets, while others thrive on Ol' Roy. They are the ones eating it
every day, so they should not only eat it, but enjoy it as well. If my pets are not licking the bowl 3
minutes after the food is gone, that signals that I need to do something different. Look at your pet,
paying special attention to its coat, energy level, and overall health. They should be vibrant,
enthusiastic, and gorgeous. And don't forget, eating is not rocket science. Have fun with it and
experiment - your pets will tell you their favorite.

There are many things in life we have no control over, whether it's genetics or fate (or being skinny
and nerdy), but one of the most important things we have total control over is what our pets eat. Let's
take advantage of that control and strive to provide the best care we can.
"We are extremely pleased with the
excellent pet sitting service you
provided. Most important, of course, was
the (very obvious) loving care you gave
our beloved retired racers. And with all
the extras, it gave us complete peace of
mind to fully enjoy our vacation. Thank
you so much."
      Pat S.  Raleigh, NC

More feedback...
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Copyright ©, 2007-2011 Reining Cats and Dogs LLC  All Rights Reserved - Raleigh, NC 27613 - Phone: (919) 280-0186 - email: ddoll@rcatsanddogspetsitting.com
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