What’s the Beef with Grain Free Diets?

We all want the best for our beloved pets—the best veterinary care, the best toys, and the best food. Now, there has been an increase in recent years in the popularity of natural and boutique pet foods. Many of these natural diets are marketed in such a way as to mimic the diets of wild canines and felines, with an emphasis on more protein, and a lack of grains. The issue with many of these natural diets is that, unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of science behind them.

An increase in recent years of a condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy (abbreviated DCM) led veterinary researchers to conduct a study to uncover why this disease has become more prevalent in dogs, as well as cats. Certain breeds of dogs were already known to have a genetic predisposition to DCM, including Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Standard Schnauzers. However, many other breeds of dogs, as well as a lesser number of cats, began presenting to their veterinarians with this issue.

While the exact cause of the increase in DCM cases has yet to be identified, there has been a definite correlation between pets that were consuming grain free diets and the development of the disease. The majority of grain free diets replace grains with ingredients such as legumes, lentils, peas, or potatoes. Whether these ingredients, or the lack of grains like corn, are the cause of DCM is still uncertain, the link between these diets and the development of DCM can’t be ignored.

If you’re wanting to feed your dog a grain free diet, first and foremost, discuss their diet with your veterinarian, and choose a brand that is backed by veterinary science, such as Hills, Royal Canin, or Purina. Again, we all want the best for our critters, and you can trust that your veterinarian does too. If you have questions about what to feed your canine and feline counterparts, reach out to your friends at Littleton Veterinary Clinic for more information.

Options for Pet Care

According to a recent NBC Nightly News story, corporate veterinary clinics could be charging pet owners more than they should be paying. Select your veterinary hospital carefully! When you visit us, we always explain every charge and make sure you know what you’re paying for.

Watch the full story here.


How to Keep Your Pets Safe This Thanksgiving

Don’t give in to your pets’ begging for human food this Thanksgiving! Many of the holiday treats we love can cause health problems for our pets if they eat them. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe this Thanksgiving:

  1. Don’t leave wine glasses at snout or tail level. When pets ingest alcohol, they often experience severe drops in body temperature, blood pressure and blood sugar, which can all lead to death if treatment is delayed. Overactive tails could also knock over glasses and break them, and broken glass can easily cause injuries.
  2. Turkey is high in fat, and because of this, even small amounts can trigger pancreatitis. Pancreatitis has potentially fatal side effects like dehydration and liver and kidney damage. Small turkey bones can also get lodged in your pet’s gastrointestinal system and cause blockages, which typically require surgery to repair.
  3. You already know chocolate is dangerous for pets. But baking chocolate has even higher concentrations of caffeine and theobromine, the two substances found in chocolate that are extremely toxic to pets. If you’re using baking chocolate in your desserts this Thanksgiving, or any other chocolate for that matter, keep nosy snouts out of the kitchen!
    Show your pets you’re thankful for them by keeping them safe this Thanksgiving.

If you need more help preparing for the holidays with your pets, contact us today!

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe on Halloween

Halloween is a sweet, spooky time for us and our kids, but it shouldn’t be sweet or spooky for our pets! Many things associated with Halloween put our pets at risk. Here are a few important safety tips to follow to make sure your pets are safe and happy on this eerie holiday.

  • Chocolate and xylitol—a sweetener often found in peanut butter and chewing gum—are extremely toxic to pets. Chocolate can cause upset stomachs, heart arrhythmia, kidney failure and seizures, and xylitol can cause hypoglycemia, seizures and even liver failure and death if large amounts are consumed. It is important to tuck all candy away so it stays out of your pets’ reach. Make sure your children know not to feed candy to pets, too.
  • Keep pets away from the front door, especially pets with social anxiety or pets that are territorial. Trick-or-treaters will be knocking and ringing the doorbell all night, which can make any pet anxious, so keeping pets in a secure place will lower their anxiety. Plus, you’ll be opening and closing the door frequently, so keeping them away from the door limits their ability to attempt an escape.
  • Black cats are often pestered on and around Halloween because of superstitions. If you have a black cat that spends part of his time outside, consider letting him be an indoor-only cat for the week around Halloween. It will ensure that he stays safe.

Need more assistance preparing for Halloween with your furry friends? Give us a call today at 303-557-7686.

Reading Between the Lines of Pet Food Ingredient Lists

Choosing diets for our pets can be a daunting task. There are so many options available, and reading ingredient lists can feel like reading a different language! Here are some explanations for common terms you may encounter on bags or cans of pet food.

By-products: Meat by-products are cleaned, uncooked parts of an animal, like internal organs, that don’t actually include the meat itself. By-products do not include hair, feathers, hooves or teeth.
Meal: Meal consists of by-products that have been cooked and turned into dried solids.
Grain-free: Grain-free pet foods do not include any grains whatsoever. Contrary to popular belief, a grain-free diet is not necessarily always healthier for your pet. It’s most important for a food to provide a balanced diet that’s full of nutrients.
Natural: Foods labeled as “natural” must only have ingredients from animal, plant and mined sources, meaning they cannot contain synthetic ingredients like artificial flavorings, colors or preservatives.

Please contact us today for more information on specific types of food that would be best for your pets.