Commercial dog food has only been available since the late 1800s. Its remarkable when you look at how many different diets are available these days versus even just 30 years ago, when most every dog ate Dog Chow and most every cat ate Dog Chow. No, thats not a typo, most cats did eat dog food and thats when people started realizing that our domesticated pets needed their own specifically balanced nutrition. If you walk into a pet store today you will likely be bombarded with information about pet food. Unfortunately, the information you will be receiving will likely be from someone who has been taught about several specific brands of pet food and not by someone who has been taught about the dietary needs of our domesticated pets.
If you are wondering what we recommend at Best Friends, look no further. The doctors and staff recommend any pet food labeled by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). Having this label should provide us with the security that the food inside of the bag is complete and nutritionally balanced. Of course there are many brands of food that are AAFCO approved and generally the higher the cost of the food, the better quality of ingredients. In the hospital we carry special veterinary diets by both Purina and Hills Science Diet. For over the counter diets, look for Purina Pro Plan, Purina ONE, Science Diet, Eukanuba by Iams, Nutro Max, Diamond, Eagle Pack, etc. Also, be on the lookout for the many brands labeled as premium or holistic or natural, such terms currently have no legal definitions, so use caution when paying more for these products. That is not to say that they aren’t perfectly fine options, its best just to be aware
Another hot topic discussed amongst dog enthusiasts is the RAW diet. This is literally feeding your dog raw meats, eggs, bones, grains, etc. The main thing that is overlooked by almost everyone who feeds or recommends a RAW diet is the possibility of contamination. The likelihood of exposing yourself, your family and obviously your pet to salmonella, e-coli, or other contaminants found in raw meats and eggs greatly out-weighs the supposed benefits of feeding a RAW diet. The RAW diet is definitely not something recommended by the veterinarians at Best Friends Veterinary Hospital.
Once you have decided on the brand and type of pet food to feed your pet, you should try to stick to it. The more your switch your pets food the greater the risk of upsetting his stomach. We also recommend twice daily meal feeding. This offers you a chance to measure the amount of calories your pet is consuming everyday as well as being able to monitor your pets appetite. If you give your pet treats or people food, dont forget to include those calories in your pets daily calorie intake and be sure to stay away from high fat items such as sausages, bacon, pork, etc.
When it comes to very young kittens, we actually encourage offering a variety of different types and textures of food. Studies have shown that kittens who were offered several different types of foods before the age of six months actually grew up to be less finicky eaters as adult cats.
Please feel free to do your research and make your own decisions on what you think will benefit your furry family member. We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding your pets diet, feeding schedule and exercise regimen.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.
A physical exam is a complete hands-on assessment of your pet’s health status. Our doctors are trained to detect disease by listening (auscultation), feeling (palpating) and looking (visual evaluation). First, we weigh your pet and evaluate his or her heart rate and respiration. After taking these basic measurements, your pet is examined from head to tail while all vital organs along the way are gently palpated. Every body system is checked for disease. During the physical exam, your doctor assesses the risks your pet has for contracting preventable diseases caused by internal parasites (heartworms and intestinal worms) and external parasites (fleas, mites and ticks). You will receive advice on how to prevent these disease causing agents with medications and/or vaccinations.
The eyes are examined with a PanOpticTM ophthalmoscope for cataracts and retinal disease. This is a special ophthalmoscope that allows us to view the entire retina at one time. Some retinal diseases indicate systemic (whole body) problems such as high blood pressure or infections. The eyelids are also be ex amined to check for conformation, abnormal hairs (entropion or ectropion), or any growths or cysts. We may also use a TonopenTM to check for glaucoma.
The ears are examined with a special otoscope called MacroviewTM, an instrument used to see into the long and angled ear canal to the eardrum of dogs and cats. Ear infections and parasites are quite common. In some extreme cases, a more detailed view of the inner ear may be necessary. Additionally, we have a video otoscope that can be utilized in the exam room without sedation. We also have a StorzTM rigid endoscope that can be used to visualize the ear canal while the patient is anesthetized. The rigid endoscope can also be used to remove the chronic, built-up debris that cannot be easily removed with a simple ear flushing. Owners who have dealt with chronic recurring ear infections understand how frustrating ear infection after ear infection can be for you and your pet. Many of our patients who have had the ear canals examined endoscopically report a much improved quality of life with few to no ear infections when a regular ear cleaning regimen is followed.
Teeth are examined for tartar build-up, abscesses, fractures, missing teeth and gum disease. The mouth is visually checked for lesions and tumors.
The heart and lungs are checked by auscultation with a stethoscope and by feeling the pulse. The gums are examined for their color, felt for how moist or dry they are, and gently pressed and observed for capillary refill time.
The abdomen is palpated for anomalies of organ size and character, such as enlargement of the liver or spleen, change in kidney size, bladder stones, tumors, and intestine abnormalities.
The skin is examined for parasites, lesions, and abnormal growths. Lymph Nodes: The lymph nodes are palpated for symmetry, size, and tenderness.
The nervous system is evaluated by observing your pet’s behavior and testing reflexes.
The external genitalia are examined for abnormal discharge, color, swelling, or growths. The prostate gland may be palpated for abnormal size and character.
Manner of walking is observed for lameness and joints are palpated to detect tenderness and inflexibility that may indicate problems like arthritis.