Diet & Nutrition

Why Do Dogs and Cats Eat Grass?

Filed Under: Dogs, Cats, Behavioral & Training, Diet & Nutrition, General Care

The age old question for pet owners has been, “Why do dogs, who are largely carnivores, and cats, who are obligate carnivores, eat grass?”  Dogs and cats receive no nutritive value from grass.  So why do they consume greens, typically grasses?  Traditionally veterinarians and behaviorists have theorized that these pets are sick and need to vomit or have some perceived dietary deficiency that perhaps the owner is unaware of.  The answer may be more fundamental:  eating grass may be a necessary inherited predisposition of dogs and cats from their wild ancestors.  

Periodontal Disease in the Dog and Cat

Filed Under: Dogs, Cats, Diet & Nutrition, Diseases, General Care

Periodontal Disease is defined as an inflammation and/or infection of the gums and bone around the teeth. Periodontal disease is the most common disease found in the dog and will affect more than 8 out of 10 dogs three years of age and older. The prevalence of periodontal disease in the dog increases with age but also decreases with increasing body weight; therefore, toy and miniature breeds are more severely affected.

Raw Food Diets for Cats and Dogs

Filed Under: Dogs, Cats, Diet & Nutrition

Most pet owners feed their pets traditionally-prepared commercial food. Due in part to the recent pet food recall, more people are turning to home-prepared diets for their pets. Some individuals are now advocating raw meat diets that may be prepared at home or are commercially available.

Vitamin C Deficiency in Guinea Pigs

Filed Under: Pocket Pets, Diet & Nutrition, Guinea Pigs

A vitamin C deficiency, also know as scurvy, occurs when an animal lacks the hepatic (liver) enzyme called 1-gulonolactone oxidase necessary for the conversion of L-gulonolactone to L-ascorbic acid or vitamin C, and cannot store the vitamin to any appreciable extent in the body. Essentially three groups of animals lack this enzyme and they include man, monkeys, and the guinea pig.

Avocado Poisoning in Horses

Filed Under: Horses, Diet & Nutrition, Poisoning

Raising avocados may be detrimental to the health of your horse. Avocado leaves, fruit, bark, and seeds all contain persin and an unidentified cardiac toxin. In lactating mares, persin produces a non-infectious mastitis (inflammation of the mammary glands), epithelial necrosis (skin cell death over the mammary glands) and agalactia (decrease in milk production). Occasionally gastritis and colic may occur.

Macadamia Nut Toxicosis in the Dog

Filed Under: Dogs, Diet & Nutrition, Poisoning

Want to share those macadamia nuts with your dog? Don’t, unless you want your dog staggering around the house appearing as if he is in a drunken stupor. A toxic dose of roasted macadamia nuts may be as little as one nut per kilogram of body weight in the dog.

Clinical signs begin two to twelve hours after ingestion. In addition to staggering, the dog may appear weak and depressed. Muscle tremors, vomiting, and an elevated temperature may also occur. Dogs are often painful in the joints, muscles and abdomen.

Grape and Raisin Toxicosis in the Dog

Filed Under: Dogs, Diet & Nutrition, Poisoning

Think grapes may be nutritionally good for your dog? Guess again! Raisins and grapes may be part of a nutritionally complete diet for people but can result in acute renal failure in susceptible dogs. The consumption of 11 to 30 grams of grapes per kilogram of body weight will result in clinical signs of toxicosis, and around 32 grams per kilogram will result in renal (kidney) damage. The number of raisins required to induce poisoning will be even less, requiring a dose of only 0.16 to 0.7 oz of raisins per kilogram of body weight resulting in poisoning.

Mistletoe Poisoning

Filed Under: Dogs, Cats, Diet & Nutrition, Poisoning

As much as we may like to kiss under mistletoe, we humans don’t usually eat it. But our pets may have other ideas.

Bites from Reptile Prey

Filed Under: Reptiles, Diet & Nutrition, General Care

Bite wounds most commonly occur in reptiles when live rodents are left in cages with a reptile that does not want to eat the rodent, regardless of the reason. The rodent will then often gnaw on the reptile. Rodents may also bite in self-defense when they are seized by a reptile in any manner that fails to induce immediate death. Wounds made in self-defense tend to involve the head, mouth and face of the snake.

Canine Obesity

Filed Under: Dogs, Diet & Nutrition

Obesity is defined as an increase in body weight beyond optimal skeletal and physical requirement, as the result of an excessive accumulation of fat in the body. Obesity may be due to metabolic or internal (endocrine) abnormalities known as endogenous causes or exogenous obesity due to overeating. Exogenous obesity is the end result from an imbalance between calorie intake and the expenditure of energy used in day to day activities.

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