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3 Big Nutrition Messages for Cat Guardians

Sadly, estimates are that over half of kitty companions over the age of 10 suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is also referred to as chronic renal disease or chronic renal failure. There are many causes of CKD in cats, but one of the most common and preventable influences is a dry food diet.

Cats are designed to meet most or all of their body’s moisture requirements through their diet, not at the water bowl, so they don’t have the desire to drink water the same way other species do. Kibble provides a very small percentage of the water cats need in a daily diet.

Kitties fed an exclusively dry diet suffer chronic mild dehydration that causes significant stress to kidneys over time. As Dr. Lisa Pierson, a feline-only practitioner and cat nutrition expert, writes at her fabulous CatInfo.org website, “It is troubling to think about the role that chronic dehydration may play in causing or exacerbating feline kidney disease.”

Dr. Pierson’s Big Three Nutrition Messages for Cat Guardians

Dr. Pierson realizes that feline nutrition can be overwhelming for cat guardians, and tries to keep things simple. Her recommendations are based on what a cat would eat in the wild – a mouse, bird, lizard, or some other small animal.

  1. Feed a diet that’s high in moisture.
    Dry food (kibble) is cooked to only maintain 5-10% moisture, whereas a bird or mouse is around 70% moisture. When a cat is fed a dry food, they don’t make up that deficit at the water bowl.
    Now, many people say, “but my cat drinks a lot of water.” Studies of cats on all-canned food diets vs all-dry food diets show that cats eating canned food (which has a very high water content) rarely went to the water bowl, yet they consumed double the amount of moisture as cats eating kibble. The kibble fed cats did not demonstrate a high enough thirst drive to make up the water deficit at the water bowl. A water-rich diet, like canned or raw food, is the first key to a healthy diet.
  2. Feed your cat a diet that’s animal-protein rich.
    Cats are obligate carnivores, and must get their dietary protein from animals, not plants. When we look at a can of cat food, we want to see that the protein is coming from animals – chicken, beef, etc. – and not from plants like corn, wheat, soy, or rice.
  3. Avoid carbohydrates.
    Cats aren’t designed to eat carbohydrates. A bird or a mouse is a very high-protein, moderate-fat meal, with maybe a percent or two of carbs on a dry matter basis. So diets containing more carbs aren’t appropriate for cats.

It’s also important to remember that although high-protein, low carb dry cat foods are flooding the market these days, they are inappropriate diets for cats because they’re water depleted. Many cats suffer from Urinary Tract Disease, and it is caused by urethral obstructions from a water-depleted diet. Cats on water-rich diets can develop UTIs as well, but it’s extremely rare.

What’s the Scoop on Prescription Diets?

Once a cat is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, many veterinarians recommend a prescription “renal diet,” many of which are dry kibble. These formulas do not meet the dietary hydration requirements of cats, especially kitties who are losing large amounts of water due to worn out kidneys.

“I must say that I find it truly amazing when I hear about the very large numbers of cats receiving subcutaneous fluids while being maintained on a diet of dry food,” writes Pierson. “This is an extremely illogical and unhealthy practice and every attempt should be made to get these cats on a diet that contains a higher moisture content.”

Prescription renal diets also typically have reduced levels of protein, which is not ideal for cats, who are obligate (strict) carnivores requiring high levels of quality animal protein for optimal health. According to Pierson:

“Renal diets restrict protein to the point that many cats – those that are not consuming enough of the diet to provide their daily protein calorie needs – will catabolize (use for fuel) their own muscle mass which results in muscle wasting and weight loss.”

Pierson also points out that interestingly, there’s no FDA oversight of prescription pet diets. They oversee drugs, but these diets are marketed as “prescription,” when there’s nothing in them that requires a prescription. Clinical trials aren’t performed before these foods go on the market, and could be formulated in a far healthier manner if these “prescriptions” underwent much closer scrutiny.

Why Veterinarians Recommend Prescription Diets

Dr. Pierson focuses on helping cat owners formulate diets that are customized to that cat’s individual needs. She says that it’s extremely common that people are hesitant to feed a wet food rather than the “prescription” food another veterinarian recommends. Her clients are commonly led to believe that the only diet option for a kidney sensitive kitty is a prescription diet.

Pierson says that unfortunately, veterinarians are extremely busy trying to keep up with their continuing education, and nutrition is typically not very interesting to most of them. It’s much easier for a vet with a feline kidney patient to simply grab the “prescription” diet off the shelf. There isn’t a lot of critical thought going into nutrition for pets.

Switching Your Cat to a Better Diet

The transition to wet or raw food from kibble can be surprisingly difficult. Cats that have eaten dry food for most of their lives can become addicted to it. And cats, unlike dogs, will literally starve themselves if you aren’t feeding what they prefer.ca

Dr. Pierson refers her clients to the page on her website called Transitioning Dry Food Addicts to Canned Food. She encourages cat guardians to have patience, as it took her three months to get her own kibble addicts to switch to canned food.

If you’re first getting started, try a variety of proteins and textures in wet food. See if you can get your cat to respond positively to one or more, and gradually transition to an all-wet diet. And remember – patience, patience, and more patience!

 

May Special at the Barkery

Fromm Family Pet Food has been manufacturing quality and wholesome dog and cat foods since 1949. As a family owned company, Fromm Family Foods focuses on what’s doing best for your pet! With Fromm’s wide range of recipes, you are sure to find one that fits your best friends needs, and your budget. May is a great month to give Fromm a try at the Barkery, with great discounts on both dog and cat kibble for the entire month of May:

Fromm Dog Food

  • $2 off small bags
  • $4 off medium bags
  • $6 off large bags

Fromm Cat Food

  • $2 off 2 pound bags
  • $2 off 5 pound bags
  • $4 off 15 pound bags

 

Remember: Your Dog or Cat Is a Carnivore

When Deciding What to Feed Your Pet, Remember: Your Dog or Cat Is a Carnivore

First and foremost, it is important to remember when picking out your pet’s dog or cat food that your pet is a carnivore. His genetic make up and internal workings remain essentially the same as his wild carnivorous ancestors. All carnivores, including dogs and cats, have sharp, interlocking teeth designed for biting and swallowing, not chewing.

All carnivores, including dogs and cats, have very short digestive tracts compared to vegetarian animals. This is because nature designed carnivores to be able to eat foods that are heavily contaminated with pathogens. Wild dogs and cats don’t remove the colon or other bacteria-laden body parts from prey animals before they eat them. Their digestive tracts are designed to get food in and out quickly to limit exposure to pathogens.

Processed Pet Foods Have Created Generations of Nutritionally Deficient Dogs and Cats

Commercial pet food companies have mostly produced products using a base of corn, wheat, or rice. However, they are now recognizing the abundance of grains causes cancer and creates fat, diabetic animals. Companies have turned to grain-free dry foods, but the carb content is not species-appropriate, and creates nutritionally compromised animals. Processed Diets also contain synthetic vitamins and minerals to meet basic nutritional requirements. The food is heated to very high temperatures, which denatures proteins and decreases nutrient value, introducing carcinogens into your pets body on a daily basis.

Best-to-Worst Types of Pet Food

Click here to see Dr. Becker’s full list of best-to-worst types of pet food.

3 Ways to Keep Your Kitty PURR-fectly Healthy

Nutrition is always a concern when it comes to our pets. Have you ever wondered if you’re feeding your cat the right food? Are they getting the nutrients they need? Do they just not want to eat? If your cat is fussy about her food, she’s not alone. Cats are often labeled “finicky eaters”.  Thanks to animalwellnessmagazine.com, we learn that there are several reasons for this – and several things you can do to help correct it.

LOSS OF APPETITE – 3 STEPS TO A SOLUTION

A good diet, plus your cat’s ability to metabolize nutrients play an important role in his health and longevity. Whenever your cat’s appetite fades, you need to start by finding out whether he’s just being picky, or might have a health problem.

1. There are many physical reasons why a cat may not eat, including illness, injury, poisoning, stress or aging issues. Ruling these out is always the first step in addressing appetite loss, so a vet visit is in order, especially if the cat is vomiting and/or has diarrhea, and/or hasn’t eaten in more than 24 hours.

2. If your cat has no underlying medical problems, but still seems lackadaisical about what he does or doesn’t eat, the next step is to try different varieties of food to see what appeals to him. Proceed slowly and carefully – a sudden introduction of new food can trigger diarrhea.

3. If your cat still needs an appetite boost, acupressure can help. Even if he has a medical issue, taking an integrative approach by combining acupressure with your veterinarian’s recommendations can restore his appetite more readily. Through thousands of years of clinical observation, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have identified specific “acupoints” that are known to help stimulate appetite and support nutrient absorption.

 

The Brookside Barkery is the PURR-fect place to find the best food for your feline! Keeping your kitty healthy is very important, and the Barkery is here to help! With our knowledgeable staff, and excellent selection of top notch cat food, like Purrfect Bistro and Stella & Chewy’s, you are sure to find something Mr. Cuddlesworth is sure to like!

5 Ways to Know Your Cat Food is Worth the Money

This article from Pet360  helps you understand why some cat foods may be a little pricier than others – and with good cause. Check out Brookside Barkery & Bath’s online store to see our wide variety of cat food, and always feel free to ask our knowledgeable staff about ingredients in the foods we carry.


Saving money makes sense for certain items, but not when you’re talking about skimping on pet food and getting the “cheap” brand. Your cat is wonderful companion and deserves a diet that will help keep him or her healthy for many years to come. How do know if your cat food is worth it? Let’s look a few key factors.

1. Where was the Cat Food Made?

Quality and safety is a concern for all pet food manufacturers, but some companies take particular pride manufacturing the food at their own facilities (versus co-manufacturing or manufacturing off-site) in order to uphold these two principles. According to Mindy Bough, CVT, vice president of operations for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center and head of the ASPCA’s Pet Nutrition Services, manufacturing pet foods onsite allows for better quality control as it relates to ingredient sources and processes. Look for a statement on your cat’s food that says it is “manufactured by” the pet food company rather than “manufactured for” or “distributed by.”

2. Who Makes the Cat Food?

Formulating your cat’s food is not easy. In fact, quality pet food manufacturers employ nutritionists who must properly balance key ingredients in the diets (sometimes numbering more than 50 nutrients ) as well as individual nutrients and minerals to help maintain your cat at optimal health.

3. Artificial Flavors, Additives or Preservatives?

Premium pet foods use natural ingredients instead of artificial flavors, additives or preservatives that are often the source of “empty” or non-nutritious calories. Some preservatives are even known to be carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in humans such as butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT).

4. Has the Cat Food Undergone Feeding Trials?

According to Ashley Gallagher, DVM at Friendship Hospital for Animals, AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) feeding trials are the gold standard when it comes to feeding trials for pet foods. Diets that have been substantiated via this type of feeding trial have been fed to pets under strict guidelines and found to provide proper nutrition. Look for a statement on your pet’s food label that reads: “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that [Name of Pet Food Company] provides complete and balanced nutrition.”

5. Does it have an AAFCO Statement?

Also called a “nutrition claim,” the “AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy or purpose” is a statement that indicates the food is complete and balanced for a particular life stage, such as growth, reproduction, adult maintenance or all life stage.

 

Storing Pet Food in Hot Places Can Ruin it

How You Store Dry Pet Food Will Affect Your Pets’s Health

from The Natural Paw blog

Keeping an open bag of dry dog food for weeks in your kitchen or garage will cause changes in the food that may lead to serious health problems. Learn how to properly store dry dog foods to help your dogs and cats live longer.

Would you keep a loaf of bread open in your kitchen for 39 days?

We hope not. That’s how long the typical opened bag of dog food lasts.  Lengthy storage time and poor storage conditions lead to nutrient degradation, oxidation of fats, and infestation by molds, mites and other food spoilers. One in three dogs dies of cancer. We think improper storage at home is a major contributing factor.

Dry dog foods usually have a one-year “shelf life.” That means the food is “good” for up to one year after the manufacturing date. Many dry foods stamp a “best if used by” date on the package. This applies only to unopened bags.

High-quality dog food companies use bags that provide protection from oxygen and moisture. If the bag is intact, not enough oxygen and moisture can migrate into the food in one year to cause significant oxidation or microbial growth problems. Though problems can occur between the manufacture of food and the customer opening the bag, it’s what happens after the bag is opened that we are most concerned with in this article.

What happens after you open the bag of dog food?

As soon as you open a bag of food, oxygen, moisture, light, mold spores, storage mites, and other potential spoilers enter the bag.

Oxidation of fats

Oxidized fats may cause cancer and contribute to many chronic health problems in humans. The same is true for dogs.

Dog food companies use antioxidants (sometimes vitamin E and other natural sources) to forestall oxidation. Every time the bag is opened, oxygen enters. Eventually the antioxidants are all oxidized (used up) and some of the fats are damaged, starting with the more fragile omega –3 fatty acids.

Degradation of all micronutrients

Vitamins particularly susceptible to oxidation and damage due to long term room temperature storage include vitamin A, thiamin, most forms of folate, some forms of vitamin B6 (pyridoxal),vitamin C, and pantothenic acid. The nutrition in the food at the bottom of a bag left open 39 days will be considerably less than the nutrition in the top of the bag. Fresh is best.

Molds and mycotoxins

Storing open bags of dry dog food for 39 days in warm, humid areas (most kitchens) promotes the growth of molds. Some of the waste products of these molds (mycotoxins) are increasingly being implicated as long-term causes of cancer and other health problems in humans, poultry, pigs and other animals. Dogs are particularly susceptible to these toxins[i].

Keep food fresh!

1. Keep food in its original bag, even if you use a container. Plastics can leach vitamin C out of the food. The components of the plastics themselves may leach into the food. Rancid fat, which lodges in the pores of plastics that are not food-grade, will contaminate new batches of food.

2. Keep food dry. If the food looks moist, throw it away.

3. If the food has off color, throw it away.

4. If the food smells rancid or like paint, throw the food away.

5. If your dog says no, do not force her to eat.

6. Avoid leaving food in a hot car! Heat will leach micronutrients and ruin the food’s nutritional value.

 

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