As pet owners we all want the same thing: to feed our pet a healthy, complete diet to promote a long and happy life.
A big part of choosing the right diet for your pet is being able to accurately interpret the label on the back of the bag. You can't assume a pet food is right for your pet by simply reading the ingredient list, because the nutrients are just as important as the ingredients!
Key tip: Consider nutrients as well as ingredients!
Now, lets compare the following two labels.
At a glance, the pet store diet definitely looks much more appealing, whole foods, vegetables ... it looks better than some of us eat! But remember, the pet food industry is not as regulated as it appears. Few pet food companies actually have a licensed veterinary nutritionist on their team, which is likely the reason why we are now seeing the emergence of nutritional based illnesses such as Dilated Cardiomyopathy which is linked to grain free, raw and exotic protein diets (visit this blog post on DCM).
A high quality pet food requires a precise blend of ingredients to meet a specific nutrient profile based on a pet's life stage, lifestyle of disease condition. This is the advantage to choosing a diet that has been formulated by a licensed veterinary nutritionist. They ensure that these nutrients are delivered to your pet in the right ratios for their stage of life.
That being said we still need to understand the ingredients list.
Here are the most common questions we hear pet owners ask:
Diet B contains pumpkin, herbs and berries, doesn't that make it a better diet?
Marketing based companies are good at coming up with "feel good" names. Remember that ingredients are listed in the order of highest weight to lowest weight, in most cases those "berries" amount to one berry per bag.
What exactly is "by-product meal"?
The term "by-product" has been created because they are the parts of the animal our society does not typically consume, such as the animal's organs. These parts of the animal are still nutritious. Various parts of the animal such as their meat, liver and internal organs are ground into meal, much of the fat is extracted, and the bone residue (ash) is reduced. This results in a high quality, concentrated source of protein which is also very tasty to both dogs and cats.
Chicken by-product meal consists of ground, rendered, wholesome parts of the chicken. It includes white meat, dark meat, liver and internal organs.
Meat by-product consists of the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat from slaughtered mammals that do not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs. These diets specifically use beef or pork lungs, spleens, or livers in their diets for consistency and optimal nutrient profile.
Poultry by-product meal includes white meat, dark meat, liver and organs from turkey, duck and chicken.
Do they put inferior parts of the animals in by product meal?
Do not worry! By-product meal does not use chicken feet, beaks, hair, hooves, teeth, nails etc as these are very low in nutritional quality. An indicator of this can be the mineral content of any commercial food (it should be lower vs higher which would indicate bone content of the diet). The ingredients that are used are organ meat such as lungs, heart, liver etc. These are high quality by products that are bone free and lower in mineral content.
The pet store assured me this is a very high quality diet. It is also very expensive. Don't they have a veterinary nutritionist formulating the diet?
Veterinary nutritionists are veterinarians who have undergone a medical specialization in all things related to your pet's dietary needs. Surprisingly, veterinary nutritionists are few and far between. Research the company making your dog’s food, and find out who has formulated the recipes. Make sure that a veterinary nutritionist is the one formulating all recipes, so you know your dog will be receiving an optimal diet. The American College of Veterinary Nutrition provides a directory of all board certified veterinary nutritionists.
Veterinary nutritionists focus on the nutrients derived from the ingredients used and how these benefit your pet. For example carrots and blueberries are healthy, but if we only ate these two things all the time, we would not be able to get the proper nutrients to fuel our bodies or help disease states. This is why we need to think about nutrients as well as ingredients when selecting a dog food.
Nutrients and high quality ingredients are both important in a pet food. But nutrients are what your pet's body absorbs, not ingredients. The optimum food is made of quality ingredients selected for nutrients, quality and taste precisely formulated to deliver the correct amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals to meet the pet's nutritional needs. A pet food is a sum of it's parts.
As your pet's primary health care provider, we are here to help you choose the right diet for your pet. If you have any questions about your pet's diet. Please contact us at 905 844 6786 or email email@example.com
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We are pleased to confirm that Mac Animal Clinic will continue to provide essential care for our patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The hospital will offer shortened hours Monday - Friday 10am-4pm. We will continue to exercise additional safety precautions to keep our staff, clients and community safe.
The kids aren't the only ones who need to be entertained during this time of social distancing. This week we have dedicated our time to providing you with some tools to ensuring your pet is happy and entertained at home.
Aim for a happy and fulfilled pet not just a tired pet!
It is not necessary or advisable to exercise pets until exhaustion. The old saying that a tired pet is a good pet is not necessarily in the best interest of the pet. Over exercising may physically exhaust but not mentally engage a pet. Mental stimulation through exploratory and social activities provides for enrichment and meets more of the pet’s needs. A well- exercised pet is likely to develop more and more endurance. In essence we are creating a marathon runner rather than meeting a pet’s social and exploratory needs. Moderate exercise is good; strenuous exercise is not necessary.
In young animals, the stress of excessive exercise on developing joints can be detrimental and in older pets it can cause pain or discomfort if arthritis is present.
What does this mean? Pay attention to the mental aspect of your pet's walks. New sights, sounds, and smells are intriguing for most pets, especially if introduced to walks and novelty when young. Be engaged with and observant of their pet during walks. This is an activity to do together! Taking small food treats on walks allows you, the pet owner to reinforce desired behaviour and helps reinforce the bond between you and your pet.
Here are a few tips to help keep you and your canine buddy entertained and happy. Some of these tips can also be used for your feline buddy as well!
Mental stimulation is essential and it can be surprisingly tiring. Think about how you feel after a long day at work. Here are a few things to try at home.
#1 – Make them work for their food! Treat dispensing toys or puzzle feeders Food-Storing Toys - Fill the toy with anything from wet food, treats, kibble and even a bit of peanut butter. **Be mindful of your dog's dietary sensitivities. During the pandemic, now is not the time to also be dealing with an upset stomach**
#2 Play time Now is the time to teach your dog to play fetch! Otherwise, find a toy that your dog enjoys and have some fun! Tug of war is a great way to expend energy. ** Always supervise play time with your dog**
#3 Training Have you always wanted to have a dog that could roll over, shake a paw or maybe even bring you a beer? Now is the time to teach them! Several short training sessions a day provide cognitive enrichment.
Develop a play relationship with your pet!
Social play with other pets is something we normally focus on but social play with people is more important for fostering a social relationship between the pet and pet owner. Studies have shown that dogs prefer human company to that of other dogs. So if you're unable to go to the dog park right now, its a GREAT time to focus on and strengthen the human-animal bond!
Cats and dogs need to learn how to interact and play with their owners. Developing a play relationship based on trust and understanding will facilitate a strong bond between you and your pet. Some of the best types of play are with long tug toys or wand-type toys. This allows both you and your pet to engage in play. Appropriate play with a tug toy will not make a dog aggressive.
**Play needs to be modified appropriately to prevent over arousal and possible accidental injury** Read these guidelines on how to implement "tug" into your pet's routine.
Try these "Find It" games at home!
Teaching cats and dogs how to search for their food or even for a favourite toy can make for great fun. Cats naturally eat numerous small meals in a day and spend a majority of their day hunting. We can provide an outlet for this activity through the find-it game outlined in the downloadable handouts here. The exercise is slightly different for cats and dogs. Many animals when given a choice to solve a puzzle to get food versus eating it from a bowl will choose the puzzle. There is a term for this called contra-freeloading. Exploratory activities should appeal to our pets’ senses, such as sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. Providing appropriate exploratory activities for our feline and canine friends is enriching both mentally and physically.
Click on the pictures below to download the file.
Cats are natural predators! Cats learn predatory behaviour at an early age. Predatory behaviour is the reason cats play with wand - type toys. Here is a great game to play with your cat.
You are your pet's best friend!
Have fun and enjoy this opportunity to spend more time with them. Send us your stories or pictures of you playing with your furry friend to our Facebook or Instagram accounts or firstname.lastname@example.org
References : Fear Free Pets www.fearfreepets.com
Update for clinic hours March 19th until April 6th.
Dear M.A.C families,
Please note the changes to our clinic hours during the current pandemic. These changes will be effective from today March, 19th.
Monday - Friday: 10 am - 4 pm
Please note the following hospital changes to help us keep our staff, clients and community safe.
We will be keeping our front door locked. If you are at the clinic to collect food or medication. Please call us at 905 844 6786 to process your invoice and a member of our team will bring your food or medication to you. If you are unable to pay over the phone, please advise a member of our team and we will bring the debit machine to you. During this time we request you to use payment methods other than cash.
We will be limiting any appointments (resuming March 30th) to medical and urgent appointments. Please call the clinic when you arrive for your appointment as we will examine patients in their cars when possible. We will be utilizing telemedicine during this time and our phone lines and email are regularly checked, please do not hesitate to contact us if your pet is unwell.
Remember that the M.A.C MyVetStore offers home delivery and we are waiving the $10 delivery fee for all orders of $100.
Our phone lines are open as usual and we are regularly checking our email. Our team is working to ensure you and your pet are supported during this difficult time. Please do not hesitate to contact us at 905-844-6786 or email@example.com
Thank you for your patience and understanding. Keep safe M.A.C Family
Sincerely, Mac Animal Clinic
During these uncertain and constantly changing times we have continuously been reviewing our hospital policies. Updates are coming to hospital staff hourly, from Ontario Public Health, the College of Veterinarians Ontario and the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association.
We are trying our best to care for our patients while also supporting our staff due to the current pandemic we will be shortening the clinic hours.
This week we have made the very difficult decision to make the following changes to our clinic hours.
As of Wednesday March 18 2020 - Friday March 20 2020 10 am - 4pm
Saturday March 21 2020 10 am - 12 pm. **Please note the clinic is now closed on Saturdays until further notice**
Our staff are coming into work to ensure our patients and clients are cared for, but please take the necessary precautions to maintain their safety.
As Dr. Mac is in self quarantine, we are not currently offering appointments. However, Dr. Mac is available via telemedicine and will continue to support her patients remotely via email or the phone. If you have concerns about your pet please call or email the clinic as you normally would. Dr. Mac is anticipated to be able to see only emergency appointments as of March 30th, this is dependent upon the ongoing pandemic recommendations.
All routine appointments and elective procedures have been postponed.
Please only bring the minimum number of family members to the clinic.
If you are unwell or have recently been out of the country, please do not enter the clinic.
Take advantage of home delivery, online ordering and prepayment. Please also consider calling the clinic before hand to pay over the phone to promote social distancing.
When you arrive at the clinic, please call us to let us know you are here so we can minimize the people in the clinic or deliver the items to your car.
Based on recommendations from the Ontario Government and other governing bodies we will post our shortened hours for next week within the next 72 hours. We will continue to remain in close communication with our M.A.C family based on the new recommendations.
Mac Animal Clinic
M.A.C's MyVetStore can help your family by offering online purchases and home delivery.
During this uncertain time, our team is looking for ways to continue to support our patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore we are offering the following services via our online MyVetStore at www.myvetstore.ca/macanimalclinic
In the time of the COVID-19 outbreak, we are waiving the $10 home delivery fee for all orders over $100.
Some of your pet's medications can be pre-purchased online and picked up at the clinic. If your pet is needing a refill prescription please email the clinic at firstname.lastname@example.org ahead of time, so our staff can set it up on your vetstore portal. Pre-purchased prescriptions can then be delivered by our staff to your car to help promote social distancing.
**Please note: delivery times will be longer than usual due to the increased strain on our suppliers. If you are urgently out of food or medication, contact the clinic at 905-844-6786 to check if we have any food in stock**
Order your pet's food online and have it delivered to your home. Stay safe everyone.
What Do I Do if I Find a Tick on my Pet?
After taking your pet out for a fun walk, you thoroughly check their coat and OH NO! you’ realize a tick has attached itself onto your pet. Stay calm, its important to remember that you’ve found the tick! Take action immediately, the longer ticks are allowed to feed the greater the chance of transmitting disease.
The next step is to remove the tick off your pet, if possible we advise allowing a veterinarian to remove the tick to ensure all the tick is removed. However, if you need to remove the tick at home, keep reading!
What else can I do to protect my pet?
Understanding how it works and why it is so important.
Why is it important
You may be thinking, “my dog already has the Lyme vaccine, do I need to give tick preventatives as well?”. The answer is YES. Comprehensive protection that includes both vaccination and monthly protection is best practice.
Vaccinate your pet against Lyme Disease
The Lyme disease vaccination is recommended based on your dog’s exposure risk and individual lifestyle. With the warmer months approaching, now is the time to consider incorporating the Lyme vaccine into your pets vaccination protocol.
Don't forget about our feline friends!!
Pheromone therapy can help comfort your newly adopted puppy. Pheromones can help comfort your puppy during those first few nights in their new home, help make new experiences a little less scary and can even promote better training and socialization.
Mac Animal Clinic was honored to be the filming location for Adaptil Junior's video segment which was featured on HGTV and CTV! Check out the video below!
What if you could give your pet a food that a complete and balanced diet that also cleaned their teeth? Introducing dental diets! These diets can help keep your pet's teeth clean and they are 15% off for the rest of the month!
Don't you wish they made a mouth for pets? Surprise! They do.
Oral rinses are a great way to decrease the bacterial load in your pet's mouth resulting in a healthier, fresher smelling mouth.
We have a variety of oral rinses in different flavors, strengths and purposes. Speak to a member of our team to pick the right mouth rinse for your pet.