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Answers to Your Pet Nutrition Questions

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

Most of you know that we reached our goal of giving 1,000 bowls of dog food to Jersey Animal Coalition, my local animal shelter. Part of the contest was for you to leave a comment about your rescue or ask a pet-related nutrition question for Dr. Marcie Campion, a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition and the Scientific Relations Manager at P&G Pet Care. Dr. Campion, who also works for Iams, a division of P&G, kindly responded to your questions. I will post Dr. Campion’s answers all week and into next week.

Dr. Marcie Campion with her dog Tucker.

Pet News and Views: Is it okay to feed an older male cat dry food and should I check for too much protein?
Dr. Campion: Sure, it is okay to feed him dry food. You just want to make sure they have all the vitamins and minerals and levels of protein needed. The only caution would be if your vet has identified a renal condition, in which case the vet may recommend a therapeutic diet to manage the situation.

PNAV: My veterinarian advised that we add 2 tablespoons of All Bran cereal to our 11-year olds’ food. What are your thoughts on this?
Dr. Campion: We always suggest you stick to your veterinarian’s advice. Occasionally, older animals may become constipated. Look for a pet food that has a good source of fiber in it, such as IAMS Naturals with FOS and beet pulp. For information on FOS, click here. http://www.petngarden.com/dogs/dogs78.php

PNAV: Can you tell me if it is safe for dogs to eat grapes or raisins?
Dr. Campion: No, it’s not, and they should not eat raisins either. (From PNAV: While there is no word on toxicity levels concerning grapes/raisins and cats, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center advises not giving grapes or raisins to pets in any amount.”

PNAV: My dog is 7-years old. Does she need mature dog food? At what age would you recommend we change to that type of food?
Dr. Campion: This is dependent on the size of the dog. If it’s a large, small or medium breed, this is the right age as we start to see less muscle, more fat, and tarter on their teeth. So it’s a good idea to switch them to a mature food. If you have a giant breed, it would be a bit earlier—around 5 years.

PNAV: Does eating this natural diet make a difference in the dogs eliminating, i.e. change the stools frequency, size, firmness etc.?
Dr. Campion: It depends on what you were feeding previously. The good things about these new recipes are they include beet pulp and FOS, which means you should see less hard stool, etc.

PNAV: Is there a special diet for my dog who is recuperating from heartworm?
Dr. Campion: It really depends on the condition of the dog and its best to work closely with your vet on a special diet.

Check out Friday’s post for more answers to your questions.

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