Pet owners commonly seek out dog and cat food information online, whether it’s product reviews, advice on alternative diets, or how to manage your pet’s weight.
But how do you know if the information you are looking at is trustworthy and accurate?
The World Small Animal Veterinary Association has created two helpful guides for finding quality dog and cat nutrition information online.
Here are a few important tips (be sure to check out the full guides and other great pet resources on the WSAVA website):
Research the credentials of authors of the materials you are reading. Advice from a certified veterinary nutritionist is more reliable than information put out by pet owners and pet food companies.
Be aware if a website’s address is a .com (commercial), .edu (educational), or .org (non-profit). This can make a difference in the quality of the information.
Check to see if any statements or claims are backed up by legitimate sources. Does the article link to any references, and are they quality references? Research studies are better sources than promotional materials.
Make sure the information you are reading is recent and up to date, as veterinary medicine is always changing.
Be especially careful of any anecdotal information, such as pet owners stating that their pets were “cured” by a particular product.
Many articles about the “best” pet foods or ones that rate pet foods come from websites that get financial compensation if you click on a product link (such as Amazon affiliate websites). View these sites with plenty of caution.
When in doubt about any information about pet nutrition you find online…ask your veterinarian for guidance and advice!
With the unusually high number of damaging tornadoes hitting the US in the past few weeks, many pet owners may be wondering how to best keep their dogs, cats, and other pets safe from harm during tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.
We’ve gathered some of the best expert advice and compiled the following tornado safety tips for pets. (Be sure to create a disaster plan for your pets, no matter what types of natural disasters your region of the world may face.)
Make sure all your pets are microchipped and have up to date ID tags.
Your emergency supply kit for severe weather should also include items for your pets, such as food, water, bedding, and leash.
Keep dogs and cats indoors during any severe weather event. During tornado warnings, bring your pets to safe locations in the house. It’s best to keep cats crated.
In the event your pet escapes, make sure you have a current identifying photograph, and know the locations of all local animal shelters.
Small pets like guinea pigs and rabbits should be placed in carriers in a tornado-safe location in the house.
Birds can be especially sensitive to stress. Monitor your bird’s health for several days after a severe weather event. Always keep your birds caged so they don’t escape.
Aquariums should be moved under tables or covered with padding to keep the glass from breaking.
If you have advance warning that severe weather is on the way, the best plan is to evacuate with your pets until the threat is over.
Five tiny kittens made big news here in San Diego recently! Workers on a construction site were surprised to hear meows coming from a 60 foot steel column that had traveled hundreds of miles from Hayward to San Diego on a truck.
After failing to coax the kittens out with food, the workers had to tip the long tube over and slide them out. Inside were a litter of 3 males and 2 females, just one week old!
The website Companion Animal Psychology is a great resource for dog and cat owners interested in learning how to better understand their pets.
The site recently published some helpful advice on how to ensure that your dog is as calm as possible during trips to the vet’s office. The tips are based on research published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, which you can find HERE.
The researchers found that many factors can increase your dog’s stress at the vet, including prior negative experiences, the dog’s individual genetic makeup, and upsetting sights, sounds, smells, etc. at the vet.
Another cause of fear is something called “trigger stacking”—the combination of stressful experiences that can go into a vet visit (being put in a carrier, being restrained, etc.).
Here are just a few recommendations for helping dogs that feel anxiety about going to the vet. Be sure to read the full article for more information!
Avoid feeding before a visit so your dog will be interested in treats given by staff at the vet’s office. Treats are good rewards after unpleasant procedures like vaccinations.
Bring a blanket or toys from home to help comfort your dog.
Stay with your dog during the exam/consultation, and any other procedures if possible.
Get your dog used to car rides, carriers, and routine physical handling before trips to the vet. Nail trimming and ear cleaning at the vet’s office can help accustom your dog to being there.
Very stressed dogs can wait in the car rather than the waiting room. Muzzles and sedation can also be helpful in extreme cases.