Facts About Feeding Cats
Flea and Tick Control
The harmful effects of fleas and ticks can reach far beyond severe discomfort. In fact, both fleas and ticks can carry serious diseases that are dangerous to both pet owner and pet. Thankfully, today there are a variety of products available through veterinarians that can help ensure safety from these pesky parasites.
Other than itchiness, or pruritis, fleas can cause numerous health problems to a pet. In fact, fleas can carry tapeworm larvae, which a pet can ingest and pass in its feces. Fleas can also carry the organism Bartonella henselae, which is one of the causes of “cat-scratch” disease in humans. Many pets are allergic to flea bites causing a single bite to initiate an intense allergic reaction, or flea bite dermatitis (FAD). From this allergic reaction, the pet’s skin can go on to become infected with bacteria and other pathogens.
Ticks can be harmful in small or large numbers. They can transmit serious diseases to both animals and humans. Such diseases are: Lyme disease, Ehrlichia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. These parasites can also present specific problems when they attach to a sensitive location, such as the ear or eye. Signs of Infestation Even if a pet owner has never physically seen a flea or tick on their pet, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. In pets with darker colored fur, it can often be difficult to see these parasites. Other signs of flea or tick infestation on a pet are scratching, irritated skin, or pepper-like debris (flea feces) in the pet’s fur. Another indicator that there is a flea or tick problem is if the owner finds a tick or small bites on them self.
Fleas and Ticks: Cats vs. Dogs
Fleas and ticks conduct themselves differently on cats than dogs. In fact, a dog with these parasites can even present differently than a cat. For example, ticks are more commonly found on dogs than cats; dogs are more prone to FAD; a cat’s display of discomfort from fleas and ticks can be similar to that of normal grooming habits; fleas and ticks are often found on a cat’s face neck and back while on the rear, thighs and abdominal area of dogs.
Flea and Tick Preventative
Thankfully, there are a variety of flea and tick preventatives on the market today. These products are available right here and come in either topical or oral form. Among these products are Comfortis, Frontline, Advantage, Capstar, and Sentinel. It is crucial that products designed for dogs not be applied to cats and vice versa. The use of over-the-counter products on your pet is not recommended. Failure to comply with these recommendations may include allergic reaction, muscle tremors, seizures and, in severe cases, death, for a pet.
Facts About Feeding Dogs
Some dog owners forget that humans require a variety of foods to ensure the consumption of nutritionally balanced meals. A quality dog food has a proper balance of all the nutrients a dog requires together with a high level of palatability.
Adding human food to a nutritionally balanced commercial dog food may upset the nutrient balance of your dog’s diet. Ideally, table scraps should not be fed. You may also be creating behavior problems. Your dog may begin to steal food from the table or the food preparation area. Try feeding your dog at regularly scheduled times, such as when the family is having breakfast or dinner. Feed only enough to maintain your dog in good body condition. Ignore its coaxing for additional food, or give hugs instead.
Here are some of the foods to watch out for:
- Milk is a food and not a substitute for water.
- Repeatedly adding raw eggs to a dog's diet can cause a deficiency of the vitamin biotin, which can lead to dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), loss of hair and poor growth.
- Some raw fish can cause a deficiency of the vitamin thiamine. Signs of a thiamine deficiency include anorexia (complete loss of appetite), abnormal posture,weakness, seizures and even death.
- Raw meats may contain parasites and bacteria and do not contain a proper balance of nutrients if fed alone. Although meat is a source of protein, it has very low levels of calcium, a mineral dogs require for proper bone and tooth development. If large quantities of raw meat are fed over time, skeletal problems may develop.
- Raw liver, fed daily in large quantities, can cause vitamin A toxicity in dogs.Small soft bones (such as pork chop or chicken bones) should never be given to your dog, as they may splinter and lodge in his mouth or throat.
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Facts About Feeding Cats
Some pet owners forget that humans require a variety of foods to ensure the consumption of nutritionally balanced meals. A quality cat food has the proper balance of all the nutrients a cat requires together with a high level of palatability. Adding human food to a nutritionally balanced commercial cat food may upset the nutrient balance of the diet.
Milk is a food and not a substitute for water. As a food, milk is incomplete and does not provide a balanced diet. Milk contains lactose, which requires the enzyme lactase for breakdown in the intestinal tract. If the intestinal tract does not contain sufficient lactase, consumption of a high level of lactose can cause diarrhea.
Repeatedly adding raw eggs to a cat's diet can cause a deficiency of the vitamin biotin, which can lead to dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), loss of hair, and poor growth. Some raw fish can cause a deficiency of the vitamin thiamine. Signs of a thiamine deficiency include anorexia (complete loss of appetite), abnormal posture, weakness, seizures, and even death.
Although we may associate meat or meat by-products with a cat's nutritional needs, it must be combined with other ingredients to provide complete nutrition. Raw meats may contain parasites, and cooked meats can be high in fat and do not contain a proper balance of nutrients.
Raw liver, fed daily in large quantities, can cause vitamin A toxicity in cats. Small soft bones (such as pork chop or chicken bones) should never be given to cats, as they may splinter and lodge in a pet's mouth or throat.
Supplements are not necessary when a normal, healthy cat is being fed a complete and balanced food. However, factors like feeding table scraps, inconsistent exercise or stressful changes in routine can leave cats with special nutritional needs.
Some pet owners believe that additional calcium, and possibly other minerals, should be added to the diets of pregnant and nursing females and growing puppies and kittens. It is true that more minerals are needed at these times, but they are normally obtained through increased consumption of a high quality, nutritionally balanced diet. Adding them out of proportion to other nutrients can contribute to skeletal deformities and problems.
Finally, table scraps will not provide the balanced diet which cats require. Table scraps should not be fed.