Is eating grass normal for my dog or cat?

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

We have a glass door at In Clover that is a perfect spot for my dog Floyd to watch the world go by. It overlooks a grassy lawn. I found him there yesterday afternoon staring nose to nose through the glass with a bunny who was chewing intently on a long blade of grass. Floyd is intrigued this time of year by both the lush green grass and the bunny. As spring is springing and you start to spend more time looking out and in your yard you may notice how much grass your dog and cat eat and wonder why. This is one of the most common questions vets are asked this time of the year. No one has a definitive answer because our furry kids can’t tell us if it is because they just like the taste, and if so, why they throw it up. Answers vary from they need to purge, to they have a dietary deficiency, to natural behavior.

There is not a problem with your pet grazing on the sweet spring greens, unless they head straight for the carpet and throw it back up. Dogs and cats have been eating grass and smaller grass-eating prey for thousands of years and there is no evidence that it is bad for them. This is not the case if the grass has been treated with chemicals or herbicides. If that is a concern, keep them satisfied with an organic, live grass or wheat grass treat like the ones available at bellrockgrowers.com. If you suspect a dietary deficiency, treat them to a digestive supplement with plant-based enzymes and prebiotics found in products like OptaGest. Since the digestive tract is 70% of the immune system, keeping their digestive system healthy and happy will pay off with a happier, healthier well pet.

Supplement Needs for Older Dogs and Cats

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

Because our senior dogs and cats are unable to make the digestive enzymes necessary to absorb and digest key nutrients, it is important to supplement their diets with a high quality digestive enzyme product. Look for a supplement with key plant based enzymes such as protease, amylase, cellulase and lipase. Make sure that your supplement does not have fillers such as lactose, rice hulls or animal digest that may cause digestive issues. If the supplement has the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) benchmark of quality seal, you can feel good about the quality that has gone into the product.  

Start supplementing your pet’s digestive system today, you will notice the difference in decreased amounts of  stool, change in stool odor, color and consistency.  Your pet will feel more vibrant!

Is salmon safe for your pet?

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

I walked into my favorite pet store right after work, hungry. I was projecting my tastes as I selected the pet food flavors. The dog food package had a beautiful stream full of jumping salmon. The cat food label had an appetizing array of seafood, I chose the salmon. But then I remembered about “salmon poisoning.” Salmon is not safe for pets, or is it?

Living inside some salmon is a parasite, a member of the trematode family that relies on the host salmon to live. Living inside some of these trematodes is another parasitic organism named Neorickettsia helminthoeca, this rickettsia is sort of like a bacteria. And this is where the problem begins. The rickettsia is what can cause infectious disease in dogs and cats who eat raw salmon. This may result in serious illness and death. However, your pet may safely eat salmon if it is prepared by cooking or freezing it first, this will kill the rickettsia. If your pet does eat an infected raw salmon, the symptoms of the disease occur about a week later. They include severe intestinal upset and inflammation. This is easily treated but you will need to give your veterinarian a history of what he has been eating since a routine blood test will look normal.

The name “salmon poisoning” is a misnomer. The salmon simply carries the rickettsia, and not by choice. So cook or freeze your pet’s salmon and bon appetit.

Preventive care and supplements

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

Remember your grandmother’s saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” We all know she meant that if we take care of ourselves, we’ll stay healthy and avoid seeing the doctor.  The same is true for our pets. Instead of apples, however, a good diet, exercise and supplements will keep pets healthy and may reduce vet visits.

A quality food is the first step to better pet health. A good food can give dogs and cats more energy, a healthier skin and coat, better digestion, and more fully developed muscles.  When a good diet is combined with regular exercise, pets will more likely maintain a healthy weight, reducing chances of obesity and the health issues that accompany it.

Supplements also help dogs and cats remain active, vibrant and healthy. In Clover’s premium, natural supplements help support the most common health concerns that lead to trips to the veterinarian.

  • Joint Health: Connectin – complete formula showed results in 15 days*
  • Digestive/Immune Health: OptaGest:  4 enzymes plus prebiotic
  • Dental Health: Grin Daily Treats with green tea for tartar control

*data on file

The “Catkins” Weight Loss Diet – Are You Watching Your Cat’s Carbs?

I had never had an overweight pet until Chloe came into my life.  Chloe is In Clover’s office foster cat.  She came to live with us seven weeks ago, a shy girl who would not come out of her crate.  She is 12 years old and weighs 17 pounds.  She has a pretty small frame and would probably feel great at 9 pounds. She had been at the humane society for 60 days before coming to us.  Today, she has her own chair in the reception area where she can see all of the comings and goings, get lots of pets and enjoys the first ray of afternoon sun.  She has flourished here.

The first few weeks with us, we focused on making her comfortable and giving her lots of love.  We immediately started her on a grain-free dry cat food with In Clover’s digestive aid added for immune and digestive support.  We have watched her coat improve significantly and no more soft stools.  When she had settled into a routine, I started to talk to animal and nutritional experts and research her nutritional choices. That is when I learned about the “Catkins Diet”.  The dry food she was getting is a venison and salmon grain-free formula that is 293 calories per day with a carbohydrate content of 19.7%. That is a lot of carbs for Chloe’s activity level, she will never lose weight on that.  So, she has been transitioned over to a grain-free wet food that has 250 calories per day but only 1.79% as fed carbohydrate content.

Chloe has been on her Catkins diet for one week now.  She has learned to like the wet food. It was a little rocky at first, but we have discovered that she is a seafood lover.  We will keep you informed of her weight-loss progress and would love to hear your success stories.

What’s for Your Pet’s Dinner? 5 Ingredients to Avoid.

By: Rebecca Rose, In Clover founder and product developer

Good food is important for your dog and cat.  A balanced, high quality diet will give your pet more energy, better digestion, healthier skin and coat and more fully developed muscles.

My dog, Floyd, came into my life after living off the streets and foraging for food.  He survived but he certainly did not thrive on his low quality diet of junk food.  It would be like us eating a daily diet of McDonald’s.  We would certainly not feel our best and we would probably not live as long.

When you are shopping for pet food, read the label, ingredients are listed in order of quantity.  Look for a food with:

  • Real meat, not byproducts
  • Primary  ingredient is protein
  • Minimal grain

Don’t get lured by the pretty package, sometimes the bag has better ingredients pictured on the outside than what is contained in the food inside.  Here are 5 ingredients to avoid in your pet’s diet.

  • Low quality protein such as byproducts, animal digest, undefined “meat”
  • Sweeteners,  sugar, glucose, dextrose, fructose, HFCS, sorbitol
  • Grains such as corn, soy, wheat
  • Cellulose – in budget weight loss formulas
  • Artificial colors, flavors and preservatives such as Ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, sodium   benzoate

I am currently feeding Primal Raw, Taste of the Wild, and  Evo wet food. Share your food experiences, what works or does not work for your dog or cat?