How to Take Care of Your Dog and Cat
An animal in a natural environment chooses its diet with incredible care and discretion. If he is carnivorous, as are cats and dogs, he will devour his entire prey, including muscle, organs, and roughage, and thus ensure a well-balanced diet.
In captivity, however, an animal must rely on its owner for a well-balanced diet. This can be a good commercial pet food with first-class proteins added if necessary (milk, eggs, meat, fish, and cheese).
It takes 18 hours for food to pass through the average adult dog’s digestive system. Therefore, one meal a day is recommended.
It is best not to feed dogs raw pork since they are just as susceptible to trichinosis as people. Actually, pork is not the best meat for dogs because of its high-fat content. Some dogs seem unable to tolerate it.
A watchdog on night duty should not be fed later than 4 pm, because with a full stomach he will become drowsy. But a barking dog who keeps the neighbors awake at night should be fed late in the evening so he will sleep most of the night.
A dog should not be fed within 3 hours of strenuous exercise, and after strenuous activity should have a half-hour rest before being fed.
Feeding a puppy
A puppy requires a high amount of protein during the first 90 days after weaning. The extra protein enables him to cope better with emergencies in early life, such as disease or parasites. Proper nourishment will help develop immunity.
Puppies vary in their food requirements. What may be sufficient for one may be a famine for another.
- A weaning puppy should be fed 4 meals a day.
- Between 4 and 6 months, 3 meals daily.
- Between 6 months and a year, 2 meals a day.
- After one year, most dogs require only one meal a day.
Each dog should be fed according to his needs, and quality, and type of food. The delicate digestive system of a puppy at weaning requires a soft, bland diet. Baby foods are excellent.
Small breeds need more food per pound of bodyweight than large breeds. When most people see a St Bernard or a Great Dane, they shudder to think of the food bills. But the giants eat extremely large amounts of food only during the first year or year and a half of their growth. After they have reached maturity they don’t eat much more than a collie or a German shepherd.
The health of the puppy depends on the kinds of meals he is given. A good puppy chow provides a basic, well-balanced diet, and should make up the major part of the dog’s diet.
Puppies need variety in food as we do, and table scraps and leftovers are an excellent means of breaking up the monotony of the everyday diet. But they should be used as a supplement, and not as the main part of the diet.
Raw meat is more easily digested than cooked meat. Too much fat is not good for a puppy, although small amounts should be an integral part of the diet. The liver, tripe, and kidney are beneficial additives.
Egg yolks are excellent, raw, or cooked. For the first year, a puppy should have daily amounts of vitamins and minerals added to his food.
With their tender gums and growing teeth, most puppies enjoy gnawing on objects such as human flesh, expensive shoes, and antique furniture. The addition of crunchy food to the daily ration or an occasional large bone can provide distraction and therapy for teeth and gums.
Feeding a kitten
Weaning kittens may be started on a diet of baby food or high-protein baby cereal, mixed with warm water or milk. You can teach a young kitten to eat by sticking your finger into this mixture and letting him lick your finger clean. If he refuses, dab a little on his nose, and he will lick it off.
Gradually teach him to eat the food in a dish. As he begins to lap the cereal-milk mixture, add strained baby meat and a few drops of the vitamin-mineral supplement every day.
When he is completely weaned from his mother, he should have about 5 meals a day every 2 hours. Gradually, as his teeth come in, feed him finely minced or scraped raw beef in his cereal milk mixture.
Other foods can be added to supplement his meals: commercial cat food, cooked fish, chopped and cooked poultry, egg yolks, small amounts of heart, kidney, or liver.
As he gets older, cut down to 4 meals a day while increasing the portions. When he is 4 months old, cut down to 3 meals, at 6 months, 2 meals. After one year usually one meal a day will satisfy most cats, although some continue to prefer 2.
Reference: How to fatten up a kitten
How to feed a dog properly
There are many misconceptions about feeding dogs. Here are some truths:
- Different breeds don’t need different foods. Chihuahuas eat the same foods as Great Danes.
- It is not abnormal for a dog to gulp his food. The stomach takes care of the digestion.
- Dogs don’t need to chew hard foods or gnaw bones to keep their teeth sound. A well-balanced diet will keep the teeth in good condition. Gnawing bones, however, does help to keep the teeth tartar free.
- It should be a large beef bone, preferably a knuckle. Rib bones or T-bones tend to break off in sharp points and may damage the intestinal tract. Never give small bones, such as chicken, pork, veal, lamb, or rabbit. They are injurious to the throat and intestines.
- Some think that feeding raw meat will make a dog savage and a better guard dog. Raw meat has nothing to do with it.
- Dogs don’t need raw meat. They thrive on cooked or dried meat as well.
- Dogs can digest starchy foods as well as human beings can, provided this food is cooked. It is not harmful to feed a dog potatoes or other starches, in moderation.
- A normal amount of fat is not harmful to dogs. Working and hunting dogs need extra amounts.
- It is believed by many that sweets are detrimental to the dog, that they cause worms or ruin the teeth. Actually, sugar is an important part of a dog’s diet. Dental cavities are rare in dogs, although sweets may spoil his appetite for his regular meals. Occasional sweets are good, especially when used as rewards in a training program.
- Milk does not cause worms. Worms are caused by worm eggs, which don’t stand a chance in milk that has been pasteurized.
- The addition of garlic to the diet doesn’t eliminate worms. However, it may make the food tastier.
- When a dog has a digestive upset, occasionally he will eat blades of grass which irritate the lining of his intestines and cause him to vomit and rid his stomach of excessive bile, as evidenced by yellow vomits. At such times milk of magnesia is excellent for him. If the condition continues for more than a day, the dog should be checked by a veterinarian. The symptoms can signify worms or an intestinal infection.
Like human beings, a cat or dog can become bored with the same food day in and day out. About every fifth day feed him an entirely different food: either canned, meal or dry. Or combine his basic commercial food with liver, meat, or table scraps. Foods that are high in protein, such as meat, milk, fish, or cheese, often make meals palatable.
Your pet should have some fresh meat at least once a week. Organ foods such as liver, kidney, sweetbreads, brains, tripe, and giblets are nutritious and furnish vitamins and minerals.
If you must take your cat or dog to a boarding kennel, inform the management of the brand of food the animal is used to.
For an especially fussy cat or dog, take his water dish and feeding pan along. If your pet is nervous outside his environment, give him a tranquilizer just before leaving and he will adjust more quickly.
- What is the best food for my dog
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How to feed a cat properly
Each cat should be fed according to his needs, likes and dislikes. Adult cats feed once every 24 hours, although a healthy cat can go without food or water for surprisingly long periods, and steadfastly refuse foods that he dislikes.
His health also can affect his appetite. Some diseases, such as Pneumonitis, rhinotracheitis, or sinusitis, often prevent a cat from eating because they may plug up his nostrils so he cannot smell his food.
To maintain good health your cat is best nourished on a varied diet of meat, fish, and vegetables, composed of table scraps, leftovers, and commercial cat foods.
The most critical period is the time of rapid growth after a kitten has been weaned.
Young kittens do not thrive without some fond personal contact with human beings. Without it, they become apathetic and uninterested in food.
Feeding your dog an all-meat diet eventually will cause a mineral deficiency, which exhibits itself in hair loss and red and irritated skin. A calcium deficiency will develop in a puppy or a lactating bitch fed only meat.
Older dogs on all-meat diets usually develop kidney disease from the high concentration of protein. Too much protein causes chronic irritation of the intestines, similar to colitis in human beings, with dark and foul-smelling diarrhea.
For dogs who eat nothing but meat, add vitamins, minerals, and oils. Give them organ foods, such as liver or kidney, which are very nutritious.
Feeding your cat a diet of canned fish (especially tuna) can be dangerous, even fatal. Excessive amounts of fish oil can cause vitamin E deficiency. This will show up in listlessness, loss of appetite, and general soreness of the cat’s body.
Excessive amounts of raw fish can cause a deficiency of vitamin B1. A certain enzyme in raw fish destroys vitamin B1 and will bring on a loss of appetite, drop in body weight, the onset of heart disorders. Once the fish is cooked, however, this deadly enzyme is destroyed.
The following foods can be dangerous to your dog:
- Cherry pits
- Alcoholic beverages
- Apple seeds
- Apricot pits
- Tomato leaves and stems
- Yeast dough
- Mustard seeds
- Onions and onion powder
- Peach pits
- Potato leaves and stems
- Rhubarb leaves
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy foods
- Mushroom plants
Common worms in dogs and cats
It is important not to underestimate the importance of worm infestation in your dog or cat. Mild burdens may cause a dull coat, poor appetite, weight loss and bad breath. Heavy burdens in a young puppy or kitten can cause intestinal obstructions or convulsions from wandering larvae. Today there are several safe and efficient worm treatments available and it is important not to neglect to use them on a regular basis.
There are a number of informative leaflets on the life cycle of worms available free of charge from most vet clinics but we will go briefly over the main facts and the most commonly used treatments.
These extremely common worms infect about 90 percent of puppies and kittens. Infestation may occur via the placenta, or from ingesting the eggs from fecal contamination. Roundworms may cause diarrhea, vomiting, coughing and liver damage. Migrating worms may cause convulsions. The treatment removes those worms in the intestinal tract but not the migrating worms, so we need to repeat the medication every 10 to 14 days until the worm burden is eliminated.
Commonly used drugs are piperazine syrup or pyrantel syrup or tablets (CANEX).
Hookworm infestation is rarely serious but in tropical areas, it may cause diarrhea and anemia. Treatment is most often pyrantel (CANEX).
Whipworms are microscopic and are sometimes difficult to diagnose. Infection is via soil contaminated with droppings. Adults worms are found in the large intestines attached to the bowel wall causing diarrhea with mucous and blood.
For treatment use pyrantel and oxantel tablets (Canex, Drontal plus).
These are the most frequently noticed worms and are often spotted around the dog or cat’s tail area or on their bedding. They appear like cream or pink rice segments.
Tapeworms are picked up by ingesting an intermediate host. The most common of these are fleas. Eating uncooked offal (liver and lungs etc.) is another way. After ingestion of the intermediate host, the adult tapeworm develops in the small intestines of the dog or cat, competing for nutrients and causing the animal to become unthriftily. Periodically worm segments break off and are expelled. Dried segments drop onto the ground releasing eggs into the environment where the intermediate host will pick them up.
The best treatment is still praziquantel (Droncit) tablets.
Over the past few months, veterinarians have seen an increasing number of animals infested with fleas that seem resistant to the normal range of flea treatments. Most of these cases have come from coastal areas, but the problem is being seen in local dogs.
Recently a dog was seen that had been washed in Malathion wash and had been dusted with a number of flea powders. The dog was heavily infested with fleas from nose to tail and one of the heaviest concentrations existed under a newly acquired flea collar.
This situation is worrying, as not only is the resistance widespread but a wide range of insecticides seem to be involved. In an effort to control the infestation an owner may be tempted to use a number of measures concurrently which, whilst they may not affect the parasites, may produce toxic effects in the dog.
On one of the popular daytime television shows recently, a veterinarian attempted to discuss the problem of insecticide resistance and showed a number of products that could be used where problems occurred in flea control. Unfortunately, the interviewer trivialized the subject and the audience was left unclear as to the remedies suggested.
At the start of the segment, mention was made of a liquid which was applied in a strip along the back. It was claimed that this treatment was safe and long-lasting. The product shown was in fact a preparation registered for use against lice in cattle. The active ingredient is Fenthion, which is a potent systemic insecticide that is absorbed through the animal’s skin. This product is not registered for use against fleas in dogs.
Fortunately, it seems that products containing Pyrethrins are still very effective in killing fleas rapidly. These are safe but have the disadvantage of having little residual action. Their frequent use is necessary as well as the spraying of bedding, carpets, and chairs with a household spray.
The range of flea-control products is very large. Before embarking on any control program, seek the advice of your veterinary surgeon. It is important to remember what products have been used in the past. Do not use more than one insecticide at a time and always observe the manufacturer’s recommendations.
When flea powders are bought the label must be checked to determine that the powder may be safely used on cats as some preparations used on dogs can prove lethal to a cat if it takes some into its system by licking. If your dog is irritable due to fleas, a baby powder can also be helpful.
Reference: Is it safe to put baby powder on my dog
Emergency first aid
Hurt animals are usually frightened and confused.
Even normally friendly ones may bite and scratch, so keep your safety in mind.
Here are a few points to follow:
- Move slowly, speaking quietly.
- Restrain the animal with a loose rope around his neck.
- To prevent biting, muzzle him.
- To control bleeding, use a pressure bandage.
- Cover the animal with a blanket or coat to keep it warm.
- Call a veterinarian for further instructions.
To Move an Injured Animal:
- Spread a coat or blanket along and under the spine.
- Gently put the animal on the blanket.
- Holding the corners of the blanket, carry it as you would as a stretcher.