Portland’s CW32 understands that our pets are part of the family and their care and well-being is extremely important. The Portland’s CW32 Pet Project is dedicated to making a pet’s health and happiness a priority by providing information and resources throughout the year.
Spay & Save program - (ASAP- animal shelter alliance of Portland)- “reduced euthanasia in Portland shelters by 76” this is saving 91% of cats and dogs! This program offers free and low cost spay and neutering for cats owned by low income families. For more details or to register, to go to www.oregonhumane.org.
Link your Fred Meyer card to OHS to support OHS while shopping at Fred Meyer. Visit Fred Meyer Community Rewards online * designate OHS and charity of choice, enter code 87015. Adopt or Sponsor a pet. For more details or to register, to go to www.oregonhumane.org.
Nutrition is a critical element to your pet’s well-being. Knowing what to feed them and what to stay away from will help protect their health and happiness in the long run.
Cats: Your kitty probably loves a lot of the same foods you do and is happy to eat a small square of cheese when offered. Your dog may relish just about anything you’re willing to share. It’s so easy to please our pets with food — but is it good nutrition?
Pet nutrition needs are not the same as ours, but many of us are clueless about what exactly they are. This primer on dog and cat nutrition will fill you in on what your pet needs to stay healthy and fit.
Consider these facts:
- Small, low-activity dogs need only about 185 to 370 calories daily, while a large pooch between 67 to 88 pounds may need between 1,000 to 2,000 calories, depending on activity level and gender. Yet many of our dogs get far more food than they need. More than one-third of U.S. dogs over 1 year old are overweight.
- A healthy 10-pound kitty needs just 220 to 350 calories a day — about the number in a few ounces of cheese. No wonder the weight stats are about as bad for cats as dogs. At least one-quarter of U.S. felines are considered overweight or obese.
Here’s how vet experts break down the nutrition needs for dogs and cats to stay lean and healthy.
Cat Nutrition: The Meat of the Matter
Next time you look at your cat snoozing in a sunbeam, think tiger. Pound for pound, cats need twice the protein humans and dogs do. And the building blocks of good cat nutrition can be summarized in one word: Meat.
About 17% to 21% of adult human calories should come from protein. We can get it from meat, but also through beans, legumes, and dairy sources. Cats need double that amount of protein for good nutrition and it must come from meat or fish.
Why? Cats are “obligate carnivores,” which means they need to eat animal protein to obtain all the amino acids they need in their diet. The vital amino acid cats can’t get from any source other than animal protein is taurine.
Taurine is critical for a cat’s normal heart, eye, and reproductive function, but cats can’t make it from other amino acids, as most mammals can. A meat-rich diet not only provides cats the taurine they need. It also gives them vitamin A — a nutrient they’re unable to convert from beta-carotene.
Fats are a good energy source for cats. In the wild, cats consume about one-third of their calories as fat. Fats not only taste good, but they also help cats get the fatty acids they need and aid in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, D, and E.
The problem is that some cats enjoy the taste of fat too much – just like some people. If you find that kitty is digging into her food bowl too often or you’re sharing tidbits of people food with her, be careful. Obese cats can suffer many of the health problems people face, including diabetes and arthritis.
Carbohydrates and Cat Nutrition
Domestic cats fed on commercial dry cat food may get up to 40% of their calories from carbs. Yet cats do not need them in the percentages that are found in the majority of processed dry foods. In fact, there is no minimum recommended requirement of carbohydrates for cats, and too many carbs can be a prime reason domesticated cats put on pounds.
Water Is Vital to Cat Nutrition
Cats, people, and dogs are all made up of about 60% to 70% water. But unlike their canine and human friends, cats evolved with a low thirst drive, probably a legacy of their desert-dwelling ancestors. Add a cat’s low thirst drive to a diet rich in dry foods — which contain only 5% to 10% water — and it’s clear cats can run the risk of dehydration. This may lead to serious urinary tract problems. Although a diet that includes wet cat food (about 78% water) helps, you should always have multiple sources of fresh, clean water available for your cat.
Dogs: How Meat Helps Meet Dog Nutrition Needs
Dogs love many of the same foods we do. But if you think your precious pooch as a hairy little human, think again. Although your canine companion needs protein and good fats, he may need far fewer carbohydrates than you think.
Protein should make up about 18% of your dog’s diet, as it should for you. Animal protein from meat and fish offers the balanced protein dogs need. Unlike cats, dogs also eat — and enjoy – some vegetables, too.
Dogs Love Fat, But How Much Is OK?
For good nutrition, dogs need fats to keep their coat, skin, nose, and paw pads healthy. Fats are also a great energy source and contain more than twice the calories per gram than protein or carbs. That doesn’t mean your pooch should have all the fats she craves. About 9% to15% of an adult dog’s calories should come from fat. But it’s easy for dogs to get too much fat, especially if they get treats from the table or sneak cat food tidbits. (Cat food has more fat, protein, and calories per mouthful than dog food, which is why dogs love it so much).
Carbohydrates and Canine Nutrition
Carbs aren’t a natural energy source for dogs. Their bodies can make use of carbohydrates for energy, but they have naturally evolved to get most of their nutrition needs met by fats and protein.
As with cats, there’s no minimum recommended amount of carbohydrates for dogs. The exception is at the end of gestation and early in lactation. Likewise, dogs do not have an absolute fiber requirement – although a no-fiber diet often results in diarrhea.
Dog Nutrition: Water Is Vital
Animals can’t survive without plenty of clean water, and your dog is no different. Refill her water bowl daily and be sure to give her extra water after a long walk, game, or any other energetic activity.
Lawn Fertilizers: Lawn fertilizers are often combined with herbicides, commonly referred to as ‘weed n’ feed’. In a 1991 study published in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, a link was found between the herbicide 2, 4-D and malignant lymphoma in dogs and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people. According to the study, “researchers report that dogs were two times more likely to develop lymphoma if their owners sprayed or sprinkled the 2,4-D herbicide on the lawn four or more times a year. And even with just one application a season, the cancer risk was one-third higher than among dogs whose owners did not use the chemical.”
- Even if you do not use chemical-based lawn fertilizers, your neighbors may. Dogs are more vulnerable than humans to lawn care chemicals since dogs run ‘barefoot’, and often roll, sniff and dig in the grass. Some dogs even eat grass occasionally. Corn gluten is a natural, nontoxic alternative to commercial ‘weed ‘n feed’ products. Corn gluten is an organic fertilizer and a pre-emergent weed killer which has become popular for use in residential lawns as well as school fields and golf courses. Exposure to corn gluten is safe for pets.
- Awareness. Know where your pet goes when outside the home, especially in spring and fall when lawn fertilizers are applied. Wipe or wash your dog’s paws after running on lawns which may have been recently treated with fertilizers.
- Herbicides, insecticide baits, sprays and granules are often used in gardens without consideration of the effects these chemicals may have on pets. Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde are toxic, and can be lethal, to dogs if ingested. Metaldehyde toxicity causes rapid onset of neurological symptoms that can be fatal if untreated. Signs of poisoning begin within one to four hours of exposure. Repeated seizures due to metaldehyde poisoning can elevate body temperature, which can lead to complications similar to those observed in pets suffering from heatstroke. Affected pets usually require hospitalization for 24 to 72 hours after metaldehyde ingestion.
- Fly bait and garden insecticides often contain methomyl or carbofuran, which can cause seizures and respiratory arrest in dogs and cats. Organophosphate toxicity from garden insecticides may lead to chronic anorexia, muscle weakness and muscle twitching which may last for days or weeks. Some organophosphate insecticides commonly used include coumaphos, cyothioate, diazinon, fampfhur, fention, phosmet, and tetrachlorvinphos. These insecticides inhibit cholinesterases and acetylcholinesterase, essential enzymes which break down acetylcholine, causing seizures and shaking due to continuous nervous transmission to nervous tissue, organs and muscles.
De-icing salts used to melt snow and ice pose a hazard to pets. When dogs lick their paws after having walked on surfaces treated with de-icing salts they may become sick. This limited exposure can lead to short-lived sickness such as hypersalivating, nausea and vomiting. Larger ingestions, according to the ASPCA, can lead to an increase in the blood’s electrolyte levels, weakness, lethargy, moderate irritation to the oral and gastrointestinal system, and even tremors. De-icing salts can also cause burns, cracks and skin irritations on dogs’ paw pads.
The most commonly used de-icer is rock salt (sodium chloride). This is also the least expensive de-icing salt. Other ice-melt formulations use potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium carbonate or calcium magnesium acetate. These formulations are less toxic than sodium chloride but they are also more expensive.
Pet safe alternatives:
- Waterproof ‘pet boots’ are recommended during winter walks on treated icy surfaces.
Sand, crushed cinder, or cat litter can provide traction on icy pavement, although they do not melt the ice.
De-icers containing calcium chloride or potassium chloride are safer for pets but they are more expensive. Calcium chloride de-icer costs about three times as much as sodium chloride de-icer. De-icers marketed as “pet friendly” are preferred for use, however prolonged exposure can still cause irritation to pets.
Wash off your dog’s paws with a wet towel after walking on de-icing salts.
Household Cleaners: According to the EPA, 50% of all illness can be traced to indoor pollution, which can be directly related to the use of household cleaners. The National Center for Health Sciences says “… perhaps the most serious exposure is to modern household cleaners, which may contain a number of proven and suspect causes of cancer.” Cleaning products with ingredients such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, glycol ethers or formaldehyde can put pets at risk for cancer, anemia, liver and kidney damage.
- Even when the toxic cleaners are put away and closed, the vapors left behind can continue to harm both us and our pets.
- Ammonia, found in oven cleaners and window cleaning formulations, is an irritant to the mucous membranes. Chlorine is a toxic respiratory irritant that can damage pets’ skin, eyes or other membranes. It can be found in all-purpose cleaners, automatic dishwashing detergents, tile scrubs, disinfecting wipes, toilet-bowl cleaners, laundry detergents and mildew removers. Chlorine is heavier than air and lands in low-lying areas where pets live. Because your pets are smaller and breathe faster than adults, they are even more vulnerable than children to toxic exposure.
- Laundry Detergent residue left behind on clothes and pet blankets can be harmful to your pet, especially those that chew on their bedding. Toilet bowl cleaners may be ingested by pets who have the habit of drinking from the toilet bowl.
- Most home cleaning chores can be done without the need for commercial chemically-based home cleaners which may be toxic to pets. For a list of non-toxic home cleaners which you can make yourself, see our page Nontoxic Home Cleaning
Human foods that are toxic for pets:
The following foods may be dangerous to your pet
- Alcoholic beverages
- Apple seeds
- Apricot pits
- Cherry pits
- Candy (particularly chocolate—which is toxic to dogs, cats, and ferrets—and any candy containing the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
- Coffee (grounds, beans, and chocolate-covered espresso beans)
- Gum (can cause blockages and sugar free gums may contain the toxic sweetener Xylitol)
- Hops (used in home beer brewing)
- Macadamia nuts
- Moldy foods
- Mushroom plants
- Mustard seeds
- Onions and onion powder
- Peach pits
- Potato leaves and stems (green parts)
- Rhubarb leaves
- Tea (because it contains caffeine)
- Tomato leaves and stems (green parts)
- Undercooked meat, eggs and bones
- Xylitol (artificial sweetener that is toxic to pets)
- Yeast dough