Grass a Natural Part of your Pet’s Diet

Grass is a natural part of the diet of cats and dogs. For many pets it is normal for them to eat grass every day.

When they are sick, cats and dogs must have grass available because they have a very strong urge to eat it- it is part of the way they cope with sickness.
Pets that have swallowed something they shouldn’t have, such as pieces of bone, eat grass and vomit the item back up.
The reasons why cats and dogs eat grass are not at all well understood.

They may include:

  • nutrition
  • digestion
  • cleaning teeth
  • soothing sore stomachs
  • removing internal parasites
  • inducing vomiting (when sick)

Cat & dog owners should make sure they have long grass at home for their pets. Bird owners too will find that grass placed in the cage/aviary will be used heavily.
Pet grass can be grown in an area of the garden or in a pot.
You need to ensure the grassy area is not used as a toilet by pets (because long grass attracts this) or sprayed with weed killer. For these reasons, & to prevent it becoming a garden weed, pet grass is often best in a container.

A simple, immediate way to provide long grass for your pet is to find some long grass that hasn’t been sprayed, dig it up & put it in a pot with some soil (put stones & holes in the bottom of the pot so it doesn’t become waterlogged).
Keep moist in a sunny spot. It is less tasty when it goes to seed so replace it if/when it does.
Happypet’s grass seed pack supplies 30g untreated, pure ryegrass seeds (as used by BioGro and Certenz organic producers) plus growing instructions.

 

Tips for safe feeding of bones

Dogs and their ancestors have been chewing on bones for at least 65 million years (when primitive carnivorous mammals, Miacids, first appeared on Earth).

Some supervision and common sense are required when feeding a bone to a dog:

  • Dogs that swallow large chunks, or get diarrhea from bones, should not be fed them.
  • Bones should not be fed to excess (can cause compaction in the stomach).
    One or two large bones per week is a suitable amount.
  • Safe types of bones should be fed (raw, relatively large bones or soft rib and brisket bones).
    Do not feed cooked bones.
  • As always, long green grass should be available to your dog, in case it swallows something it shouldn’t (see “Grass for dogs”)

 

What is commercial dog food made from?

It is only comparatively recently that commercial dog food has been available, beginning with dog biscuits in the 1800’s.
Commercial dog foods are generally made from various meats, cereals and soya beans with chemicals added to provide nutrients, colour, flavour and preservatives.

Low cost foods usually contain mainly plant protein rather than protein from animals. Plant protein is generally lower quality and less digestible than animal protein. Low cost foods can also contain undesirably high levels of some nutrients.

Identifying Food Allergies

Feed a novel food for 12 weeks (e.g. minced chicken meat & bone, and venison). If signs of allergy (e.g. generalized skin irritation) reduce, return to the original diet to see if it was the cause.

Venison For Dogs

Deer are one of the wolf’s most sought after prey and it seems that domestic dogs share this love. Dogs go crazy over Happypet’s venison treats!

In addition to being a favourite for dogs, New Zealand venison is an ethical food produced under high quality assurance programmes that protect animal welfare and the environment. Venison treats that are relished by dogs are generally made from parts of the deer that humans would otherwise waste.

Natural Protein for your Cat

Protein is used in the body for making tissues, hormones, enzymes, and many other things essential to health. Cats have a much higher requirement for protein than dogs.

Many commercial foods (especially low cost foods) contain protein from cereals rather than animals, which is less digestible and has low levels of some important types of protein that cats need. Artificial nutrients have to be added so that minimum standards of nutrition are met.

Happypet’s venison treats for cats provide top quality animal protein, and are dried at low temperatures so that the natural nutrients are retained.

100% natural, 100% good for cats!

Managing Anorexia in your Pet

Loss of the desire to eat, before the nutritional needs of the animal have been met, is called anorexia.
Causes of anorexia include:

  • loss of taste or smell due to age or physical damage
  • medical conditions (disease, physical trauma, inflammation)
  • emotional stress (pain, anxiety, fear)

Absence of food intake adversely affects all body systems. Pets that are underweight or have recently lost more than 10% of their body weight need extra nutritional support, and veterinary care is advised.

To encourage a cat to eat, try warming the food, encouraging words and stroking, gently cleaning the cat’s nose to improve its ability to smell, and using a highly palatable food with a strong, attractive aroma.