Getting a new puppy and kitten can be so exciting and nerve wracking at the same time!
You want to make sure they are going to have a smooth transition to their new home and giving them everything they need for their fresh start. Here are a few tips to help you get your new pup or kitten on the right track, because unfortunately, they cant only live on love:
I know some breeders like to send some food with the pup or kitten off to their new home, but I would recommend switching them right away to a very well-balanced whole food (preferably raw) diet. This is probably one of the few times I would suggest making a switch cold turkey.
With a raw food diet you want to calculate at around 8% of total body weight to begin with, now that number is going to change as they get older, so make sure you are working with a knowledge and reputable person/place where you purchase your food from to get further assistance, as the puppy or kitten grows.
The diet needs to be rich in quality protein and organ content, such as; heart, liver, kidney, etc.
Now, the ratios in the puppy diet need to be different than in the diet for kittens.
Puppies overall need more bone content than kittens, but kittens need more richness from organ meat, which leads us to our next topic…
Do puppies and kittens need vegetables?
A topic still frequently circulating, and again, differs between canines and felines.
For canines, well known holistic vet expert and environmentalist, Dr. Pitcairn DVM, puts it best, “Although the dog prefers meat, both its physiology and behaviour indicate that it is better classed as an opportunistic omnivore-an animal that can meet its needs from a wide variety of food sources. Wild coyotes and wolves, for example, consume vegetable matter, including grasses, berries, and other fresh material, plus predigested food from the digestive tracts of their vegetarian prey. In fact, a three-generation test found that dogs fed meat as a sole source of protein, along with other essential elements, had difficulties producing adequate milk for their young, as compared with dogs fed a diet that included milk and vegetables.”.
For felines however, who are obligate carnivores, have needs that can only be met with animal tissue. Unlike humans and dogs, they cannot convert nutrients like beta-carotene found in vegetables to vitamin A, or convert essential fatty acids from plants to the activated EPA/DHA form. This is why I always love to advise feline pet guardians to supplement their cats with cod liver oil (unflavoured). The cod liver oil supplies them with preformed arachidonic acid, vitamins A, D and E, as well as the activated form of omega-3. Kittens and cats also need an ample source of taurine, which is an amino acid that they need to obtain from meat, specifically heart and seafoods have the highest concentrations of taurine, and it is a very vital and essential nutrient to cats.
Studies show that a taurine-deficient diet causes cats to suffer degeneration of the retina, which causes blindness and heart issues (cardiomyopathy), as well as other degenerations of health.
Still not convinced cats need to be on a raw diet in order to truly thrive? Well, up to 80% of taurine in meat ingredients can be lost through cooking.
Once they are going well on one protein, start rotating in others, up to 3-4 proteins per week!
I love suggesting colostrum, for many reasons, one of nature’s most amazing powerhouses.
Studies have shown when puppies were supplemented with colostrum, they had firmer stools when weaning from mother’s milk to solid food, versus the puppies who were not given colostrum. Along with enhancing stools, it also supports their immune system by diversifying their gut microbiome. To learn more about colostrum click here.
With a new home, new surrounding, new food, new smells, your new baby’s overall system can be on overload. New stressors can internally stress your new pup or kitten, and hence will affect their stools as well. Supplementing with a probiotic for a new puppy or kitten is very important. It will support their immune system while helping their digestive system as well. It will also help them adjust mentally in their new environment and will diminish their chances of eating feces.
We carry a few products that will boost the overall nutrition content of their new diet with; vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc. that will nourish their bodies on the cellular level and keep them thriving.
This is also around the time your pet will get their shots (hopefully you are working with a knowledgeable veterinarian who does not vaccinate puppies/kittens at an early stage, nor all at once!), so you are also going to want to give them something to support their immune system around this valuable time and to also protect their vital organs.
The king of omegas! There is a lot of debate out there whether to supplement puppies and kittens with activated or inactivated forms of omega-3's.
Well, first off let me address that even though both dogs and cats are carnivores, they are in fact two different species. So, with cats, please don’t waste your money on inactivated forms of omega-3’s, they are in fact obligate carnivores and cannot convert plant-based omega-3's into the form that they need (EPA/DHA). Say no to things like flax and hemp, and opt for converted forms of omegas, like fresh, cold-pressed quality fish oil (we also carry a non-fish based converted omega-3 supplement which is also a great option for cats!).
As previously mentioned, dogs can convert inactivated omega-3's to the active EPA/DHA form, however, in my humble opinion, a pup that is now in a new home, stressed, trying to learn what is right and what is left, I would suggest, do them the favor of just supplementing with an activated form of omega-3 (one less thing for their bodies to do!), once they get to the 6 month stage of life, then you can start experimenting with other oils, where they can efficiently do the conversion.
Slippery Elm Bark Powder
This is a holy grail product where it should live in your cupboard always!
What is it?
Slippery elm bark is a mucilaginous herb that will bind diarrhea in its tracts! It is also a prebiotic and very soothing to the throat and entire digestive tract and will help relieve IBD conditions. You can either mix it in food or give straight by mixing in water (my preferred method) as they sometimes aren’t a fan of the taste and I find it works faster this way.
Remember, puppies and kittens need more sleep than they do exercise in this stage of their lives, make sure they do get some however, not too high in intensity but also not too little. Get them out exploring, with fresh air and plenty of socialization. Also remember that you are now their sole educator, so, teach them well!
‘Mother knows best’, by Lea Benjamin is a great reference book for training and early canine education and psychology, for both new and seasoned dog owners.
The kitten pictured above is Molly, she is fed a species appropriate diet with supplementation, and is now 8 years old. She has not had to see a vet in almost her entire life.
The 2 monkeys that are pictured here at 5 months old is Matty (Matteas) and Missy. They are both Great Pyrenees. They turned 8 years old last month. They are fed a species appropriate diet with supplementation. They also have not had to see the vet in almost their entire life. They still play like they are puppies.
It is no secret that we do not sell any kibble or extruded like products in the shop at Thrive4life Holistic Pet Food.
However, I feel it is always important to answer the ‘whys’, so-why don’t we sell kibble?
All kibble (yes, even the vet recommended brands) is manufactured through a process called extrusion.
According to Dr. Mercola, who calls it ‘the most dangerous food on the market’ writes, “Extrusion is the process used by pet food manufacturers to turn ingredient mixes into kibble. ... The result is called extrudate, which is a ribbon-like product that is subsequently knife-cut and dried. The extrusion process involves extremely high temperatures.”
The raw or low -processed pet foods that we do carry retains significant amounts of nutrients, probiotics, enzymes and natural flavor than extruded pet food. The food’s molecular structure is retained because it is done at little to no moderate temperatures and pressure, as compared to the abrasive and high temperature and pressure of extrusion which can create high quantities of free radicals, damaging the food’s molecular structure thus, causing rancid by-products.
When kibble is consumed, very high levels of free radicals can accelerate damage in the body, leading to serious conditions like arthritis, growth of tumor cells, cellular damage, lower or heightened immune system, IBD, gas and bloating, etc.
In response to that, the body loses precious antioxidants like vitamins C and E (among other things), to combat and neutralize free radicals which may create a nutrient shortfall for preserving the food and meeting other health needs. To add insult to injury, kibble pet food manufactures knowing this, put back antioxidants in their food in the form of synthetic antioxidants to preserve their food, which in my not so humble opinion, is not merit enough to undo the toxic elements of the food.
On top of the synthetic ingredients and rancid fats, all kibble (yes, especially the vet recommended brands) is extremely high in carbohydrates, click here to learn the equation to calculate how much sugar or net carbs is in your pets’ food!
Kibble needs starch to bind, which either comes from potato, corn, rice, lentils or peas, which acts as a glue to hold the kibble together.
Carnivores such as our beloved pets do not manufacture enough enzymes to break down that much carbohydrate content, they are carnivores, not herbivores, and have absolutely no dietary need to consume carbohydrates. Which is one of the reasons why raw or holistically fed pets have much smaller (and less smelly) stools than kibble fed pets.
Now, lets talk about the proteins that actually is in kibble. Remember, you can’t use fresh ingredients to add in the extrusion process, it must be already processed through a process called rendering, which turns it into a powder, i.e. egg or meat ‘product’, and that is the part that is very concerning. This is where companies can hide a lot of sins, and AFCO nor the FDA will pick up on or hassle manufactures about what ‘meat product’ actually is. That beautiful picture with the fresh-looking whole chicken or beef brisket, with all those vibrant looking fruits and vegetables on the packaging probably cost more than the ingredients itself- yikes. All marketing!
So again, why don’t we sell kibble?
Because, you will never walk in to a Whole Foods Market and find a McDonald’s restaurant in there, you will however find a McDonald’s in a Wal-Mart. That is the same concept with Thrive4life Holistic Pet Food, a health food store for pets, meaning, no ‘junk food’ sold.
There are a few good resources on the education of commercial pet foods, one of them being, the now well-known documentary, Pet Fooled.
Lucy is an avid pet mom; with dogs, cats, goats and horses to keep her busy! All of her pet 'kids' are fed a species appropriate diet with proper supplementation so she can watch them thrive. Her expertise and experience lie in nutraceutical supplementation and is a health advocate for proper diet and nutrition. Her other passions in life are schutzhund and equestrian riding.