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Older Pets Need Plenty of Protein

The generally accepted belief is that feeding a high protein diet to older cats and dogs may cause kidney disease or make existing kidney disease worse. This thinking originated from rat studies which showed that a lower protein diet slowed kidney disease. The research was highly influential among veterinarians and carried over to opportunistic pet food manufacturers in spite of  the lack of research corresponding to cats and dogs. We now know that older dogs and cats need the same level of daily protein as younger animals.

Low protein diets cannot cause or alter the course of kidney disease.  Lower protein levels can lead to malnutrition, with a common effect being muscle loss. As humans and animals age, we tend to lose muscle tissue and we suffer from loss of muscle strength. This is why older persons are less steady and lose their balance easily. You can actually see the atrophy in dogs, especially in the hind limbs and along the spine. New studies show that feeding pets a diet with higher protein increases their amount of muscle tissue and thus their ability to maintain better movement and balance.

Part of the confusion is created because a lower protein diet can minimize some of the symptoms of kidney disease. Lower protein decreases the amount of ammonia which their bodies must convert to urea. Urea must pass through the kidneys then out the body. Pets with kidney disease have a harder time ridding their bodies of this urea, so a lower protein diet could possibly lower the amount of urea passing through their system and thus create fewer side effects (loss of appetite, mouth sores). Since kidney disease is fatal, pets in advanced stages of  kidney disease may simply need to be kept more comfortable and a low protein diet may be OK. However, for healthy older pets, a high protein diet is essential in maintaining muscle mass and strength, as well as a healthy immune system and good bone density. Don’t let the pet food companies convince you otherwise!

Information taken from an article by Dr. Ken Tudor, published by PetMD, 7/5/12, “Geriatric Dogs Need More Protein”

Your Dog Ate..What?

While scooping yards, I have seen evidence of strange things that dogs have eaten. Some our clients’ dogs have eaten crayons, stuffing from toys, plastic food containers, and even ribbons and wrapping paper.

The following excerpt is from an article written by Amanda Hauck, DVM for the Mount Vernon Patch. It was last updated on Jan 30, 2011:

Most pet owners aren’t too concerned when their pets gobble down some grass, try to eat a bone or even grab the wrapper from a candy bar. But, when their tastes turn to gravel and rocks or even plastic toys, you might have a serious problem!

Every year, a leading veterinary trade magazine has a contest reviewing the weird things pets across the country have eaten. And, every year, thousands of veterinarians submit their x-rays wondering if their patient will win the grand prize honor of having swallowed the most unusual object!

Click here to read the full article.

Meet Houdini, the Doody First Mascot

Doody First's mascot is Houdini the dogHoudini, Doody First’s lovable canine mascot, makes things go away…almost like magic! Our mascot is all about service with a friendly wag. Wherever you see this happy pooch on a Doody First truck or worn proudly on a uniform, you know that fresh air and clean grass is sure to follow.

Houdini’s top 10 reasons to have your yard scooped

10. Let’s face it! You, your spouse, and your kids all find it disgusting!
9. You can actually enjoy using your backyard again.
8. You can spend more time playing with your dog.
7. You can go someplace fun with your family.
6. Your friends won’t have to tell you about the dog doody on your shoe.
5. You’ll have less embarrassing situations when friends come over to visit.
4. You won’t have to blame the neighbor’s dog for the dead spot on your grass.
3. Your kids and dogs won’t get infected with those nasty parasites that linger in the
2. You don’t have to make excuses anymore why the doody doesn’t get picked up.
1. No more tracking doody into the house!

Health risks associated with dog feces

Many common diseases can be transmitted from dog feces to dogs, cats and humans.
These include Giardia, roundworms, hookworms, Salmonell, and E. coli. A dog can
spread parvovirus and coronavirus through infected feces. An infected dog can pass over
a million roundworm eggs everyday. All these diseases can be serious and common,
making it especially important to keep family and pets from any potentially infected
feces. (more…)

Pollution in stormwater is #1 urban water quality problem

According to the Washington State Department of Ecology, stormwater from runoff is a major threat to the state’s urban waters. It carries a toxic stew of pollution downstream into the state’s lakes, rivers, and marine waters. Dog waste is a large component of what is essentially raw sewage than can affect public health and water quality. When it rains, dog waste gets washed down the storm drain and into the nearest stream or lake. The organisms in dog waste then harm water quality. Children or pets that drink or play in the water can become sick; wildlife and fish are also affected.

A King county study found that nearly all fecal coliform bacteria in Juanita Creek was of animal origin, with dog waste as a major source. Pet waste also adds nitrogen and phosphorus to the water encouraging rapid growth of algae and aquatic weeds.  Watch the State Department of Ecology public service announcement.

What causes those dead urine spots on the grass?

There are lots of “theories” circulating regarding the cause of the unsightly
yellow “burnt” spots on the lawn, and if you have a dog and grass, you’ve probably
experienced them. The problems are more common among households with multiple or
large female dogs, but is not limited to them. The cause of the dead grass is actually from
a concentration of nitrogen found in pet urine. Because dogs are carnivores, they eat a
high level of protein in their diets; the protein gets broken down and excreted as nitrogen.
Female dogs don’t necessarily have a larger concentration of nitrogen in their urine –
they squat when using the bathroom and tend to deposit their urine in one place. With
male dogs it tends to be spread out over more area.

Certain things can cause a greater propensity for your yard to accumulate “burnt” spots”:

  • – Female dogs, as mentioned, tend to deposit urine in a more concentrated area
  • – Large dogs leave behind a greater quantity of urine
  • – Yards that are fertilized regularly
  • – Grasses that are more sensitive to nitrogen, such as bluegrass or Bermuda grass
  • – Lawns stressed from drought or disease
  • – Yards which have been recently sodded or seeded

Some remedies to alleviate the problem include:

  • – Ensuring that your dog drinks lots of water (in effect, diluting the urine)
  • – Keeping the yard watered, especially areas that are used frequently for urination
  • – Using less fertilizer on your yard
  • – Planting more nitrogen resistant species of grass

Doody First also offers an organic spray product which we can apply over “burnt” areas
of your lawn. This spray neutralizes the nitrogen in the pet urine, and together with
regular watering , will allow grass to grow back over a couple of weeks.