Big Turkey, Big Eyes: How to Maintain Proper Pet Weight During the Holidays

Pet weight can fluctuate over the winter holidays.

Most people embrace the holidays and really get into all the gatherings, events, and dinners (not to mention leftovers!). Guess who’s watching every move we make this holiday season? Our lovable pets, of course! They observe each slice of pie we eat, how much gravy we pour, and they (understandably) want in on the action themselves.

However, watching out for pet weight gain is always important, but this time of year can be especially difficult. Let our team help you find the best course of action to maintain your pet’s health and fitness this holiday season.


The Unfortunate Truth About Pet Obesity

Pet obesity is a major threat to pet health

A shocking majority of U.S. cats and dogs are considered either overweight or obese, but there are ways to prevent, recognize, and, in some cases, reverse this condition. That sounds encouraging, right? With a healthy approach to diet and exercise, you can add more years to your pet’s life. With pet obesity on the rise, let’s work together to keep every furry friend healthy and happy.


Pet Nutrition: What’s Your Pet Food IQ?

Good pet nutrition is an important part of pet health and good veterinary care.Protein, essential fatty acids, fat content, and carbohydrates… These terms are well-known, but when it comes to pet nutrition, a lot of different factors come into play. For instance, an animal’s breed, age, lifestyle, and existing health conditions can set into motion a whole flurry of questions about what they need nutritionally, and what they can do without. All pets benefit from an individualized, balanced diet, and some animals require additional nutritional supplements and vitamins.

Carriage Hills Animal Hospital is here to help decode what’s right for your sweet pet.

The Label

Pet food labels can be very frustrating to read, let alone understand. Getting a grip on the nutritional standards of pet food starts with recognizing the endorsement of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). If the pet nutrition is balanced and complete, the label will say it’s been formulated to meet nutrient profiles, or that it provides nutrition for intended animals. Continue…

What to Do About an Upset Stomach in Pets

upset stomach in petsMost of us have some experience with tummy troubles, and we know how miserable it can be. It’s hard not to feel a mix of empathy and concern when your pet is suffering from digestive issues, and many pet parents wonder when or if they should call a veterinarian.

Although an upset stomach in pets is never normal, it isn’t necessarily a cause for concern. Knowing what to do to help your pet, and when you should seek veterinary care, is key to a quick recovery for your furry friend.


Diabetes In Pets: What You Need To Know

CHAH_iStock_000011784385_LargeDiabetes is no longer just a human disease. The rise in obesity among the nation’s dogs and cats carries with it many of the same consequences as for overweight humans, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, certain cancers, and pet diabetes.

What Is Pet Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus, the most common form of the condition in pets, is a disease of the pancreas. One of the pancreas’ jobs is to produce insulin, which allows the body to utilize sugar as energy and keep the blood sugar levels regulated. Continue…

But Meat is the First Ingredient! –The Problem with Pet Food Labels

iStock_000009730375_SmallAs a pet owner, you want to give your pet the best care possible, and choosing a quality diet is a very important part of doing so. But choosing the right food for your pet isn’t always as easy as it might sound.

Most owners start by reading the pet food labels found on the bag, but it is important to understand that pet food labels do not always convey the information necessary to make the best choice.

When you read a pet food label, what are you looking for? If your answer is ‘meat as the first ingredient’, or maybe ‘no byproducts’, keep reading… We would like to explain to you why the first thing that you should be looking at is not the ingredient list, but the AAFCO statement.

AAFCO and Pet Food Labels

AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials. It is an organization that sets the nutritional standards for pet foods that are sold in the United States. Continue…

Say What? How to Read Pet Food Labels

PetFoodWhile it may seem like an easy task, choosing the right pet food for your individual pet can be difficult. Deciphering the different brands, styles, and flavors can be overwhelming. What should you look for? Why would you choose one food over another? A lot of these decisions can be made by reading the pet food labels on the bag. Unfortunately, that can also be tricky without some prior knowledge of what to look for.

Use this primer to familiarize yourself with what to look for on pet food labels. Arm yourself with the knowledge you need to choose the best food for your pet.

Product Name

The name of the food can tell you a lot. Consider this:

  • If the food has one word like ‘beef’ or ‘chicken’ in the name (Fido’s Favorite Beef Dog Food), it must contain more than 95% of that ingredient.
  • If the food has the word ‘dinner’, ‘platter’, or ‘Entree’ in the name (Fido’s Favorite Beef Dinner), it must contain at least 25% of that ingredient.
  • If the food contains the word ‘with’, it contains at least 3% of that ingredient (e.g., Fido’s Favorite Beef Dinner (25%) for Dogs with Carrots (3%))
  • The term ‘flavor’ indicates that the ingredient is present in sufficient quantity to be detected on analysis.
  • Be aware that, in pet food, terms like ‘premium’, ‘holistic’, ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ carry no legal bearing and the foods that bear these terms are legally held to no different standards than other foods. However, if the food carries the USDA Organic label, it does meet human organic standards, and should be able to meet this criteria under inspection.


Pet Food: What to Know

By Dr. William Van Hooser



Knowing what to feed your pet can be a confusing and expensive undertaking. With the explosion in the pet food market in the past few years, consumers have more choices than ever before. However, more choices and good marketing have created a conundrum for many pet owners.

 So Many Questions

How do you choose a food that is right for your pet? What does the terminology mean on a pet food bag? What can you tell from a pet food guaranteed analysis chart?  How do you interpret the AAFCO statement on a pet food bag? And, worst of all, what if the food in the bag is not what is necessarily what appears on the label?

It’s OK if you don’t know how to answer many of these questions. We do!

Here’s what you should know… Continue…