A warm welcome to our special guest Dr. Jeff Werber, a well-known veterinarian and veterinary medical journalist based in California. Dr. Werber is here today with us to answer your questions on pets and pet food. Hello, Dr. Werber!
Dr. Werber, your bio is posted here but is there anything else you’d like to share with us before we start the chat?
Thank you for the opportunity to be here and to - at least - give me a sunny afternoon in Toronto.
Our first question from the audience is:
So the key is that dogs and cats seem to react negatively to abrupt changes in diet. So any changes should be made gradually. So for example, if you want to add more wet food, start with 10% wet and 90% dry food. Then, every day or two, increase the wet, until you end up with the ratio you want.
For cats, puppies and kittens, I (and I'll bet you they!) like the idea of more canned food. Just like kids prefer ice cream to ice milk, or Snickers to an apple...
Senior dogs and cats, which unfortunately don't have as many teeth as they used to (because you're not brushing them regularly!) also might prefer more wet food than dry.
Before we get to the next question, a reminder about how to participate: you can click the “comment” button at the top of this chat to submit a question for Dr. Werber. Just choose a username or sign in with Facebook.
You can also share your thoughts via Twitter. Just use the hashtag #AskDrWerber and we’ll answer the question here.
On to the next audience question!
I have eleven! Five dogs (shhh - don't tell anyone, we are only allowed three in LA!), and six cats. If they made a bed bigger than a California King, I would have more.
Last chance to answer our first poll question. What pet(s) do you have at home? Click the poll at the top of this chat to answer.
Let’s get to the next question!
It's true. Sadly, the number one killer of older cats is kidney failure. The best we can do to prevent disease is catch it early - this is why we recommend annual exams to include blood work and urinalysis. If we can see the signs earlier, we might be able to help with special diet, more water intake, some natural supplements, and maybe even some additional fluids administered at home. The importance of hydration and lower protein cannot be underestimated...
It is important if you notice your senior cat drinking more water, visiting the litter box more frequently, and losing weight, to see your veterinarian for a full check-up as soon as possible. He or she will evaluate the degree of the problem and make the appropriate recommendations.
With impressive scholastic credentials and a fast-rising media profile, Dr. Jeff Werber, an Emmy award-winning Pet Health reporter, has quickly become one of the nation's foremost veterinary medical journalists.
Instinctively drawn to veterinary medicine by his childhood love of animals, “Dr. Jeff” received a degree in Zoology from UC Berkeley in 1976. He went on to the Master's program at California State University at Northridge, California, where he taught in their Biology Department. In 1984, he earned his Veterinary Degree from the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
He is known to hundreds of thousands of television viewers on both the local and national level as a result of numerous appearances on television.
Dr. Jeff's goal is to educate and enlighten pet parents in an entertaining format on everything from nutrition to basic pet care maintenance, to recognition and prevention of disease, to the importance of establishing a one-on-one communication between pet owner and veterinarian.
He works hard to strengthen the "Human-Companion Animal Bond!"
Here’s some related reading. How many of these common pet food myths have you heard before?
It’s time for another question!
Obesity is the number one nutritional disease effecting our pets. Roughly 50% of dogs, 45-50% of cats are overweight. The best way to tell your pet is overweight is if you can "pinch more than that inch"! Typically, especially with dogs, they should have and hourglass appearance from above. There should be an indentation at the waist...
Looking from the side, you should see the abdomen raise up towards the hind end. If your pet looks more like a coffee table than a dog, you know you have been overdoing the treats! ...
The problems with obesity are many - such as joint diseases, heart and lung problems, increased incidents of skin problems, and even higher incidents of cancer and diabetes. So, if you think your pet is overweight, it is important to see your veterinarian for a check up and suggestions on how to start a weight loss program...
One more thing: I'm not pointing any fingers, but 70% of obese dogs and cats belong to owners who could also lose a few. Just saying! So, the exercise program will be good for both of you.
It's time for another poll question. You'll see it appear at the top of the chat screen.
It’s time for another question.
It is a very common problem, and it is often diet related, though summer allergies can also contribute to the problem. I recommend adding some forms of fatty acid - omega 3 with possible omega 6 with fatty acids, available in many dietary supplements. Bathing with special anti-seborrheic shampoos and post shampoo sprays can also help.
If a problem of dry skin persists, and doesn't seem to respond to the simple treatment, make sure to see your veterinarian to rule out any underlying disease.
We’re already halfway through our chat but there are lots of tips that Dr. Werber can share. Keep those questions coming! Click the “comment” button at the top of this chat to submit a question for Dr. Werber. You can also share your thoughts via Twitter using the hashtag #AskDrWerber.
Before we get to the next question, here are a few comments from the audience. Thanks for your feedback!
Last chance to answer our latest poll question! Vote at the top of this chat window. We’ll have another question now! Here are two about raw foods...
This one answers both of those questions! It's not a matter of better. There are some issues or concerns that many of us have with raw food diets, with the potential for E-coli or Salmonella. If you trust the company, and it uses a phase in the processing that can eradicate the bacteria, then raw foods are great. The safety aspect with manufactured foods certified by the Association of American Feed Control Officials is guaranteed. But in addition to raw meat, I still recommend some kind of dry food for it's caloric efficiency and oral health benefits.