This section contains information on some of the most common problems of dogs and cats. This information is designed to assist pet owners in better understanding their pets' health problems and issues.
1. Dental Care

Dental Care for Your Pet

Puppies and kittens are born with deciduous, or baby, teeth. These teeth tend to be very sharp and also somewhat fragile. They begin falling out at about 12 weeks of age, starting with the small front teeth called incisors. Many people do not notice when their pets lose their baby teeth because they are either swallowed or caught in a chew toy. Your veterinarian should examine your puppy or kitten's mouth at every check-up to make sure that the baby teeth are falling out appropriately. If an adult tooth comes in and the baby tooth doesn't fall out, this is called a retained deciduous tooth. This tooth can cause problems for the health of the adult teeth and needs to be removed. Retained deciduous teeth are commonly removed while your puppy or kitten is anesthetized for spay or neuter surgery.

The best way to prevent your dog or cat from developing dental disease as they get older, is to start young. Adult dogs have 42 teeth and adult cats have 30 teeth that need care and attention. Most puppies and kittens will allow their teeth to be brushed regularly to remove plaque before it turns to tartar. Pet dental kits are available to make this easier on everyone involved. Do not use your own toothpaste, because the foaming agent can cause your pet to have an upset stomach. Feeding a hard kibble diet, choosing appropriate treats, and brushing the teeth will help keep your pet's mouth healthy and fresh.

Does your pet have doggy or kitty breath? This may be a sign of dental disease. All pets have a distinct odor to their breath, affected by what they eat. This should not be a foul or offensive odor, though. If it is, there may be some underlying dental disease acting as the culprit. Look at your pet's mouth. If you see a yellow, orange, or brownish material stuck to the surface of the teeth, you are most likely looking at tartar. If the gums are red along the edge of the tooth, this is a symptom of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums). Visible tartar on the surface of the tooth is only part of the problem. If you can see the tartar, it is also on the surface of the tooth under the gum (where you can't see it). This is what starts the process of gingivitis. Inflamed gums bleed more readily than healthy gums. This can allow access of bacteria that live in the mouth into the bloodstream. If bacteria enter the bloodstream, serious health problems can result. Bacteria tend to settle on the heart valves (causing damage and murmurs), in the kidneys (causing renal compromise), and in the liver (causing hepatic disease). Gingivitis can be treated with veterinary care, but the more advanced disease called periodontitis is permanent. At this point, the structures supporting the teeth have been damaged and control is all that is possible. Prolonged dental disease makes these serious health concerns all the more likely, while increasing the chance of your pet losing teeth.

Regular veterinary care for your pet, including a dental exam, can stop the progression of dental disease. Routine dental prophylaxis involves general anesthesia (preceded by blood tests), ultrasonic scaling of the teeth, and polishing of the teeth. Sometimes antibiotics are used prior to, during, and after the procedure to help prevent bacteria from causing any illness. Antibiotic usage is usually determined on an individual basis and is based on the severity of the dental disease. While some pets have healthy teeth and mouths for their entire lives without any dental care, most pets need regular dental care. For these pets, regular brushing (5-7 times per week), as well as regular veterinary care will help maintain good dental health. Take care of your pet's mouth to help keep him as healthy as he can be.

2. Parasites

Fleas and ticks arrive with the thawing of the ground. These parasites, especially fleas, are a problem for all pets, indoors and out. Fleas can hitch a ride on your socks or shoes into the house, where they quickly move to your beloved pet. Most dogs spend at least some time outdoors, and fleas hop on to this moving source of dinner! Adult fleas spend all of their time on a living host (usually a dog or cat). They bite their host and blood provides them with all the nutrition they need. Fleas crawl around on your pet, eating as they go. Pets are very itchy because of the fleas crawling around, as well as because of the bite of the flea. Flea saliva is an antigen that causes an allergic reaction in some animals. Flea dirt  is seen in the hair coat of a dog or cat that has any number of fleas. Flea dirt is actually flea feces which is actually digested blood. That's why the water turns red if you bathe a dog or cat that has a flea infestation. If a flea infestation is allowed to get out of control, anemia and even death can result. This is especially a problem in young puppies and kittens. Fleas won't usually bite humans, but they will if they don't have anyone else to chew on!! There are over 2000 species of fleas. The most common type in North America is the cat flea (infests dogs and cats both). (Merial.com)

Ticks are especially nasty parasites. There are several species varying by geographical location. Ticks attach by burrowing their mouthparts into the skin, injecting their saliva that contains an anticoagulant, and sucking away! Some pets have severe reactions to tick bites, with bruising and ulceration of the skin. Ticks carry several different diseases, most of which can be transmitted to humans as well as pets. Lyme disease is the one that most people are familiar with. Lyme disease started in Lyme, Connecticut, hence the name. It was limited to ticks in the New England area, but has spread further each year. There is a vaccine for dogs only. Talk to your veterinarian about whether or not your dog should be vaccinated. Ehrlichiosis, tularemia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and cytauxzoonosis are several diseases all spread by ticks. Cytauxzoonosis is a severe disease affecting cats that are bitten by an infected tick. It originated in the bobcat population. Treatment can cause severe illness and some cats, even with aggressive care, don't survive. Prevention of the attachment of ticks is important to preventing transmission of these diseases.

Mosquitoes have been in the news lately because of the spread of West Nile virus. Mosquitoes have been an important source of disease prior to this recent epidemic. Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes. Dogs and cats are both affected by heartworm disease, which can be prevented by using a monthly preventative medication. Mosquitoes pass the infection (larvae) from an infected host to an unprotected host. The larvae circulate in the blood stream and grow to adults. They live in the pulmonary artery and reproduce.
If undiagnosed and untreated, the adult worms can eventually block the blood flow and cause congestive heart failure and death. West Nile virus infection is primarily a problem in birds, horses, and people. A very small number of cases have been diagnosed in dogs. It is important to remove potential mosquito breeding grounds from your yard. These include birdbaths, buckets of water, and puddles of standing water. Mosquito repellants are effective for people and a new veterinary product is now available for dogs.

Finally, let's talk about intestinal parasites. These little critters are common in dogs and cats. Most puppies and kittens have roundworms. The adults look like spaghetti strands. At your puppy or kitten's first veterinary visit, a dewormer will probably be administered to get rid of these parasites. They are relatively harmless, but sometimes can be present in such large numbers that absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract is impaired. A more invasive parasite is the hookworm. Hookworms burrow into the wall of the intestine and hold on with sharp teeth. They cause intestinal bleeding in addition to ingesting the blood. Hookworms can cause severe illness. The larval form can infect humans, usually infecting the skin or the eye. Whipworms are another parasite that can cause severe illness. The eggs are unique in appearance and are shed only intermittently. This makes whipworm infestation difficult to diagnose. Tapeworms are the final parasite that we will discuss. Tapeworms are transmitted to dogs and cats by fleas or by ingestion of infected rodents or rabbits. Tapeworm segments are shed in the feces and often get caught in the hair under the tail. They look like flattened grains of rice and can sometimes be seen wiggling. Contrary to the beliefs of some, humans do not get pinworms from animals! Pinworms are species specific, meaning that they do not infect multiple species of mammals.

Parasites are a nuisance but can also cause severe illness. Protect your pets and yourself from these pests.

3. Vaccination

Most veterinarians recommend starting puppy vaccinations between 6 and 9 weeks of age. Core vaccines include some type of distemper and parvovirus combination vaccine and rabies. Vaccines are boostered every 3-4 weeks until usually 16 weeks of age. State law dictates when the rabies vaccination is administered. Individual veterinarians may also offer a kennel cough vaccination, a Giardia vaccine, a Lyme disease vaccine, coronavirus vaccine, and canine hepatitis vaccine. All of these are controversial and vary by veterinary preference and geographic location.

Puppies need vaccinations because their immune systems do not recognize these viruses or bacteria and they can become ill. When we really start getting into the controversy is when we talk about revaccination. Many veterinarians believe that boosters must be given one year after the puppy series is complete. After this, anything goes. Some practices booster the vaccines every year, some every two years, some every three, some every five. It is important for you to talk with your veterinarian and find out what the vaccination policy is. Ask questions about why it is done a certain way. If you are not comfortable with your veterinarian's policy, ask if you can make an individual plan for your dog. Most veterinarians will be more than happy to work with you, especially if you are committed to bringing your dog in for annual check-ups (even if no vaccines are due).

4. Microchips
Microchips are a great method of permanent identification for your pet. Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice. They are injected under the skin, between the shoulder blades. Most awake pets will tolerate this just fine. The microchip is coded with a number that can be read by a scanner. Once your pet has the chip in place, you submit your paperwork to the manufacturer of the chip to be entered in the database. If your pet is ever lost, the microchip can be scanned and you can be reunited. Most animal shelters and veterinary clinics have scanners and check all abandoned pets for a microchip. If your pet is registered, don't forget to change your contact information if you move.
5. FAQ
General Product Questions
  • 1. What kind of preservatives is used in RecipeTM pet foods?
    RecipeTM does not use any chemical preservatives, such as BHA or BHT. It is preserved naturally with Vitamin E and rosemary.RecipeTM does not use any chemical preservatives, such as BHA or BHT. It is preserved naturally with Vitamin E and rosemary.
  • 2. Why does the color of the food vary?
    There may be some natural variation in the ingredients used in our recipes. Since we do not use any artificial colors in our products, any natural variation in the ingredients is visible in the final food product.
  • 3. What is the shelf life of RecipeTM products?
    RecipeTM pet products have a shelf-life of 12 months from the date of production. Once opened, it should be good for the time it takes the pet to consume the bag. We recommend the product be stored in a cool, dry place. The production code on the bag includes a best before date for your convenience.
  • 4. What makes RecipeTM special?
    To begin with, all diets in the RecipeTM Solution Centre are naturally preserved using Vitamin E and rosemary extract. Many of the top premium pet foods use chemical preservatives, which are known to cause allergic reactions in some dogs. Other ingredients known to cause some form of allergic reaction, such as pork, beef and dairy products, are also excluded from our diets
  • 5. Why don't other companies use natural preservatives?
    It is more costly to preserve naturally and chemicals last longer. In addition, it limits shelf life of the food to 12 months, which means RecipeTM has to keep fresher product available for its customers.
  • 6. What is the RecipeTM Dietary Solutions Center?
    The RecipeTM Dietary Solutions Center offers you a unique way to meet the special needs of your pets with all-natural ingredients that promote health, vitality and beauty by preventing common dietary problems. Once you answer a few questions about your dog or cat, we'll recommend a RecipeTM formula that's best for your pet.The RecipeTM Dietary Solutions Center offers you a unique way to meet the special needs of your pets with all-natural ingredients that promote health, vitality and beauty by preventing common dietary problems. Once you answer a few questions about your dog or cat, we'll recommend a Recipe formula that's best for your pet.
  • 7. Why does RecipeTM use ingredients like Green Tea? 
    Research has shown that excess or improperly balanced protein can cause kidney damage over time, when it comes to protein, more is not necessarily better.Research has shown that excess or improperly balanced protein can cause kidney damage over time, when it comes to protein, more is not necessarily better.
  • 8. What benefits do herbs provide?
    Herbs can support general wellness and act as antioxidants to improve immunity, helping prevent aging body systems. The following ingredients were added to focus specific body systems: glucosamine for joint health, and yucca schidigera extract for intestinal health. Some of these ingredients are herbs and spices, while the others are nutraceuticals, most of which are natural components of the bodyHerbs can support general wellness and act as antioxidants to improve immunity, helping prevent aging body systems. The following ingredients were added to focus specific body systems: glucosamine for joint health, and yucca schidigera extract for intestinal health. Some of these ingredients are herbs and spices, while the others are nutraceuticals, most of which are natural components of the body.
  • 9. Are your fresh meats hormone and antibiotic free?
    Yes. All of our meats are purchased from food grade suppliers and are certified hormone and antibiotic free.
  • 10. Do you use any chemical preservatives?
    Chemicals are not used to preserve any of our formulas. We use mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) to preserve the chicken fat in our pet foods. Added ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and rosemary extract in some of the formulas also have preservative effects.
  • 11. What is ash and why do you put it in your pet foods?
    Ash is the non-combustible portion of the diet. This means that when a sample of the food is burned in a special oven called an ash oven, the portion that remains is ash. Just like a fireplace, but much hotter and more controlled. We do not add an ingredient called ash to the food, but our foods (and all other pet foods out there as well) do contain ash.Ash comes primarily from the bone content of the dry protein ingredients, such as chicken meal. Chicken meal is made from chicken meat and bone and is a natural source of essential minerals. Dry protein ingredients such as chicken meal typically contain 70% protein (fresh meats are only 20-25% protein because of their high water content). This ingredient also is made up of some fat, some moisture, a little bit of fiber, and ash.Ash levels in pet foods should be controlled, especially in adult or senior diets. Excess ash will contribute excess minerals to the diet, potentially leading to health problems. Ingredients such as chicken by-product meal are much lower in ash than chicken meal or lamb meal, but many individuals choose not to feed diets that contain by-product meal to their pets.
  • 12. Why do you put salt in your diets? 
    Dogs and cats require salt in their diet. Sodium and chloride are important minerals for dogs and cats, especially for young puppies and kittens. Dietary sodium must be at a minimum of 0.3% on a dry matter basis for growth and reproduction for dogs and 0.2% on a dry matter basis for cats. If we didn't add salt, we would not meet these minimum requirements. For adults, the minimum required is much lower. However, there is some research that supports higher recommended amounts. For adult to middle aged dogs, that amount is 0.2-0.4% on a dry matter basis. For cats in the same life-stage, it is 0.2-0.6%. As dogs reach senior status, the recommended amount drops slightly to 0.15-0.35%. As cats reach senior status, the recommended amount drops to 0.2-0.5%. Although our diets are not salt restricted like some prescription formulations, they are certainly not high in salt.
Dogs Frequently Asked Question
  • 1. My Dogs has a skin problem that causes his/her hair to fall our every summer.
    Because hair loss seems to be seasonal, it sounds like an allergy to something in the environment (inhaled or contacted) and not a food-related problem. Some breeds of dogs are susceptible to many skin conditions, but allergies are most common. Your veterinarian can do a blood or skin test to determine types of allergies. If your dog is itchy, try an oatmeal-based shampoo. Always use a flea control in the summer to eliminate fleas as a source of allergy. We recommend veterinary product, such as Frontline.
  • 2. My dog constantly scratched itself and licks his/her feet.
    Itching of the ears and paws is often due to allergies, but can also be caused by a yeast or bacterial infection. Your veterinarian can test for a yeast infection and test for other inhalant allergies which could also cause the itching. Your dog may also have a food allergy. If an ingredient in your previous dog food contributed to the dog's allergies, it is important to use a diet with a different protein source. Recipe is a good choice for your dog because it is naturally preserved.
  • 3. What diet is recommended for a dog with recurrent diarrhea? 
    The intermittent diarrhea you describe can be caused by an adverse reaction to an ingredient in the food. It could also be caused by something else he's eating in the environment, or diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease or pancreatitis. A bland diet is one important part of treatment for diarrhea. First, however, have him examined by your veterinarian so that viruses and/or bacteria can be ruled out as a cause. A stool sample should be examined for parasite. Your veterinarian may recommend a special diet. Our RecipeTM Lamb & Rice Formula is recommending to dogs with diarrhea due to food sensitivities. It comes in Lamb Meal, Barley and Rice. Remember to gradually switch dog foods to allow the body to adjust to a new diet.If the diarrhea persists even on the diet change, I recommend a visit to your veterinarian to see if he needs some medication to help clear this up. Thank you for your interest in our products.
  • 4. Why does my dog frequently vomit after eating?
    You can try the RecipeTM Lamb & Rice Formula. I recommend you trying on this diet, but change the food very gradually over a three-week period. Feed 3/4cup. Of your diet to 1/4cup new diet for 1 week, 1/2 cup to 1/2 cup the second week and 1/4 cup diet to 3/4 new diet the third week. If during this time, your dog has loose stool, go back to the original food and try the next diet. Make sure you don't feed rawhide or any processed treats, which can add to the problem.
  • 5. What should I feed to improve my dog's skin and coat quality?  
    Itchy dry patches could be a sign of follocultis or pyoderma, which is caused by the bacteria that lives on the skin. This can be treated with antibacterial shampoo and sometimes, oral antibiotics. Our RecipeTM Lamb & Rice Formula contains essential oils to promote healthy skin and coat.
  • 6. What is the best way to reduce a healthy dog's weight?
    The best way to decrease weight is to decrease total calories and increase exercise, 1-2 hours of activity daily to burn calories. Watch the treats. In most cases for an overweight dog, a reduction in the amount fed and increase in exercise will bring the pet back to ideal weight.
  • 7. My dog shed a lot all year long. Is this normal? 
    Many dogs will shed all year long, particularly in areas where the climate is fairly mild. I would suggest brushing your dog a couple of times a week-this will help remove the loose hair and thus lessen the amount of hair shed in the house. Also, ensure that your dog's skin is not dry and flaky, which may indicate the need for a dietary change. The hair coat should also be nice and glossy.
  • 8. I ran out of my dog's food and switched it suddenly to a different brand. Now she has diarrhea. How long does it take for a dog to get used to a new food?
    A sudden change in diet can cause diarrhea due to the exposure of the gastrointestinal microflora to different ingredients. This will usually resolve in 7-10 days. If the diarrhea becomes more severe or does not resolve, you should consult with your veterinarian.
  • 9. My dog frequently has gas. Is there any a diet that will reduce this problem? 
    Flatulence does seem to be affected by diets and certain proteins in the food. Sometimes it just takes time for dogs to get used to a new diet. The RecipeTM Lamb & Rice Formula contains a higher protein, but it is formulated to help control gas problems.
  • 10. How do I know if my pet has allergies?  
    Pet allergies are broken into several categories. Food allergies are usually manifested through the skin, coat, ears and paws. Excessive scratching or biting at the skin when fleas, ticks or mites are not present invariably means that an ingredient or ingredients in the food have caused an allergic reaction. In more serious cases, there is vomiting and diarrhea. For food allergies, a food elimination trial is recommended using a diet made up of ingredients your pet has not eaten before. Our diets are specially formulated to help address these conditions.
  • 11. Can dog be vegetarian? 
    Yes, dogs belong to the carnivore class but are true omnivores. This means that they can live healthily with or without meat.
  • 12. My dog has diabetes. What food would you recommend? 
    Diabetes can be a difficult disease to manage, and diet is an important factor. A high fiber diet is recommended. Periodic blood glucose tests, along with the urine tests, are also needed to make sure the dose of insulin is correct. Be cautious about any added calories, not necessarily sugar content. If your pet overweight at all, it is important to decrease food intake so that he/she can reach optimum weight. Feed two meals daily, one after each injection. Treats should be discouraged, but if you must, give one light (fiber) treat at night. With proper care, diabetic animals can lead a normal, happy life.
  • 13. Cost is a problem with the prescription diet I am using for my dog's allergies. Is there a RecipeTM pet food I can use that will be less costly?
    RecipeTM pet food that may suit your pet, but I would strongly suggest reviewing this option with your veterinarian.
  • 14. Is it better to feed an older, overweight dog a light formula or a senior formula dog food?
    I would suggest the senior formula to start, but discuss the diet change with your veterinarian first to guide you in the suggested feeding amounts.I would suggest the senior formula to start, but discuss the diet change with your veterinarian first to guide you in the suggested feeding amounts.
Cat Frequently Asked Question
  • 1. My cat has always a runny nose and eyes. Could this be due to a food allergy? 
    It is possible that the runny nose and eyes could be an allergy to something in her previous food. You must try a meat protein that was not in your previous diet. For example, if she ate Lamb and Rice, try the chicken. Usually I recommend trying a diet for 4-8 weeks to see if it works.
  • 2. Would any of the RecipeTM diets help my cat that has chronic diarrhea?
    Usually a natural diet will help because there may be an ingredient in other diets that the cat is reacting to. Also, with young cats I recommend repeating a deworming medication just to make sure the intestinal tract is free of parasites. They do not always appear in a stool sample. Our Recipe Feline Formula is a chicken-based diet that is easy to digest. Some cats do better on canned food; others do better on dry, so I would do trial and error to see what works best.
  • 3. My cat is overweight. Is there a product I can feed to get her back to her former sleek, healthy appearance?
    This is a common, but serious, problem for cats. RecipeTM Senior Cat Urinary Health and Hairball Control Formula work best with less calories amount. This allows you to feed the normal amount. As your cat returns to her normal weight and becomes more active and playful, you may want to provide more opportunities for exercise as a reward for the both of you!
  • 4. How do you recommend feeding a cat that is on a special diet in a multi-cat household? 
    Unfortunately, the best recommendation is to feed this cat separately from other cats and keep the other food away from the cat on the special diet. This is difficult in multi-cat households, but can be accomplished with meal feeding as opposed to leaving the food out all of the time.
  • 5. Why does my cat frequently vomit after eating?
    Cats, in general, have an easy reverse mechanism meaning if anything is slightly irritated in the stomach or small intestine, food will come back out almost easily as it went down. Most of these chronic vomiting cats will vomit, then go back to the food dish and begin eating again as if nothing happened. Besides the hairball as a cause, diet is an important contributing factor. You can experiment with dry food that is a different size and shape. Also only give him a small amount of food at a time. Some cats digest canned food better than dry, and vice versa. RecipeTM is naturally preserved and contains wholesome and balanced ingredients for easy digestion, our formula simply has a fiber that makes the food (and any hair) move through the digestive tract easier. This would be a good food to try. Try to cut out the treats so that a true response to diet can be monitored.
  • 6. Do you make a vegetarian food for cats? 
    Cats, unlike human or dogs, are strict carnivores and have very high protein requirements. They do not require plant products in their diet.
  • 7. At what age should a cat start to eat a senior diet? 
    There is not a set age established for feeding a senior diet. Typically, a senior diet is recommended by your veterinarian to address subtle changes in your cat's blood results that can be managed with a diet that is reduced in certain nutrients.
  • 8. Is the RecipeTM Urinary Health Diet the same as prescription diet for cats? 
    The prescription diet is formulated for cats that have a problem with crystals or stones. The Recipe diet is not the same formula. It is designed to help maintain urinary health, whereas the prescription diet is designed for cats that already have a problem.
  • 9. What are the benefits of feeding my cat RecipeTM Urinary Health and Hairball Control Formula? 
    House cats are particularly susceptible to urinary health problems, especially if they are spayed or neutered. RecipeTM Urinary Health and Hairball Control Formula is specially formulated to promote urinary tract health. It is formulated with balanced urinary pH levels to protect against FUS. Many cats ingest hair when grooming themselves, which can accumulate in the intestinal tract and cause the cat regurgitate messy hairballs. Our Formula contains multi fiber sources to prevent hairballs from forming by moving ingested hair safely and naturally through the digestive system.
  • 10. What's different about RecipeTM formulas compare to other feline diets?
    RecipeTM uses protein and fat that are preserved with natural antioxidants such as vitamin E and rosemary, not synthetic preservatives. To enhance flavor, we use real chicken and fish.
  • 11. My cat has not had problems with Hairballs in the past. Should I consider using the RecipeTM Adult Cat Urinary Health and Hairball Control Formula now? 
    Even though your cat currently does not experience hairball problems, you may want to feed RecipeTM Urinary Health and Hairball Control Formula to prevent hairballs from forming in the future. All cats groom themselves daily, even more frequently during the transition from winter to summer coats
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