29th May 2020

Source:Lifewise Pet Nurtition

Holistic Petfood, as one of the latest marketing buzz words I am sure you have heard this term more than once recently, with every other new product released onto the market using the claim. Driven by consumer demand in Australia to only give the best to their four legged friends, the choice of ‘holistic’ foods to stock your shelves are endless. So how do you actually know if a food is holistic, or if it is used as a clever marketing strategy?

Holistic is a term that has been commonly used in medicine to describe the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Holistic food by definition, must nourish the body as a whole. Unfortunately, most pet foods carrying the holistic label claim, simply use the term to describe a food that has been made from natural ingredients. But making a food from natural ingredients in no way guarantees the food ingredients are appropriate for the animal being fed, nor does it guarantee the nutritional and therapeutic needs of the animal as a whole are being met.

So, what does meet the true definition of a holistic food?

Creating a food that actually meets the definition of “food as medicine” must meet two basic criteria. Firstly, the ingredients must be appropriate or sympathetic to the animal’s digestive ability, and secondly the nutrient profile must match the dog’s genetic requirement for nutrients at its particular life stage.

Sympathetic ingredients:

These are ingredients that the modern canine can digest efficiently and effectively and are typically the types of food that match the class of animal (carnivore, omnivore or herbivore), and are in keeping with the animal’s digestive enzyme production and gut structure.  Unfortunately, many modern pet foods contain ingredients that are seen by the mainstream human population as being “super foods” but are not necessarily ingredients that can be efficiently and effectively digested by the dog. An understanding of the role the gut microbiome plays in the nourishment and wellbeing of the host animal also needs to be taken into consideration for a holistic food. In short, for the “whole” to be balanced, the gut microbiome must be balanced and that can only occur when a diverse supply of appropriate food ingredients in the correct proportions are contained in the food. Anything less than this will create disruption or a loss of species diversity within the gut microbiome, which in turn leads to those unintended health issues mentioned above.

Balanced nutrients:

Having the correct ingredients in the food still doesn’t guarantee the food will treat the dog holistically. Holistic nutrition demands the individual nutrients be contained in the food at the same levels as they are used by the body, so a holistic dog food will be built around a specific nutrient profile of proportionally supplied nutrients. Furthermore, this nutrient profile must be provided in strict ratio to the energy density of the food.

So, it can be seen that making a holistic food is no simple task. Without a full and complete understanding of the requirements of the canine microbiome, coupled with a full and complete understanding of the inter-relationship of nutrients required by the modern dog, there is little hope of producing a truly holistic food. Despite the ever-increasing range of premium foods on the market, we are still seeing an extraordinary number of dogs with skin and gut sensitivity issues, the vast majority of which are directly related to poor diet or the use of biologically inappropriate ingredients. But not only are sensitivity issues on the rise, but evidence shows as many as one in every three dogs will experience cancer of some type during its lifetime.

Using the points in this article, you and your staff can assist your customers with the daunting task of deciding the best food for their canine or feline friends, and help them steer away from the marketing buzz words in the category. A great example of holistically developed food is the Lifewise Range here.

15th May 2020

Source: Bayer Animal Health

“My dog won’t stop scratching”, “My cat has a red rash on her skin and is losing some patches of hair”, “My poor dog is restless and itchy, he just looks so uncomfortable I need to do something for him!”

Sound familiar? Scratching, biting, rubbing, constant licking, hair loss, red rash on the skin, thickened skin and scratches from self trauma are all signs and symptoms of Flea Allergy Dermatitis, commonly abbreviated to as FAD.  Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is one of the most common skin conditions found in dogs and cats. Flea bites expose pets to flea saliva – which some pets become allergic to over time. This allergic reaction is known as flea allergy dermatitis, or FAD.

FAD is an allergic skin condition that mostly affects pets aged over one year and commonly occurs in dogs and cats with underlying skin diseases like atopic dermatitis. Pets with FAD can damage their skin by constantly scratching, biting or licking, and this damage can lead to secondary infection.

What does FAD look like?

The most common sign of FAD in dogs and cats is intense itchiness, but there are others to watch for:

  • Appearing restless and uncomfortable
  • Spending a lot of time grooming, chewing, biting, licking and scratching themselves or rubbing their skin against objects
  • Hair may be stained brown from licking – especially obvious in white pets
  • Skin changes in dogs: hair loss, rash, reddened or darkened skin, thickened skin, scratches or wounds from self-trauma, typically along the lower back and base of the tail, the thighs and belly
  • Skin changes in cats: hair loss and rash typically involving the back half of the body (belly and back), hind legs (inner and back surfaces), back of the neck, and less commonly on the head

It's also important to look for damage to your pet’s skin that can lead to secondary infections (reddened, moist areas called “hot spots”) that will exacerbate the itching.

How to Manage FAD in pets

Bites from just one flea can be enough to trigger intense itching in a pet with FAD, and a vet may diagnose FAD even if fleas or flea dirt (flea faeces) aren’t visible.

Minimising the number of flea bites is the most important part of managing FAD. You can control fleas year round with an effective, fast-acting product like Advocate®Seresto®Advantix® (dogs only)* or Advantage®, thanks to imidacloprid – the super active ingredient, which kills fleas on contact. This means that fleas don’t need to bite the pet and cause further irritation before the treatment takes effect. Once fleas come into contact with the pet, they are affected within 3-5 minutes. Reinfesting adult fleas are killed within 2 hours.

All pets in the household should be treated whether or not they show signs of flea infestation.

* Advantix – Do not use on cats.

Learn More

Learn how to recognise the signs of FAD, get proper treatment and prevent it from happening in the first place. For some more information check out the Advantage Petcare Website.

Knowledgeable staff is one of the best ways to not only gain a consumers trust, it also builds loyalty to keep them coming back. Bayer offers great training programs on Accelerate, this allows you and your staff to increase your knowledge, skills and experience so you can offer the best advice, products and service to your customers

Its free to sign up, check out this quick 15 minute course of FAD here to kick off the learning journey!