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At the end of 2016, I mentioned in a blog post that I would limit my postings to original content, rather than re-posting familiar subjects. The Little Creek Veterinary Clinic Circle of Life post each month is an exception, as is the annual October Pet Blessing list. Since I’ve already made those exceptions, here’s another:

In 2011, I ran a post called Be a Hero – Train a Service Dog. Service dogs are, quite literally, life-savers for the people who depend on them, and they therefore deserve another turn in the spotlight. 

The original post featured Leader Dogs for the Blind and Service Dogs of Virginia. Not to be left out, however, is Canine Companions for Independence. CCI has been providing assistance dogs, free of charge, to people in need since 1975. CCI assistance dogs help disabled people live more independently — in a sense, acting as the person’s extra set of hands.

The assistance dogs are trained to retrieve items, turn lights on and off, open doors, shut drawers, help with clothing, and more.

CCI dogs can also be trained to help the non-hearing, assist disabled veterans, and work in healthcare or education facilities.

[CCI dogs are not trained for health/medical alerting, guiding the blind, etc. More information can be found on the FAQ page.]

You may not ever need a CCI assistance dog, but if you’d like to be involved with their program, check out www.cci.org/GiveADogAJob. You’ll find options for donating funds, raising a puppy, and participating in Dog Fest Walk’N Roll.

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WELCOME:

  • Sebastian
  • Oliver
  • Red
  • Ghost
  • Rusty
  • JR
  • Abby
  • Elliot

FAREWELL:

  • Buster
  • Angel

 

It’s that wonderful time of year when Hampton Roads churches
welcome your pets for a special blessing,
in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi.
We’ve rounded up a selection of pet blessings for you.
This year, we’ve added churches in Newport News.
Check with your church if you don’t see its name listed here:

Sunday, October 1
Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church…Norfolk……………4 PM
Historic St. Luke’s Church….Smithfield……………………..2-4 PM
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church….Newport News……….1 PM
Use River Road entrance.
Wycliffe Presbyterian Church….Virginia Beach………….2 PM
Accepting donations of pet toys and food for a local animal shelter. 

Wednesday, October 4
St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church….Virginia Beach…4:30 PM
In picnic pavilion.

Saturday, October 7
Christ the King Catholic Church….Norfolk…………………………………9:15-10:15 AM
In school parking lot. Accepting donations of pet food for Norfolk SPCA
Church of the Holy Family….Virginia Beach………………………………11 AM
Hidenwood Presbyterian Church
….Newport News………………….10-11 AM

 

Sunday, October 8
Emmanuel Episcopal Church side yard….Virginia Beach……..3 PM
Episcopal Church of the Ascension….Norfolk……………………….11 AM-Noon
Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd…Norfolk………………..10:15-11:30 AM
Nimmo United Methodist Church….Virginia Beach……………8:30 AM
Trinity Episcopal Church….Portsmouth……………………………….10:30-11:30 AM

Saturday, October 14
Hilton Christian Church….Newport News………..10 AM
St. Mary Catholic Church….Chesapeake………….10 AM

Sunday, October 15
Baylake United Methodist Church…..Virginia Beach….4PM

We have attempted to accurately reflect each church’s information for the event, but be sure to check with your preferred church for accuracy and any last-minute schedule changes, especially in the event of inclement weather.

 

In How to make sense of pet food label claims, Part 1, we listed common terms used to describe the contents of a food, such as “dinner,” “premium,” “organic,” and more, and revealed the meaning behind those words. Today, we’ll present a buffet of terms.

“All Life Stages” — If a pet food has this claim on the label, skip it. Pets have different nutritional needs in different life stages (growth, growth & lactation, adulthood, senior status). Your pet’s food should specifically reflect your pet’s nutrient needs at each stage of her life.

Bone meal contains high levels of magnesium and phosphorus. These minerals are hard on the kidneys and they are not a good source of calcium. Avoid giving your pet a food containing bone meal.

By-products
Many people are concerned about by-products in pet food. The definition of a by-product is, essentially: Something produced in the making of something else.

For example, glucosamine (which many people and their pets take for joint support) is a by-product.

In pet food, nutritionally dense organ meat is a by-product, and it is good for your pet. In other words, just because an ingredient is considered a by-product, does not necessarily mean it is unhealthy to feed your pet.

Did You Know?
Every part of a chicken can be used in pet food,
including beaks and feet!

Fixed formula: does your pet’s food qualify?
A fixed formula pet food is one in which the ingredients do not change.

When pet food manufacturers change the ingredients in a bag or can of food, they have up to six months to change the label to reflect the new ingredients. One work-around is to constantly change the ingredients, so the label never technically has to be updated. Thus, your pet may do well on Mrs. Bea’s Lovely Coat* Chicken and Rice for the first bag, but get sick on the second bag because the food now contains beef and barley — yet the food label hasn’t changed!
*Fictionalized brand.

So how do you know if a brand uses a fixed formula? Two ways:
1. If the diet is therapeutic, such as Hill’s Prescription Diet or Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets. These are foods specially designed to treat certain medical conditions. In order to be effective, their ingredient lists and guaranteed analysis minimums and maximums remain steady.
2. If the food is a commercial brand, call the company and ask. (Hill’s Science Diet foods use a fixed formula.) 

Light or Lite -designated foods are designed for weight loss. If your pet needs to lose weight, avoid “Weight Control” or “Weight Management” diets, since those are weight maintenance diets, not weight loss diets. To be sure your pet is on a lower-calorie food, look for the word “Light” or “Lite” on the label. Because these foods cannot be tested in AAFCO trials, they adhere to calorie maximums for both dry and canned foods:
Dry dog food……….3100 kcal/kg maximum

Canned dog food….900 kcal/kg maximum
Dry cat food………..3250 kcal/kg maximum
Canned cat food….950 kcal/kg maximum

Did You Know?
Weight loss diets cannot be AAFCO-tested,
since it is not permissible for animals
to lose weight during feeding trials.

 

Moisture level in a food is indicated by the type of food your pet eats.
Dry food is maximum 12% moisture, 88% dry matter.
Semi-moist food is maximum 33% moisture, 67% dry matter.
Canned or wet food is maximum 78% moisture, 22% dry matter.
So, as moisture increases, the water content is replacing meat and other ingredients.

 

When it comes to picking the perfect food for your pet, the choices can seem overwhelming — especially when so many brands claim to be the one and only food you should be feeding your pet. But not all pet foods are the same — and making sense of their labels is nearly impossible without some basic guidelines.

In Part 1 of our series on pet food label claims, we’ll talk about some of the common words you’ll see on pet food labels, and we’ll tell you what they really mean.

Believe it or not, there are rules governing the words that can be used to describe pet food — and those words are linked to the contents of the food.

We’ll look at several imaginary pet food label claims, focusing on meat content.
Pet Food A is “100% chicken”
Pet Food B is “Beef entree”
Pet Food C is “Veal formula”
Pet Food D is “Salmon recipe”
Pet Food E is “Vegetables with lamb”
Pet Food F is “Venison flavor”

So how much meat does each product actually contain?
A: Anything listed as “100%” or “Full”  must be made of at least 95% of the listed ingredient. In this case, the food must be at least 95% chicken.

B/C/D: Anything described as “entree,” “formula,” “recipe,” “dinner,” or “platter” must comprise at least 25% of the listed ingredient. In our examples, beef, veal, and salmon make up at least 25% of the imaginary foods.

E: Anything following the word “with” comprises 3-24% of the food. In our example, lamb may be as little as 3% of that food.

F: Anything listed as “flavor” need only be detectable to a pet as a flavor. Our example does not need to contain a certain percentage of venison; it only needs to taste like venison.

What about words like “holistic,” “premium,” “high quality,” and “human grade”?
There are no legal or standard definitions for those words. Such descriptors are often used as marketing tools to set one company’s food apart from the others. 

However, certain claims, such as “organic” and “natural” are defined and standardized.
Look for the Organic seal on pet food, which indicates the food contains no hormones or pesticides.
Look for the word “natural” which means there have been no chemical alterations of ingredients. (Vitamins are the acceptable exception to this rule.)

Watch for Part II of our series, “How to make sense of pet food label claims.”

 

RiverFest, hosted by the Elizabeth River Project, is coming to Virginia Beach this Sunday, September 17th — and they’re holding a dog costume contest as part of the fun.

Enjoy kayaking, games, river animals, native plant sales, food trucks, live music, and more, all set in a lush park that is home to 20 acres of forest and wetlands on the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River.

WHERE: Carolanne Farm Neighborhood Park
                 373 Gainsborough Rd, Virginia Beach

WHEN: 11 AM to 4 PM on September 17th

DOG COSTUME CONTEST: 2 PM
“The River’s Gone to the Dogs.” Create a river-themed costume for your pooch!

PARKING: Arrowhead Elementary School
                     5549 Susquehanna Dr.

WEB: www.elizabethriverfest.org 

FREE admission!

See what’s new at this year’s festival:
• “The River’s Gone to the Dogs,” a dog-costumed contest at 2 pm
• Free bike bells and bike valet if you come by bike
• Drawings for a stand-up paddleboard; a birthday party on the Elizabeth River Project’s
Dominion Energy Learning Barge; and tickets to Jack Johnson’s beach concert Sept. 27
• A live mermaid
• Live music with Lewis McGhee, Mountaintide and the Storyweavers
• The free kayak paddles include a tour to a planned new waterfront park
• Native plant sales and plant walks
• Girl Scouts can earn the new Elizabeth River patch
• Symbolic adoption of river otters at the Elizabeth River Project membership tent
• Satellite parking at nearby Arrowwood Elementary School.

Bringing your dog? Dr. Miele, a Norfolk veterinarian at Little Creek Veterinary Clinic reminds you to be sure your pets are protected against common communicable diseases. Learn more here and here.

Where: Norfolk Botanical Garden
[Less than 2 miles from Little Creek Veterinary Clinic. See the map.]

Date and Time:
Date(s) – Sunday, September 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th, 2017
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

“We are extending our summer Sunday Dog Days through September. Help us help the many animals affected by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The Virginia Beach SPCA has representatives in Texas helping with rescue efforts. Explore the Garden with your dog & help other pets reunite with their owners.Your $5 FIDO Fee will go directly to the efforts helping the animals displaced.”

NBG Members & Not-Yet-Members: Your $5 FIDO Fee will go directly
to the efforts helping the animals displaced.
NBG Members: Garden admission is Free
Not-Yet-Members: Garden admission applies

Sept. 3, Sept. 10, Sept. 17 & Sept. 24 (SEPTEMBER ONLY)

(Dogs are not permitted in the Children’s Garden or Butterfly House)