Budgets – Wet vs Dry Food, Cats vs Dogs


Really? Dry food?

Q: We have 2 young cats and one middle-age dog.  We feed them a strictly grain-free wet food diet.  We’re looking for ways to reduce our household costs and one thought was to do dry food half of the time for all our pets.  But, I worry that this may not be safe.  Is there a safe middle ground or is it not worth it?

Dr. Frank:  In my opinion, there is a short answer and a slightly longer answer to this question.  The short answer in general is, yes (with caveats) there is a safe middle ground for your dog, and no, it is usually not worth it for your cats.

The longer answer is:
For your middle-age dog, doing a mixture of wet and dry food can be a safe cost-cutting measure as long as the dry is a very high-quality low or grain-free dry food.

On the other hand, for your two cats the benefits of keeping them on a good quality wet food diet far outweigh the higher cost.  Because cats don’t instinctively drink much water on their own, they need a wet, raw or re-hydrated diet to get the optimum amount of water for their bodies to be their best.

However, the primary reason I recommend keeping your cats on all wet food is that vets have found a high percentage of cats on dry food who develop medical issues compared to cats on strictly wet food diets.   This of course means that cats on dry food frequently have much higher medical expenses over their lifetime than cats on a wet food diet.

The cost savings you get from adding dry food to your cats’ diets may well be lost in additional medical expenses in years to come.

Reminder + Small Business Saturday

Amber Lynn – How can you resist?

Friday is not only a big shopping day, it’s also an extremely busy day for emergency vet visits.

In addition to what we talked about in our Thanksgiving Tip post last year, please be aware that some people foods can be very bad for your dogs and/or cats.  Onions (including onion powder) are extremely toxic to your pet and even small amounts of chocolate can be poisonous for your dog or cat, so save the chocolates for people only please.

Best rule of thumb – If you want to give your pets extra on Thanksgiving, treat your dog or cat with moderate amounts of their food or treats, not yours.  And ask your guests not to feed Emma, your Cavalier King Charles, from the appetizer tray, no matter how cute she begs!!
Two ideas to help:

  • Have a small bowl of pet treats handy to offer your guests to give little Emma or Amber Lynn instead of that piece of cheese, when a guest just can’t resist the cuteness.
  • Break every treat up in half or quarters.  That way, even if guests go a little overboard, you are less likely to be dealing with your pet’s stomach ache from too many treats on Friday.

One other very important thing today…

Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday sits Small Business Saturday®, a day dedicated to celebrating and supporting small businesses and all they do for our communities.

Look around your town or neighborhood…

Your BFF meditates, so you’d like to buy her a meditation CD this year.  Most local yoga studios sell meditation CDs, with the added benefit of knowledgeable staff if you know nothing about meditation.

You’d like to bring a unique Thank You gift to a holiday party.  You know the hostess LOVES tea… How about visiting that herbal shop in the middle of town and asking the owner for a relaxing blend for your hostess?

And of course, pet presents…  That independent pet store on the edge of town probably has a great raincoat for your sister’s Doberman and a nice selection of catnip toys for your uncle’s new kitten.  Have you been there recently?  Check it out!

Owners, managers and staff of independent small businesses are our neighbors and friends.  They help our communities thrive through participation in community leadership and projects.  They coach soccer and softball teams.  They sing in the local choir, and donate time and money to local organizations they believe in… animal rescue and foster care organizations – homeless shelters and food banks.

November 24, 2012
Small Business Saturday®

Remember, when you purchase products and services from an independent small business, you have a direct, positive impact on local families in countless ways.

We at Harmony Animal Wellness Center are proud to take part in Small Business Saturday and we want to encourage you to Shop Small® on November 24th.  Thank you for supporting Small Business Saturday 2012!

Demystifying Animal Communication

Big changes are part of life – a new baby… a move to a bigger or smaller home or apartment… a death in the family… a change in career or job that affects your stress level or your time at home.  When change happens in your life, have you wondered how it may affect your animals, and what, if anything, you can do to make the transition smoother or easier for your animal companion(s)? 

Is she here yet?

Many of our clients have consulted with Joan Ranquet at times like those.  Joan is a gifted animal communicator, author, teacher and speaker who has worked with thousands of individual pet owners, dog, cat and horse trainers, barn managers and vets.  

In addition to helping clients individually with their pets, Joan is a firm believer that animal communication is a skill that can be nurtured and honed.  She expertly demystifies animal communication for anyone who is interested by giving free classes such as the one we are hosting at the clinic next week.

JJ snuck into last year’s class.
He was sure no one would notice…

Joan will be at Harmony Animal Wellness Center on Thursday, Sept 20th, for private sessions and a fun, informative class.  
(click here for details)

Below are some questions our clients have asked Dr. Frank about Joan’s work.


Q: How long have you known Joan Ranquet?

Dr. Frank:  I have known Joan for approximately 4 years.

Q: What are your feelings regarding animal communication in general?

Dr. Frank:  I have seen Joan’s sessions help our clients in several ways.  I believe we all have the ability to communicate with animals at some level, but it means being aware and in tune with them.  Joan is excellent at “tuning in” as well as teaching us how to be more aware and listen.  This is invaluable to our relationship to our pets and deepens those relationships.

Q: Can you relate some personal or client experiences with Joan?

Dr. Frank:  Joan has done readings on my own pets and was very accurate in those readings.  In addition, I have seen the most beneficial results from clients with aging pets who have sought her advise regarding end of life issues.  Her insights in her readings were appropriate and very helpful for the clients in making those tough decisions such as end of life.  Several of our clients have repeatedly called Joan for assistance through various life changes and have found her guidance extremely helpful.   

Q: Do you consult with Joan regarding your patient’s medical issues?

Dr. Frank:  I am very comfortable with my clients who have consulted with Joan.  My expertise is in the medical field.  I do take her information into consideration as I develop my diagnostics and prepare my recommendations for the pet’s treatment plan.


To learn more about Joan and animal communication, come to her class and/or schedule a personal session on Sept 20th if you live in the Puget Sound area.  Click here for a flyer with more information.

Joan’s Guided Meditation CD

In addition, there is a wealth of information on Joan’s website including how to arrange phone consultations if you do not live in the area, and links to purchase her new ebook, Animal Communication 101, her CD and her hardcopy book.

Happy Ending for a Holiday Weekend

July 1, 2012:

One of our kind-hearted, long-time clients, Susan von Beck, owner of Cardiff’s Lodge, saw a posting by WA Pet Rescue, about an injured chocolate lab youngster…

“A male chocolate lab, approximately one year or less, was turned into a vet clinic by good Samaritans who found him unable to move on the side of the road…  …He has been attacked by something – other dogs, mountain lion in the area, or ??? and is beat up pretty bad.  The clinic will keep him for 3 days for an owner reclaim – but it is unlikely.  He will be euthanized on Tuesday if no one shows up to claim him.

They have him on pain meds and antibiotics but he will need surgery to close the large gashes under his arms and chest.  He is shocky so it is hard to evaluate his temperament.  Sweet but seems shell shocked or unsocialized.  He is eating and improving and could make a recovery if given the chance.

Located in eastern Washington near the Idaho border. Contact me if able to help.  Serious inquiries only please.

Susan offered to finance his surgery, recovery and find a foster home for him, if the rescue group could transport him west.  The woman who posted the information knew a vet who would do the necessary procedures at a reduced cost. 

Eli – What a sweet face!

An update came from one of the people helping the little guy:

Two days later:

“Here’s our morning update for our little chocolate lab pup – about a year old per Dr. Vogel.

Dr. Vogel had a chance to examine him more carefully this morning and he believes the injuries most likely resulted from another dog. He has skin damage that extends into the muscle a bit but likely won’t need stitches, just a thorough cleaning of all wounds.  Most of his injuries are on his legs and one on his ear.  Dr. Vogel hopes to be able to perform the procedure today or tomorrow at the latest.  I’ve asked him to also neuter him, microchip and give him his DHPP and Bordetella.  I will also ask him to please run a stool sample, too.  Susan, is there anything else you require?

 Once Dr. Vogel has completed the necessary procedures we’ll have a better idea of when it would be best to transport him but it will be the end of this week at the earliest…
…Does anyone have any leads on possible rides for Eli from Spokane to Seattle this weekend.

Dr. Vogel is wonderful. So helpful and caring about little Eli. Thanks to him for all his hard work and compassion.

A Comfy Trip West

With multiple lacerations, after his surgery Eli had 8 drain tubes and over 60 stitches.  But with a new name and a successful surgery behind him, Eli was transported west to Susan on July 10th by a generous family.

Susan brought him to Dr. Frank and Harmony Animal Wellness Center for post-op monitoring while she rehabilitated him.

By the end of July, instead of a foster home, Eli had received the gift of a new permanent home with Josh and Marijke!!

Eli’s New Home

August 28, 2012

We received an update from Josh after Eli had time to settle in:

“Hi Kris,
…Eli has, slowly, been getting more comfortable with us, every day we can see improvement. He does not feel the most secure every day, as some loud noises and quick movement will still startle him, but not as much as day one.

All of his wounds healed up very nice, he will have some nice scars but that only adds character, right? We were surprised at how fast he healed. We thought that the large gash under his right front arm would take longer than it did, but really, I removed the last stitches less than two weeks after we picked him up and they fully healed by the next week.

He has been learning basic commands like heal and sit, wanna go out, things like that… …we wanted him to feel safe before we started overloading him with homework.

His eating has been a little challenge for us… …it’s almost like he needs someone telling him it is alright to eat, makes you wonder…

He has gotten along well with every dog we have met. He will walk up and sniff them so that is good, we can tell that he wants to be friends, he is just not sure what he is suppose to do. He does not play with us or with his toys, but we also noticed that he was very happy and playful around about three different dogs now, all three female and older.  [We’re thinking that being around another dog] will help him become the dog that he really is inside.

…yes go ahead and post this story up on your Facebook page.
Thanks, Josh”

Don’t you just love happy, new beginnings for our animal friends??? 

“Ready for our walk?
Let’s go please”

We’d like to give big virtual hugs to everyone whose labor of love gave Eli a happy new start with a loving family
– from the people who cared enough to stop even though he wasn’t moving and bring him to the clinic; to Tracie; Bernice; Robin; Dr. Vogel; the family who transported Eli; everyone else involved we don’t know about; and of course Susan, Josh and Marijke.


Happy Labor Day Weekend – Enjoy!


Much Better Now

A New Diagnostic Tool for Vets

We are excited to introduce our clients to the OraStrip Quick Check Canine.  OraStrip Quick Check Canine allows us to identify periodontal disease, either visible or microscopic, within 10 seconds of use.

OraStrip has the ability to detect the specific bacteria that cause periodontal disease before clinical signs appear, allowing us to take action and prevent further oral disease and decay. 

By running this small strip of paper along the dog’s gum line, we can sample the bacterial content in the saliva and compare the paper’s color change to the color scale. 

This simple test can help the owner and veterinarian formulate either a preventive maintenance plan or a treatment plan to avoid further illness caused by periodontal disease. 

Once the sample has been collected, we remove the strip from the dog’s mouth and wait 10 seconds before reading the result.

While holding the strip near the colors shown on the comparator card color chart, we will determine and record the number of the color closest to the color on the pad.  If the color is not uniform, Dr. Frank will base his decision on the most intense color seen on the pad.

Dr. Frank will then interpret the results, knowing your particular pet.  In general, a numerical result of 1 or above is associated with active periodontal disease, while a score of zero is not associated with active periodontal infection.  For dogs with a history of periodontal disease, a score of zero reflects favorable ongoing management.

Checking JJ’s teeth and gums

Remember, the mouth is the gateway to the body, and disease here can often lead to disease elsewhere in the body.  Prevention is the best medicine.  If this test is something you are interested in, please let us know.  We can perform it right in our office at a minimal cost. 

If you are not in the Monroe/Seattle area, ask your vet if he or she uses the OraStrip.

Fireworks Again??

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Here in the Seattle area fireworks are a big business – private individuals as well as communities set off fireworks on and near the 4th.  How do your pets react to fireworks? 

YIKES! Make them stop!!

Many pets become mildly to extremely nervous and stressed with sudden noises in general and with fireworks in particular. 

Remember – even if you can’t hear any fireworks going off in your neighborhood, your dog, cat and/or horse can hear fireworks far in the distance that you can not.

Fortunately, there are products available to support pets of all sizes and shapes during this stressful time.  Here are some options on the market that we carry in our clinic:

  • HomeoPet® Storm Stress and Anxiety TFLN
  • Composure SoftChews by Vetri-Science® – A calming formula providing C3™ *, L-Theanine and Thiamine to support balanced behavior.  *C3™: Colostrum Calming Complex is isolated from colostrum proteins which have a calming effect.  It is best to start giving Composure in advance, well before expected fireworks, to give it time to build up in your pet’s system.  
  • Harmonease® Chewable Tablets – Composed of a natural blend of extracts of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense (one of the fundamental herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine).  The tablets help dogs overcome their stress during noisy and fearful times.  It is best to start giving Harmonease® in advance, well before expected fireworks, to give it time to build up in your pet’s system.
  • Thundershirt – Uses gentle, constant pressure to calm your dog, effectively aiding anxiety, fearfulness, barking and more.
  • Adaptil® For dogs only.  A synthetic copy of the natural canine appeasing pheromone proven to help support dogs in a range of stressful situations including fireworks. This product is available as a collar, spray or diffuser.
  • Feliway – For cats only.  A synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone, used by cats to mark their territory as safe and secure.  Feliway comes in a spray or diffuser 

If you are not in the Pacific Northwest, your vet may carry some or all of these products.  If you’re unsure what might be most helpful for your pet, call your vet to discuss options.

Pets, Thunderstorms and Fireworks – An article with information, safety tips and links to additional articles about pets and fireworks.