Find The Hunt of Her Life on: Like it on: Join us on:

The Ruff Report: Here's a better way to feed your pet

You want to keep your pet healthy and free of stomach problems, so you feed your dog or cat a premium, natural, organic, fresh food or perhaps a prescription diet. But, your focus on the pet food itself may be misplaced since 40 percent of dogs and cats can still suffer from gastrointestinal problems such as stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea regardless of the food they eat, according to a survey.

So an important consideration when feeding your dog or cat must include monitoring your pet's eating habits and lifestyle, a leading a veterinary nutritionist says.

Many dietary problems can be linked to factors such as feeding at irregular intervals, overeating, sudden change in food, munching on too many treats and stress, Nestle Purina veterinarian Grace Long says. "Many dogs and cats do not tolerate sudden changes in diet." Dr. Long told "A sudden change can upset the normal population of bacteria that live in the intestine, resulting in an imbalance that can lead to diarrhea."

Story continues below

A book about a rescue dog
that will touch your heart

THE HUNT OF HER LIFE, is a nonfiction book about Samantha, an unwanted rescue dog who the author adopts at age 2. This beautifully designed deluxe full-color book, by longtime newspaper journalist Joseph A. Reppucci, contains more than 60 vibrant color photos of dogs to help illustrate the compelling and uplifting story of Samantha - a pretty tricolor bird dog who uses her warm personality to win people over and build a new family after being put up for adoption by a hunter because she is gun-shy and afraid to hunt. Learn how she uses her special bonding abilities with people to help her eventually make a transition from the hunting fields to family life. While reading the The Hunt of Her Life, you will travel with Samantha and the author along a trail filled with surprising twists, sudden turns, mystery and even what some call a miracle. And when the journey is finished, you may never look at people and their pets, motherhood - and perhaps even God - in the same way. The Hunt of Her Life is must reading. It will take you on a captivating journey - a trip like no other - that will touch your heart. 

 Story continues here

Here's what Dr. Long suggests pet parents do to help keep the digestive tracts of their dogs and cats healthy:
  • If you have to change your pet's diet, do it gradually over five to 10 days. Many pets are unable to tolerate a sudden diet change, especially as they get older.
  • Practice portion control, which is is key to maintaining a healthy weight. Feed your pet a specific amount of food twice a day. Adjust that amount if your pet is too heavy or too thin. 
  • Limit treats to no more than 10 percent of the daily calories. 
  • Give your pet good treats, such as low calorie snacks. Treats are a fact of life and to eliminate them is not realistic. 
 The study by Nestle Purina also found a strong link between gastrointestinal problems and lifestyle. Any kind of stress - bad or good - tends to upset pets. Here's what Dr. Long suggests pet parents do to help reduce stress for their dogs and cats:
  • Introduce new household pets or visitors gradually. 
  • Before going a on a long trip, get your pet used to travel by going on small trips around town.
  • If you are away from home a lot, spend some quality time with your pet when you are there. 
  •  If your home is hectic, make sure your pet has a quiet refuge.
The survey also found that fewer than one in three pet parents fail to seek veterinary help when their dogs and cats are suffering from vomiting, diarrhea and gas. Most pet parents ignore the gastrointestinal troubles until the condition worsens to loss of appetite. At that point, 49 percent of dog owners and 60 percent of cat owners consulted with a veterinarian.

But Dr. Long advises pet parents to contact their veterinarian when their dogs and cats are having digestive problems and not wait until the condition results in loss of appetite. “The truth is, veterinarians only hear about a fraction of the GI incidents that occur,” she said. “While it’s understandable that owners may choose to ‘wait out’ certain problems if they appear minor, we also know that even short-lived suffering from conditions such as stress diarrhea can be reduced with veterinary intervention.”

More reports about dogs and food:

Seeking veterinary care is also important because gastrointestinal problems are sometimes symptoms of a more serious underlying health condition, Dr. Long said. "Unfortunately, delaying the veterinary visit when GI issues arise often means the veterinarian is dealing with a much more serious condition by the time the pet is finally seen."


The Ruff Report is a column that appears on, a blog written by Joseph A. Reppucci, a retired editor from The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, Massachusetts. Mr. Reppucci worked as a reporter and editor on major daily newspapers in the Boston area for more than 30 years. He is the author of the book, The Hunt of Her Life, a heartwarming story about his once-in-a-lifetime rescue dog. Find it on

So easy to read. You choose the topic!
Adoption | Behavior | Food | Health 
 Rescue | Safety | Surveys and Studies

Like MySetterSam on Facebook

Book sets signed by the author available here!

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SERIES: Order your set signed by author Joseph A. Reppucci! The Original will touch your heart and the Sequel will lift your soul. *The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

Signed Set
*The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

Holiday discount Book Sets

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SET (unsigned) is offered for a limited time each year at a special holiday discount rate of 25% off. The discount applies to orders received from November 1 through December 24.

Find The Hunt of Her Life on Amazon

Get the Original Book | Get the Sequel Book

The ORIGINAL book is currently listed at 56% OFF on Amazon. Order the Original and Sequel and qualify for free shipping!