DEAR DR. FOX: J.J. is our 4-year-old brown and tan miniature dachshund. The breeder said he should not weigh more than 12 to 13 pounds. Unfortunately, he got up to 23 pounds, so we put him on Iams Diet Control and got him down to 18 pounds after six months. We can't get him to lose any more weight. He is starving all the time. He constantly begs and goes to the neighbors to steal bird food.
What can we do? He seems healthy otherwise, except he has clumps of dry skin that resembles dandruff. We would appreciate any advice you might offer. -- R.C., Mechanicsville, Md.
DEAR R.C.: Because of their susceptibility to serious, painfully crippling back problems, dachshunds must never be indulged with overfeeding and allowed to lose their muscular, trim condition. Too many treats, too much food, too many carbohydrates and less and less exercise as they put on more weight can cause them to become arthritic and develop diabetes and heart problems. This so-called metabolic syndrome is the sad fate of too many dogs (as well as people) today.
It is tragic and borderline cruel when animals are put on special weight-reducing diets and are constantly hungry -- many may well be starving because their diets are lacking various essential nutrients.
I advise no snacks, more playful activity outdoors before meals and four to five small meals a day of high-quality protein and few carbohydrates. A daily "pet tab" of vitamins/minerals and a teaspoon of coconut oil would be advisable, plus 1 tablespoon of raw plain organic yogurt or kefir.
PRODUCTS FROM ANIMALS FED GMO-FREE DIET GET NEW LABEL
In an unprecedented and laudable decision, the United States Department of Agriculture approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that include a claim about the absence of genetically engineered products.
It is the first time that the department, which regulates meat and poultry processing, has approved a non-GMO label claim, which attests that meat certified by the Non-GMO Project came from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa.
This will enable consumers to make more informed choices in the marketplace. Farmers and food exporters will also gain a stronger foothold abroad, where there is a rising demand for GMO-free produce.
PET FOOD RECALL
Natura Pet issued a voluntary recall of specialized dry pet foods due to possible health risk.
Natura Pet Products is recalling specific lots of dry pet food from its Innova, California Natural, EVO, Healthwise, Mother Nature and Karma brands because they have the potential to be contaminated with salmonella. This company has been plagued recently by bacterial contamination problems and has recently posted other extensive recalls. This problem, and those associated with mold (aflatoxin) contamination, which genetically engineered crops seem to exacerbate, is reflective of the inherent flaws in industrial agriculture.
Natura is voluntarily recalling all products with expiration dates prior to June 10, 2014. The affected products are sold in bags through veterinary clinics, select pet specialty retailers and online. No canned food is affected by this announcement. For a list of the products affected, go to DrFoxVet.com, and for further information or a product replacement or refund, call Natura toll-free at 800-224-6123 or visit naturapet.com/recall.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox's website at DrFoxVet.com.)