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How much to feed a small Chihuahua


I have a 4 year old Chihuahua that is very overweight and the vet said she should be weighing about 7lbs and she is almost 11.5 lbs. She is a very picky eater and she’s been eating Stella’s Chews dehydrated food both Chicken & Beef mostly but then I was told by one of your staff that it was very high in fat but I haven’t found a food that she likes. Her babysitter has given her Fresh Pet rolls & she’ll eat them at his house but I’m not sure if the food is good for her. He also gives her the Fresh Pet turkey bacon treats. Do you have any suggestions on what food and treats to give her and how much?


Hi, Sue!

Stella & Chewy’s is a wonderful brand with so many fun flavors to try, but – you’re right! The chicken and the beef are both a smidge high in fat for such a tiny dog whose genetics tend to hand them cardiac and hepatic issues. However, fat = FLAVOR, so the finicky pups really do love it. Other brands do have freeze-dried formulas that are lower in fat (Primal’s pork or turkey & sardine, as well as Northwest Natural’s chicken & salmon come to mind). If you chose to go with frozen raw instead of freeze dried, I’d recommend looking at Raw Bistro’s bison and Primal’s venison and rabbit formulas for the lowest fat options (the venison is also one of the lowest in sodium).

As for portioning, feed her for how much she should weigh, rather than how much she currently weighs. You’d want to follow feeding formulas for a 7-pound dog, rather than a 10-pound dog which often requires some math. Many brands are happy to help you calculate proper feeding quantities. Primal’s web site, for instance, would have you feed her a total of 3 nuggets per day to achieve weight loss if you went with the turkey & sardine option. This doesn’t allow for treats, however, so you’d need to adjust additionally for that. Whatever calories she gets in treats for the day, she doesn’t get for dinner. There are lots of low-calorie treat options out there, the newest being the Leanlix brand (40 licks equals ONE calorie!), 2-calorie Zukes treats are size appropriate for her, Charlee Bear’s are only 3 calories a piece, and Fruitbles Skinny Minis are only 2.5 calories.

 Pop in to your local Chuck & Don’s to chat about these and other great, low-calories options for your pup! A diet doesn’t have to be miserable for her OR for you and we’re happy to be a part of her team.


How to transition from one dog food to another


Recently you stopped selling Wellness Tru Food which was baked and composed of chicken and chicken liver. I believe that the manufacturer stopped manufacturing this particular product. Our dog West Highland White Terrier) enjoys this food (she tends to be somewhat selective in her food choices-would exist on treats if she could) and this food didn’t bother her stomach. We do have a few bags left. Do you have a recommendation of a replacement food that would satisfy her fussiness and help negate any stomach issues?


Hello, John!

It’s hard to see food lines come and go when we know many of our customers are feeding something because it just plain works for their companion animal. Given your Westie’s propensity for tummy troubles, I’d start transitioning well before you run out of her current food. This way, you have the ability to do a long, slow transition and, if you get to a point where you just know what you’re transitioning to isn’t going to work, you can back up and try something else.

My first recommendation would be the Now Fresh! Small Breed Adult food. It isn’t baked, but it is extruded as a far lower temperature than most kibble. It is highly palatable and has high digestibility. It is also created with the “little white dog” in mind with added cranberries and blueberries to help with tear stains.

Many sensitive tummy dogs also do really well on Holistic Select. Again, it isn’t baked but has good inclusion of pre- and probiotics for digestion paired with a slimmer ingredient profile than many kibbles have.

If you’d like to try another baked kibble, Lotus has been in the baked business for many years and has an excellent track record when it comes to digestibility. Stella & Chewy’s is new to baked kibble but, so far, our customers are really happy with its palatability.

She hasn’t been on a “limited ingredient” food, but going that route can be helpful with digestion. Look at Zignature, Pure Vita, and Natural Balance if the others don’t work for her.

I usually recommend transitioning in 25% ratios. Store the food separately and, using measured scoops (don’t “pre-mix”) start with 25% of the new food to 75% of her old food. Feed this for three to five days OR until her stools look “normal” before increasing to 50%/50%. Repeat the waiting period before increasing to 75% new/25% old. For dogs with major sensitivities, you may need to go even slower, increasing in 10% ratios instead of 25%. If she does well on a food at 50/50 but not at 75/25, it’s okay to back up to the 50/50 mark and increase more slowly if you feel she’s doing well on the food in other ways. As always, we guarantee our food: if one doesn’t work, bring it back and talk to a Chuck & Don’s Team Member so we can help you find something that does!


Should a cat graze on food?


I have a 2 year old long haired cat. Due to my hectic schedule with school and work, I leave her dry food down for her to eat all day. Also, she had an issue before where she wasn’t getting enough moist food in her diet and because she was long haired, she had trouble passing her stools. Because of that incident, I have been feeding her wet food everyday as well.

She definitely does not eat meals, as I watch her return to her dry food bowl at least every 1 hour to snack. I always leave her dry food out because I figure she is more of a snacker than a meal eater and I fear picking her food up and then when she returns to her bowl, she would have nothing to eat.

It is important to note that her wet food is not left out all day. I give her wet food around the same time every day, so she is already used to that.


What do you recommend? Is grazing bad for my cat? Should I get her accustomed to meals? If so, HOW?


Hi, Brittany!

Getting your cat on some sort of schedule is ideal. Since your schedule changes from day to day, figuring out some times you can stick to may be the hardest part of it. Feeding twice a day should be adequate, especially if you can keep those times close to 12 hours apart (10-14 hours is fine). I usually recommend feeding a little wet food twice a day (at least ¼ of a 5.5 oz can, ideally closer to ½ a can). Put out her daily allowance of dry food after the morning feeding of wet food. If you’re feeding ¼ can, offer up to ½ cup of dry, if you’re feeding ½ can, offer up to ¼ cup of dry. Obviously, keep an eye on her weight and adjust amounts accordingly, but that’s usually a good start for a healthy, average-sized cat. Keep in mind that cats are all about texture and wet food comes in pâtés, minces, morsels, stews, shreds, and flakes. Try them all to see if there’s a texture she prefers before deciding she isn’t motivated to eat a canned food! If you stick to the schedule, she will (eventually) adjust to it.

Making sure she has adequate play time before meals can inspire her to eat as well. “Hunt, eat, sleep” is the basic pattern of a cat’s natural cycle, so getting some good cardio in before meal times can help her get used to the new schedule. If you’re worried about her grazing, consider offering her dry food in a SlimCat Feeder Ball or a Doorway Dangli that dispenses kibble or treats as your cat plays with it. She can still “graze” but will have to work (hunt, catch, kill) for her food. If she isn’t toy motivated, you can also try placing small amounts of dry food in various areas around your home (on top of book shelves, window sills, etc.) so she has to at least hunt for her food. Enrichment, exercise and a healthy diet are huge parts of having a healthy cat and a healthy relationship with our cats. I hope these tips are helpful! If you ever find yourself near a Chuck & Don’s, stop on in to chat with an associate about the variety of food-dispensing and enrichment toys for cats!


What to feed dog with protein deficiency


My dog is 18 years old and vet said he has a protein deficiency. I need to increase his protein intake – first step find a grain-free dog food that has lots of protein. Please give me several brands that you recommend. Thank you.


Hi, Shirley!

WOW! 18 years old! First off: congratulations on reaching that milestone. Second: did you get a diagnosis as to what the cause of his protein deficiency is?

If we’re looking at:

  • gastrointestinal disease in which proteins are broken down and fail to be reabsorbed in the intestines,
  • kidneys that just aren’t keeping up like they used to, OR
  • lymphatic disease in which the proper enzymes to break down the protein just don’t exist in the system,

increasing protein intake will only give a slight assist to a deficiency. Increasing protein can help, but most of it will still be lost. In these cases, by all means, increase the protein in the food, but consider adding in a digestive enzyme that’s heavier on the protease (we’re less concerned with amylase and lipase in this case) to help break down the protein to a more absorbable form for your dog. Optigest prebiotics/digestive enzyme powder is the highest, Fidobiotics Good Guts coconut/peanut butter is the next highest and adds in probiotics.

If we’re looking at a heart condition that’s causing the deficiency, increasing protein while sticking with a lower fat and low sodium can be of benefit. In a dry kibble, one of the best for this is Nature’s Logic Sardine (36% protein and only 8% fat!). Orijen Senior is another great option as is Wellness Core Reduced Fat.

Any of the above foods would be of possible benefit for the GI/kidney/lymphatic issues, but not without a good digestive enzyme. The digestive enzyme could also help if the cause is cardiac.

For GI issues specifically, consider also adding bone broth (The Honest Kitchen makes a dehydrated one you just add water to if you don’t want to spend a day or two making it) or Primal Raw Frozen Goat’s Milk (with turmeric and ginger) to help the intestinal tract bounce back a bit. Stop in to your local Chuck & Don’s to look at some of the wonderful herbal options for tummy soothing and balance.

I hope this is helpful and that you have many more good times ahead with your dog. Senior dogs are the best!

Kibble for a picky eater


I have a mini dachshund who has become a picky eater as of late. I’ve had him on Acana regionals for the last several years and he’s decided that he doesn’t care much for it anymore. To get him to eat, I am having to add toppers to his kibble, and I would rather not have to do this. Can your recommend some grain-free kibbles that are similarly high in quality to what he’s been eating? Specifically, any that you’ve found to be favored by picky eaters!


Hi, Macy!

Dogs occasionally begin to show less interest in their food over the years because their sense of smell dulls a bit with age and, since smell is the number one factor a dog uses when determining whether or not they’ll put something in their mouth, they occasionally require an increase or change in the smell of their food. Dogs that have had an upset tummy or anything that caused queasiness (this can be anything from getting into the garbage to stress or a medical illness or procedure) can associate the feeling of nausea with the smell of whatever they were eating at the time.

 Unless the cause is medical, smell is a great place to start looking for a solution for most picky dogs. Also know that he’s got you pretty well trained and is probably aware that if he waits long enough, you’ll “fix” his supper the way he wants it. It’s going to take real fortitude to not give in to those precious dachshund eyes asking you for those special toppers!

 Since you’ve been feeding the Acana Regionals, you’re already feeding a pretty “stinky” food. If you’ve been sticking with one particular formula for a while, switch! If he was on the Wild Atlantic, he may be avoiding ALL fish after a GI upset so you’d be looking for a blend without fish. You can also try other foods in the Acana/Orijen family that have a more specific protein (their singles are slightly lower protein, but single-source so their Lamb & Apple smells stronger than the Grasslands, the Duck & Pear smells stronger than the Meadowlands, etc.).

 If you’d like to try switching brands, we’ve been hearing rave reviews about Farmina N&D and Stella & Chewy’s new kibble. Both are highly palatable and very digestible. Nature’s Variety is an older brand but they just went through a brand refresh and their newer formulae are really exciting!

 Of course, you can always skip the kibble entirely and try raw. There’s many brands out there with premade raw diets in a “morsel” or quick-thaw formula that can make feeding raw as simple as feeding a dry kibble. Nature’s Variety, Northwest Naturals, OC Raw, Primal, and Stella & Chewy’s all have balanced, raw food diets in tiny, bite-sized pieces.

 Stop in your local Chuck & Don’s and ask an associate to show you around the freezer section or go over the benefits of any of the other foods you may be interested. Bring your dog if he’d like to come – there’s nothing more fun than a visit from a dachshund!


Food for diabetic cat


My diabetic cat has been eating Purina prescription dry DM cat food. What brand do you carry that is closest in nutrition that would compare to the expensive prescription food? Thank you!


Hi, OJ!

Wet food is often the most beneficial to a diabetic cat and it’s far easier to find high protein/low carbohydrate offerings in canned foods than it is in dry kibble (to make a kibble requires binders which, in most cases, means carbs). Getting them as much moisture as possible along with limiting carbohydrates (sugar) can be very helpful in diabetic treatment.

Most dry foods we carry are going to differ in protein content from a prescription food as they contain more protein from meat, but ultimately, less protein than the prescription. The most similar as far as percentage of protein, is going to be Evo’s Chicken & Turkey with 50% protein (as opposed to the prescription’s 51%). Farmina, Tiki Cat, and Orijen also have foods in the “40% protein and above” level with low carb formulae.

I would encourage you to talk to your vet about what specific aspects of the prescription food they find most important and then stop by your local Chuck & Don’s to discuss options more closely tailored to your pet’s specific needs. Best of luck!


Barking deterrent options


Do you recommend using a bark collar on older dogs? I have a 13 year old miniature doxie who is in good health and remains active. However, she consistently barks when left alone. I am looking to move into an apartment and am concerned she will become a nuisance to neighbors. Any recommendations?


Hi, Jennifer!

 There are several bark deterrent options on the market today and each dog can respond to them very differently. There are shock collars, vibrating collars, citronella spray collars, and collars that emit a high pitched beep. If the high-pitched beep seems like it would do the trick, there are little boxes you can get which plug in (no batteries required) and that will cover a decent area of the average apartment. This option seems to be the least invasive as there’s nothing she has to wear to make it work. There are dogs that will continue to bark regardless of the consequences, so before investing in any of these options, I would look at why your dog is barking. If it’s separation anxiety, “punishing” your dog (using a negative stimulus) for how she behaves when you’re absent could worsen the problem rather than improve it. If she’s sensitive to noises, there are ways to desensitize her rather than possibly make the noises more scary. Behaviorally, you need to expect the same behavior from her when you are home as you expect when you’re gone. If it’s okay for her to bark at the door when you’re home, it’s okay to do it when you’re gone, too. If barking is undesirable, she needs to be given an alternative, replacement behavior and collars don’t really give you a way to communicate that, especially with an aging dog who has never been exposed to such things and whose barking may get worse if her hearing or vision is fading at all. There are puzzle toys and chews to keep her busy, calming treats, anti-anxiety shirts and sprays, and a whole host of other ways to dial down her yipping that would be less likely to end up creating a bigger problem. I would recommend stopping in to your local Chuck & Don’s and speaking to an associate about all of the options available to you. Any we don’t have in the store, we can likely order for you. It’s never an easy decision when we move to places with common walls. Best of luck to you both!


Cat food for the best price


I have a cat that is 7 and he weighs about 16 lbs. I also just got a kitten that is almost 5 months and weighs about 6 lbs. The people at a different pet store said I could give them both the Nutrisource cat and kitten but that is a little pricey for me and I don’t want my 16 lb. cat to gain any more weight. Is there any food that is a little less pricey?


Hi, Abygal!

 There are a few options out there for foods that could be appropriate for both cats. Taste of the Wild is slightly less expensive per pound than the NutriSource Cat & Kitten, however it doesn’t participate in the frequent buyer program so the cost difference is minimal in the long run. Other great cat food options in a similar price range include Fromm and Pure Vita. If you keep in mind that your cats need to eat less food if it’s more calorically dense (typically if we spend a little more on higher quality food, we can feed less and end up spending less on health care). Stop on in to your local Chuck & Don’s and talk to a team member about the options available in your ideal price range. They will need to know what you’re currently feeding and how much to be able to accurately compare calorie counts and real costs.


My dog won't stop itching


My hound mix rescue dog is constantly itching. What supplements or chews should he have to help this problem. He has no fleas, etc. just itching a lot. Maybe dry skin?


Hi, Raymond!

There are so many things that can cause itching including but not limited to: food sensitivities, environmental allergies (think detergents and fabrics, not just seasonal ones like grass and pollen), and stress. Any combination of these can lead to one uncomfortable pup! Even when these are solved for, you may see some licking/chewing behavior that has become habitual and may take time to fade or behavioral medicines to curb. Not knowing which is the cause of your hound’s itching, I’ll try to cover all of the bases.

 There are several skin and coat supplements you can try. Fish oil (Alaska Naturals or NaturVet if you want salmon oil, Grizzly if you’d prefer pollock or krill oil), Bixby Skin & Coat Jerky is a great supplemental chew, and Herbsmith’s Glimmer has received glowing reviews for our customers who have tried it. If you’re looking at an environmental allergy, Herbsmith’s AllerQi would be worth looking at, too.

 If you see no relief with any of the above, you may need to switch foods. The switch could be as simple as trying a different protein (like switching to duck instead of chicken) or finding a more limited ingredient diet. I would encourage you to stop in to your local Chuck & Don’s and speak to one of our associates there about the many, many options for feeding a dog with possible food sensitivities or environmental allergies.

 Best of luck and thank you for rescuing!


Best food for large breed dog



My husband and I get to bring home a puppy in a couple of weeks. He is 3/4 Irish Wolfhound and 1/4 Great Dane. I would like to know if you have any food brands in your store that you recommend? I’ve read a lot about the importance of a low protein diet when Wolfhounds are puppies. I would obviously prefer to not buy a food that will break the bank, but I want to make sure we are feeding him a healthy diet. We currently feed our Weimaraner the Zignature’s duck formula.

What do you think?


Hi, Amanda!

Congratulations on your new baby boy!

We have several large breed puppy foods that could work for your pup. “Low protein” tends to be a simple way of telling people to feed a lower calorie food. Watching calories and calcium is far more important to large/giant breed pups than protein amount. Making sure that protein comes from a quality meat source rather than versions of corn, soy, or various gluten meals is the best way to go. Fromm has two large breed puppy foods – Gold (grain inclusive with protein from duck, chicken , lamb, eggs and cheese) and Heartland Gold (grain free with beef, pork and lamb proteins). NutriSource has a large breed puppy in a simple chicken and rice formula. First Mate has an All Life Stages large breed food that won’t have the perfect calcium : phosphorus ratio, but it’s pretty close if you feel puppy foods are too rich for him. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Orijen’s large breed puppy food would be higher protein and calorie if he doesn’t seem to maintain weight on the lower protein foods.

 Zignature doesn’t currently make a puppy food, but all of their various proteins have about a .2% variation in their calcium : phosphorus ratio so if you needed to feed both dogs the same thing sooner rather than later, it would be an option to discuss with your vet.

 Stop on by your local Chuck & Don’s and take a tour of the possibilities! Any one of our team members would be happy to help you compare the labels and guaranteed analysis of these or any other food you’d be interested in to help you make a decision. We hope to see you soon!