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Before the Bowl

How do you feed your pet?

Does your pet gobble down their food and beg for more? Do they wake you up early every morning wanting breakfast? Are they displaying other destructive or disruptive behaviours? Changing how you feed can help both you and your pet by slowing food consumption, encouraging them to use their brain to solve problems, and alleviating boredom. 

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Dermatitis: Nutrition’s role in itchy pets

Dermatitis: Nutrition’s role in itchy pets My pet won’t stop itching! Could it be dermatitis? 

Dermatitis is a skin condition resulting in hair loss and itchy, often dry or blistered skin. This is a very common concern in dogs and cats, in fact surveys have found that it is the most common reason for visits to the vet. There are many causes of dermatitis in pets, but nutrition can play a role in both development and treatment of this condition. Dermatitis can be uncomfortable for your pet and frustrating to treat, it will require you to work closely with your vet to help your pet feel more comfortable. 

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Nutrition in Training

Nutrition in Training

We know that taking home a dog is a lifelong commitment. A trained dog is a happy dog, with ongoing training a cornerstone of that lifetime of care. With more families welcoming dogs into their lives for the first time, some basic nutrition training tips can help keep them healthy in both mind and body.

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Beyond the Label

Beyond the Label

Reading a Pet Food Label is a Skill – do you have it? There is a lot of information presented to you on a pet food label, and not all of it is all that important. We have created a detailed guide to interpreting all the sections on a pet food label for you to help you decipher pet foods going forward. Check out the Guaranteed Analysis, Ingredient List, and spot the Nutritional Adequacy Statements! Link in our bio to read on

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Can the Easter Bunny Share his Carrots?

Can the Easter Bunny Share his Carrots?

Happy Easter! The carrot is a nutrient-dense root vegetable that is high in fibre and several vitamins, including Vitamin A and Vitamin K. Carrots are considered a healthy food for humans, but have you ever wondered if they are healthy for your pet too?  

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Bringing Home a Puppy!

Bringing Home a Puppy!

It’s National Puppy Day!!! To celebrate, we created a guide to help new puppy owners ensure they are ready for their puppy’s arrival. This guide includes information for: What you will need for your puppy Choosing a food for your puppy How to transition your puppy to a new diet

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Introducing… Jessica Fletcher!

Introducing… Jessica Fletcher!

With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people. Welcome Jess!

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Probiotics 101

Probiotics 101 Exploring Their Use in Companion Animals

The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of animals houses a wide range of microorganisms. It has been estimated that the total number within the intestine can reach up to 100 trillion microbial cells, representing most of the host’s microbial genome (Suchodolski, 2020).  

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Introducing… Shawna Morrow!

Introducing… Shawna Morrow!

With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people. Welcome to Shawna Morrow!

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Pumpkin as a Fibre Source

It’s that time of the year again, as green leaves blossom into hues of red, yellow, and orange and the smell of pumpkin spice fills coffee shops. With autumn in the air, Halloween is just around the corner, and this means candy, costumes, and...PUMPKINS! Pumpkins are an essential part of Halloween for carving and decorating but, more recently, pumpkins have also gained increasing attention for their health benefits in humans and pets. And so, now is an excellent time to begin the conversation around the use of pumpkins as a dietary fibre supplement for pets. 

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Scoring for Health

Scoring for Health

Did you know? October is National Pet Obesity Awareness Month, so it seems fitting to explore a tool universally used by veterinary healthcare teams to assess the weight health of pets.

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Introducing… Tesa Kinasih

With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people.

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The Effect of Starch Sources on Gastric Emptying in Dogs

The Effect of Starch Sources on Gastric Emptying in Dogs

In humans, gastric emptying rates (GER) have been implicated with obesity, diabetes, and other gastrointestinal disorders. While there is extensive research investigating the impacts of dietary protein and fats on GER, there is a lack of research, specifically in dogs, that focuses on the impacts of carbohydrates. Congratulations to our research team for another publication! Taylor Richards and colleagues investigated the effects of starch sources on gastric emptying in dogs.

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Introducing…Cameron Commisso

With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people.

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Highlights From AAVN: Part 3

Highlights From AAVN: Part 3

The 2021 AAVN conference was filled with a variety of insightful presentations. In continuing with our previous post, which looked at Dr. Dzanis’s presentation on the evolution of pet food regulation, we will now give a recap of Dr. Power’s presentation on the wonders of milk! 

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Highlights from AAVN: Part 2

Highlights from AAVN: Part 2

From June 2nd to June 3rd the 21st Annual AAVN Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium virtually took place and hosted a diverse set of oral abstract, poster, and keynote presentations. The presenters touched upon relevant topics affecting animal nutrition today, ranging from obesity to protein supply to the evolution of a mammal’s first diet; milk. Along with an array of informative presentations, AAVN made adequate time for virtual networking between conference participants through events such as their virtual cocktails and trivia night. 

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Highlights from AAVN: Part 1

Highlights from AAVN: Part 1

From June 2nd to June 3rd the 21st Annual AAVN Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium virtually took place and hosted a diverse set of oral abstract, poster, and keynote presentations. The presenters touched upon relevant topics affecting animal nutrition today, ranging from obesity to protein supply to the evolution of a mammal’s first diet; milk. Along with an array of informative presentations, AAVN made adequate time for virtual networking between conference participants through events such as their virtual cocktails and trivia night. 

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Stimulating Appetite

Stimulating Appetite

Even when a patient is willing to eat, they may not be eating enough. Ensuring that the needs of our patients are met nutritionally is vital to a good outcome. If you are a veterinary professional, follow these tips and tricks for stimulating appetite in your patients while they are in hospital.

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Hidden Risk: Aflatoxins in Pet Food

Hidden Risk: Aflatoxins in Pet Food

Recently in the news, there has been a large concern in the pet industry with dog foods potentially contaminated with aflatoxin. An international recall of pet food products was issued in December 2020, as many dogs became ill after eating contaminated dog food. According to the FDA, the recalled products contained potentially fatal levels of these toxins. In September 2020, a pet food sample was found to contain unsafe levels of aflatoxins, resulting in Sunshine Mills to announce a recall of the tested pet food product and other products made with the same corn. 

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Congratulations, Hannah!

Hannah’s thesis is titled, “Effects of additional dietary choline on food intake, body weight and body composition, respiratory quotient, serum lipid profile, and serum metabolic signature in post-gonadectomy kittens.”

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Feeding Your Pet Bunny

Feeding Your Pet Bunny

The digestive physiology and diet of the bunny differs significantly from that of the dog or cat. Believe it or not, bunnies' gastrointestinal (GI) tracts most resemble the GI tracts of horses rather than cats, dogs or even rodents. This is important to recognize as an inappropriate diet can significantly contribute to the development of dental or GI disorders.

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Tooth be Told

Tooth be Told Takeaways from pet dental health month What do you know about dental care for your pet? 

Dental health is an incredibly important part of your pet’s health, whether they are small or large! It is important that gums and teeth are examined by your veterinarian at least once yearly. This will help to ensure early signs are detected and addressed to help maintain good oral health in addition to providing an opportunity to discuss prevention such as tooth brushing and regular dental cleanings. About 90% of patients will develop periodontal disease in their lifetime and this can cause mild to extreme discomfort. Additionally, dental disease will cause oral infections, thus leading to daily production of harmful bacteria that can enter the blood. This causes the release of inflammatory mediators into the bloodstream and subsequently negatively affects the vital organs, including the heart, lung, kidney, and liver. 

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The Potato as an Ingredient in Pet Foods

The Potato as an Ingredient in Pet Foods

St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner and the celebrations paying homage to Ireland will soon begin! While the majority of these traditions will rely on clovers, leprechauns, pints, and green-themed everything, we also see new recipes popping up favouring the almighty potato. And so, now is a good a time to start the conversation around the use of potato as an ingredient in pet food!  

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Transitioning your horse from hay to grass safely this spring.

Transitioning your horse from hay to grass safely this spring.

Believe it or not, but springtime is coming soon! With the arrival of spring, comes warmer weather, fresh new grass growth, shedding season and more time in the saddle for horse enthusiasts. To help your horse transition from the frigid Canadian winter to spring, this blog post will provide you with some helpful tips.

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The Benefits of Exercise as a New Year’s Resolution for Pets and People

The Benefits of Exercise as a New Year’s Resolution for Pets and People

Many people are happy to welcome in the year 2021 after a long and isolating 2020. The pandemic has allowed many people and pets to increase their outdoor physical activity and focus on personal wellness, which is amazing. However, on the flip side, many have remained isolated inside together at home; enjoying each other's company but possibly consuming more calories than necessary. With more people working at home, pets may be getting more attention (and food) than they were previously used to. It is not too late to consider a News Years resolution for pet parent and pet focusing on healthy eating habits and exercise!

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Welcome back, Dr. Caitlin Grant!

The entire Ontario Veterinary College Nutrition team is thrilled to welcome back Dr. Caitlin Grant to our team as an Assistant Professor and as the recipient of the Nestlé Purina Professorship in Companion Animal Nutrition!

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Check the List Twice – Find Out What’s Naughty or Nice

It’s the holiday season! This may be a time of year where you get to enjoy your favourite foods and treats, and start to decorate your homes, and maybe include your fur-babies in all the fun! However, it is important to remember that not all human foods are appropriate for our pets. We have a developed a short list of holiday-themed items to avoid giving to your pets over the holidays, and some resources to contact if you are worried that your pet may have consumed something they shouldn’t have.  

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Cut the Fat But Support the Cat

Cut the Fat But Support the Cat Dr. Caitlin Grant demonstrates a gap in essential nutrient intake when cats eat fewer calories for weight loss

When treating and preventing obesity in our companion animals, it is not uncommon for caregivers and members of the healthcare team to question: How low is too low when restricting calories for weight loss? Are our cats meeting their nutrient requirements during weight loss?

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Understanding nutrients and ingredients

Understanding nutrients and ingredients

It can be confusing to navigate pet food labels and determine whether a diet is appropriate for your pet or not. Often, the presence or absence of particular ingredients are prominently displayed, while the nutritional content of the diet may take second stage. It’s important to determine the difference between ingredients and nutrients in order to evaluate pet foods. 

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Introducing…Olivia Chiu!

With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people.

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Tricky Treats

We are in that beautiful time between Canadian Thanksgiving and Halloween, where many of our human family members are treating themselves to a multitude of tasty snacks! With all this snacking and indulgence, we of course want to include our pets in the family fun. It’s important to note that treats can be tricky, as there are many ways treats can be a bane rather than a boon to our pets! 

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Introducing…Brooklynn Liversidge!

With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people.

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Introducing…Dr. Erico Ribeiro!

With a new school year starting, we are excited to introduce you to our new team members who have joined us this fall! We will be interviewing our new team members to help you become acquainted with them as professionals, students and people.

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Reflections on the Summer CORE Program

The Ontario Veterinary College offers summer student researchers an opportunity to explore some of the exciting research being conducted here at OVC. This program, the Summer Career Opportunities and Research Exploration (CORE) Program, runs from May until August

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What’s the Scoop on Dietary Supplements?

What’s the Scoop on Dietary Supplements?

Dietary supplements for dogs and cats (also referred to as nutraceuticals = nutrition + pharmaceutical) have been growing in popularity for over 30 years in Canada and the USA.  It’s estimated that between 30% and 50% of pet parents are using one or more of these products for their dog or cat, and that 90% of veterinarians across North America recommend some type of nutraceutical or dietary supplement.  It’s interesting to note that while the dietary supplement industry for both pets and humans has grown into the billions-of-dollars, there is no standardized or legal definition for what is allowed (or isn’t allowed) as a nutraceutical.  

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GANS: Fuelling Wellness Symposium

GANS: Fuelling Wellness Symposium A summary of a day unlike any other! Fuelling Wellness Symposium

The Fuelling Wellness Symposium was the final day of the Global Animal Nutrition Summit. This event was to provided a platform for open and inclusive pet nutrition and collaboration, open to all skilled pet professionals. To optimize attendee’s educational opportunities, three streams were offered; the veterinary, paraprofessional and equine streams. Attendees were able to attend multiple streams and even return to view other streams after the recorded live sessions were posted.

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8 Things I Learned From The Global Animal Nutrition Summit 2020

From August 11-15, I had the pleasure of attending the virtual Global Animal Nutrition Summit. This event highlighted valuable nutrition research from incredible people all over the world. Although I wish I could highlight every presentation given, below are a few things I learned during this international conference, more to follow later this week!

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Introducing the CAVN!

The OVC Nutrition Team is so pleased to introduce the Canadian Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (CAVN) to all of our readers! The CAVN is a group of veterinarians and veterinary technicians with a passion for nutrition.  It’s 12 fellows include board certified veterinary nutritionists, veterinarians who have completed a residency in nutrition, residents in training to become board certified, as well as veterinary technicians who have received their specialty training in nutrition –in Canada! To say this group loves nutrition is an understatement and it was this shared passion that brought the founding members together in August 2018 to form the CAVN. 

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Before you fill the bowl…

Before you fill the bowl…

When you go about cooking dinner for yourself, do you first wash down the surface before prepping food to make sure it’s clean? How about when you go out to eat, do you check to see if your plate and utensils are clean? When it comes to feeding your pets, do you do the same with their food and water bowls? 

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