Interview with Petcurean Senior Nutritionist Dr. Jennifer Adolphe
Dr. Jennifer Adolphe graduated with a Ph.D. in companion animal nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan. She previously completed a master’s degree in human nutrition and is a registered dietitian with the College of Dietitians of British Columbia. She is currently the senior nutritionist at Petcurean Pet Nutrition, a Canadian, family-owned company committed to offering superior quality pet foods. Recently, we asked Dr. Adolphe some questions about dogs and nutrition. Here is what she had to say:
How do I figure out how much food to feed my dog? An estimated quarter to half of pets are heavier than their ideal body weight. Helping our dogs maintain a healthy body weight is one of the most important things that we can do to protect the long term health of our pets. Obesity is a major risk factor for reduced lifespan and quality of life in dogs. Paying close attention to how much you feed your dog is a vital step toward ensuring he maintains a healthy body weight throughout his life. To figure out how much to feed, start with the feeding guidelines on your dog food bag and then adjust according to your dog’s body condition. If you find your dog is getting a bit pudgy, cut back on his food, or if he is too skinny, up the amount you provide. Your dog should be well- proportioned with a slightly hourglass shape when viewed from above, and a tummy tuck should be evident when viewed from the side. When running your hands along your dog’s body, you should be able to feel his ribs and hips without pressing hard. Make sure your dog maintains a lean body weight by comparing him with the guidelines provided in a body score chart.
When you’re looking for dog food, what are the ingredients to avoid? Choosing exactly the right food for your dog can be challenging. Petcurean believes that a “one- for-all” philosophy does not work when it comes to feeding pets since they come in so many different shapes, sizes, backgrounds and ages. A food that works great for one dog may not work as well for another dog. Our recipes do not contain wheat, corn, soy, by-products or artificial preservatives. High-quality ingredients are essential for a healthy dog food. Each ingredient in our recipes is carefully selected to play a specific nutritional function in the food. When choosing a food for your dog, reviewing the list of ingredients on the back of the bag is a good place to start. By law, pet food labels must list their ingredients in decreasing order by weight. Look for a species- specific meat or meal as the first ingredient, i.e. turkey meal or de-boned turkey; salmon meal or de-boned salmon. The protein in these ingredients all have a high biological value, which means the protein contains a high percentage of essential amino acids. Another nutrient to look for in your pet food is omega-3 fatty acids, which provide numerous health benefits for dogs. Some examples of ingredients that contain omega 3 fatty acids are salmon oil, flax oil, and canola oil. To keep the oils in pet food fresh, look for rosemary or mixed tocopherols as natural sources of antioxidants. Petcurean’s food finder is a great place to start to help you choose the right food for your pet. If you need a bit of extra advice, our team of Health and Nutrition Specialists are here to help. We are so committed to matching your pet with the perfect recipe that we will help you find the food that’s right for your dog, even if it isn’t our own.
How much exercise should I give my dog? Regular exercise is important for both you and your dog. It’s a great way to spend high quality time together while keeping your dog physically and mentally stimulated. Just like food, there is no one-size-fits-all exercise plan that works for all dogs. The best ways to determine if your dog is getting enough exercise is based on his behavior and body weight. If he seems to crave extra activity, it may be necessary to increase his exercise to keep him happy and out of trouble. Speak with your vet about the amount and type of exercise your dog is receiving to make sure it is appropriate for his age, physical condition and health status.
I’ve heard that running with a puppy or younger dog isn’t good for them. Is this true? We should always be attentive to our dog’s ability to tolerate exercise regardless of his age. When dogs are on leash they have less ability to adjust their pace because they are trying to keep up with you (unless you have herding dogs like I do, in which case I’m always trying to keep up with them!). Paying close attention to your dog’s exercise tolerance is especially important for young pups whose bones are still developing and may be affected by excessive high impact exercise. We recommend discussing your dog’s exercise regime with your vet to ensure all activities are suitable for your dog.
I’m concerned about all the recalls for dog treats and dog food lately. How can I keep my pet safe? One of the best ways to keep your pet safe is to choose foods made by a company that follows strict food safety practices and is inspected regularly by third-party auditors who are experts in food safety. As a Canadian pet food manufacturer, Petcurean meets and exceeds regulatory standards set in both Canada, the USA and countries around the world. All of our products are manufactured at European Union (EU), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) certified plants, which ensures that they meet a very high standard of sanitation, cleanliness and manufacturing practices. It is also important to follow safe food handling practices at home to keep both you and your pet safe from foodborne illness.
Do you have dogs? Tell us about them! Yes, I have three Australian Shepherds who keep me busy and active! Roxi is a 12-year-old Blue Merle and is the leader of the pack. Timber is nine years old and is a black tri-colour who is always by my side. Chip is a rescue who we estimate to be about five years old and he runs like the wind. They are so much fun and such great furry company!