Nutrition

Coconut Oil and Cats

This question keeps coming up, so I thought I’d explain in why I tell folks not to give their cats coconut oil. The cat’s natural diet is high in both protein and fat. But there are only two essential fatty acids…

What Cats Should Eat

The most common question we get at Little Big Cat is, “What should I feed my cat?”  Now, that’s a pretty big subject! The answer depends on many factors, including your cat’s age and health, as well as the size…

Selecting a Good Commercial Pet Food

By Jean Hofve, DVM Packaged, manufactured pet food is a great convenience to dog and cat guardians. But responsible consumers who want the best for their animal companions have a bewildering array of foods and claims to choose from. So,…

Carrageenan: a Controversial Pet Food Additive

Carrageenan is a seaweed derivative that is commonly used as a food additive in a wide variety of products. There has been a lot of controversy about this ingredient, so let’s take a look at it in more detail. Carragreenan…

Choosing an Omega-3 Oil for Your Pet

You may already know how important Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation is for dogs and cats. I consider it to be the #1 most important supplement you can give your pet. The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega-3s EPA (eicosapentanoic acid) and DHA…

10 Reasons Why Dry Food Is Bad for Cats & Dogs

As a holistic veterinarian and animal advocate with more than 20 years of experience and thousands of hours of research under my belt, I’ve concluded that dry food is not a fit diet for our cats and dogs–carnivores who need…

Food Allergies in Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM Cats often develop “food allergies” or “food intolerances” to ingredients found in commercial cat food. The top allergens are: chicken, fish and corn (very common cat food ingredients), beef (often referred to as “meat by-products” or…

Homemade vs. Commercial Food for Cats (and Dogs!)

By Jean Hofve, DVM Preparing a home-made diet for one’s pets is a bit of a challenge. However, it is no more difficult than feeding one’s children a balanced and nutritious diet. Most human beings seem to be able to…

Feline Obesity

By Jean Hofve, DVM Obesity is a serious problem for our feline friends. Many serious health problems can result from obesity, such as arthritis, liver disease, heart failure, and renal disease. Prevention is key here: don’t allow your cat to…

Fiber Facts

By Dr. Jean Hofve Recently there has been renewed interest in fiber as a pet food ingredient. One pet food manufacturer published an article on the Internet condemning beet pulp in pet food as unhealthy if not downright dangerous, while…

Rice Bran – No Good for Cats!

You would think that cat food manufacturers would make sure that the ingredients they use are safe for cats. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Rice bran is what makes brown rice brown. It is the fibrous outer portion…

Tell FDA: Label Genetically Modified Foods!

Did you know that 85% of corn and more than 90% of soy in the US is genetically modified? GM foods may cause serious damage to your body, but the FDA does not want to give you a choice whether…

No Milk Today

It’s true that cats love milk. Most cats will drink it if you let them. And who hasn’t shared a little milk with their feline friend now and then? So, what’s the problem? Cow’s milk is not a natural food…

Vegetarian Cats?

By Jean Hofve, DVM There are several companies and websites that promote vegetarian (no meat or fish) or even vegan (no animal products at all) diets for cats. These products appeal to people who have chosen a vegetarian or vegan…

Healthy Weight Management for Dogs and Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM Nutrition experts like to portray weight control as a simple matter of “calories in minus calories out.” But as anyone who’s ever been on a diet knows all too well, it isn’t quite that easy! There…

Top 4 Pet Supplements

By Jean Hofve, DVM I was interviewed for About.com on pet supplements. I was asked to choose my top four, and explain why I recommend them. (Click here to read the article on About.com) 1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids You know…

Lifestages, Lifestyles, and Cat Food

The number and types of commercial cat food seems multiplying like rabbits. One online store carries 353 different dry foods, and 735 varieties of canned food! Here’s a sampling of the lifestages cat food is made for: Babycat (0 to…

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are natural compounds that are important in the neutralization or scavenging of “oxygen free radicals,” which are normal by-products of body metabolism. Controlled amounts of free radicals are normally made by the body as weapons against viruses and bacteria,…

Omega-3s are Essential for Your Cat!

By Jean Hofve, DVM No doubt you’ve heard of Omega-3 fatty acids, Omega-6 fatty acids, and essential fatty acids.  But did you know that they are essential for pets, too? The term “essential” means that the animal cannot synthesize the…

Fluoride in Pet Food — A New Danger?

By Jean Hofve, DVM According to a report by the Environmental Working Group, excessive amounts of fluoride were found in 8 major national brands of dog and puppy food. The foods contained fluoride at levels between 1.6 and 2.5 times…

Homemade Diets for Cats and Dogs

By Jean Hofve, DVM Homemade diets are great for our cats and dogs. By making your pet’s food at home, you control the quality of the ingredients, and commercial food additives such as colorings and preservatives can be avoided. Once…

Humane Pet Food?

By Jean Hofve, DVM The headline reads: “The HSUS Launches New Line of Natural, Organic Pet Food” “Selecting a high-quality pet food is one of the most important decisions a pet parent can make. To celebrate pets, The Humane Society…

Pet Food Marketing Hype

By Jean Hofve, DVM A trip down the pet food aisle these days will boggle the mind with all the wonderful claims made by manufacturers for their particular products. But what’s the truth behind all this marvelous hype? You might…

Pet Food Regulation

By Jean Hofve, DVM A note from Dr. Jean: I wrote this for The Whole Dog Journal around 2001. I put it online after the 2007 pet food recall scandal, so you can understand how such a thing could happen,…

Pet Food, People, and the FDA

By Jean Hofve, DVM Pet food labels are plenty obscure, but labels on human food are just as bad. As you get better at assessing pet food, you’ll also want to check out a few labels at the grocery store,…

Probiotics: A Dietary Powerhouse for Your Cat

By Jean Hofve, DVM There are many cats (and dogs) who need extra help with digestive and other health issues. Probiotics have helped solve these problems for many pets. The term “probiotics” (which means “promoting life”) covers a variety of…

Switching Foods

By Jean Hofve, DVM The spice of life is variety, or so they say. If that’s true for people, what about our dogs and cats? I love the commercial where the lady puts down a bowl of new dog food,…

The “Dangers” of a Raw Diet

By Jean Hofve, DVM Many proponents tout the benefits of feeding meat raw to our our carnivorous feline and canine companions. But most veterinarians and self-styled “experts” claim that raw diets are highly dangerous to everyone in the household. So…

The Right Weight Loss Program for Cats!

By Jean Hofve, DVM A reader recently emailed us to ask how she could help her cat lose weight. Indeed, obesity is a serious problem for our feline friends. Many serious health problems can result from obesity, such as arthritis,…

Water Water Everywhere, but What’s a Cat to Drink?

By Jean Hofve, DVM Everyone is familiar with the 3 basic nutrient categories: protein, fat and carbohydrate. But there is a 4th nutrient that’s just as important (or more!), yet it is usually overlooked by most guardians and even veterinarians—water!…

Why Cats Need Canned Food

Cats are true carnivores, requiring a meat-based diet for optimal health. Their natural diet is prey, such as rodents, rabbits, lizards, insects, and birds. These prey consist primarily of water, protein and fat, with less than 10% carbohydrate (starch, sugar…

Why Fish is Dangerous for Cats

By Jean Hofve, DVM A lot of cats love fish, but it’s really not a good idea to feed it to your cat! Why not? Because it is simply no longer safe to feed to cats (and humans should be very…

Does Dry Food Clean the Teeth?

By Jean Hofve, DVM Let’s get this one straight once and for all: dry food does not clean your cat’s teeth! In fact, dry food really has no benefits for the cat. It is merely a convenience for the guardian.…

BioSuperfood Case Reports

Here are a few of the cases where BioSuperfood has helped animals get healthy! For more information, see the BioSuperfood main page, or go right to the information on choosing the right product. Cassandra, 10 year old female Dachsund This…

BioSuperfood: Choosing the Right Product

BioSuperfood and BioPreparation formulas are powerful detoxifiers. Unless there is an immediate health crisis that requires a high dose, start with a very small amount (as much as fits on the flat end of a toothpick), and gradually work up…

BioSuperfood for Super Health

By Dr. Jean Hofve There are a zillion products out there that make marvelous claims about how they will improve your animal companion’s health. Many of these claims are exaggerated, and sometimes so fantastic that they seem too good to…