Second Chance: Healthy Diet Choices for a Healthy Pet

Second Chance: Healthy Diet Choices for a Healthy Pet

Dear Pet Column,

With so many varying choices, opinions, and price ranges related to the best type of food to feed a pet how do I choose? – Dizzy Diet Decider



Dear Dizzy,

You asked a great question and we will do our best, with the help of some local expertise, to guide you.

We started by asking Dr. Michelle Dally and below is her response.

What your pet eats can affect its health. We know this. But that doesn’t mean the most expensive food, or homemade food, or the least processed food is the best for every pet and household.

Here are the basic guidelines I use for my patients and my own animals:

  • Choose a high -quality food, without any ingredients from out of the country. In 2007, more than 100 dogs died and more than 500 were diagnosed with kidney failure after eating commercial dog-food that contained melamine, a contaminant from Chinese processed wheat, corn and rice. U.S. regulation means that sort of contamination isn’t likely to happen with foods made here, from ingredients made here.
  • If your dog has a sensitive stomach, is gassy or is itchy, choose a food that contains no grain or chicken. The most common food allergies dogs suffer from are to grains and chicken. Choose a food without these ingredients and you can solve many issues without a lot of strife.
  • Older cats and cats prone to urinary tract issues need canned food. It’s stinky and expensive, so many pet parents don’t like to buy canned food. But older cats, cats with kidney issues, and cats prone to urinary tract issues really need the moisture they get from eating canned food.
  • Raw food diets can be dangerous. Raw food diets are gaining in popularity for animals, and the lack of processing does have benefits. But be forewarned: dogs and cats can get salmonella, and they can die from that. In addition, salmonella from raw food also passes through dogs and cats and remains virulent in their poop. It can infect humans, who can also get sick and die from it. If you tell yourself you will never come in contact with your pets’ poop, you might want to reconsider when they kiss your face after grooming themselves. For these reasons, I do not recommend raw food.
  • Just as important as WHAT you feed your pet is how much you feed. A study done four years ago showed that dogs who were on the leaner side lived two years longer on average and had fewer joint problems. Which means if your animal has no waist, it’s time to stop free feeding and give a limited amount of food twice a day. Don’t believe the back of the food bag when it says how much to feed, they’re just trying to sell pet food. Ask your vet, you’ll be surprised!

My name is King and I am a big fluffy cuddle stray cat of only two  years young, with large golden eyes that will transport you to another place when you gaze into them, a place of kindness and love.

Adopt me and you adopt warm fuzzy feelings forever…



Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae


By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

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