Our team continues to be here for you and your cherished pets. We are OPEN and are now able to provide a wide range of services. To learn more about the changes we have implemented in response to COVID-19 and what to expect during your next visit, click here.

Dietary Optimization: Fats in Dog and Cat Diets

We all want our dog and/or cat to have shining fur, to be mentally bright and physically fit. We know that how we feed our furry family members has a huge impact on their health and well-being. We worry about protein levels to maintain muscles mass and to keep carbohydrate levels low for minimizing inflammation.  We make sure the calcium and phosphorus levels are puppy and kitten appropriate.  But do we pay enough attention to the fats in our pet foods?

Fats are a class of nutrients essential to life. While we all know fats contribute energy and are very calorie dense, are we aware that all the cells in the body are influenced by the balance of fats in our dog or cat diets and that certain fat-soluble vitamins can only enter the body dissolved in fats?

Every cell membrane and brain, eyes, skin, gut … is composed of fatty acids derived from dietary fats. Optimum levels and balances of fatty acids create flexible, permeable and healthy cell membranes. While poor fat selections lead to more inefficient cell membranes which might make your pet move or think more slowly than the animal fed a better-balanced diet. Extremely fat restricted diets may lead to certain vitamin deficiencies.

Fats are not simple.  Coconut oil is not fish oil, nor is hempseed oil replaceable by chicken fat.  The background reason for this is the unique molecular structure of every fat.  All fats are chains of carbon atoms with attached glycerol groups.  In any one fat, the number of carbon atoms and the number of single or double bonds between the carbon atoms gives a fat a specific character and potential use in the body when the fats are broken into their constituent fatty acids.

Balancing oils is about combining different oils to get the proper amount and proportion of different fatty acid types.  The following simple comparison shows how different the oils can be. Coconut oil is comprised of 92% saturated (single bond) fats and contains 0 grams/kg of omega 3 fatty acids while cod liver oil is only 25% saturated fats and 215 g/kg of Omega 3 fatty acids.  Hempseed has 11% short chain fatty acids and 182g/kg Omega 3 while chicken fat is 31% short chain fatty acids and has 8g/kg of Omega 3 fatty acids. Fats are broken into their respective fatty acids in the body.  Some fatty acids can be very pro-inflammatory if they are in excess while others can be anti-inflammatory.

Fats are delicate.  The more double bonds in a fat, the easier it can turn rancid.  The very important anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids are the most delicate.  As soon as these oils are exposed to sunlight and oxygen they begin to degrade. When a bag of dog food is opened this process begins even with antioxidants added to the kibble. Frozen raw diets may have slower degradation but the longer the food is stored, the more damage occurs.

How can you be sure your dog or cat is getting the right proportions and types of fats? If you feed a raw or home prepared cooked diet from a recipe that has not been properly analyzed, you can have Full Circle perform a computer analysis to check the current fats and recommend how to balance the fats for optimal health.  If you feed a kibble diet, try to buy a volume that can be consumed within two weeks. If you buy in large bulk, freezing the kibble will slow the degradation. Kibble feeders can also supplement with some sardines or fresh cold-water fish oil on a regular basis to replace those delicate Omega 3 fats.

Visit the Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives’ Facebook page where we often post short tips on whole food balanced nutrition to improve the nutritional health of all dogs and cats.


Steve Brown, Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet

Hilary Watson, Complete and Balanced:101 Healthy Homemade Meals for Cats

Beth Taylor and Karen Shaw Becker Dr. Becker’s Real Food for Healthy Dogs and Cats

Written by Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives



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COVID-19: Additional measures we are taking

Dear Clients,

Due to the close contact that our work requires, we have taken additional measures to protect you and our team while providing care for your furry family members.

The following changes are effective as of Monday, March 23, 2020:

1. We are currently operating a "closed waiting room" policy to protect our clients and staff. When you arrive, please remain in your vehicle and use your cell phone to call us at 902.461.0951. We will take a history of your pet over the phone, and bring your pet into the clinic for an examination with the veterinarian. Once the examination is finished, we will call to discuss our recommended treatment plan over the phone and then return to your vehicle with your pet. Please ensure your pet has a properly fitted collar or is in a secure carrier. Please remove any additional clothing or blankets prior to our staff handling our patients to minimize risk to our team.

2. We are still OPEN but are now working in two shifts with reduced hours, reduced staff numbers and a need to close for extensive cleaning between shifts. Tuesday to Friday 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

3. If you are ordering food or medications, please allow 2-4 business days as our suppliers are dealing with increased demand and are trying to fill orders as quickly as possible. We will advise you as soon as your order arrives. Please call us when you arrive to pick up your order, but do not enter the hospital. Our staff will bring your order to your car and take payment over the phone. You can also use our online store and have your food delivered directly to your home. To sign up for the online store, visit our website.

4. For the time being, we are not accepting cash as payment. Credit cards and debit card payments are still available.

Online consultations are now available! If you wish to connect with a veterinarian via message, phone or video, visit our website and follow the "Online Consultation" link.

Following the recommendations of our government and medical experts, we are doing our best to practice social distancing within the constraints of our roles. As such, we have taken measures to avoid both contracting and facilitating the spread of this virus. You may see our team members wearing additional protective gear when interacting with our clients and patients.

Thank you for helping us be diligent for everyone's safety. As we have heard from all levels of government, the situation is fluid and any updates will be provided as changes occur.

- Your dedicated team at Full Circle Veterinary Alternatives Inc.