We all love our pets and want to give them the best, especially when it comes to food. In 2017, Americans spent $30 billion dollars on pet food alone!

Much of the information that pet owners are receiving about choosing their pets food comes from TV and online commercials designed by advertising executives, not nutritionists. As a result, there have been increased sales of diets that are trendy and expensive but may not be the best for your pet’s health. One prominent example is the Grain-Free trend.

Recently, a possible association between dogs being fed “B.E.G” diets (Boutique, Exotic, Grain-free) and a form of heart disease called Dilated Cardiomyopathy is being considered. While more research is definitely needed to determine a possible correlation, in general, these diets are not necessary nor are they recommended.

Below are links to important articles from Tufts University’s Veterinary Nutritionists and the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) about grain-free diets. Ultimately, the most important thing to remember is that your best resource for what to feed your pet is your veterinarian!


Grain Free Cat Diets

Grain Free and Boutique Diets

Grain Free Diet

Grain Free Marketing

JAVMA Grain Free

JAVMA Grain Free Update


Gilbert: Our Official GVH Mascot

Gilbert: Our Official GVH Mascot

Meet Gilbert, the official mascot of Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital.  Gilbert joined the GVH team in Fall of 2014. He was a little “ruff” around the edges at first.  So we sent him to GVH Business Manager, Diane’s house for a week long doggy boot camp. Boot camp was a challenge that involved some obedience training but with a little persistence and lots of treats, he graduated with honors.


After graduation, GVH Practice Manager, Tiffany promoted Gilbert to official mascot of Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital.  Gilbert knew this would be a super job for him – so he cut back on treats, exercised daily, and studied hard for his new position.  He has been doing awesome ever since.

You can meet Gilbert at one of our many community events; like the annual Pottstown Pet Fair – Bring Fido, Barktoberfest 2015, and our annual Halloween Costume Contest. He loves to give high fives.  He also enjoys having his picture taken with all of his friends. So if you see Gilbert don’t be shy, come on over and say “Hi!!”  You never know when he will make an appearance!!

Here’s a few of his Stats:

  • Height: 5’7”
  • Weight: More than yesterday
  • Born: 9/22/2014
  • Residence: Lives at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital
  • Favorite Food:  Science Diet T/D treats
  • Secret Wish:  To make new friends every day

After getting this first year under his collar, our mascot really enjoys helping the team at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital celebrate the bond between you and your pets.

Stay tuned for a list of Gilbert’s future appearances…


Switch Puppy Food to Adult Food

Switch Puppy Food to Adult Food

When you switch puppy food to adult food, consider the age of your pet. Usually, the switch from puppy food to adult food occurs between the ages of 10-12 months for the majority of dog breeds (small, medium, and large). We want to make sure that as puppies, they are given the appropriate amount of calories in their food to grow and develop correctly. Usually around the 10-12 month age range, most breeds have reached their adult size and are able to decrease their calorie and protein intake to an adult level, since they have developed almost fully. The puppy food you have been feeding them up until this point has given their body energy, special proteins, increased levels of calcium, and protein to develop vital organs and tissues. Now that the body is developed, we can safely switch over to an adult diet.  

How to switch your puppy to adult food?

In order to transition your puppy, gradually switch from puppy food to adult food. This process needs to be slow so that there is no shock to the dog’s gastrointestinal (GI) system. The tables are an excellent guide to switch from puppy to adult food. Also, keep in mind that this table can be used to switch any pet’s food safely over time; i.e., if they become picky or finicky eaters, or are placed on a specialty diet for medical reasons.

Puppy Switch to Adult food Royal Canin Chart

Table Provided by Royal CaninPuppy Food Schedule

Diagram Provided by Hill’s Science Diet

What food do you transition your puppy to?

Your puppy will no longer need certain amounts of specific nutrients involved in growing or developing tissues as they transition into the adulthood.  Keep in mind the breed size of your puppy (small/large). At Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital, we recommend two major dog food brands: Hill’s Science DietⓇ and Royal CaninⓇ. Each brand of dog food offers specific diets for the age, breed, and medical condition of your dog. Hill’s Science DietⓇ offers adult dog foods for small/toy breeds and large breeds. Royal CaninⓇ also offers adult dog foods specifically for large and small breed dogs. Discussing the preference of food with our staff will better help you target a specific food for your dog: taste, lifestyle, and breed of dog. Both of their websites are user-friendly and easy to navigate if you are researching adult foods. If choosing a food gets overwhelming, our staff is educated and available to help you pick the ideal diet for your growing puppy at any time.

Common Feeding Mistakes:

  • The most common feeding mistake we have seen has been giving table scraps or extra treats to our “babies” when they give us that cute, little, sad-puppy face. However, there are many human foods that can be toxic to dogs, some can event cause major organ failure or damage to their bodies. Try to avoid the occasional people-food treats, and in turn provide them with healthy treats recommended by your veterinarian.
  • The puppy to adult food transitioning process can be completed too fast, which shocks the dog’s digestive system, causing severe vomiting and diarrhea. This can be avoided by following the tables seen above and transitioning the food over time.
  • Feeding your puppy the adult food too young, or continuing to feed your adult dog puppy food. This can alter their growing process as puppies, or give them too many calories/nutrients that they do not need as an adult, creating an overweight adult dog.

This process can seem confusing and intimidating at first, but with the help of the sources provided and consulting your veterinarian, it can be an easier, well-thought-out process.

Molly Eating Alyssa dog

Here is my dog Molly eating her dinner! Both of my dogs – Molly (a 4 year old mutt) and Moses (a 12 year old Golden Retriever) – eat Healthy Advantage Adult Dog dry food twice a day, from Hill’s Science Diet Ⓡ. They are different breeds and ages, but it works well for our family routine and contributes to their health every day!





Alyssa, CVT, GVH Team Leader

Weight Loss Success!!

Weight Loss Success!!

Rusty in June 2014 at 109 pounds.

Rusty today at 89 pounds.


We had the opportunity to ask one of our clients, Brad Derstine, to share his dog, Rusty’s, weight loss success!! Here are Brad’s answers to questions about his and Rusty’s journey toward weight loss success and a healthier life.


Q:  What’s Rusty’s story…..when did you adopt him?

A:  Rusty is a rescue that I adopted in the Spring of 2009.


Q: How old is Rusty?

A: 10 years old.


Q:  How did you find out Rusty was overweight? How did it feel to hear this?

A:  During Rusty’s wellness exam with Dr. Smith, I was educated on the importance of keeping Rusty in a healthy weight range.  I was then informed that Rusty was very overweight and needed to come down. I was disappointed, but I knew he was getting a little “husky”. 🙂


Q:  Prior to being told this, did you think Rusty was over weight? 

A: I knew he had a few extra pounds but I wasn’t sure what a proper weight was for him.  I was feeding him varying types of dog foods, whatever was cheapest at the time, and then adding in food scraps and leftovers from my meals. I knew he was getting unhealthy, but he looked so happy eating it, he used his charm to get extra food from me whenever he wanted it.  I had a hard time saying no to him.


Q:  What was the feeding plan established to help support Rusty’s weight loss? 

A:  During our first appointment with Dr Smith, I was given a welcome bag and inside was a leash, some pamphlets, and two measuring cups. Dr Smith explained what a proper diet should look like, (controlled calorie intake, limited table scraps and treats) after finding a steady food the dogs liked, I stuck with it.  I began measuring their meals instead of just filling the food bowls.  Rusty now only eats a controlled amount of food once a day, with limited treats and table scraps.  His diet consist of 2 cups of dry food, and half a can of soft food mixed in.  Rusty’s brother Lobo is a picky eater and likes the canned food.  What I give one dog I must give the other so they both get some canned dog food.   When I first started Rusty on his diet, we were more aggressively trying to cut down his weight, so he received less dry food.  We incorporated more walks into our routine to help get him down to a healthy weight.  We now maintain Rusty’s weight by continuing his diet and exercise plan.


Q:  Was it difficult to stick to the new feeding plan? 

A:  I had to retrain myself, removing table scraps from his diet was difficult for both of us to get used to.  I allowed the dogs to manipulate me, giving into sad eyes while I was eating, for me this was the hardest part. My other big mistake was blindly filling the food bowls and not watching what the dogs were eating. The smaller dog would eat till he was full then walk away, then Rusty would finish his food. By measuring both dog’s food and ensuring neither is eating more than they are given, I’ve been able to get Rusty’s weight back under control. He eats only his food, and the occasional pizza crusts.


Q: Did you struggle with feeling guilty about not giving in to treats or excess food? 

A:  At first it was difficult for me to stick to the plan and change our routine.  After a couple of recheck visits with Dr. Smith, positive feedback and results on the scale it became much easier.  I knew I was ultimately doing what was best for my dogs.


Q:  When did you start noticing a difference? 

A:  I didn’t notice much of a difference until one recheck when Rusty got on the scale and he had dropped 6 to 7 pounds. It has been a few months now and it is so rewarding to see his progress.  He still does not enjoy getting on the scale, but I really can’t blame him, neither do I!


Q:  What was Rusty’s original weight and what does he weigh now?

A:  Rusty weighed 109 pounds in June of 2014 and today weighs 89 pounds.


Q: What improvements have you noticed overall following the weight loss? 

A:  Rusty’s overall energy level is higher, he now enjoys going for walks, doesn’t pant as much and now likes being outside.  His walking durations have also gotten longer, so it is helping me too!


Q:  What advice would you have for pet parents struggling to maintain a pets’ weight? 

A:  It begins and ends with diet and exercise. My biggest regret was the excessive amount of people food I was giving them, and how much it was negatively impacting their health.  Find a quality diet that your pets enjoy, then stick to the routine/portion control.  When they seem hungry don’t give in to their sad eyes.  If you have multiple pets you may have to watch them eat for the first few months to ensure that they are only eating their own food.  Pick their food bowls up when they are finished or walk away from their food.  Exercise is the other key to success.  We were taking short walks, so they could both go to the bathroom but it was for necessity not for exercise.  I would advise to start with a longer walk each day that is for exercise and not just necessity.


Ever Leave Poop Behind?

Ever Leave Poop Behind?

Ever leave poop behind? 

“You can make a difference to our environment by being a responsible pet owner. Be prepared. Carry bags with you to pick up pet waste. It’s a good idea to carry a few extras with you in case you meet someone in need. Collect your pet’s poop in a bag and deposit it in a trash can. Do NOT leave bags on the side of trails—there isn’t anyone designated to pick them up! Routinely pick up your pet’s waste (or hire someone to do so) so you’re not contributing to decreased downstream water quality.”Keep It Clean Partnership

Check out the poster below for some great information about helping protect the environment.  You can also check out the American Chemistry Society website for more information. 


ProHeart 6

ProHeart 6

Is ProHeart 6 right for my dog?

Proheart-6.001Only your veterinarian can determine if your dog is a good candidate for ProHeart® 6 (moxidectin). Generally, ProHeart 6 is for healthy dogs 6 months and up.

There are many medications out there that treat and prevent various parasites in dogs, including pills, chewables and topically applied liquids. But remembering to give those products every month can be challenging, even for the most well-intentioned and caring dog owners. A missed or delayed dose could put your dog at risk for heartworm disease. That’s why ProHeart 6 may put your mind at ease. With one injection, you protect your dog continuously for the next 6 months.

Say No to Missed Doses

  • Continuous protection … Non-stop protection, so you know your dog is safe from heartworm disease for 6 months after just one dose administered at Gilbertsville Veterinary Hospital
  • No more monthly doses to remember … no more giving pills, chewables or applying monthly topical medication for heartworm prevention.
  • Peace of mind … know that your dog is protected especially in areas where infection is common.
  • Treats hookworms … Also provides treatment for hookworm infections (Ancylostoma caninum and Uncinaria stenocephala) at the time of administration

Product Safety

  • FDA Approved … Proven safe and effective in dogs.
  • Safe … for pregnant and lactating females, breeding males, and ivermectin-sensitive collies.

How does ProHeart 6 work?


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