It's been a long time since I last ventured onto Dooyoo, and sadly there have been some changes since my last review. After a brave fight, Benson our big beautiful Bernese lost his battle with cancer back in May leaving us totally and utterly devastated. It goes without saying that our world crumbled around us but probably worst affected was Grace, his loyal sidekick who had never known life without her big brother.
After his loss, our nutty loopy little girl turned into a virtual recluse - she didn't want to know her toys and when heading out for a walk we couldn't get further than the end of our driveway without her digging her heels in and refusing to move. She is usually such a people dog - loves everyone she meets, but she wouldn't allow anyone to make a fuss of her apart from us, and perhaps most worryingly, the dog who is usually a canine dustbin refused her food.
In the initial weeks after we lost Benson, getting her to eat anything was a struggle - she could barely muster a passing interest in all her usual favourites such as hot roast chicken, scrambled eggs and tinned sardines, and anything remotely like dog food was completely out of the question. Looking back, I'm not quite sure how we managed to get her through those first few weeks, she was eating far less in a day than one of our cats would eat - anything she did eat was only after sitting on the floor with her for hours hand feeding her tiny morsels, and there were plenty of days that went past without anything at all passing her lips.
As a big athletic Rottweiler, Grace is usually a good weight at 33-35kg but all the upset saw her drop down to just under 28kg and whilst I like my dogs slim and lean, she looked awful and there were times it very genuinely felt like we were loosing her too.
During the days when Grace physically wouldn't eat anything, my secret weapon was this Calopet Paste. It is something I had used an awful lot during my time as Veterinary Nurse and I had called on it in the past with Grace when she was a gangly youngster struggling to keep weight on as she grew, I had always seen good results with it. It had also been invaluable to us in Benson's final weeks, ensuring he received enough nutrients when his appetite was intermittent and he was only eating treat foods.
Calopet is essentially a high calorie nutritional supplement paste which is packed full of essential vitamins and minerals and is aimed at any cat or dog who may need a bit of extra support - whether they're convalescing, very old or very young, have a poor appetite or generally just need a helping hand maintaining a healthy weight. Although labelled and referred to as a 'paste' the texture of Calopet is actually much more similar to a thick sauce, mid-brown in colour and with very little noticeable odour, making it easy to hide or distinguish in other foodstuffs in required.
The paste can be administered directly via mouth, mixed into food or water and has a sweet taste making it quite palatable for animals who do not have a lot of interest in other foods - I used to get it into Grace any way I could - sometime she'd be happy to lick it off a spoon or my fingers, but on her worse days when she wouldn't take it readily, the soft consistency made it easy to just smear inside her lip for her to lick.
It comes with a suggested daily allowance of one teaspoon per 3-5kg of bodyweight for cats and one tablespoon for every 10kg in dogs, but it's the type of product that can easily be tailored to individual needs and there is nothing in it that can harm if the recommended dosage is exceeded - when Grace was refusing all food she would quite often have up to six spoonfuls of it a day but on the better days when she could be tempted by something, I'd drop the dosage back down to just 2 or 3 spoonfuls, depending on what I could get her to eat.
Calopet is readily available online and can be purchase from veterinary surgeries too. It comes in 120g tubes and cheapest retail price I've found is £8.18 from VetUK.
It consists largely of a mixture of water, glucose, cereals and oils - so ingredients wise, it's not the best but it really does work wonders - and I think the proof of that is in how it managed to get a pull a Rottie through days of no food, surviving at times on just a few teaspoons of this stuff. It was hugely comforting to know that Grace was at least getting something inside of her during her very worst days, and I have no doubt in my mind that it saved her from getting very ill. With a fat content of 35%, it gave her some energy and much needed calories and of course, a good supply of vitamins and minerals to help keep her body going in-spite of the insufficient food intake.
My only gripe is with the tube size! 120g really doesn't stretch far, it equates to about ten tablespoons worth, and considering the amount Grace was having, a tube barely lasted us two days - it clearly wasn't designed with supporting a fully grown Rottweiler in mind! However, that's about the only thing I can find any fault with, the product itself is flawless.
It's now been five months since we lost Benson, and although I don't think Grace will ever be quite the same dog again, she's started to emerge from her sadness and we're seeing more and more of her old self filtering back in each day, and thankfully, her appetite has since returned. Not quite as strong as it once was - but there none the less, and getting her to eat is no longer the constant struggle that it had been. Most days she's quite happy to polish off a good serving of food, and she's now regained five of the seven kilos that she had lost, so she's well on her road to getting back on form. We're not quite ready to get rid of the Calopet just yet though - a tablespoon with a drop of goats milk before bed will remain in our routine for a good while yet!
An excellent quality, indispensable product - it doesn't really bare thinking about what we would have done without it.
* BACKGROUND INFO - WHY DID I BUY? *
I share my home with a very elderly feline who unfortunately has a variety of health complaints to endure during these, her twilight years. For the past two years or so, she has been suffering from Renal Failure, which is surprisingly common in cats, particularly elderly ones. This horrible illness sees my poor girl having a whole host of unpleasant symptoms to deal with, some of which are more minor, for example, an increased thirst, but others are extremely unpleasant. Alas, her appetite will often dwindle, a problem which occurs as a result of nausea - a common symptom of Renal Failure. In addition, I feel that her old age and general decline in health will often see her reluctant to eat, and for these reasons I was starting to grow rather anxious about her nutritional needs being met.
I had read on a pet-related forum about the use of "Calo-Pet" paste, but only in the care of certain breeds of dog. After a little research however, I learned that it could, indeed, be used for felines as long as the correct dosage was administered. I promptly ordered some of the paste for my old girl, and this review outlines my experiences of using the "Vetoquinol Calo-Pet Paste."
Before I go any further with this review, I would stress that I would never give any sort of supplement or medication to my beloved cat without first seeking the advice of my Vet. I did this upon receipt of my tube of Calo-Pet, and she was happy to reassure me about its suitability for my own cat's needs.
* THE PRODUCT - WHAT IS IT? *
The packaging for the product is not its most redeeming feature, but to be fair it serves its purpose well enough. Comprising of a sturdy, foil-lined tube, there is a screw-off cap on the top, made of robust white plastic. This is easy to remove and replace, and even though I suffer with mobility issues, I have been able to use the product and its packaging easily.
The tube comes boxed and supplied with an information leaflet. The tube is 120g in size and this costs around £9 (including postage) from www.amazon.co.uk. I believe that the last two tubes I have purchased have each lasted around two to three months, so perhaps that will give you an idea of how the product performs in terms of being an economical purchase.
The Calo-Pet substance is described as a 'Paste' but in all honesty I think it looks like a sauce! If you imagine your average brown sauce or barbeque-flavoured sauce type of product, the Calo-Pet looks rather similar, with its brown, glossy appearance, although it's probably a bit runnier than such foodstuffs as sauces. There's nothing particularly off-putting about the appearance of the product, and nor is there a particularly strong smell evident during its use, unless I specifically sniff at the paste, when I am then able to detect a sort of faint 'meaty' smell. Not particularly appealing, I must admit.
The idea behind the Calo-Pet is to supply dogs and cats with nutritional supplements. Its content is "High Calorie" which made it an ideal choice for my own cat, given her reluctance to eat at times, in addition to her reduced intake of food when she is feeling under the weather. The Paste contains oils and fats, cereals, sugar, vitamins and trace elements. I won't list all of the Vitamins in this review as it's a rather extensive list! It also contains "omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, taurine, minerals and vitamins for cats and dogs."
The Paste can also be used for pets who are convalescing following surgery or treatment, as they will often benefit from added vitamins and 'build up' products such as this whilst they are recuperating. The product can be offered to pets "After heavy exercise, work or racing; To help maintain performance", although I cannot comment on these factors too much as I purchased the product purely as a nutritional supplement for my cat.
The information leaflet provided with the tube advises: "Calo-Pet is a concentrated supply of energy in a pleasant tasting paste, completed with vital vitamins, minerals and taurine, a metabolite of the amino acid cystein, which is essential (vital) for the cat. Taurine deficiency in cats leads to a degenerative lesion of the retina, which manifests itself in a reduced visual acuity and mydriase and later on leads to blindness."
I was conscious about the inclusion of Taurine in certain foodstuffs I had been purchasing for my cat, given their known benefits to feline health, and so I was pleased that the Calo-Pet has this beneficial ingredient contained within its formulation, feeling reassured by this addition. When I first purchased the paste, however, I was slightly sceptical about whether my girl would be happy to take it... especially as her appetite is so poor at times.
* THE VERDICT *
I am happy to report that my beloved girl is surprisingly happy to take the Calo-Pet paste for the most part, although I will admit that she will ignore it and refuse it if it is offered too frequently, in typical temperamental feline behaviour..!
The correct dosage is to be worked out by the animal's weight, which is normal practice with veterinary medicines of course. For dogs, 1 tablespoon (15ml) of the paste should be offered per 10kg body weight. For cats, 1 teaspoon (5ml) of paste should be offered per 3-5kg body weight. In all cases, the Calo-Pet can be administered once per day.
For my own girl, I tend to reduce the dose slightly as her weight is on the low side these days, due to the aforementioned health problems she has to cope with. She's a small girl anyway, and always has been, with her weight presently hovering under the 3kg mark. I tend to think, therefore, that a full teaspoon of paste is slightly too much for my own girl's needs, so tend to give her slightly less than this.
In addition, it's fair to say she will become bored of the paste quite quickly, so I doubt very much she would consume a full teaspoon of the mixture anyway! You can administer the Calo-Pet paste in a variety of ways, which gives it a versatile feel and of course this makes it suitable for a whole host of different pets and their respective eating habits. For my girl, she tends to happily lap a 'blob' of the Calo-Pet from either the tip of my outstretched finger, or from a small saucer. She will devour this in just a few laps and will often look eagerly for a second helping or 'blob' which she will usually consume with the same appreciation. I estimate these two servings to amount to approximately 3ml in volume. Sometimes, she will lap a third and final blob of the paste, but more often than not she has become bored - presumably of it's taste or flavour - and will usually refuse the third offering altogether. I can only deduce from these results that perhaps the flavour of the paste becomes tiresome after the first few tastes.
I find too that my cat really only appreciates - and happily consumes - the Calo-Pet paste if it is offered on alternate days. At first, I was eagerly trying to feed her from the tube every morning, but my girl just refused the paste altogether, even licking around it when I placed it in amongst some other foodstuffs in an unsuccessful bid to outwit her. If offered more sparingly, however, my girl will usually take at least the first 'blob' offered to her, although the second and third offerings are met with less enthusiasm as I outlined previously. I therefore find that offering the paste to my girl every second day is really the best way to prevent her becoming bored and ignoring the product altogether. Obviously this result will vary, and a little trial and error is probably needed to establish a regular feeding pattern and finding what works with your own pet.
Whilst I am on the subject of feeding, it is worth mentioning, I think, a little more about how the Calo-Pet can be administered in a variety of ways. In my eagerness to have my girl consume the precious nutrients in the paste at first, we went through a spell of offering it to her in varying methods. We found the one that worked the best for us was to simply squeeze the paste onto an outstretched fingertip and have her lap the paste this way - less than glamorous, I will admit, but as long as my girl gets those precious nutrients, I'm largely unconcerned about much else.
We've added the paste to a small spoonful of food, although we didn't have too much success with this, and really only found my girl was willing to take the paste this way if it was added to a foodstuff with a rich, gravy-type sauce. Such foodstuffs can be harsh on her delicate stomach, so they are rarely offered to her, and I felt this method was therefore rather more bother than it was worth.
Additionally, the paste can be administered straight into the animal's mouth, (once correctly measured, of course) and certainly a similar product was used to give elderly and convalescing dogs a bit of a 'boost' when they were recovering from injury or illness during my work in a Veterinary Care background some years ago. This practice is usually MUCH easier to cope with when the sick or elderly patient is a Canine friend, in my experience at least, with cats often being highly agitated, even verging towards the aggressive when medications are administered orally. Again, this will depend on the patient, so a little trial and error is probably needed in the first stages.
I believe too, from reading about the product on a pets forum, that the paste can be used to administer tablet medications to your dog or cat. By crushing said tablets into a powder, and combining the powder into a spoonful of the Calo-Pet paste, you could perhaps find this an easier method to give your dog or cat its prescribed medications. My own cat has several medications to take each day, and we already have a tried-and-tested routine to ensure she gets all of these, so I haven't felt it necessary to use the Calo-Pet in this way. It may prove useful for other pet owners to know about the Calo-Pet's versatility in this regard, however, and I do think it is worth mentioning for those times where our animal companions are rather reluctant to take their tablets and medications.
* FINAL WORD *
By giving my cat the Calo-Pet paste, I feel much more reassured than I did previously. I can't say that I have noticed a marked improvement in her overall health, but as she has progressive renal failure and is approaching her twentieth year, I hadn't expected to. What I HAVE noticed, however, is an ever-so-slight 'spring' in her step, together with a slight gloss to her beautiful tortoiseshell coat that was previously rather dull. Whether these small improvements are coincidence or not is difficult to tell of course, but I certainly cannot deny the reassurance that I feel from the repeated purchase of this product.
It's high nutritional values are a crucial addition to my cat's regular food intake, as her appetite is often so poor and will see her eat very little in the course of a day. I am somewhat reassured, therefore, that the Calo-Pet paste is doing something to offer her a little more nutritional benefit than was experienced previously. Similarly, the inclusion of Taurine has reassured me that her declining eyesight will benefit from this helpful addition, with any worsening of her eyesight hopefully being 'curbed' or slowed somewhat.
There have been no ill-effects witnessed from my cat's consumption of this product; it has caused no irritation to her sensitive stomach and digestive system, with the opposite seemingly to be true, if her solid 'deposits' witnessed in her Litter Tray are anything to go by! I won't go into too much detail, but it's safe to say that things in that department are looking rather more healthier than they previously did..!
For all of the reasons outlined in this review, I am happy to recommend the Calo-Pet Paste as a nutritional supplement for elderly dogs or cats, or indeed those who are convalescing following surgery or illness. I will continue to purchase it for my own cat, based on the reassurances obtained by its use, and the fact that my beloved feline is usually happy to take the paste when offered.
As @ March 2013, you can purchase the 120g tube of Calo-Pet paste from www.amazon.co.uk, where it will cost you around the £7 mark, plus postage costs.
As a cat owner I always have several of the high calorie pastes in the cupboard. I tend to give my lad a bit every day now he's older and regularly hide crushed medication in them too so it's vital to me that he likes them which is why I have so many different ones, he doesn't get bored of them if they are rotated. Calo-Pet is one I bought on a whim when I happened to be looking for a new one and it's served us well.
Calo-Pet is for dogs and cats and contains lots of vitamins, oils and fats, cerals and sugar as most of them do. It also contains taurine which is essential for cats. The tube contains 120g of paste and I always purchase ours from www.vetuk.co.uk for £6.74 because I trust them to deliver it promptly. The box is mostly white with a blue and red logo and there really isn't alot of information except the basic ingredients and dosing. Doses for dogs are 1 tablespoon per 10kg of bodyweight per day and for cats 1 teaspoon per 3-5kg of bodyweight per day. That's as a supplement so if your dog or cat won't eat at all those figures can be doubled or tripled to make sure you get some nutrients into them.
These types of paste are very good for dogs and cats who are recovering from illness or surgery, have had pups or kittens and are seniors. Anyone who has dogs or cats will know how worrying it is if they won't eat and animals who won't eat do need to see a vet to rule out infections, tooth problems etc but sometimes it's age related or unexplained loss of appetite which is where this also comes into play. Personally I've used this when my lad has been ill and on medication but won't eat much to get some nutrients and calories into him and help him fight the infection and as a daily top up since he reached about 15.
Calo-Pet is actually one of my favourite high calorie pastes mainly because of the consistency. If you intend to hide various pills and potions in a paste you want one that isn't going to change too much when mickey finned. This paste has a runnier consistency than all the other ones I've tried and when crushed pills are added it maintains the same consistency, all the other pastes we've used have a tendency to get very stodgy and chewy almost like thick caramel or toffee when powder is added to them and that's not ideal for cats in particular to eat. My boy dislikes when his pastes get chewy so this one is brilliant because it doesn't. The paste is a medium brown colour and smells of malt, much the same as all the pastes I've tried. Sticking to a food theme where the others are all like caramel and if even a small amount of powder is added get chewy like toffee the Calo-Pet has a similar consistency to cream which can take alot more powder before it alters in texture. I sometimes hide several pills crushed up together (if you do this please check with your vet they can all be given at the same time before doing it!) in the Calo-Pet and can get away with alot of powder which makes it excellent for that purpose. Not getting stodgy also means every last bit is consumed and no bits are going to fly off when licked and end up in their bed/their fur/your carpet etc.
If my lad is under the weather and doesn't eat alot I like to top up his calories with this paste and will happily double the dose, if he's refusing all food tripling the dose is necessary and often kick starts his system into wanting food. Mostly though I use it daily to give him extra vitamins (if giving other vitamins check the full ingredients as fat soluble vitamins can be toxic in too high doses) and to make some of his pills tasty treats he doesn't really know he's having.
Overall me and my boy both love this paste and I prefer it over the others because of the amount of powder we can add, my lad goes through phases of liking different ones and currently this one is the favourite which makes us both happy. It's tasty, cheap and a must for every cat and dog owner's first aid box. A full 5 stars from me and my lad.