Category Archives: Dog Food

BREAKING NEWS: Six Types of Pet Food Recalled

BREAKING NEWS: Hill’s Pet Nutrition of Kansas and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has announced a recall of certain packs of its cat food pouches, all of which have shown very high levels of iron.
Iron, while essential to the diets of felines, can be damaging to the digestive system if too much is consumed, resulting in diarrhea and vomiting.
The affected products have been widely distributed, and, while Hill’s says that affected products should be off of every store shelf by now, you should check to see if you have any of these products in your possession:

       WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

                                                     

NAME: Science Plan Feline Adult Light Ocean Fish 

SKU: 2109PA 

Expiration: 07/2017


NAME: Science Plan Feline Mature Ocean Fish 

SKU: 2110PA 

Expiration: 10/2017

NAME: Science Plan Feline Adult Light Favourite Selection Multipack 

SKU: 2119V 

Expiration: 04/2017 & 10/2017

NAME: Science Plan Feline Mature Adult Favourite Selection Multipack 
SKU: 2120V 

Expiration: 08-2017

NAME: Prescription Diet Feline c/d Stress Reduced Calorie Chicken 
SKU: 2742U 

Expiration: 09/2017

NAME: Science Plan Feline Young Adult Sterilised Cat Multipack 

SKU: 3766V 

Expiration: 06/2017 & 10/2017

WHY WAS IT RECALLED?

This recall was initiated after high amounts of iron were discovered in the products listed above. It is believed that the cause of the increase in iron was due to an ingredient supplier error.
As mentioned, intaking high levels of iron can result in digestive issues, as well as other serious health issues for your feline. The symptoms of felines having excess iron in the blood (according to PetMD) come in four different stages, depending on length of time since intake, and are listed below.
WHAT ARE THE SYMTOMS ?

Stage I (0-6 hours)
Vomiting

Diarrhea

Depression

Gastrointestinal hemorrhage

Abdominal Pain

Stage II (6-24 hours)
Apparent Recovery

Stage III (12-96 hours)
Vomiting

Diarrhea

Depression

Gastrointestinal hemorrhage

Abdominal Pain

Tremors

Shock

Stage IV (2-6 weeks)
Gastrointestinal obstruction from stricture formation

It’s imperative that, should you notice any of the symptoms listed above, that you consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?

If you have purchased any of these products, do not feed them to your cat. According to Pet Gazette, the FSA advised consumers, “If you have bought any of the listed products…please return it to where you bought it for a full refund under Hill’s 100 percent Satisfaction Guarantee.”
If you’re having trouble locating and identifying the SKU number and the Expiration Date, please check out this statement from Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
You can also contact Hill’s Pet Nutrition at [1-800-445-5777] to inquire about alternatives, a replacement, or a refund.
If your pet is suffering from digestive issues, please do consult your veterinarian.

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Reasons Rawhide is Dangerous For Your Dog To Chew

First, I must say I did not write this.  This is a blog written by  Rodney Habib. Here is his blog address:  www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com. This blog caught my attention because I have been guilty of giving rawhide, flat or bone shaped, to my dogs. This blog presents excellent information on why we, pet owners, need to stop feeding this to our dogs. There are also excellent advice from , Dr. Becker and Dogington Post. PLEASE ENJOY!

  
How can one of the most popular chew sticks on the planet be so dangerous for your pets, you ask?
I mean, most dogs chew on rawhide for hours on end, and not only does it keep them busy, but they seem to last forever.
Well if you understood what it took to make this toxic “raw” leather stick, you would quickly understand what the problem is.
Aside from the horror stories circulating all over social media these days, of pets needing emergency surgery after consuming rawhide, the majority of pet parents today, especially the newbies, believe that this chew is some sort of dried up meat stick.

Let me debunk that myth right away!



A rawhide stick is not the by-product of the beef industry nor is it made of dehydrated meat. Rather, rawhide is the by-product of the “Leather Industry”, so theoretically it is a leather chew.

Sounds awesome, right?
  
How It’s Made

“Producing rawhide begins with the splitting of an animal hide, usually from cattle. The top grain is generally tanned and made into leather products, while the inner portion, in its “raw” state, goes to the dogs.” TheBark.com
So, how does this leather, which is conveniently rolled up into pretty shapes, actually get made into those rawhide chews?
Follow along my friends and I will enlighten you on how this hide travels through a leathery process where it transforms from hide to a not-so beautiful, colorful, chew stick. Here is a paraphrased tutorial that was explained by the whole dog journal several years back:

STEP 1: To The Tannery

Normally, cattle hides are shipped from slaughterhouses to tanneries for processing. These hides are then treated with a chemical bath to help “preserve” the product during transport to help prevent spoilage.
(No one wants to purchase a black, spoiled rawhide stick!)
Once at the tannery: the hides are soaked and treated with either an ash-lye solution or a highly toxic recipe of sodium sulphide liming. This process will help strip the hair and fat that maybe attached to the hides themselves.

No, no one wants to see a hairy hide…)
Next on this glorious journey, these hides are then treated with chemicals that help “puff” the hide, making it easier to split into layers.
The outer layer of the hide is used for goods like car seats, clothing, shoes, purses, etc. But, it’s the inner layer that is needed to make the rawhide. (Oh and other things like gelatin, cosmetics, and glue as well!)

STEP 2: Cleansed In Chemicals

Now that we have the inner layer of the hide, it’s time to go to the post-tannery stage! Hides are washed and whitened using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and/or bleach; this will also help remove the smell of the rotten or putrid leather.
Bonus!
(Research also shows that other chemicals maybe used here to help the whitening process if the bleach isn’t strong enough.)

STEP 3: Make It Look Pretty

Now it’s time to make these whitened sheets of this “leathery by-product” look delicious! So, here is where the artistic painting process comes in.
“Basted, smoked, and decoratively tinted products might be any color (or odor) underneath the coating of (often artificial) dyes and flavors. They can even be painted with a coating of titanium oxide to make them appear white and pretty on the pet store shelves.” – whole-dog-journal.com
“…the Material Safety Data Sheet reveals a toxic confection containing the carcinogen FD&C Red 40, along with preservatives like sodium benzoate. But tracking the effects of chemical exposure is nearly impossible when it’s a matter of slow, low-dose poisoning.”– thebark.com
Ok, now that these hides have been painted, it’s time for the final process.


STEP 4: Getting It To Last Forever!

When tested: Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, Chromium salts, Formaldehyde and other toxic chemicals have been detected in raw hides.

So it’s safe to say that any sort of glues can be used as well!
Finally, it’s time to package and attach all the glorious marketing labels to the product.
Check out the fine print warning that’s attached with some of these rawhides:

[box type=”alert”]“Choking or blockages. If your dog swallows large pieces of rawhide, the rawhide can get stuck in the esophagus or other parts of the digestive tract. Sometimes, abdominal surgery is needed to remove them from the stomach or intestines. If it isn’t resolved, a blockage can lead to death.”[/box]

(Oh, how lovely…)
And there it is! It’s now ready to be shipped to store shelves where it can be purchased for our loving animal companions.

How do proactive veterinarians feel about these chews?

    Here is world-renowned veterinarian Doctor Karen Becker’s take on the matter:

“The name ‘rawhide’ is technically incorrect. A more accurate name would be processed-hide, because the skin isn’t raw at all. But the term “rawhide” has stuck.
Rawhide chews start out hard, but as your dog works the chew it becomes softer, and eventually he can unknot the knots on each end and the chew takes on the consistency of a slimy piece of taffy or bubble gum. And by that time your dog cannot stop working it — it becomes almost addictive.
At this point, there’s no longer any dental benefit to the chew because it has turned soft and gooey, and, in fact, it has become a choking and intestinal obstruction hazard.”

Ready for the jaw dropper?

An investigation by Humane Society International stated in their report, “In a particularly grisly twist, the skins of brutally slaughtered dogs in Thailand are mixed with other bits of skin to produce rawhide chew toys for pet dogs. Manufacturers told investigators that these chew toys are regularly exported to and sold in U.S. stores.” – dogingtonpost.com

Who Ate The Cat Food, The Dog Or The Cat?

Happy New Year Everyone!  Anyone else out there has had panic attacks when they see their dog in the cat dish or the cat in the dog food ? I know I’m not the only who has worried if they have messed with their pets’ diet mistakenly. I am a worry wart when it comes to my kiddies. So I was excited when I read this article by Dr. Becker and it brought some relief. I wanted to share these words with you. Dr. Becker is a veterinarian with a wealth of knowledge and writes her own articles. so please enjoy!

 

Got Cats and Dogs? Do This in a Pinch, But Don’t Make a Habit of It
By Dr. Becker



Many pet parents – especially those with both a canine and feline in the family – wonder if there’s really a difference between dog and cat food. This question often comes up when a pet owner runs out of one type of food and wonders if there’s any harm in feeding Fido a little of Fluffy’s food, or vice versa.
Another time the question arises is when a particularly finicky dog turns up his nose at his own meal, but dives head first into the cat’s food bowl.

The answer? Generally speaking, a healthy dog or cat will not suffer one iota from eating a meal intended for the other species. If healthy Fido gobbles up a bowl of cat food while your back is turned, or you need to offer Fluffy some of Fido’s dog food in a pinch, there’s no need for concern.

Obligate Carnivore (Cat) versus Scavenging Carnivore (Dog)

The reason dog food differs from cat food is because each species requires its own nutrient profile for optimal health. Felines and canines are both carnivores (meat eaters), but with a very important distinction. Cats are obligate carnivores, whereas dogs are scavenging carnivores.

The definition of an obligate carnivore:



An obligate carnivore (or true carnivore) is an animal that must eat meat in order to thrive (Syufy 2008). They may eat other foods, such as fruits, honey, grains, and so forth, but meat must be included in their diet.

True carnivores lack the physiology required for the efficient digestion of vegetable matter, and, in fact, some carnivorous mammals eat vegetation specifically as an emetic.

The domestic cat is a prime example of an obligate carnivore, as are all of the other felids (Pierson 2008).1
Dogs are scavenging, or facultative carnivores, which in general terms means they are primarily meat-eaters, but can survive on plant material alone if necessary. The key word here is “survive.” To survive is not to thrive. To thrive is to grow vigorously. To survive means simply to stay alive.

One of the arguments for feeding dogs grain or plant-based or even vegetarian diets seems to be the distinction between obligate and scavenging carnivores. It’s assumed, since dogs aren’t strict carnivores like cats are, they can easily transition to a meatless diet. This is a dangerous misconception.

In fact, I often see dogs referred to as omnivores rather than carnivores. I strongly disagree with this assumption. Just because dogs fed plant-based diets are able to stay alive doesn’t make them omnivores. Taxonomically, dogs are in the Order Carnivora and the family Canidae along with other carnivorous mammals.

Cats Have a Unique Requirement for Animal Protein



Cats must eat animal meat and organs to meet their nutritional needs, and plant-based proteins (grains and vegetables) simply aren’t a good substitute. Cats lack the specific enzymes necessary to use plant proteins as efficiently as animal proteins.

The proteins derived from animal tissue contain a complete amino acid profile. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Plant-based proteins don’t contain all the amino acids critical for the health of an obligate carnivore.

Humans, who are omnivores, have the physiological ability to turn plant proteins into the missing pieces needed for a complete amino acid profile. To a very limited extent dogs can do this, but a cat’s body isn’t equipped for it whatsoever.

Cats also need much more protein in their diet than other animals. Kittens require 1.5 times more protein than puppies. Adult cats need 2 to 3 times the amount adult dogs require.

One of the reasons for this is because while other mammal species use most of the protein they consume for growth and body maintenance, cats use protein for those purposes and also as a source of energy.

When other species of animals are fed a low-protein diet, their bodies make adjustments to conserve amino acids to manage the deficit. But a cat’s body must continue to use protein even when there’s not enough in the diet, which is why protein malnutrition happens quickly in sick or injured cats, and cats suffering from anorexia.

In addition to their increased need for protein, cats also have a higher requirement for certain specific amino acids found naturally in animal tissue.

One of the amino acids missing in plants is taurine, which is found in animal muscle meat, in particular the heart and liver. Taurine deficiency causes serious health problems in cats, including cardiovascular disease and blindness. Dogs can make their own taurine.

Cats Also Have a Unique Dietary Requirement for Certain Vitamins



Cats evolved hunting a different set of prey species than dogs did, so their dietary requirements are different than dogs. Cats have a special requirement for vitamin A, which is available naturally only in animal tissue. They lack the intestinal enzymes necessary to convert B-carotene in plants to the active form of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for maintenance of vision, growth of bone and muscle, reproduction, and the health of epithelial tissues.

Cats also require 5 times more dietary thiamine (vitamin B1) than dogs do. A thiamine deficiency can result in a poor quality coat, loss of appetite, hunched posture, neurologic problems including seizures, and even death. Unfortunately, thiamine isn’t stable in commercial pet foods and levels drop significantly the longer the food is stored, so many cats may be deficient unless they are eating very fresh food.

Vitamin D is also essential in the diets of all mammals. Cats (and dogs) must consume vitamin D in their diet (they can’t synthesize it through their skin). The liver and fatty tissue of prey animals is rich in vitamin D.
Arachidonic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid that dogs can make themselves, but cats must get from their diet.

Cats Also Need a Moisture-Dense Diet
Another distinctive biological feature of cats is their need to get most of their water intake from the food they eat.

Domestic kitties — who evolved from desert-dwelling ancestors, after all — are not as responsive as other animals to sensations of thirst or dehydration. Unlike dogs who drink frequently from their water bowls, when fed a diet devoid of moisture (e.g., kibble), cats aren’t driven to search for another source of water to make up the difference between what their bodies require and what their diet provides.
This can result in chronic mild dehydration, a condition that will ultimately result in disease, especially of the feline lower urinary tract and kidneys.
Species-Appropriate Diets Are the Best Option for Both Dogs and Cats
Obviously, cats can’t thrive on a diet designed for dogs. And while dogs may be able to survive on cat food, it’s certainly not an optimal diet for them.

Diets designed for kitties are significantly higher in calories, protein, and fat than dogs require. A steady diet of cat food fed to even a very healthy dog may ultimately result in an overweight pet who suffers bouts of diarrhea and vomiting, and is at increased risk for pancreatitis, which can be life-threatening.

So as I said earlier, in a pinch, a healthy dog can eat a meal of cat food, or a healthy cat can eat a meal of dog food.

A better option, of course, is to offer your dog or cat species-appropriate safe human food until you can home prepare or purchase more of his regular food.

Nutrisca Chicken and Chick Pea Dry Dog Food Recall

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Tuffy’s Pet Foods, a Minnesota-based pet food manufacturer, has announced a voluntary recall of limited lots of Nutrisca Chicken and Chick Pea Recipe Dry Dog Food due to potential contamination with Salmonella bacteria.
A routine sampling by the Ohio Department of Agriculture discovered the presence of Salmonella in one 4 lb. bag of the dog food. The manufacturer is issuing the recall action out of an abundance of caution, to safeguard customers, and is coordinating this voluntary recall with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The recalled products are specific to the 4 lb. bags of Nutrisca Chicken and Chick Pea Recipe Dry Dog Food. They can be identified by the first 5 digits of the affected Lot Codes, which can be found on the upper back of the bag, the Best By Dates on the upper back of the bag, and the UPC Code on the lower back of the bag. No other Nutrisca foods, treats, supplements, or other products are affected by this recall.

To determine whether your dog’s food is affected by this recall, look for this information on the package:

Nutrisca 4lb Chicken and Chick Pea Recipe Dry Dog Food

First five digits of Lot Codes: 4G29P, 4G31P, 4H01P, 4H04P, 4H05P, 4H06P

Best By Dates: Jul 28 16, Jul 30 16, Jul 31 16, Aug 03 16, Aug 04 16, Aug 05 16

UPC# 8 84244 12495 7

At the time of this article, no illnesses in animals or humans in relation to this product have been reported.

If you or your pet had contact with the recalled product, you are advised to watch for symptoms that may develop. Common symptoms associated with Salmonella poisoning include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, diarrhea, bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain. In some rare cases, Salmonella poisoning can result in more severe symptoms. Pets may also be infected without symptoms and may pass the infection to other pets or humans in the hosuehold. If you, your pet, or a family member is experiencing these symptoms, or if you suspect infection, you are urged to contact an appropriate medical professional.

Consumers who purchased the 4 lb. bags of the recalled dry dog food product should stop using it immediately and discard it in a secure trash container or return it to the place of purchase.

Those who wish to contact Nutrisca for information or to ask questions may do so at their toll free number, 1-888-559-8833.

Is My Dog Truly A Carnivorous Mammal?

I’ve been blogging a lot about dogs and eating habits. My three Shih tzus are truly the most challenging pets I’ve ever had when it comes to their diet.  I usually keep up to date about the brands of foods , prescription foods and homemade foods that are healthy for pets. If any of my pets died because of something I may have neglected, it would be a guilt I would never get over. I’ve always known some of my purposes in life belong to caring for animals. I want to always make sure I go above and beyond.

I cook for my dogs to give them variety of what they are eating.   I mean who wants to eat a hamburger everyday? Scratch that! Some people may love it. My dogs , however , like spice and variety in their life. I read and research a lot on the debate of whether dogs are true carnivores or not. I want to share the information I’ve learned to help you make better informed decisions about your dog’s diet.

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Carnivore, herbivore or omnivore? Well, since you’re this post, I assume you’re a human, therefore ,an omnivore. Now, you may prefer a rack of ribs over lets says just plain broccoli, but that doesn’t mean you’re only a carnivore. We human beings are omnivores and are well equipped to eat a wide variety of foods. But what about our dogs? Are they carnivores or omnivores? We already know they’re not herbivores, as there’s not a dog in existence who would turn down a nice piece of meat and only eat vegetables all the time. But there’s been a huge debate as to whether our dogs are true carnivores or omnivores. Let’s take a look at some of the facts to help us make the distinction.

In this post, we sourced some useful information from Dog Food Advisor that provides you with the answer to the question “are dogs true carnivores?”

Are Dogs True Carnivores?

From DNA studies, we know dogs evolved directly from the timber wolf somewhere around 15,000 years ago. And, of course, it should come as no surprise. Wolves are clearly carnivores.
So, by their very genetic pedigree, dogs also demonstrate similar and noticeable carnivorous traits. Their teeth, their digestive systems and their behavior clearly confirm this fact. Yet dogs must also be recognized for their significant omnivorous ability. Their proven ability to digest carbohydrate-based foods has been known for many years.
After all, modern genetic research has proof that ten canine genes play key roles in starch digestion and fat metabolism. However, a dog still shows unmistakable evidence that its body is optimized for eating meat.

Dogs Don’t Grind — They Chop

For comparison, think about a typical herbivore. A dairy cow. Now, picture the way they “chew their cud”. Cows chew widely from side-to-side. And they have broad, flat back teeth. And flat teeth are ideal for grinding grains and plant material into finer particles.

True omnivores (like humans) share this same combination of boxy back teeth and sideways grinding motion common to herbivores. Think of your own mouth and how you chew.

Dogs, on the other hand, don’t have flat teeth. Like all carnivores, they have narrow pointy back teeth. Plus dogs can’t chew from side-to-side. Their jaws can only move in an up-and-down, chop-chop motion. It’s the perfect combination for cutting meat into smaller chunks.

No Salivary Amylase

Herbivores and omnivores have one powerful digestive weapon carnivores typically lack. Carnivores do not produce amylase in their salivary glands. Amylase is a specialized enzyme most herbivores and omnivores produce in their saliva. It helps begin the breakdown of starchy carbohydrates into simple sugars — before they enter the stomach.

Although dogs do produce amylase. the enzyme is added further down the digestive tract — in the small intestine. So, without salivary amylase, a dog’s carbohydrate digestion can be decidedly more difficult.

Digestive Anatomy Reveals the Truth

Since they consume fewer but larger meals, carnivores have bigger stomachs than their grazing, plant-eating counterparts. What’s more, meat-eating animals exhibit a higher concentration of stomach acid. This allows faster digestion of animal protein. And the stronger acid kills the disease-causing bacteria abundant in decaying meat.
What’s more, herbivores have an unusually long gastrointestinal tract — exceeding ten times the animal’s body length. Longer systems like this are needed for consuming a plant-based diet.

Today’s Confusing Dog Food Marketplace

Yet in spite of this natural carnivorous design, dogs have still managed to evolve over thousands of years — even surviving on the meat and non-meat scraps and leftovers of human existence. So, over time, dogs have proven to be fully capable of thriving on a variety of foods.  Are you confused? Let’s say 80% carnivore and 20% omnivore.

Today, the dog food marketplace has become a living, breathing witness to the animal’s adaptive ability — and is abounding with an astonishing array of product designs. Some favor meat. Some feature vegetables. And others are made almost entirely of cereal grains and beans.
Source: Dog Food Advisor

While experts are still weighing in on either side of the debate, I think we can all safely say that our dogs are either carnivores with omnivore capabilities or omnivores with strong carnivore leanings. Regardless of how you cut it, it’s a sure thing that our dogs have the telltale signs of being carnivores, but have some physical features that allow them to eat an omnivore-like diet.  Are you confused? Let’s say, 80% carnivore and 20% omnivore.

When we feed our shih tzus , we feed a mix of meat with cooked veggies. What should you feed your diet challenging pet? I suggest that you stick to the basics when it comes to feeding your dog. More than 80 percent of what your dog eats should be meat-based. Enough meat in your dog’s diet will ensure that he/she is getting plenty of protein and enough of the essential fatty acids. Are you questioning if your dog can eat some vegetables ? Of course they can! They can eat it along with fruit. If you have picky eaters in your bunch, I’m sure by now you know they won’t be inclined to consistently eat the veggies and fruits. Carnivore or Omnivore, be sure to research the safest foods, and consider what the right balance of nutrients are needed to ensure a great diet that lends itself to a great quality of life.

til Next Time….

Winter Boredom? Fun Exercises To Keep Your Dog Active & Fit During The Cold Season

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I posted the picture above to represent the winter season. In reality, I live in the South but this picture symbolizes how we deal with the cold season. There are many pet parents like myself that feel guilty when our active life with our pets decreases. Our pets get lazy, a little overweight and bored. Well, I want to help all of us out of our runt. No matter what’s going on in any of our lives, let’s make sure one of our priorities is keeping our pets happy through vested activities.
The winter season puts our dogs at risk for many illnesses. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates over half of all dogs in the United States are overweight or obese and have an increased risk of injury, disease and shortened life expectancy. Yes FiFi looks cute and cozy in their pet beds or your bed but believe me having some exercise with their favorite person will make them come alive. It will also prolong their health and lives. So what are these activities you say. I have 6 great activities you and your fur baby will enjoy.

Six Exercises Your Dog Will Love

1. Treadmills

Dog or human treadmills work well to exercise your dog. Start slowly with your dog on a leash and use high-value treats as motivation. After your dog is comfortable walking slowly, gradually increase the speed to a trot. Always stay with your dog to watch him closely. Never tether your dog to a treadmill or force him to stay on it. If your dog doesn’t seem to enjoy the treadmill, find another form of exercise.

2. Stair Climbing

If your dog is young, healthy and not prone to hip problems, throw a ball or toy up to the top of carpeted stairs for an aerobic game of fetch. Just be careful not to overdo exercising on the stairs. Stair climbing is also a quick way to develop your leg muscles quickly.

3. Train with Tricks

Try some new training techniques or reinforce any existing commands or training that need more work. Teach your dog some tricks. If your dog already knows the basic tricks, try teaching him something to help out around the house, such as picking up his toys and putting them in a basket. Most dogs like to learn something new and it’s a great way to bond with your dog.

4.Doggie Gyms

These gyms are popping up all over the country and if there’s one close to you, they offer various ways to exercise your dog. Some even have swimming pools and indoor dog parks.

5. Dog Walkers

If you really hate walking outside in the winter or don’t have enough time to exercise your dog, hire a recommended and reliable dog walker. Make sure they are from a formal company. And also make sure they are insured and bonded. Check out the services we offer : HWHD Services & Fees. This will give you an idea of what activities you would want no matter what part of the country reside.

6. Play Dates

Get together with friends who have dogs that want to exercise, play and socialize. Better yet, host a play date in your home and make some homemade dog treats for your dog to share with his friends.

Bonus:  More Winter Season Activities

Anyone live up north, the Midwest or Canada. Here are some other Great Ideas!

1. Snow Hikes

Head out for a hike in a wooded area after a fresh snowfall. It’s beautiful and serene since most people don’t take advantage of hiking trails in the winter. It’s also the perfect time to use off-leash areas where your dog can have more freedom without running into too many other dogs or people.

2. Sledding and Snowball Fights

Have your dog join you for some childhood fun in the snow.

3. Dog Parks
If your dog gets overwhelmed by crowded dog parks, try visiting in the winter when there are fewer people and dogs at the park. Hint: Pro Petsitters love an afternoon in dog parks.

4. Snowshoeing or Cross-Country Skiing

Enjoy these sports if you have a snow-loving dog.

5. Skijoring

Have you ever heard of Skijoring? Skijoring is having your dog pull you through the snow while you’re wearing skis. It sounds like a lot of fun if you have a snow-loving dog that can safely pull you.

Winter Advice To Keep Your Dog Safe During The Cold

Short-haired, small or elderly dogs may need a water-repellent coat to help keep them warm.

Trim the hair between your dog’s toes to reduce snow and ice buildup.

Dog booties can keep paws dry and free from ice, salt or de-icing chemicals

If your dog hates booties, apply Musher’s Secret wax to his paws before going outside to prevent painful ice balls from forming between his toes. Musher’s Secret also protects paws from hot pavement or beach sand in the summer.

If you don’t use booties, clean your pup’s paws with a warm wet cloth when you return home to remove any salt, de-icing chemicals or ice balls. Also wipe down their legs and belly.

Use reflective wear or clip-on LED collar lights if you walk outside after dark.

Consult with your vet if you have any concerns about exercising your dog outside when it’s cold.

What Are The 5 Most Common Questions I Get Asked As A Professional Pet Sitter?

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An industry with an industry that has really taken off is the Pet Sitting Industry. Let’s face it , we all love to spoil our fur babies . If we could, we would take our pets to work, shopping, out to eat with us and vacation. Unfortunately, for us crazed parents , these are not reasonable options. There are going to be times when we will have to depend on others to help out. When family , friends or neighbors are not around to help us in the long term , one of the best options available to you is a professional pet sitter. So let’s start off with the first question.

A) What Is A Professional Pet Sitter?

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Anyone can put an ad in the newspaper or Craigslist offering their services to care for your pet. Let’s suppose you have a three week trip coming up over seas. Your fur baby, Milo, has diabetes. You see an ad by a twelve year old kid offering to care for your pet. Do you really want to leave that responsibility in the hands of a seventh grader?

A Professional Pet Sitter has three qualities beyond loving pets that pet parents should consider. 1) Formal Work Experience with animals. 2) Completed Pet Related Courses and Continued Education and 3). A Code of Ethics which is set by the organization. Generally reputable Professional Pet Sitters can be through NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) or PSI ( Pet Sitters International ). Both organizations provide pet sitter accreditation to those with these three main qualities.

B). What Qualifications Do You Have As A Pet Sitter?

Our fur babies may be four legged creatures but they are our family. Here’s a list of other qualifications and characteristics one should consider before trusting anyone with their pets.

1) Can the pet sitter provide written proof that she has commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?
2) What training has the pet sitter received?
3) Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?
4) what backup plans does the Petsitter have in place?
5) Does the pet sitter provide related services such as in-home grooming, dog training , pet taxi or the selling of pet supplies and foods?
6) Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and fees?
7) Ask the Pet Sitter for references from clients that are willing to share information with you.

C) How much time does the pet sitter spend in your home to care for your pet(s)?

The average in-home visit to care for one pet is 30 minutes, but additional time may be required if you request special services such as dog walking, pet grooming, etc. or have a multiple pet household.

D). What are the payment terms?

Some pet sitters require payment in full for first time customers while others require a deposit upon reservation and balance paid at the end of the assignment. There is no industry standard for payment terms, so be sure you understand in advance the terms of the pet sitting business you utilize.

E) Does the pet sitter (or agency) have established fees for pet care they can quote over the phone and/or in company literature?

A professional pet sitter should have a published list of fees that cover the most common pet-care requests. Fees for special services may be worked out on a case-by-case basis.

If you are interested in more questions to ask or be concerned with, visit my page : 15 Questions To Ask Any Pet Sitter ?

Til Next Time……

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Pet [ Oh, and For You Too :- ) ]

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Goals Aren’t Just for People

The start of a new year can signal a fresh start for pets needing a change in their routine. For example, with over 50 percent of pets in the U.S. classified as overweight, there’s no better time for owners to commit to a new diet and exercise regimen for their pets. Need more ideas? Here are ten resolutions to make this year your pet’s healthiest year yet!

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#10 Measure Your Pet’s Food – Every Time!

Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to use an 8-ounce measuring cup to ensure your pet isn’t taking in more calories than they need. The recommended feeding guidelines on the bag are good place to start to figure out how much food Fido (or Kitty) really needs. Older pets and those who have been neutered usually have lower energy needs than young, intact animals.

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#9 Choose an Age-Appropriate Diet

Growing pets have very specific nutrient requirements to ensure their bodies grow healthy and strong. For example, some senior pets may have lower energy requirements, but have other medical issues like degenerative joint disease that may be helped with the appropriate diet. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.

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#8 Try a New Activity with Your Pet

From doga to hiking, skijoring to kayaking, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond, it’ll get you both out of the house, and both owner and pet will reap the rewards of a healthy physical activity. Meet-up groups are a great way to find like-minded pet owners to join you in your exercise, too!

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#7 Incorporate (More) Playtime into Your Routine

Cats love the thrill of chasing a laser toy; just don’t tell them it’s exercise! Toys that trigger a cat’s predatory instinct are a great way to get them off the couch and engaged in a little aerobic activity. Experiment to see what really gets your cat going — in addition to lasers, catnip toys, crinkly balls, and climbable cat trees are perennial feline favorites. Even a cardboard box can become a cat cave that satisfies a cat’s desire for a hiding place.

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#6 Make a Date with Your Vet

Yearly examinations by the veterinarian are a key component of good preventive care. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues that may be affecting your bonding with your pet.

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#5 Groom Your Pet Daily

Brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. Lastly, daily grooming is a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them by taking care of them in a very soothing manner.

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#4 Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits with Your Pet

Daily toothbrushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque at bay — just be sure to use a toothpaste meant for dogs and cats. Water additives, dental diets, and treats designed to reduce tartar can also be a helpful tool in keeping teeth clean. And even with all of these tricks, regular cleanings by a licensed veterinarian are the best way to keep those pearly whites in tip top shape long into your pet’s senior years.

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#3 Teach an Old Dog a New Trick

Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Puzzle feeders, which force a pet to think through a task in order to be rewarded with a treat, are also an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged.

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#2 Update Pet ID Info

Over the course of a year, a lot can change — people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags. Often they only remember once the pet is lost. If any of your contact information has changed in 2012, don’t wait — update their tags and microchip information today! It’s the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way safely home.

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#1 Consider Fostering

You think you want a new pet, but you’re not 100 percent sure it’s right for you? Try fostering. Many animal shelters and rescues need loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment, since you are simply hosting a pet while they wait for their forever home. Who knows? That home just might end up being yours.

Your Canine Baby A Picky Eater? Stop the Cycle and Get Him To Love Healthy Dog Food

 

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How many of us are guilty of feeding our canine babies human food? Any of us that says no, stop fibbing :)). We are all guilty of doing it from time to time . Therefore let’s take responsibility of turning our fur baby into a picky eater who has forgotten they are still a dog.

I’m a Professional Pet Sitter and have rules for all my fur babies . I love my fur babies and I love spoiling them. So yes I’m guilty of feeding them people food. I also recognize that can be harmful. And if I want my babies to be healthy a long time , I need to make sure they are eating healthy dog food. I want to help other pet owners continue to keep their pets healthy and turn that that picky dog eater into a lover of dog food.

Dogs and Dog Food

There are two kinds of dogs. The first kind lives to eat. They will devour anything you put in front of them. The second kind eats to live. They pick and choose, take longer to finish meals, and sometimes won’t finish them at all.

A dog’s size, breed, and age often dictate whether he adores food or could care less. Every Labrador who ever lived is food motivated and smaller canines, such as Maltese and Yorkies, tend to be more discriminating.

When Does Picky Eating Become a Problem?

If you’re having trouble getting your pet to eat on a regular basis, and he won’t consume his food at least once a day, your dog is a picky eater.
If your dog has always been a picky eater, there is likely no need for concern.

A picky dog that maintains a healthy weight, is alert and perky, and has a shiny coat, is much less worrisome than one who has dropped a few pounds and has a less lustrous coat. If you have a dog who is a regular eater that suddenly stops, that can be a sign something is wrong. Picky eating is one symptom.

What should be the most concern is change. Many illnesses could be why your dog refuses to eat. Even problems associated with old age, such as joint pain while walking to and from the bowl, could be the cause.
The only way to get to the root of the problem is to visit the vet.

If your dog has always been a voracious eater, and is becoming more selective, go to the vet after about 48 hours. For puppies, who have less reserves, don’t wait more than 24 hours.

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Tips for Encouraging Your Picky Eater Dog to Develop Healthier Eating Habits

Tip 1: Start early. Before you bring a dog home, come up with a feeding plan. You and your family need to sit down and decide what the rules will be. And you must all be on the same page. If mom gives food off the plate, but dad plays by the rules, it won’t work. If one family member is adamant about people food, then agree to mix in some healthy options, such as low-fat vegetables, with the kibble.

Tip 2: Don’t feed from the table. Doling out table scraps will cause your dog to eschew dry or canned food and hold out for more salivating options. It can also cause health problems, such as pancreatitis. In addition, variety or changes to the diet may cause diarrhea, as well as reinforce the inappropriate behavior of begging.

Tip 3: Keep dog food and people food separate. Never let a dog associate your food with their food. You have to keep it very separate. Otherwise they’ll start to think they can eat their food and their owner’s, too. Your dog should only eat food out of his bowl, and should never see food as coming from your plate or from something you’re preparing for yourself.

Tip 4: Stick to a schedule. Feed your puppy two to three times each day, as recommended by your vet. Gradually increase the volume of food as you decrease the frequency of feedings as your puppy matures. Your adult dog should be fed once or twice daily without leaving the food out more than a short period of time. To ensure equal portions for each serving, use a measuring cup. If you do choose to incorporate healthy people food, mix it into the kibble. Variety may be the spice of life for humans, but consistency is key for your canine.

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What If Your Start Your Dog On The Wrong Foot?

It’s never too late to start over, but if you want to transition your pup off the filet mignon and sweets, and on to strictly canine fare, it’s best to take it one step at a time.

It’s going to be tough and require 100% compliance from the entire family. Start by lessening people food and increasing dog food bit by bit every day until your pup is off human food entirely. While you are mixing foods, it’s best to use canned dog food as opposed to dry food. That way, your pet can’t separate out and just eat the people food.

If your dog refuses to eat, he is likely holding out for people food, but it’s important to hold firm. Just because he skips a few meals, don’t give in and give him what he wants. Leave the bowl out for 15 minutes, and if he’s not finished, take it away. He’ll eventually choose dog food over no food at all.

Make Sure You’re Giving Your Dog a Healthy Diet

Occasionally the problem with a picky eater may be that he doesn’t like the brand of food you’re giving him. Or it may be that he prefers canned food over dry or vice versa. A high-quality commercial brand is important for a healthy diet.
Check the ingredients, and make sure corn doesn’t top the list. Corn isn’t an ideal diet for a carnivore.
If you’ve tried three brands and both canned and dry food, it’s time to look for another reason your dog refuses to eat. Most likely, he’s holding out for table scraps.

Reserve treats for times when praise is necessary, such as in training. But remember, not all rewards have to be edible. If your dog loves attention, a scratch behind the ears is a treat.

If you find that food treats get the best results, create some boundaries.
For instance, only give a treat after a trick, and always do it in the backyard.

Also, limit treats to three a week, and put them in a separate container so that the entire family knows how many have been given.

It’s one thing if your dog knows he only gets certain things while he’s training, But it’s another if you’re sitting in the kitchen reading a magazine and give your dog a treat because he looks cute.

I hope these tips help in turning that picky canine eater into a healthy canine eater.

Til Next Time…..

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8 Drool Worthy Holiday Dog Cookie Recipes

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Dog Friendly Candy Canes

Not only do these tasty candy cane treats from Ali’s Pet Kitchen taste good, the peppermint oil helps reduce bad breath odor. Cute and odor reducing? Yes please!

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Doggy Egg Nog

What is a more festive treat than eggnog? Have a frothy glass next to Fido during your next holiday movie night. Check out this recipe from Lola the Pitty.

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Frozen Pup-Cakes

To go along with the frozen weather we’ve been experiencing outside, Lola the Pitty has created a delicious recipe for frozen pupcakes. It’s easy, too! Simply throw peanut butter, plain yogurt, a banana, and a splash of water in a blender, and freeze the mixture in cupcake tins overnight.

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Mutt Mints Christmas Dog Treats

The more treats to aid dog breath odor, the better! We love these cute Christmas tree mint cookies for your pup, from Gourmet Dog Treat Recipes. Swap out the Christmas tree cookie cutter to make these tasty treats year ‘round!

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Healthy Dog Bones

With all of the hearty table scraps Fido is likely getting this holiday season, we know it’s important to think about his health. Back to Her Roots has got you covered. From ground flaxseed to help with his coat and skin, to pumpkin puree to help his digestive system, these dog biscuits taste so good that Fido won’t even realize just how healthy he is!

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Nutty Bacon Dog Treats

What dog doesn’t love bacon, and what dog doesn’t love peanut butter? Combine these two ingredients in this recipe from Dog Hill Kitchen, and you have the ultimate dog treat. After Fido gets his first taste of these, you won’t be able to keep his paws out of the cookie jar!

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Sweet Potato Dog Treats

As a holiday meal staple, you likely have sweet potatoes lying around the kitchen. Not only do sweet potatoes make delicious holiday casseroles, but they also combine to make tasty dog biscuits. Caution: according to Kaylee from Lemons and Basil, the combination of cinnamon, peanut butter and sweet potatoes may smell so good, you’ll want to taste it yourself!

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Peppermint Holidog Christmas Dog Treats

One final peppermint treat to get your pooch in the holiday spirit. This recipe from PetGuide combines molasses with peppermint extract to make a sweet, minty combination that will leave your four-legged friend at your feet the entire time you’re baking.

 

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Your furry best friends spend all year giving you nothing but love; so this holiday season, why not take time to make your very own dog treats for Fido? Not only will he love the thought that went into each treat, he’ll love that you can wrap them up and share them with his friends for the holidays.