10 Things You Should Know Before Getting a Dog

Have you been dreaming of getting a dog ever since you saw the reruns of the television classic Lassie as a kid? Or maybe you were fortunate enough to watch the original series. While your dog might not be able to save you week after week from a burning building, a runaway freight train, or the bottom of a well (and in the time it takes to finish a 30-minute episode, too), owning a dog can be a wonderful experience.Puppy chewing

Here are 10 things you should know and consider before choosing your canine friend.

1. Dogs take up a lot of time and energy. Yes, they are rewarding. But if you live alone and work twenty hours a day, then perhaps a dog is not the best choice for you. Hey, there are always those super-cool robot dogs.

2. If you are not often at home, and you really want a dog, you probably should invest in a dog walker. You’d probably be wise to choose a dog breed that isn’t especially needy, too. Check out PetMD’s Breedopedia to select from a wide variety of breeds.

3. Any dog you get should be suitable to not only your lifestyle, but your surroundings. If you live in a shoebox apartment, then a large dog is not a good choice. You don’t want your dog to develop health issues, be bored, or destroy things. Large dogs really belong in big places with lots of outdoor space.

4. Consider which breeds are suitable for your region’s climate, especially if you have a yard and want to keep it as an outside dog.

5. Puppies require the most work when it comes to house training. If you: (a) don’t want your things chewed up, or (b) don’t have the time or money to train the puppy, consider adopting an already housebroken, adult dog.

6. Make sure you have lots of chew toys available for your puppy and keep all expensive things (like shoes and clothes) out of its reach; the same goes for chemicals and medicines. Puppies like to investigate and try everything, so make sure there is nothing dangerous around for them to sample.

7. Get your dog vaccinated and spayed or neutered as soon as possible. Oh, and take your dog to the vet for its routine checkups. Your dog will thank you for it and live a much better (and longer) life.

8. Get a proper leash and harness for your dog. A leash too small or too large may hurt it inadvertently during its walking routine, or, worse yet, allow it to hurt others or get loose and run away.

9. Health insurance is a must. Consult your veterinarian as to your best options.

10. Regardless of the dog breed you choose, have fun! They say there is no better friend than a dog. We have to agree.

Article by PetMD

Fruits That Are Safe for Dogs to Eat

Humans love fruit and we know bananas and strawberries are good for us, but did you know they are good for your dogs too? Not only will your dog love that he is getting “human food,” but you will love that the same benefits fruits provide us – aids in digestion, antioxidants, immunity boosts, better eye sight, healthier skin and hair – they also provide for your dog.Dog with apple

Feed fruits to your dog as a small training treat or stuff your dog’s favorite treat stuffer toy with some peanut butter and fruit for a great and healthy occupier.

Tips for Feeding Fruit to Dogs

  • Always talk to your veterinarian about any treats you feed your dog, including fruit.
  • Give your dog small portions of fruit only, especially the first time feeding them to your dog. Even though fruit is good for him, fruit is not calorie free. Also, you don’t know if your dog will have an allergic or other adverse reaction, such as gas or an upset stomach.
  • Clean fruit thoroughly before offering it to your dog.
  • If you can, introduce small portions of fruit to your dog when he is young. He may be more likely to try it and like it.
    Some dogs don’t like raw fruit. Try mashing it into their food or adding it as an ingredient when you make homemade dog treats. You can also use fruit juice, but make sure it is 100 percent fruit juice and not added sugars.
  • Avoid feeding your dog any type of seeds or pits. Although not all seeds are known to cause problems, it is better to be safe than sorry. What is known to be problematic or toxic are apple seeds, apricot pits, nectarine pits, plum pits, cherry pits and peach pits.

Check out this list of 13 fruits (and melons) for dogs and their benefits to get you started.

1. Apples: Source for potassium, fiber, phytonutrients, flavonoids, vitamin C. Note: Do not give dogs the core or the seeds, which contain arsenic. (Half of an apple slice is a good size treat.)

2. Bananas: Source of potassium and carbohydrates. (1 inch is a good size treat.)

3. Blackberries: Source of antioxidants (anthocyanins), polyphenols, tannin, fiber, manganese, folate, omega-3. High in vitamins C, K, A and E. (2 or 3 blackberries is a good size treat.)

4. Blueberries: Source of antioxidants, selenium, zinc and iron. High in vitamins C, E, A and B complex. (2 or 3 blueberries is a good size treat.)

5. Cantaloupe: Source for vitamins A, B complex, C, plus fiber, beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, thiamine, niacin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. (1 inch of cantaloupe wedge is a good size treat.)

6. Cranberries: Source for vitamin C, fiber and manganese. Helps fight against urinary tract infections, plus balances acid-base in dog’s body. (2 tablespoons of stewed cranberries added to dog’s food is good size portion. Note: To stew cranberries, put them in a saucepan with water, cover and cook until tender. Put them through a sieve and add to dog food.)

7. Kiwis: Source of fiber, potassium and high in vitamin C. (A half a slice or one slice of kiwi is a good size treat.)

8. Oranges: Source for fiber, potassium, calcium, folic acid, iron, flavonoids, phytonutrients, vitamins A, C, B1 and B6. (Half of a segment is a good size treat. May cause stomach upset if fed in too big a portion. Remove the rind and any seeds.) Do no feed your dog any part of the orange tree—see below.

9. Pears: Source for fiber, folic acid, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, copper, pectin and vitamins A, C, E, B1 and B2. (1 or 2 pear cubes is a good size treat.)

10. Pumpkin: Source for fiber, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, zinc, iron, potassium and Vitamin A. Note: Although you can feed your dog pumpkin seeds, most recommend feeding them to dogs unsalted, roasted and then grounded. Do not feed your dog any other part of the pumpkin due to the small, sharp hairs on the pumpkin stem and leaves. (1 to 3 tablespoons of pureed pumpkin [not pumpkin pie mix] is a good size treat.) We sell organic canned pumpkin for pets!

11. Raspberries: Source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, magnesium. Rich in vitamin C, K and B-complex. (2 or 3 raspberries is a good size treat.)

12. Strawberries: Source for fiber, potassium, magnesium, iodine, folic acid, omega-3 fats, vitamins C, K, B1 and B6. (A half or 1 strawberry is a good size treat.)

13. Watermelon: Source of vitamins C and A, potassium, magnesium and water. Do not feed your dog the seeds or rind. (1 to 3 pieces of 1-inch watermelon wedge is a good size treat.)

Fruit Bad for Dogs
Although some fruits in small portions can be good for your dog (unless your dog is allergic), never offer your dog the following. If your dog accidently eats the below fruit, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Grapes or Raisins: They have caused many cases of poisoning when ingested by dogs.
Avocados: They could cause gastrointestinal irritation.

Figs: Figs have caused allergic reactions in some dogs. Also, the fig is grown on the Ficus tree (Ficus benjamina), which causes skin inflammation if your dog comes into contact with it. Ficus plants or trees also cause diarrhea and vomiting if your dog ingests them.

Orange tree: The orange tree (Citrus sinensis) is toxic to dogs, cats and horses due to its psoralens and essential oils. You don’t want your pet to ingest the seeds, peel, leaves or stem of this tree or fruit. Symptoms of orange tree poisoning are depression, diarrhea and vomiting.

Lemon tree: The lemon tree (Citrus limonia) is toxic to dogs, cats and horses due to its psoralens and essential oils. You don’t want your pet to ingest the seeds, peel, leaves or stem of this tree. Symptoms of lemon plant poisoning are depression, diarrhea and vomiting.

Article by dogchannel.com

How To Choose A Safe Shampoo

bubblesRegular grooming can be an important part of keeping your dog healthy. Regular brushing will help spread the natural oils throughout your dog’s coat. Regular bathing will remove dead skin cells, excess sebum and will help control dust mites and allergens. Bathing your dog once a month is a great idea.

Choosing a chemical-free shampoo is essential. Reading the label is important because many products state they contain natural or organic ingredients but still contain toxic chemicals. Here are some shampoo ingredients you’ll want to avoid:

    Added dyes or colorants: synthetic color additives for cosmetics are linked to cancers and other serious health problems. Examples are D&C Blue No. 4, or D&C Yellow No. 8, CI 1940 (also called Tartrazine, which is strongly linked to allergic reactions, migraines, hyperactivity and even tumors). Many are made from coal tar which is recognized as a carcinogen. Avoid brightly colored liquids: natural colors in chemical free shampoos usually range from an opaque white to a light yellow.

    Added fragrance or perfumes derived from chemicals. Artificial fragrances are linked to allergies, headaches, nausea and other serious health problems. Use shampoos that contain organic essential oils.

    Parabens are inexpensive and used by many cosmetic manufacturers as a preservative. Parabens mimic estrogen hormones and have been linked to breast cancer. Names include methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid (p-hydroxybenzoic acid), parahydroxybenzoate (p-hydroxybenzoate). Look for shampoos that use citrus seed extracts, and natural vitamins A, C and E.

    Mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum, derived from propylene glycol. It is one of the key ingredients in baby shampoo and baby oil. People use baby shampoo on their dogs, believing that if it is good for a baby it is good for their dog – but it is not even good for babies! It is often used in cosmetics and shampoos as an emollient. It can actually harm the skin and is linked to many other health issues, including liver abnormalities and kidney damage.

    Stearalkonium chloride is used in shampoos and conditioners as an antimicrobial and surfactant. It creates skin and eye irritations and may cause hypertension and ill effects on the brain and organs.

    Sodium laureth sulfate and sodium laurel sulphate are commonly used in cosmetic products as detergents. They can cause irritation to the mouth and upper digestive tract; may cause significant skin irritation especially if exposure is prolonged and/or repeated. Contact with eyes can cause severe irritation; if not washed out promptly, may permanently injure the tissue. Use products that are made with olive oil, coconut oil and other natural fatty oils.

    DEA, cocamide DEA and lauramide DEA are used as foaming agents in shampoos. May cause cancer.

This list just gives you a snippet of information on harmful ingredients in dog shampoos. It also applies to the ingredient list on your own shampoo and personal skin care products. Don’t believe the marketing hype. Read and understand the labels and think for yourself. The terms “natural” and “organic” really mean just that. Going back to nature will improve the health of our pets, ourselves and our planet.

By Laura Boston
This article is an excerpt from the July 2012 issue of Dogs Naturally Magazine.

We carry all natural and great smelling shampoos from Earthbath, Nootie, and Tropiclean.

How to Keep Your Pet Safe on Halloween

Every Halloween, the streets are lined with frightening strangers – decaying mummies, wicked clowns and hungry zombies – arriving at your door every few minutes demanding a gift of food for their bags. This is what Halloween is like for your pet, and it can be terrifying! Add on to that a few holiday safety hazards and the stage has been set nicely for disaster. Keep your pet safe this October 31st with these tips:

Trick or Treat
Halloween candy is the bane of dentists everywhere, but also a regular presence on Halloween night in emergency veterinary clinics. Something that tastes so wonderful to us can be incredibly dangerous for our four-legged roommates.
Halloween puppy

    Chocolate – Halloween provides easy access to this deadly treat, especially when you have a fully-stocked bowl of those amazing chocolate-and-peanut-butter pumpkins. Chocolate is dangerous to both dogs and cats, and can be lethal, and the symptoms include diarrhea, quick breathing, high heart rate, vomiting and even seizures.
    All Other Candy – A good rule of thumb when it comes to all candy for your pet is this: don’t do it. Even non-chocolate candy is dangerous, as it may contain, xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar and seizures.

All Hallow’s Eve is also called the “Mischief Night,” and while many practice harmless pranking, sadly many beloved pets fall victim to those with less honorable intentions. Many animal shelters will not allow any black cat adoptions during the month of October, to deter any would-be cruelty inflictors. No matter how deplorable, it can be avoidable, so keep your pets inside on the days surrounding Halloween.

People in Costumes
If you live in a kid-friendly neighborhood, you better stock up and leave the porch light on, because they are coming for you. While it’s fun for us to ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ over the creative costumes America’s youth is donning this year, it’s 100% terrifying for your pets. “Who are these strangers at the door? Why do they keep knocking on the door? Why do you open the door, and then why do they yell? I’m pretty sure I just saw a zombie.” While we can’t really explain this October holiday with our pets, we can take certain steps to make sure they’re as comfortable with the situation as they can be.

    Pick a room far away from the front door and designate it the pet room for the evening. Turn on low music or a television in the room so sudden knocking or doorbell-ringing isn’t quite so jarring. Buy yourself some time with a few jerky treats and chew toys.
    If pets can’t be confined to one part of the house, at least make sure they have no access to the front door. With so many constant openings and closings of the door, all to reveal strangers in costume, it’s easy for Fluffy to slip out into the night for tricks of her own.

Your Pets in Costumes
Be sensitive to your buddy. While many pet costumes are hilarious and adorable, it’s important to make sure that your dog or cat is okay with wearing whatever you have chosen. I’m not saying that he’s going to choose whether he wants to be Lady Gaga or a hotdog, but he can let you know quickly if the costume doesn’t fit. You wouldn’t want to wear an uncomfortable costume all night, so don’t put your pet in something tight, restrictive, irritating, itchy or painful.
The one costume your pet should not go without this Halloween is an identifying tag, engraved with your phone number. Many pets go missing on Halloween, so make it easier for rescuers to reach you when they find your dog.

Pumpkin is a delicious fruit can be a nice addition to your pet’s diet. However, Halloween presents its own set of dangers when it comes to the cheerful orange decoration.

    Too Much of a Good Thing – Pumpkin in small quantities can act as a natural regularity booster, but too much can quickly up that power to laxative and even intestinal blockage. Make sure any decorative pumpkins are not within easy access to dogs and cats, who may just decide they’re going to eat the whole pumpkin before you even realize it’s happening. Similarly, another fall decoration, corn, can also cause gastrointestinal problems, so keep it out of reach as well.
    Jack-O-Lantern – You certainly want the neighborhood to enjoy all the hard work you put into your jack-o-lantern, but don’t forget that the unusual glow from the candle can attract more than trick-or-treaters. Keep pets away from any items that have a flame, including pumpkins and decorative candles.

Halloween can be scary for your pet, or it can be like any other day with careful planning and consideration for your pet. Remember your first concern is your pet’s health and safety, and if that can be accomplished while dressing your dog as the Toto to your Dorothy, your Halloween will be one to remember.

Blog from Wellness Pet Food.

Pet safety tips for the 4th

When we think of the 4th of July the first two things that come to mind are barbecues and fireworks. Let’s first address why backyard barbecues can pose problems for dogs. The smell of food, a large group of adults, playing kids, and other excited pets can easily overstimulate a dog, increasing the potential for poor behavior and bites. And don’t forget to keep those barbecue skewers our of paw’s reach!

dogflag“Leaving your dog at home as you head out for holiday activities and events is the best thing for you and your pet,” says ARL president Mary Nee.  “Prevention is responsible pet ownership.”

Second, while we humans love a good fireworks display, our pets find it absolutely terrifying. The loud popping and banging noises and fiery flashes of light easily startle and alarm dogs.

To ensure that your 4th of July holiday is fun for you and less stressful for your pet, here are a few tips:

  1. Keep small pets indoors preferably in a room with the shades down. You can turn on the TV or radio to provide some distraction.
  2. Have your pet on a leash or kept in a carrier if you must be outside with them.
  3. Be aware that some pets become “fearfully aggressive” due to loud noises. Protect your pets from people who are waving sparklers or setting off home fireworks.
  4. Never punish your pet for his fearful behavior, but don’t reinforce the behavior by trying to sooth your pet with ‘it’s ok’ or similar words.  Paying attention to your pet may positively reinforce the fearful behavior.

Many animal shelters report increases of “stray” animals after the July 4th holiday due to the number of pets running away in an attempt to avoid the noise and excitement. Be sure that your pet has a current ID tag and/or microchip so that you and your pet can be easily reunited in the case he or she runs off.

If you believe any of your pets has a noise phobia, talk with your veterinarian about the best ways to keep your pet safe during the holiday.  (We have natural products like Rescue Remedy and Ark Natural’s Happy Traveler that will help to calm nervous dogs.)

Lastly, if your pet must travel with you this July 4th remember never to leave your pet in a parked car.

“On an 85 degree day, the temperature inside a parked car can top one hundred degrees in less than 10 minutes – even with all the windows cracked,” explains Boston Veterinary Care’s Dr. Shophet.  “That’s why leaving a pet inside a parked car is the most common cause of potentially deadly heat stroke.

Article by the Animal Rescue League of Boston

Does your pet need digestive support? A look at PROBIOTICS, PREBIOTICS, AND PUMPKIN

You cannot turn on the television without seeing a commercial for probiotic enhanced yogurt touting relief from bloating, or fiber supplements promoting regularity. Dogs and cats alike can suffer from gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation; these symptoms can be avoided with the addition of supportive products designed to aid digestion.


What are Probiotics? Meaning “for-life”, probiotics are good bacteria which maintain the population of helpful intestinal flora. Since probiotics are already found in your pet’s digestive tract, additional supplementation acts as further support for existing flora, which boost the immune system, ferment otherwise indigestible material, make vitamins K and B, and prevent overpopulation of harmful bacteria. Adequate levels of these beneficial bacteria promote healthy stool formation and reduce or eliminate gas and bloating. And, for your feline companion, probiotics reduce the occurrence of vomiting and hairballs.

What are Prebiotics? Prebiotics are non-digestible sugars that act as food for probiotics. Fermented dairy products such as yogurt contain both the sugars that the probiotics need to thrive and the probiotics themselves, providing a double dose of digestive support. Honey, garlic, and artichokes contain naturally occurring prebiotics as well.

What about fiber? Fiber is non-digestible but edible plant matter. After digestion, fiber is what remains of plant cells. There are soluble and insoluble types of fiber, which is why fiber is useful in preventing and treating both constipation and diarrhea. Because insoluble fiber absorbs water, if there is not enough water inside of the colon (constipation) it absorbs moisture from outside of the colon. If there is too much water inside of the colon (diarrhea) it absorbs it, removing it from the stool. Probiotics ferment dietary fiber into short chain fatty acids which help repair the colon walls, which prevents colon cancer.

So, how do you incorporate these into your pet’s diet? Probiotics and prebiotics are usually a package deal. Fermented raw goats milk, Doggy frozen yogurt and supplemental powders are excellent additional sources of these super digestive aids. Many premium foods add probiotics and prebiotics after cooking to ensure optimum efficacy. Fiber is easy to supplement as well. Canned or dehydrated pumpkin or sweet potatoes make palatable options that can be mixed into your pet’s regular meal daily, or as a treat. While none of these products are essential to your pet’s diet they are invaluable in maintaining optimum digestive health.

Article by Jenny Cournoyer
Jenny is an employee at Maggie’s and a graduate of UMASS Amherst, she has studied Pre-vet and Animal Science and is very knowledgeable about pet care and nutrition

Article by Jenny Cournoyer

Jenny is an employee at Maggie’s and a graduate of UMASS Amherst, she has studied Pre-vet and Animal Science and is very knowledgeable about pet care and nutrition

Fleas and Ticks – They’re Back!

Warmer weather is finally here, bringing with it the much less welcome nuisance of blood sucking parasites. Ticks are already out in full force and fleas and mosquitoes will soon make themselves at home, dining on you and your pet. As a responsible pet-owner, it is essential to safeguard your pets from these unwanted pests.
Fleas can invade your home before you even realize it. Your carpets and bedding may harbor millions of immature flea eggs and larvae before you even see as much as one adult flea. Adult fleas can lay up to fifty eggs in one day, and larvae feed on the feces of the adult fleas. If fleas are observed, it is vital to treat all dogs and cats in the home as well as thoroughly cleaning all carpets and bedding and chemical treatment may be necessary.Fleas
Not only are flea bites maddeningly itchy for humans and animals alike, but fleas can act as a vector to disease. Fleas played an integral role in the transmission of the bubonic plague, and are capable of spreading a variety of blood-borne diseases and nasty bacterial and viral infections. They can also infect their host with tapeworms.
Ticks are nasty members of the arachnid family who also carry a wide variety of unpleasant diseases. In fact, Lyme disease if found in epidemic proportions in this area, with nearly half of dogs infected. Lyme disease, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichia are the most common tick borne diseases. Cats and dogs should be tested twice a year for tick borne disease as they can become chronic and rob years from their lives.
While ticks won’t infest your home, they can make your yard their home. Treating your yard is important to reduce the number of ticks your pet contracts. Chemical sprays are available, and natural options include diatomaceous earth or a pair of guinea fowl, which can keep an acre apiece tick-free. Checking your dog thoroughly after each walk is an easy way to reduce the risk of ticks attaching to him or you. Investing in a specialized tick remover is worthwhile, since pulling a tick off by hand can result in it becoming traumatized and expelling the contents of its body into your pet. Additionally it is possible for the mouthparts to be left behind when the tick is pulled off by hand increasing the possibility of infection.
Mosquitoes are integral in the transmission of heartworms. Some spot on treatments and collars repel mosquitoes. Keeping your dog indoors at peak mosquito hours and out of swampy areas in the summer time are good ideas, and treating your lawn for mosquitoes is also an option. Annual heartworm tests are recommended.
All pest control products should be used all year round, due to the flea’s long life cycle. Proper prevention eliminates the possibility of an infestation. Options include:
• Spot-on treatments: These are oil based treatments that soak through the skin rapidly and become part of the treated animal’s sebaceous system. Every oil droplet secreted post treatment contains a small dose of insecticide. Typically the active ingredient attacks the nervous system of the parasite and their internal organs shut down. Most also include a growth inhibitor to prevent larvae from reaching adulthood.
• Flea and tick collars: flea and tick collars often use the same chemicals as the spot on treatments, but they supply a continuous low dosage of the chemical and often are effective longer.
• Natural options:
o Diatomaceous earth: diatomaceous earth is a powder created from the remains of diatoms, a microscopic water plant. This product dries fleas out, killing them. It can be applied topically as a flea powder and throughout the household to destroy eggs and larvae. It is recommended to apply it wet and let it dry to prevent it from getting it into your pets eyes, nose or ears. It is important to use food grade diatomaceous earth.
o Essential oil sprays and wipes: certain oils such as rosemary, cedar, eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lavender, and geranium repel parasites.
Always read labels for pest control products thoroughly. Cats and small dogs are especially sensitive to chemicals and essential oils so monitor them closely after applying any treatments.

Article by Jenny Cournoyer
Jenny is an employee at Maggie’s and a graduate of UMASS Amherst, she has studied Pre-vet and Animal Science and is very knowledgeable about pet care and nutrition

Is your pet getting enough to drink?

Is your pet getting enough to drink?
Like us, cats and dogs are primarily composed of water. They lose water daily through urination, defecation and respiration. Digestion, especially of dry food, requires vast amounts of water to properly prepare the food for nutrient absorption. Without enough water it is impossible for the kidneys and liver to properly filter the bloodstream, which can result in toxicity. Therefore, adequate water consumption is absolutely vital to the health of your pet.1897373414_76df7b064c_z
Dehydration is a common problem for companion animals eating a diet primarily composed of kibble. Kibble is usually between seven and ten percent moisture, requiring additional supplementation of water, typically in a water bowl. The wild forebears of our dogs and cats would have met most of their water needs by eating the flesh of their prey (containing 75-80 percent moisture) and occasionally drinking from streams. In the wild, animals will only drink from a stagnant water source, such as a puddle, in times of drought or famine. Many pets will naturally choose to drink out of the freshest water source available. So when you see your cat lapping up the water around your bathtub drain, or your dog with his head in the toilet bowl, it is effort to rehydrate with fresh water.
Failure to drink enough water can result in bad breath, dry nose and mouth, lethargy, susceptibility to infection (especially urinary tract infections) , dull coat and dark, smelly urine. It is easy to monitor your pet’s hydration status by performing either a basic turgor test or a capillary refill test.
• Turgor test: gently lift the loose skin between your dog or cat’s shoulder blades and then release. If properly hydrated, your pet’s skin will return back to normal instantly. If anything other than an immediate return is observed, your pet is dehydrated. The more slowly the skin goes back to it’s original position, the more dehydrated the animal is.
• Capillary refill test: with your index finger, firmly press the gum line of your pet for three seconds, and then remove your finger. The color should return to the area in less than two seconds. The sooner it returns the better, and the more slowly it returns, the higher the level of dehydration.
There are a variety of ways to ensure that your pets are getting enough water. Incorporating canned food into a dry diet is helpful, and switching to a raw diet is ideal. In a raw diet, none of the water is cooked out of the food; therefore no additional water is needed to digest it. Freeze-dried raw diets and dehydrated diets are also excellent choices when saturated according to package directions. Encourage your pet to drink as much as possible from their dish by changing the water twice a day and cleaning it often. Stagnant water grows bacteria which smells and tastes unpleasant. To provide a constant fresh water supply, consider a pet fountain in which the water circulates continuously. Pets that are sick, pregnant, nursing or very active have greater water needs. In high temperatures, dogs and cats lose more water through respiration and will need additional access to water. Supervise dogs tied outside as they can either knock over their water bowls or become tangled out of reach. All life sustaining processes require water. Without water food can’t be digested, toxins can’t be excreted and air can’t be absorbed. It is the least expensive form of preventative medicine. Make sure your animals are getting enough for a lifetime of health.

Article by Jenny Cournoyer
Jenny is an employee at Maggie’s and a graduate of UMASS Amherst, she has studied Pre-vet and Animal Science and is very knowledgeable about pet care and nutrition

February is Pet Dental Month

Everyone is familiar with the importance of dental hygiene in our own lives. We brush our teeth after every meal, we floss, we rinse, we whiten. Tartar and plaque from leftover food cause bad breath, gingivitis, and tooth decay and we do everything in our power to avoid a stern lecture from our dentist at our bi-annual appointment. But what about our pets?

All kibble-fed dogs and cats experience tartar build up. Even high quality, grain-free kibble contains binding agents which hold the kibble together. These sticky ingredients encourage plaque growth, which leads to tartar and bad breath.

Many make the costly mistake of allowing their dog or cat’s tartar to build to the point where it can only be removed under anesthesia, by the veterinarian. Unfortunately, this does nothing for the gingivitis that plagues our companion animals. Unsightly red, swollen gums and bad breath are symptomatic of gingivitis and result from inadequate stimulation and bacterial infection of the gums due to insufficient chewing. Without the frequent opportunity to chew, the gums become inflamed. Since chewing not only stimulates the gums, but physically removes the plaque it does double duty in preventing gingivitis. Letting this disease go unchecked can cause cardiovascular problems later on.

Other valiant souls make the commendable effort of brushing their pet’s teeth after every meal. With practice, and patience, and lots of treats some dogs and cats tolerate and even enjoy this addition to their daily routine. Enzymatic deliciously flavored toothpastes and specially designed finger or long handled toothbrushes facilitate this process. However, other cases will fight their well-meaning owner tooth and nail to avoid this invasive procedure.

Fortunately, the solution is as affordable and easy as giving your dog or cat a bone. Toys and treats that boast dental benefits are an easy way to maintain good hygiene. Dental Nylabones, Himalayan dog chews, bully sticks, hooves, and sweet potato chews are great options for canines, while crunchy grain free treats are effective for felines. Avoiding such treats containing sugars and grains, which can add to plaque build-up, is even more effective.

The absolute best method to guarantee that your beloved dog or cat has perfect dental health is to pair a high quality, grain-free or raw diet, with a weekly raw meaty bone. Raw meaty bones provide the flossing and scraping action necessary for gum stimulation and plaque removal. They come in sizes suitable for any dog and cat and are almost universally appreciated. Any wild or feral relative to our domestic pets possess beautiful teeth and gums, a true testament to the efficacy of raw bones.

Article by Jenny Cournoyer
Jenny is an employee at Maggie’s and a graduate of UMASS Amherst, she has studied Pre-vet and Animal Science and is very knowledgeable about pet care and nutrition.

Thanksgiving Safety Tips

‘Tis the season for friends, family and holiday feasts—but also for possible distress for our animal companions. Pets won’t be so thankful if they munch on undercooked turkey or a pet-unfriendly floral arrangement, or if they stumble upon an unattended alcoholic drink.Thanksgiving

Talkin’ Turkey
If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless.

Sage Advice
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste delish, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

No Bread Dough
Don’t spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Don’t Let Them Eat Cake
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter.

Too Much of a Good Thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don’t allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

A Feast Fit for a Kong
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

Article courtesy of aspca.org

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