When we go grocery shopping, many of us have learned to make choices that are both healthier for the planet and healthier for our bodies. We look for organic, locally grown produce, non toxic cleaners, and paper products made with recycled materials. But how many of us realize that we can apply these same sorts of good consumer choices when we’re shopping for our pets?
Diet and Health
Nutrition can be the key to keeping your kitty healthy, avoiding chronic illness and ultimately saving lots of money at the vet. We might be called Green Dog, but the owners and staff of Green Dog are actually made up of some pretty serious cat people. We know there’s a lot of info in here, but after 10 years of serving the cat community of Portland, our hearts are often heavy from the overwhelming numbers of cats with chronic illness, much of which we feel could have been prevented with better nutrition. Whether you’ve gotten a kitten or an adult cat, we hope that these tips will come in handy for you
Cats often do not drink enough water to stay as hydrated as they should be. This is because cats in the wild would get a lot of moisture from eating raw prey, but cats in our homes who are fed dry kibble are not getting that valuable hydration from their food.
This is a very nice clear description of how to protect the health of your cat’s bladder, and of the causes and prevention of stones and crystals in the bladder. Note – though she seems to be talking about both cats and dogs, most of the information she states is most relevant to cats. (Dogs have a few interesting differences when it comes to crystals and bladder infections.)
Processed kibbles have come quite a long way in the past 10 years, and there is a great disparity between what you might find on the pet aisle of your local grocery store and what might be available at your local independent pet retailer. It is not legally required (it is actually prohibited) for manufacturers to use language on a pet food label that would help a consumer to know if the quality of the ingredients on a label are similar to the ingredients you might use to cook your own dinners or are simply waste products that were inappropriate for use in human foods, though there are some things to look out for on kibble labels that will give you a good idea. I hope to empower you to recognize some of these “red flag” and “green flag” ingredients that might help you to determine the quality of the ingredients in any dry kibble you’re feeding to your pets.
Many human health benefits have been attributed to bovine colostrum including: increased energy levels, lower risks of upper respiratory illnesses, reduced risk of intestinal damage from anti-inflammatory drugs, increased ability of the body to burn fat and increase muscle, and the acceleration of injury healing. This amazing supplement has the same great benefits for our pets, helping with digestive health and the immune system, and therefore with allergies as well!
There are a few things that I wish I could convince more customers to try adding to their dog’s diet, and fish oil is certainly one of them.
We humans certainly don’t thrive on a diet of processed foods alone – your pets also may never be able to achieve optimal health on a diet that doesn’t contain some whole foods.
Did you know that a recent study found that children eating more than 12 hot dogs per month have nine times the normal risk of developing childhood leukemia??
We know that whole foods are the most nutritionally complete for us, and that a steady diet of fast food can make us unhealthy pretty quickly. So what about for our pets?
I wrote this up a while back for a nutrition lecture I was giving, and I thought it might be useful to post it somewhere for more people to use
If you have pets that come in contact with your lawn, Beneficial Nematodes can be an excellent weapon to use against fleas and their larvae.
This week, Bayer announced that they will be making Advantage and Advantix available to retailers (read article here), meaning you won’t have to visit a vet to obtain them. Though the above news video is discussing the rise in dangerous side effects of other over the counter flea meds and not necessarily Advantage, we will still not be carrying any of these sorts of spot on treatments.
A dog in Ontario Canada was given a flea treatment with Advantage and put to bed in his plastic kennel. An ingredient in the Advantage dissolved the plastic which resulted in the dog becoming stuck to his crate and unable to get out.
The larger a company is, the more difficult and expensive it is for them to source the most sustainable ingredients on a large enough scale to meet national demand. One might expect that we would source only organic foods, but this is more of a challenge than you might expect – many pet foods that are certified organic are not, in our opinion, necessarily suitable nutritionally for carnivores, so what to do?
It’s amazing how much we as a society have come to rely on stronger and stronger chemicals to get our cleaning done, and how much the simple remedies have gotten lost over time.
Did you know that organically grown foods can actually be better for you (and your pets) nutritionally than their traditionally grown counterparts?
Times are tough and beds can be expensive. I found a couple of cute links for making pet beds out of things you might have lying around the house.
This is a great link to a site that illustrates the importance of cutting back the use of plastic bags globally.
It’s beginning to be outrageous to me that people are drinking so much bottled water without realizing its tremendous environmental impact. Though the nutritionally aware part of me is glad that people are drinking water instead of soda, the sheer volume of bottled water consumed has created a product with enormous impact.
Gadgets have improved our lives in ways we never could have imagined, and now we can’t live without them. Unfortunately, the life spans of these devices are fairly short, as new and better versions become available all the time. This leads to an incredible disposal problem
If you were in our store between Thanksgiving and Christmas you might have noticed that we decorated with Christmas lights. These were actually strings of LED lights, which are an amazing innovation in Christmas lights
Training and Behavior
What a fun time you’ll have! We very much want your new baby to live a long, healthy, happy life, so we thought we’d compile some of the nitty-gritty dos-and-don’ts of puppy care. Socialization, nutrition, our favorite chews, tips on potty training, etc!
The difference between normal seasonal shedding and year round shedding, and what’s to be done if your pet won’t let you brush him or perform routine grooming tasks?
Check out this great dog show video. There are some fun ideas in here for new tricks you can train.
New Study backs up what many good trainers know already- blaming dominance for bad behavior in dogs is way off the mark, and can make matters far worse.
Check out this beautiful Canine Freestyle video.
As a trainer and a retail pet supply store owner, I’m often in a situation where I can help someone through a problem. There are other times, however, where I see someone doing something so terribly wrong, so injurious to a dog’s behavior, and the person can’t seem to hear me when I try and guide them towards a new way.
If this is your first 4th of July with your new puppy, this is your chance to set the tone for the future. This exercise can also help older dogs that are already frightened of fireworks noises.
Although I can’t help thinking Freestyle is a tad goofy with its costumes and routines, I am also in awe of how much you can accomplish with positive training, and I think it’s a testament to how much fun we can have with dogs when you engage their minds and bodies in activities that challenge them and allow them to have fun at the same time.
Don’t forget to be on guard for dogs getting into that Halloween Candy stash! Chocolate isn’t the only thing that’s toxic to dogs. Behaviorally, make sure that if your dog is stressed out by strangers, to have him in a secure area of the house where he won’t be plagued by constant scary monsters ringing the doorbell. Conversely, if you’re up for it this is a great time to work on door manners with a dog that isn’t frightened, just excited.
Many people know about stuffing Kongs – those durable red or black rubber toys are great to smear a bit of peanut butter in. However many people don’t get creative enough about their Kong stuffing, and may be wasting a good opportunity to keep a dog busy.
This is an amazing article about how dogs’ amazing noses are helping wildlife ecologists to better study endangered species.