By Christine Mallar
When we first opened, one of the things we thought was a no-brainer was looking into LED or other efficient lighting options for the sales floor. As the first environmentally friendly pet supply store in the nation, we wanted to make sure that we did everything we could to design for sustainability. The spotlights seemed to be a challenge though. LED technology has come a long way, but at the time, most LEDs were kind of blue in color, and not very bright at all. We needed bright spotlights to showcase products, and nothing existed at the time outside of the typical commercial spots. (more…)
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Christine is a guest blogger for RetireUSA – here’s the latest post : http://retireusa.net/blog/fence-me-in/
By Christine Mallar
Every once in a while a customer comes into the store and asks about Canola Oil, as they have read a lot of scary things on the internet about it. Many sites online claim that Canola Oil “is a poisonous substance, an industrial oil that does not belong in the body. They claim that it contains “the infamous chemical warfare agent mustard gas,” hemagglutinins and toxic cyanide-containing glycocides; it causes mad cow disease, blindness, nervous disorders, clumping of blood cells and depression of the immune system”. This same information is copied and pasted to many sites, and though even organic Canola Oil is definitely not our favorite oil (especially when used exclusively in anyone’s diet), these are distortions that should be cleared up for those who are trying to educate themselves about nutrition. Of course, one of the major problems we have with Canola oil is it’s largely a GMO crop that can cross pollinate with other members of the brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, brussels, kale, mustard, etc) damaging these crops (especially organic crops which cannot contain GMO material) and the livelihood of the farmers that grow them. Our discussion here focuses on the safety of Canola oil in pet foods, not to advocate for or against it, just for the sake of objectivity we want to address the truths vs. the fear-mongering.
New post by Christine Mallar on RetireUSA blog – FYI – there is information here that is especially important for cats:
Record high temps across the country bring to my mind topics like keeping your pets well hydrated to better able to deal with the heat, but the truth is, hydration is important year round to the health of our animals. Read More!
By Christine Mallar
The Chinese Chicken debacle continues. The FDA has issued 3 separate warnings to the public about the danger of consuming these treats. Almost 2000 pets reported so far that have been sickened or have died from consuming Chinese chicken jerky, which we know is only a fraction of the true number. When we hear from customers that they had purchased these treats in other stores and their dogs had acted sick after consuming them, the first question we ask is “Did you report it to the FDA or to your vet, or to the store you bought it from?” and the answer is invariably “No”. Message boards all over the internet are full of stories of problems with these treats. It’s very clearly a much larger problem than is reflected in the reported numbers.
As usual, Holistic Vet Dr. Becker has written a fantastic article that I want to share with all of you. This article about tick prevention and tick born diseases is well worth reading and contains very valuable information. I encourage you to follow the link to read more!
The Very Best Way to Protect Your Pet from Ticks
By Dr. Becker
Last year around this time I had quite a battle with tick exposure with my own dogs, Violet, her brother Esau, his mate Ada, and my little Boston terrier, Rosco.
I thought I would share the entire saga with you, since summer is upon us once again and it’s shaping up to be an extra bad year for pests and parasites. Hopefully, I’ll provide some helpful information to those of you with pets that have tested positive for a tick-borne disease – or might before the season is over. Read More….
by Christine Mallar
Do you know what to do if your pet encounters something toxic, or is bitten by a spider, or eats something he shouldn’t? I’ve stumbled upon a great iphone app that could be very useful in an emergency, allowing you to act quickly to get information and even has a direct dial button where you can contact the Pet Poison Helpline immediately (like most or all poison control hotlines, there is a charge for the service, but that’s a small consideration when dealing with a life threatening emergency).
The app comes with a handy alphabetical list of potential toxins in your home environment with information about the types of symptoms you might see in your pet, which species are affected (did you know that avocado is extremely toxic to both birds and cows, while not much of a concern for dogs and cats?). Then there is a detailed description of what makes each item found on the list to be dangerous, including foods like raw bread dough and coffee grounds, human medications, toxic house and garden plants, spiders and snakes, and other household chemicals. I learned quite a bit from browsing through the list of poisons. For example, I knew that many Lily plants are very very toxic to cats and ingesting the smallest amount of the leaves or petals can cause them to have kidney failure, but I didn’t realize that interacting with the pollen or even drinking the water in a vase of lilies could cause the same problems. Makes sense, but I hadn’t thought about the water in the vase being a problem. You can even filter the list of toxins by species (ie: all of the things that are toxic to cats), or by type of toxin (ie: garage items, medications, or plants, etc).
No iphone? The Pet Poison Hotline website (http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/) is mobile device enabled for viewing with other smart phones, and of course the website itself has the same great info as the app. I feel better prepared having that information and the connection to the hotline at my fingertips.
We all love our pets as members of our families and want to do the very best we can to keep them healthy and happy, but many of us overlook the very foundation of health for our pets – their nutrition. Just as our own health is affected by our daily nutrition habits, dogs and cats can develop chronic health issues like diabetes, skin allergies, inflammation issues such as arthritis, yeast overgrowth, bowel issues, urinary infections or crystals, and even cancer. We often don’t realize that chronic issues are developing at a cellular level, and of course many pets seem “fine” until a crisis occurs. Of course, the very best way to support our own health and the health of our companion animals is for all of us to eat more whole foods and cut out processed foods as much as we can.
However, 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.