4 Tips For Taking The Perfect Pet Pics

perfect pet pics














Wednesday, July 11, is All American Pet Photo Day and with pictures, posts, and likes being all the rage right now we figure we’d help our loyal readers out by offering up a few tips to get those perfect pet pics.  Here are 4 tips for the picture-perfect selfie with your bestie.

Check the background.

Most people underestimate the background of a picture; make sure there’s nothing behind you that’s unsightly or embarrassing!

Lighting makes a difference.

Lighting is everything! Get the lighting right to ensure there aren’t any weird shadows or unflattering tones once the moment’s captured.

Be candid.

Show your pet’s personality! If you have a lazy cat, snap a selfie with them sleeping next to you or in the background, if your dog is your best friend snap a pic of you side by side with your arm around them.

Be ready.

And by that we mean, be prepared to bribe them with Pro-Treats. Our favorite tactic is to hold the treat right where we want them to look.

Get the right angle.  Where you hold the lens absolutely matters so make sure you’re holding it at angle that flatters you both!

The theme is All American so show us your patriotic pets! Post your selfies and tag us on Instagram or Twitter!

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Summer’s Here! 5 Hot Weather Safety Tips For Pet Owners


Hot Weather Safety Tips

It seems like during winter all we do is look forward to summer – and who can blame us? It’s a wonderful time of year with long days, beautiful nights, and opportunity for outdoor activity. And for those who dread the heat… Well, we can’t change the seasons, but we can offer up these 5 hot weather safety tips to keep your buddy cool in this blazin’ heat.

1. Shade and Water.

Two non-negotiable summer necessities. If your pet spends even 15 minutes at a time outside, there should be some sort of shade provided, as well as access to clean fresh water both inside and out.

2. Cooling Products.

Mats, vests, wraps… There are products made to stay cool in the heat that can give your outdoorsy pup a nice break.

3. Limit Exercise.

Use discretion when it comes to exercise, don’t make activities too vigorous or go out in the midday heat. We often see pet owners with great intentions walking their animal in the afternoon when the truth is it’s just too darn hot out.

*Pro-Tip: Hold the back of your hand to the pavement, if you can’t keep it there for 10-15 seconds, it’s too hot for your pet’s paw pads.

4. Know Heatstroke.

Signs of overheating include lethargy, glazed eyes, excessive panting, dizziness or lack of coordination, rapid heartbeat, and even vomiting. If you see your pet exhibiting these signs, drape cool towels over their head, neck, and chest, try giving them small sips of water or to lick an ice cube, and get them in to see your veterinarian. You can also swipe rubbing alcohol on their paw pads for faster cooling.

*Pro-Tip: Consider keeping a first aid kit handy so you have gauze and alcohol should you ever need it on a walk or trail.

5. Make Frozen Yummies.

Throw some peanut butter and a few Pro-Treats in an interactive treater or a few pieces of fruit in an ice tray and freeze it for a long-lasting cool summer treat!

We’d love to see how your pet stays cool in the heat – share with us!

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It’s Pet Appreciation Day! 5 ways WE benefit

pet appreciation day














It’s Pet Appreciation Day!

Grab the Pro-Treats and the car keys because June 4 is Pet Appreciation Day! A perfect opportunity for some extra spoiling. Now, we know you love and appreciate your pet every day but do you even really know why? (Aside from their adorable faces, of course.) The truth is pets have a multitude of positive effects on human health, many of which you can’t even see.  Here are 5 of our favorites:

1. Perfect for kids

According to some experts, pet ownership can reduce a child’s allergy development by as much as 33% and strengthens their immune system.

2. They make us social

Pets can make us more social. Whether it’s at the dog park, or out for a quick evening stroll, who can resist not saying hello to your cute side kick?

3. Overall health

Pet owners have lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels than non-pet owners.

4.  Keeping us fit

Owning a dog can prompt exercise; a study of 2,000 adults found that those responsible for walking their dog exercised more and were less likely to be obese.

5. Pet’s make us happy

Pets boost feel-good emotions and thwart depression and loneliness.

Don’t believe us? Research it yourself! Aside from the thousands of anecdotal stories of pets essentially saving lives, there are plenty of fact-based findings that prove how good they are for us. So the next time you go to pet, treat, or walk your animal – today and every day – just remember all the favors they’re [unknowingly] doing for you, too.

Walks. Treats. Being brushed. Car rides. Floor cuddles. An extra long fetch session… What are some your favorite ways to show your pet they’re appreciated? Share with us!

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Homemade Fresh and Fruity Frozen Dog Treats

dog with sunglasses

Summer is well on its way, which means the produce section is finally going beyond apples, oranges, and bananas and providing delicious berries, juicy watermelons, and tangy pineapples for a sweet, healthy frozen dog treat. Yep, summer fruits are definitely a delight – and not just for humans! Of course dogs would love something natural, refreshing, and different as a reward during these warm months – so, in addition to our   Pro-Treats, here are a few of our favorite DIY fresh and fruity treats. (Pro-Tip: You may want to feed your pet these juicy treats outside to avoid sticky tile or stained carpets!)

Pawberry Banana Pupsicles
You’ll need:
¼ large banana
3 strawberries
Ice cubes
Ice mold of your choosing – preferably in a fun, summery shape!

What to Do:
Combine in a blender, pour into mold, freeze and treat!

Have fun with this! You can use a handful of blueberries, a few scoops of watermelon, ¼ of a mango or an ⅛ of a pineapple – just combine with ¼ of a banana and ice cubes, pour, and freeze for a delicious variety pack your dog will love!

Frozen Pawtermelon Surprise
You’ll need:
¼ of a watermelon, cut
Large ice mold

These are a breeze; simply blend the watermelon into a puree, pour into the mold, pop a blueberry in the middle, and freeze. (We admit to making extra for ourselves!)

We’d love to see your dogs enjoying some frozen summertime treats, snap a pic and share it on Facebook!

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Brace Yourself for National Wine Day with Pet Friendly Drinks

national wine day
















May 25 is National Wine Day,

which we feel needs no explanation or justification – it just is, and we love it. While one might think this is a human-only holiday, you should know by now that the pet world leaves no stone unturned when it comes to mirroring human trends. Oh yeah, vino’s gone to the dogs (and cats) with pet friendly drinks!

Before you call animal control to report barking under the influence, you should know these are pet friendly drinks [obviously] that are non-alcoholic and made with pet-friendly ingredients like filtered water, Alaskan salmon oil, beets, and chicken flavoring (among others) and can be purchased primarily online.

For pet people who like wine, this is a bit of a dream – in fact, a few girls in the office are already planning their Wine Day & Puppy Play soirees complete with Pinot Noir and ZinfanTail. Totally serious. And for those who really want to wow their furry friend, consider a little pairing – our delicious Raw Naturals™ Beef Recipe would pair beautifully with a full-bodied MalBark, while the Chicken Recipe would go nicely with a light Chardognay.

How do you plan on celebrating National Wine Day? Let us know on Facebook!


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Recognizing Dog Depression

depressed dog

May is Mental Health Month,

an important reminder to take care of yourself, but also to pay attention to those around you for any changes in behavior. This includes your pet. To some, it may sound silly to think that an animal could suffer from depression.  To others, it may make perfect sense. But, the truth is, animals can go through bouts of sadness just like humans, though long-term dog depression is a lot more uncommon.

Recognize the signs of dog depression

Much like humans, symptoms of depression in pets include social withdrawal, lack of appetite change in sleeping habits, and simply not enjoying or participating in the things they once did. The difficult part is that most of these symptoms can also point to pain, so anytime your pet exhibits these behaviors you should make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Causes of depression

Most of the time a major life change is to blame for the onset of depression in animals. Things like moving to a new home, having a new baby or partner come into your lives. Depression can be brought on even by adding another pet. In most professionals’ experience, long-term depression was brought on by one of two things: the death of an owner or the loss of a fellow pet. In the event of serious depression, prescriptions do exist to alleviate anxiety or balance mood but it’s important to be diligent in monitoring your pet’s behavior to be sure it’s depression before utilizing this option.

What you can do

If your pet seems a little blue, you can certainly try to cheer them up! Take them on car rides, walks or trips to the dog park. Add something special in their food. Give them a little extra TLC in your downtime. Just remember, it’s important not to overtreat while they’re moping, as they may interpret it as a reward and continue the behavior. You know your pet – if you think their sadness seems to excessive, don’t hesitate to call your vet.

Has your pet ever been treated for depression? Was there a time you knew they were sad but you were able to cheer them up? Tell us your story this month on Facebook.


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Say Cheese! 5 Tips for Purrfect Pet Pics

May is National Photography Month

While there’s no shortage of beautiful things to snap a picture of, one of our favorite things to focus the lens on is our pet. But picture taking can be tricky; sure, for some it may be as simple as point and click but true photography takes a little consideration – things like lighting, orientation, composition, and even intention are all thought about before the shutter clicks. These days, you don’t even need a super fancy camera to get portrait-quality photos, as most smart phones are constantly improving the lens right in your back pocket – so what are you waiting for? The perfect, sweetest, most adorable subject is already waiting by your front door (or windowsill) – so get to clicking! To help get you started, here are 5 tips to keep in mind for perfect pet pictures this month.

1. Use Natural Light.

Let’s face it, people rarely look better with a flash and pets are no different. Natural light will give the picture a soft look and avoid unsightly red eye; not to mention a flash may startle your pet. Try to get them near a window or in the backyard for the picture-perfect glow.

2. Get on their Level.

You can’t expect most pets to pose, so be sure you go to where they are to snap a candid rather than calling them over and expecting them to sit patiently – and switch it up! Try to snap a picture from their perspective or another different vantage point rather than the usual top view.

3. Capture their Personality.

You know your pet the best, so try to capture their personality! If your dog’s a chow hound, try to catch them catching a Pro-Treat or waiting for their dinner; if your cat’s a hunter try to snap them on the prowl. There are SO many ways to convey your pet’s personality in a picture; you just have to get creative!

4. Get their Attention.

For a beautifully natural, alert, and head-on image, let your pet relax while you get your equipment set up just right. Once ready, call or whistle to your animal and hit the shutter button when they perk their head up to meet your call. Some of our best snapshots have come about this way!

5. Be Patient.

Remember, this is supposed to be fun and you are working with animals so patience is necessary. Don’t get ahead of yourself with grandiose ideas of the perfect image, let the situation play out and snap accordingly. And play around! Try different angles, vantage points, and lighting techniques – you may surprise yourself!

#SeasonOfPets Show us your phodography! Snap a few pictures of your furry friends and post them to our page using our hashtag #SeasonOfPets – we’ll share our favorites throughout the month!


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The Lowdown On Food Toppers For Dogs

Wouldn’t your dog appreciate a food topper?

While dogs only have about 1700 taste buds (compared to humans’ 9000), it doesn’t mean that their kibble doesn’t become bland after years of consumption. Think about it, could you eat wheat bread two times a day, every day, for the rest of your life? That’s why some dogs can benefit from food toppers.  Not only do they boost palatability, but can provide added nutrients and a little variety to your pet’s diet.

Food toppers are great for picky pets, or  animals whose appetites are lacking due to surgery or stress. Food toppers are also perfect for prompting pets to eat when switching foods. Even for pets that aren’t picky, a food topper makes for a nice treat and a little variety.

Make sure you’re buying a quality food topper so you aren’t bogging down your pet’s regular nutrition with unnecessary fats and/or low grade ingredients. Our Flavor Enhancer is made from 100% beef or chicken liver to provide delicious flavor plus added protein and fiber. It can be sprinkled right on the food or mixed with water to make a delicious gravy that can also soften food for older pets.  We’ve also had many people write in to tell us that they use our Raw Naturals freeze dried food as a topper too!

Whichever product you choose, be sure to follow the feeding instructions. We also recommend you discuss the addition with your vet to ensure they’re not getting too much of a specific nutrient.  Finally, monitoring their stool is useful anytime you incorporate something new into your pet’s diet.

Let’s take it to Facebook: Do you opt for a topper for your pet? Why or why not?

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5 Questions And Answers About Using Slow Feeders For Dogs

Let’s talk slow feeders for dogs

As pet food experts, we’re often asked about slow feeders for dogs: What are they? What’s the point? Do they really work? Does my dog need one? Well, allow us to elaborate with a pseudo Q&A.

Q: What exactly are slow feeders for dogs? 

A: Slow feeders for dogs are bowls designed to make your pet ‘work’ to get the food out, often with obstacles or barriers to break up the flat surface of a bowl that allows pets to take big bites or eat too quickly.

Q: What’s the point?

A: Many animals ‘inhale’ or rapidly eat their food. This behaviour can cause vomiting, choking, upset stomach, or food bloat – which is potentially life threatening. A slow feeder is designed to avoid rapid eating, either prompting pets to chew between bites or just allowing less food in their mouth at a time.

Q: Do they really work?

A: Yes.  Most pets do take longer to eat, but finding the right slow feeder for your pet may take some fielding. Some may be too easy while others may take the joy out of mealtime for your animal altogether. You want one that allows your pet to eat at a comfortable pace.

Q: Any downsides?

A: Sure – some pets have ingested parts of the plastic barriers or even chipped a tooth by not being careful; other pet owners have noted it can be messy, meaning the bowl is harder to clean or their pet flips it over when trying to get to their food.

Q: So, does my dog need a slow feeder?

A: Suffice to say, not every dog needs a slow feeder but if your dog eats so fast you hear them choke or it’s caused them to vomit, a slow feeder could absolutely aid in preventing that.

Now it’s our turn to ask questions! Does your pet use a slow feeder? What prompted you to get one? Are you happy with the results? Tell us more on Facebook!


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Dear Stewart: Should My Dog Eat Gluten Free Dog Food?

gluten free dog food

We received the following email asking our opinion on gluten free dog food

Dear Stewart,

I live in an area, where consuming carbs and gluten pretty much makes you a social pariah. Admittedly, I try to avoid them for my figure (and social life), but it got me thinking… should my dogs avoid the same ingredients? They do alright on their current kibble, but my friends from spin class agree that grains and gluten would never be in a wild animal’s diet. Obviously my Yorkies are a far cry from wild animals, but I just really want to know: should they be eating gluten free dog food?

Toodles Foodies,



Dear Bread-less,

This question can be difficult to answer, but we will say this: all of our food and treats are grain and gluten free because, you’re right, dogs have no use for these ingredients – wild or otherwise. Of course, domesticated dogs have evolved to be able to digest and process grains and, for most dogs, they certainly aren’t harmful but, generally speaking, they’re really just cheap filler ingredients.

It’s important to clarify the difference between grain free and gluten free. Gluten is a protein found in certain grains, namely wheat, barley, and rye – so foods that are gluten free can still contain some grain, while grain-free foods are exactly that and, thus, gluten free as well. To attempt to answer your question, Bread-less: Many pets suffer food allergies and, since grains are seemingly useless, many owners eliminate them first an an attempt to stop the itching, inflamed skin or hair loss. Very few animals require a gluten-free diet, but all of them can benefit from a nutritious diet rich in protein, low in fat, and devoid of fillers like corn, soy, and wheat.



Your Low Carb-Eating Comrades at Stewart

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