Tips to Break your Buddy’s Begging Habit

begging dog

For us, it seems like one of the hardest habits to break our dogs of is begging. But we can’t really blame them. If we had their sense of smell, we can’t imagine how tempting french fries would become. The only thing we can do is teach them otherwise. There are a few ways to take care of the issue, whether direct prevention or training, but here are a few of our favorite tricks to help train your pet out of staring you down while you eat. Pro-Tip: Mix and match for a combination of tactics that work for you and your pet.

  • Step 1: Stop Sharing. If you have the opportunity to never introduce a young puppy to people food, you’ll probably never have a problem. For those with the habit already established, the first thing to do is stop sharing anything off your plate – don’t give them a reason to beg!
  • Baby Gate. Ah, the beloved baby gate – always there as a reliable barrier to keep our companions at bay. This is obviously the most direct approach in keeping your dog out from under your armpit while you eat, but it probably won’t teach your them not to whimper, bark, or stare during mealtime. Which is where the other tricks come in…
  • Diversion Tactics. Give your dog something to do while you eat – such as a bone, puzzle treater with fragrant treats, or toy. Put the distraction on their bed or in their crate and instruct them to lay down and stay. For some dogs, this will be an easy and welcomed alternative while other dogs may be a little more persistent. Be consistent in showing them what you want, but for the dog who simply won’t give up…
  • The Squirt Bottle. In our household, the squirt bottle is DEFCON 1. While we don’t enjoy using it because they hate it, it’s harmless and effective. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where it doesn’t even need to be used, its mere presence at the table is strong enough to deter begging. A few sturdy streams to your pet’s neck or torso, with the command to go on their bed usually yields the proper response. Don’t overdo it and be sure not to aim at their face or ears.

All of these things will take time and consistency (minus the baby gate, that’s immediate.) It may take a few instances of you getting up from the table to show your pet what’s expected from them – and always treat them when they do the right thing. (You could even consider a training treat for this to keep calories low during the learning curve.)

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Tips to Break your Buddy’s Begging Habit

Microchip Misconceptions that Get Under Our Skin

dog with vet reading microchip

We already know that properly identifying your pet is a bare necessity when it comes to being a responsible owner, but a lot of people fall short when it comes to their due diligence. Don’t get us wrong, tags are a terrific way to identify your pet should they ever get lost – they’re immediately visible and can yield quick results – but, tags and collars can fall off; their real ticket home is a microchip.  A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and painlessly inserted beneath the skin between your dog or cat’s shoulders; the chip can be scanned and registered with the all information needed to reunite you with your buddy. But there are a few common micro misconceptions floating around that we’d like to debunk to ensure your pet has the best chance of coming home.

Micro Myth #1: A microchip is a GPS device.

While it would be awesome if a chip could tell you where your pet is, that’s not how it works. It’s an electronic chip with a radio-frequency identification number that’s linked to your information when scanned; it requires no charging (wouldn’t THAT be weird.) and will last the lifetime of your pet.

Micro Myth #2: Having my pet chipped requires surgery.

Completely untrue; it’s an outpatient procedure that most pets react to much like a vaccine. It’s important to avoid any rigorous activity for 24 hours after insertion, as the chip has an anti-migration coating that needs a chance to adhere to the skin. 

Micro Myth #3: My pet’s chipped, so we’re all set.

Whether you’re the one who gets your pet chipped or they already had one when you adopted them, your pet isn’t automatically protected. You have to register your information to chip. You can do this through the company that manufactured the chip or the international database. Without this step, the microchip is useless.

You feed your pet a premium diet, make sure their water bowl is fresh and clean, walk them, and take them to routine vet visits – why wouldn’t you take the extra step to ensure they’re properly identified and claimed as yours? If your pet isn’t chipped, consider having it done. If they are, make sure the information is up to date. And if you’re not sure, have your vet or shelter scan your pet and they’ll give you all the info you need.

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Microchip Misconceptions that Get Under Our Skin

Something New for Fido: Homemade Ice Cream

dog with ice cream cone

Now that the weather’s warming up it’s time to get excited for our favorite cold, delicious summer treats – and we think our pets should be able to, too! Liver treats regularly are a delicious and healthy option, but if you’ve never made homemade ice cream for your pup, say hello to your new summer staple; not only do you control the ingredient list, but your companion will absolutely love it. Here are two of our favorite recipes – and for dogs who can’t have yogurt, frozen chicken broth or cubed watermelon make great makeshift pupsicles!

                Strawberry Dew Drops

                What You’ll Need:

  • 1 small tub of strawberries
  • 3-4 cups low or nonfat plain yogurt
  • Potato masher (or the like)
  • Storage container

Optional: Large ziploc bag

                   Cookie sheet lined with wax paper

It’s easy! Just mash up the strawberries and add them to the yogurt. Pour the mixture in the bag, cut a hole in the corner, and squeeze whatever size drops you’d like onto the wax paper. Freeze until solid, then transfer into storage container.

                Peanut Butter Banana Bliss

                What you’ll need:

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 5 cups peanut butter
  • 2-3 cups low or nonfat plain yogurt
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • A pot or microwave safe container
  • Storage container

Mash the banana and stir into yogurt. Using the stove or microwave, warm the peanut butter so it’s softened. Add the honey and banana yogurt mixture to the peanut butter and stir until well mixed. Place in storage container and freeze.

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Something New for Fido: Homemade Ice Cream

National Pet Day: How Millions of Pet-Owning Households Can Participate

Group_of_Pets

Tuesday, April 11, is National Pet Day – an awareness holiday intended to bring attention not only to your own relationship with your animal, but also to the less fortunate buddies in your community. And with so many pet lovers throughout the U.S., there’s certainly no shortage of compassion out there! How many pet lovers, you may ask?

According to a study conducted by the American Pet Products Association, there are nearly 80 million pet owning households in the United States caring for animals ranging from dogs to horses to saltwater fish (which may just be our favorite thing about pets: there’s truly an animal for every lifestyle!) This week, in honor of National Pet Day, we hope you’ll take the opportunity to spoil your pet a little more, but also do a little something for the pets still waiting for their forever homes. Something like…

  • Buying your pet a new treat or toy.
  • Taking your pet, or a shelter dog, on a walk or other fun outing.
  • Donate! Whether it’s food, pet supplies, or cleaning supplies – there’s no way your local shelter or rescue won’t appreciate the sentiment.
  • Volunteer! It doesn’t matter if it’s just today, once a week, or once a month – donating your time is one of the most compassionate and fulfilling things you can do.
  • Consider fostering or adoption. Seriously, why not?! If you can’t permanently adopt, fostering is a wonderful option – you get to care for a pet while they find their forever home. No only will it enhance their quality of life but it frees up space in the shelter for another buddy who needs it.
  • Spread the word. Awareness is a great way to help the pet population – tell your animal loving friends about National Pet Day and get them involved. When it comes to helping, the more the merrier!

What did we miss? Show us how you plan on celebrating National Pet Day!

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on National Pet Day: How Millions of Pet-Owning Households Can Participate

An Easter Basket Fit for Fido

Easter_Bunny_Dog

Other than rabbits, Easter isn’t exactly the most popular time to think of pets – but, honestly, we use any excuse to spoil our pooches soo… guess who also wakes up to a personalized basket on Easter morning? We know it sounds silly, but if you haven’t done it, you really should – it’s one of our favorite things to see everyone ripping into their fun new goodies before breakfast. Our trick, to including Buddy in the Easter celebration, is making sure that anything the kids get, we also get in a dog-friendly version. To help you find good dog friendly alternatives, we’ve put together a quick key:

  • Chocolates, marshmallows, and other assorted sweets = A new and delicious treat for Fido. We recommend going the nutritious route (but we understand wanting to be a little indulgent, too.)
  • A new truck, doll, or video game = A fun new plaything – and put a little thought into it! If your pet loves a stuffed animal, get them a new plush toy; if your pet’s a little rougher then get them a new chew toy or bone.
  • New t-shirt, sweatshirt, or PJ pants = A fashionable new collar and leash set for your dog, or maybe a cute new sweater (if that’s something your dog would use.) It’s fun to switch it up every now and then with seasonal patterns!
  • If you’re the functional gift-giving type and put something like a toothbrush and toothpaste in your kids’ baskets then don’t forget a dental treat for your pet.

Do you have an Easter basket ready to give to your pet? We’d love to see!

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on An Easter Basket Fit for Fido

Pup, Pup, Hooray! Celebrating National Puppy Day

We don’t know about you, but there are few things we can think of cuter than puppies. There’s just something about those goofy, fluffy, curious little oafs that melts our heart… and makes it incredibly difficult to punish them (ugh.) March 23 is National Puppy Day, an opportunity to celebrate the magic that are puppies and the love and light they bring into our lives.

There are so many ways to celebrate Puppy Day, the most obvious being to save a pup by adopting through a local rescue or shelter. If that’s simply not an option, here are a few of our favorite suggestions from the cause’s website:

  • Donate food, money, toys, or even your time to your favorite shelter or rescue
  • Paint a portrait of your puppy (or have someone do it professionally if you really mean business!)
  • Get your puppy a fun new toy or delicious new treat
  • Take today to invest and install a car safety harness for the lifetime of adventures ahead
  • Make a pledge or resolution, like only natural treats or filtered water, to keep your puppy healthy for life
  • Safety proof the home, one last time; pay special attention to wires, harmful chemicals, and the pool if you have one

If you already have a puppy or young dog in your life, now’s the time to resolve to be the best pet owner you can be – and a good place to start is with a proper foundation of behavior training and good nutrition. Whether you take classes at your local pet retailer, hire a professional, or carve out 30 minutes a day to teach your pet things like sit, stay, come, and drop it, you will never regret training your puppy while they’re young; not only will they be a polite companion, but you’re establishing a healthy bond that will fulfill you both for years to come. 

When it comes to puppy nutrition, look for things like DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid key to brain development in young dogs,  calcium for strong bone development, antioxidants which help build a strong immune system, and overall wholesome ingredients -the simpler the better.  Read more about our ingredient benefits here.

Show us how you’re celebrating National Puppy Day!

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pup, Pup, Hooray! Celebrating National Puppy Day

A Wee Ode to Some Four Leaf Canines

St Patricks Day Dog

Ah, St. Patrick’s Day, once a religious celebration for the Irish, now a widespread celebration complete with parades, food, dancing, drinking, and lots o’ green. But, seeing as it all started in Ireland, we wanted to get in the spirit the best way us dog fanatics know how: by sharing a wee recap o’ breeds lucky enough to call themselves Irish.

Irish Terrier
An active, headstrong breed that requires daily physical activity and a dominant leader, Irish Terriers are sturdy, smart, and have a thirst for action, making them great for agility training.

Irish Wolfhound
Making their debut in Ireland about 5,000 years ago, these big, gentle giants were once thought to be quite the threat on the battlefield. (Amazing what thousands of years of domestication can do!)

Irish Lurcher
We can thank a 14th century British rule for this breed; the rule outlawed commoners owning ‘established’ sighthounds, so they bred their own. Most Lurchers are the mix of a sighthound (Greyhound, Whippet) and a working breed, like a Collie or Shepherd.

Irish Setter
On top of their good looks, Setters are among the most affectionate breeds out there when properly exercised and loved. They can be destructive if their high-energy needs aren’t met, so daily runs are recommended to keep them happy.

Pro-Tip: It’s no secret that purebred dogs can have fickle stomachs, so consider an easy-to-digest raw diet if you notice their fur isn’t its shiniest or their skin’s dry or itchy. It’s amazing what the right ingredients can do for dogs with dietary issues.

Do you own an Irish breed or dress up your pup for St. Patty’s Day? Share them with us on Facebook!  

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Wee Ode to Some Four Leaf Canines

Water Fountains for Pets: Pros and Cons

cute puppy drinkin gfrom a fountain

As pet nutrition experts, we focus a lot of our attention on food, but proper hydration plays just as big of a role in our pets’ well being. Just like us, pets’ bodies are composed of up to 80% water and improper hydration can affect things like circulation, digestion, and detoxification – which is why animal experts relentlessly emphasize the importance of pets’ access to fresh, clean water. While most pet owners are used to changing a water bowl every day and their companion has no issues with standing water, some pets much prefer a stream of moving water (like when cats drink from the tap) and, let’s face it, some owners can be forgetful. Enter: the pet water fountain, providing a continuous flow of filtered water that entices pets to drink more.

We initially thought pet water fountains were more of a fancy, decorative accessory for upper class pet owners, but the truth of the matter is they can really increase hydration and provide peace of mind that pets have the freshest water possible, and plenty of it. But these new-fangled fountains aren’t without their cons – they can be a bit pricy, require somewhat detailed maintenance to keep them efficient, and of course the ongoing cost of filters, which are a key component to the fountain’s purpose.

Whether your household would benefit from a pet water fountain is, of course, up to you – some owners think the cost is worth the convenience while others are just fine with washing and refilling the bowl as needed. But if your pet struggles with proper hydration, or avoids drinking altogether, a pet fountain is totally worth a try, as some pets dislike the smell or taste of standing water and the moving filtration can make the world of difference (in fact, we’ve personally noticed our cats especially enjoy it.)

Have a fountain you personally love or tips for those considering buying one? Share with us!

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Water Fountains for Pets: Pros and Cons

One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Finding Your Pet’s Ideal Diet

Yellow lab puppy eating from a bowl

For many pet owners one of the biggest challenges is finding the right diet for their pet, as that’s probably the biggest contributor to their longevity; and with so many “complete and balanced” options on the shelves, it can be hard to decide which one is best. As the dog nutrition experts, we will say there isn’t a universal answer to which type of food your companion will do best on, but we can offer a few bullet points you should ensure your preferred brand meets so you know your dog is well nourished.

  • Avoid Corn as a Main Ingredient. Your dog has very little use for grain in his diet, but pet food companies love it because it’s cheap and filling. If corn is a first ingredient, it’s time to reconsider your kibble. Main ingredients should be a protein source, like beef, chicken, or lamb.
  • Beware of Byproduct. ‘Byproduct’ is a PR-friendly term that you could realistically just substitute for the word ‘parts’ (ie: chicken parts, beef parts). Not only is it incredibly ambiguous but byproduct has very little regulation in the pet food world, making it a true wild card. The hotdog of the pet world, if you will.
  • Peruse those Percentages. In the guaranteed analysis look for at least 30% protein content, a minimum of 18% fat, and for Omega Fatty Acids to be present. Preservatives should come in the way of Vitamin C or E.
  • In General: Sound it Out. If you can’t pronounce some of the ingredients on your pet food label, it may be time to reconsider what you’re feeding. We know kibble has been around for decades, but more and more people are realizing pets need wholesome, easy-to-digest food just as much as we do and some brands simply don’t provide that. For more information on what goes into our food and why, head to the Learning Center and click the “Product Benefits” tab, everything you need to know is under “Ingredient Benefits”.

The most popular signs that your pet may be on a poor diet include flaky skin, a dull, smelly, or oily coat, ear infections, and hotspots. As far as how much to feed, start with the company’s recommended feeding – but remember that those recommendations are based on healthy, regularly active pets; if your animal has a thyroid condition, food allergy, or other issue, consult your veterinarian about ideal weight and feedings. From there, monitor your pet’s weight and adjust feeding (and treating) as necessary.

Do you have a story about how pet food drastically improved your pet’s life? We’d love to hear it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Finding Your Pet’s Ideal Diet

Check Out Our Cat Health Checklist

black and white cat with beautiful green eyes

We may be dog nutrition experts, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love all companion animals. February is Cat Health Month, intended to bring feline health to the forefront of owners’ minds, because according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), dogs visit the vet about 1.5 times a year while cats go less than once. But just because cats see the vet less than their canine counterparts, it doesn’t mean they naturally maintain better health. To help you meet the mark, we’ve put together a quick checklist to help keep kitty in tip-top shape.

  • Vet Visits. Nothing can replace proper veterinary care; make your cat an appointment at least once a year or if you start noticing anything abnormal.
  • Skin and Coat. Skin and coat play a large part in reflecting pets’ overall health. Their coat should be soft, smooth, rich in color, and free of flakes or matting.
  • Periodically peep in on their litter box to make sure they’re using it regularly and that their stool is consistent and firm; if you notice your cat’s avoiding the litter box or irregular excrement for an extended amount of time, consult your veterinarian.
  • Dental Health. Teeth play a major role in cats’ health; teeth should be free of tartar and plaque (check out their back teeth to see if either are developing.) Gums should be bright pink and breath shouldn’t be noticeably off putting. February is also Pet Dental Health Month, check with your veterinarian for discounted cleanings and to schedule a dental exam. But, in the meantime, consider an at-home regimen, like using an easy dental cleaner twice a week.
  • Your cat’s energy and playfulness are great insight into how they’re feeling – if you notice your usually-chipper kitty acting lethargic or out of character, consult your veterinarian.
  • Being prepared can be the difference between an injury and an emergency, so consider some safety and relief products to help you help your cat at home.

Share your happy, healthy cats with us and our cat-loving community on Facebook!

Posted in Latest News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Check Out Our Cat Health Checklist