Monthly Archives: March 2014

A garden is a beautiful thing but it can be deadly for your pets. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe.

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April showers bring May flowers! Many of us can’t wait to start planting our gardens.  By the time July rolls around, we find it quite satisfying to spend time in our gardens and admire our work.

But a beautiful garden can also be toxic for our pets. Mulch, fertilizers, compost material, and certain types of flowers and plants can result in severe illness and even death for your pets. It’s imperative that you do your research before selecting the products that you will use to grow your garden, and choose the types of flowers and plants.  It’s also recommended that you watch your pets carefully when they are outside while you’re planting your garden because if they accidentally ingest something, you may find yourself spending the rest of the day at the vet.

Mulch:
Cocoa bean mulch is made of discarded hulls or shells of the cocoa bean, which are by-products of chocolate production. Many dogs simply can’t resist the “chocolate-like” smell and will eat it if given the opportunity. Processed cocoa bean hulls can contain theobromine and caffeine, the two toxins found in chocolate that can cause vomiting and diarrhea for pets, and are toxic to the heart and nervous systems. It can be very difficult to determine the amount of toxins in mulch as it will vary from product to product so careful research should be done.

Cedar and other wood mulches contain essential oils and resins that may cause vomiting and excessive drooling. Wood mulch can cause bowel and stomach obstructions while sharp pieces may also tear the bowels, esophagus or stomach lining. Excessive amounts may produce the same reactions as chocolate poisoning, causing diarrhea, increased heart rate and tremors.

Although many varieties of mulch contain very low amounts of the toxins and are not as dangerous to dogs, those brands with higher toxin concentrations can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, an abnormal heart rhythm, seizures and in extreme cases, death. Since it can be difficult to determine the amount of toxins in mulch, we recommend that you keep your dog away from it and always supervise your pets while outside. Alternatively, it may be safer to just not use mulch in your garden.

Fertilizers, Soil Additives and Pesticides:
While fertilizers are usually safe for pets, some brands contain blood meal, bone meal, feather meal and iron, which dogs will find very tasty. But these can also be deadly for your four-legged friends. Meal-containing products, when ingested in large quantities, can form a mass in your dog’s stomach and may obstruct the gastrointestinal tract and cause severe pancreatitis. Those products that contain iron may result in iron poisoning. Further, if dogs ingest pesticides and insecticides which contain organophosphates (typically found in systemic rose care products) can be result in death for your dogs. Even a small amount can be very harmful.

Slug and Snail Baits:
Slug and snail baits, available in different varieties – pellets, granular, powder, liquid – contain the active ingredient metaldehyde, which is very poisonous for dogs and cats. Metaldehyde, when ingested, can result in salivation, restlessness, vomiting, tremors, seizures and life-threatening high body temperatures within 1 – 2 hours. It’s imperative that you take your pet to an emergency pet clinic immediately if your pet shows these types of symptoms. Since baits are highly toxic for pets, we recommend that you refrain from using them, particularly, if your pets are outside in your backyard a lot unsupervised.

Compost:
We recognize that composting is a great step in reducing the volume of garbage that is sent to landfills. However, compost can be very toxic to pets and wildlife so it’s important that you keep it secured and fenced off so that they don’t have access to the material. As organic matter decomposes, moulds can grown, some of which produce hazardous tremorgenic mycotoxins. Animals who ingest mouldy food or compost can become very sick. Symptoms include agitation, panting, drooling, vomiting, tremors and seizures. If you suspect that your pets have consumed compost material, it’s imperative that you take them to a licensed veterinarian immediately for treatment.

Flowers and plants:

There are a number of flowers and plants that can be deadly for pets.  We have noted some examples below.

1. Lilies can be deadly to dogs, cats, and rabbits, but lilliesparticularly for cats. While some varieties cause only minor symptoms, other varieties (Tiger, Asiatic, Easter, Japanese Show and Day Lilies) are toxic because they contain a substance called calledoxalic acid, which is poisonous to pets. The most deadly part of this plant is the root. Even ingesting a small amount of the lily, or being exposed to the pollen or the water in a vase that holds lilies, can result in severe kidney failure. If a cat has consumed any part of a lily, you must seek immediately veterinary care.

Daffodils

2. Daffodils are also deadly to pets. It’s the bulb that is the most dangerous, as it contains toxic alkaloids that cause an entire array of problems, including death.

3. Azaleas are deadly to dogs because they contain a substance called grayanotoxin, which can shut down a dog’s central nervous system.

4. Morning Glory contains seeds that can be highly toxic to dogs. The seeds contain a combination of poisonous chemicals that can result in death.

5. ImageCrocuses, the spring variety, can cause gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea) in dogs and cats. The fall version of the crocus is highly toxic for pets. It causes severe vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, and organ failure.

6. Oleander shrubs, if ingested by pets, can slow the heart rate, and result in death.

Tips for keeping your pets safe in your garden:

  • Check the labels of all plants and flowers before purchasing them to ensure that they are safe for pets.
  • Choose pet-friendly plants such as catnip for your garden.
  • Be careful when gardening, particularly if your pets are around. Cats and dogs may play with discarded plant material that is harmful for them.
  • If you suspect that your dogs is chewing some plant material that is potentially harmful, distract them with a toy or treats. Don’t chase them because they will think that you’re playing a game with them.
  • Be careful when using chemicals such as pesticides, fertilizers and slug products. Check the labels for warnings related to toxicity for pets. Keep all products locked away, and your pets away from these products if you choose to garden with them.
  • If you spray your lawns, keep your pets off of it for 24 hours after it’s been treated.
  • Always wipe your pet’s underbelly and paws when you head back into the house after playing outside.

SPECIAL NOTE: Do you know where your nearest emergency veterinarian clinic is?  Is there a 24-hour clinic close to where you live?  If you don’t know, now is an excellent time to find out.  Post the information on your fridge and add it to your cellphone.  Don’t wait until you have an emergency with your pet to look for a clinic close to you.

A garden is a beautiful thing. People find gardening very therapeutic, and spending quiet time in your garden is peaceful and provides great rejuvenation for us, both physically and mentally. But one plant or flower can prove to be life-threatening for your pets, so please ensure that you are aware of any dangers and protect them accordingly.

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Spring brings warmer weather, “April showers”, flowers…and fleas!

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Flea season begins in April, reaching its peak during the August humidity. A single female flea can lay 25 eggs per day, or 800 in her lifetime. Fleas can survive several weeks without ‘feeding’ on a host animal. Adult fleas can jump up to 20 cm vertically and 40 cm horizontally. Larvae can travel 30 cm per minute.

Be proactive and protect your pets and your home from an infestation.  Fleas can make your life miserable, and they will certainly make your dog and/or cat’s life miserable too.  Fleas can transmit parasites and cause allergic reactions.  One flea bite can potentially cause your pet great pain from the constant rubbing and scratching of the irritated skin, if they are allergic to fleas. Also called “pruritus,” this unpleasant itching can become so intense that pets will actually scratch until the skin bleeds.

The most common flea (there are more than 2,000 species of fleas!) is the cat flea and notwithstanding this name, the cat flea is found on both dogs and cats.  Fleas are small, brown, wingless, parasitic insects that feed on blood.  Fleas can live just about anywhere, but they prefer the warmth of a furry pet and they thrive in humid conditions. How can you tell if your pet has fleas? Watch for ‘flea dirt’ – small black specks in your pet’s coat, which are actually dried blood excreted by the fleas. During regular grooming, collect any debris from your pet’s coat onto a white paper. Moisten the specks with a drop of water and if they turn red or reddish-brown, your pet likely has fleas. Catching fleas early will make treating the problem easier.

The four-stage life cycle of fleas requires a consistent, ongoing approach to effectively prevent infestation. In the pupal stage, fleas are at their hardest to eliminate and they can remain in that stage for up to 6 months.

 

ImageLifecycle of a Flea

1st Stage – Egg: The adult female flea lays eggs only on your pet. As your pet moves around the house, eggs will fall off onto rugs and furniture which then hatch into larvae within 2 – 4 days.

2nd Stage – Larva: These maggot-like creatures feed off of protein sources found in carpets and/or furniture. A larva will feed on crumbs of food or “flea dirt” to sustain life. Within two weeks, the larva spins a cocoon.

3rd Stage – Pupa: The pupa’s cocoon protects it from outside dangers while it becomes an adult. While in this state, it is invulnerable to most flea control products. The flea will stay in this state for as little as 7-10 days, hatching when it senses the vibration and heat of an animal.  Note: Without the right amount of heat and the presence of a host to feed on, a pupa will remain dormant for up to 6 months. This is the reason behind many flea re-infestations.

4th Stage – Adult: The flea seeks out a host, takes a blood meal, mates within 48 hours, and lay eggs within 72 hours to begin the reproductive cycle again.

 

What is the best way to avoid a flea infestation?

Prevention!  You’ll find preventative products  at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store that are easy to use. The best product is a ‘spot’ treatment that you apply once per month for complete protection. Try Zodiac PowerSpot for small or large dogs or Zodiac Spot-On for cats. These products are effective against preventing a flea infestation.  Flea collars are also great for preventing fleas. One collar can usually kill fleas for the whole flea season (up to 5 months).

 

Help!  We have fleas!

It’s important to treat your pets and your house on a regular basis in order to manage an infestation.  A three-step process, done properly, can help you to eliminate fleas once and for all.

1.  Relief for your pet

It’s also important that you provide immediate relief for your pet with products like pet sprays or flea treatment shampoos.  Shampoos, wipes, sponge-ons, and on-animal sprays work fast because they are applied directly to a pet’s entire coat and quickly penetrate to the skin. It takes just a few minutes for the fleas to die when they come in contact with the active ingredients.

NOTE: Please follow the directions on any flea treatment products that you use on your pets. Some products will protect your pet for a longer period of time than others, but all products should be applied only as often as stated on the label.  Please speak to the Healthy Pet Care Specialists at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada as they can assist you with choosing the right product and helping you to understand how to apply it properly.  It is critical that you do not apply a product intended for dogs to your cats and vice versa as this can cause serious health implications. Again, it’s critical that you read the labels, follow directions, and apply the product properly.

2. Treat your Home

Although a flea infestation does affect your pet, the real issue is within the area where your pet stays in your home.  Flea eggs can lay dormant for months, so treating your home is critical.  A female flea may lay as many as 40-50 eggs on your pet each day, which fall off into your pet’s environment. Your pet can deposit a large number of eggs just by being in any area of your home for a brief moment. In addition, the flea larvae that hatch out from these eggs can migrate for several feet into areas your pet may never have actually been.

It’s imperative that you use appropriate products that will eliminate fleas, and treat all of your carpets, upholstered furniture, pet bedding, and favorite pet resting areas.  This is the only way to fully eliminate the adult flea population. It’s also important to treat underneath your furniture and in your closets because the larvae that hatch will seek out dark, hiding places and nest. A premise spray such as Zodiac Premise 2000 will kill adult fleas, stop eggs from hatching and kill the larvae.  This product will also continue to work for up to seven months.

Pets and children can safely re-enter a treated area once the spray is dry.

Treat all pet bedding by washing it in very hot water and then put it in your dryer on the hottest setting possible to kill the fleas.  Alternatively, if you don’t have access to a washing machine or the settings are not hot enough, you should dispose of all pet bedding.

After you vacuum your home, remember to throw away the vacuum bag because it’s an ideal location for a cocoon to form. The protective cocoon of the pupal flea allows it to survive most treatments. In order to be killed, fleas must first emerge from their cocoons and come in direct contact with the spray. It usually takes about one to two weeks for pupal fleas to emerge from cocoons so it’s not unusual to continue to see fleas for approximately 2-3 weeks after treating a pet and home.

3.  Maintenance

Once the infestation is resolved, it’s time to implement preventative measures to avoid an reoccurrence of a flea infestation.   Choose a product such as a topical ‘spot’ treatment or a collar. Products that contain Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) are proven effective at killing adult fleas and also interrupting the growth cycle by killing eggs and larvae.  Zodiac makes a variety of on-animal products with an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) to kill flea eggs. Since fleas lay their eggs on the pet, on-animal flea egg control prevents infestation right at the source.  Zodiac’s premise control products also contain an IGR to kill flea eggs and flea larvae for 7 or 12 months, depending on the product. This will help to prevent pre-adult fleas, that may already be present in the environment, from maturing and jumping back on your pet.

Global Pet Foods carries a wide variety of flea & tick products, including all-natural products.  Keep in mind that some natural products may not eliminate a full flea infestation.   We can assist you with flea & tick prevention and treatment for your pets.  Use our Store Locator to find a store near you.  http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations

Flea Facts (courtesy of Zodiac Pet):

  • Over 2,000 species and subspecies of fleas are known throughout the world.
  • Fleas are a wingless species with a streamlined body to permit running on the skin between hairs.
  • Breaking the flea cycle by following a 3-Step program helps control the flea population in your environment.
  • The most troublesome type of flea to dogs is actually the Cat Flea. The female Cat Flea may produce up to 50 eggs a day and 2,000 eggs in a lifetime.
  • Fleas can transmit tapeworms and can cause severe skin irritation in pets.
  • Dog fleas can cause flea-bitten anemia, flea-bite dermatitis, and tapeworm infestations.
  • Flea Allergy Dermatitis is the most common skin disorder of dogs and a major cause of skin disease in cats.
  • Some pets eat 50 to 90 percent of the fleas off of their body. This is one of the leading causes of tapeworm in pets.
  • Fleas pass through a complete life cycle consisting of egg, larva, pupa and adult.
  • Insect growth regulators, such as S-Methoprene, help prevent flea egg development.
  • Female fleas start producing eggs within 24 to 48 hours after taking their first blood meal and can lay up to 40 to 50 eggs per day.
  • In just 30 days, 10 female fleas can produce under ideal conditions 90,000 eggs.
  • A female flea ingests an average of 15 times her body weight in blood daily
  • Up to 5,000 fleas may live on a dog at one time without treatment.
  • A flea can jump as high as 13 inches.
  • Up to 95 percent of pre-adult fleas and ticks are found in places your pets hang out.
  • Females lay eggs in their hair coat and fall off into the pet�s environment.
  • Flea larvae can be found indoors in floor cracks & crevices, along baseboard, under rugs, and in furniture or beds. Outdoors, flea larvae live in soil (moist sand boxes, dirt crawl space under the house, under shrubs, etc.) or wherever the pet may rest or sleep.
  • Optimum conditions for flea larvae are 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit with shaded and high humidity. For this reason, treating the home is an important step in flea control.

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It’s time to Spring into Action!

Get your pets ready for Spring with a visit to Global Pet Foods!

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Spring is a time for renewal. The snow and ice melt way, and the birds return to our backyards along with warmer weather, longer daylight hours, budding trees and, eventually, beautiful gardens.

Baseball, long walks, open windows – spring is a favourite season for many people.

Spring also brings new chores, and a list of “things to do” to ensure that we’re ready for the season so that can enjoy it to its fullest. For pet parents, spring can be a challenging time for their furry companions, there are a number of precautions that we should take so that they can enjoy the season in all its glory.

1.  Spring Cleaning:  Now is a great time for a good spring cleaning!  When you’re cleaning your house, don’t forget to wash and clean your pets’ products too. Inspect your pet’s bed, their food and water dishes, clothing, collars and leashes, etc.  Check for tears, rips or items that are worn out.  Worn out or torn products that could injure or choke your pet if swallowed, should be replaced with new ones.

2.  Flea & Tick Season:  The warmer temperatures also signals the start of the flea and tick season, which continues through summer, and peaks in September and October.  It’s imperative that you take preventative measures and check your pet regularly during the season.  Proper application of any treatment that you use is also necessary to keep your pets healthy.  Please speak to our Healthy Pet Care Specialists who can educate about fleas and ticks and how to prevent them, and ensure that you buy the right products and apply them properly.

3.  Become Eco-Friendly:  As you begin to treat your lawns and gardens with fertilizer and pools with chemicals, choose eco-friendly or non-toxic products.  Dogs and cats have their noses close to the ground, where lawn and garden pesticides may linger and if they lick themselves afterwards, they could be at risk or chemical poisoning.  Compost material can also be hazardous to their health so keep the composter and chemicals locked away.  Avoid playing on your lawn for 24 hours after you have sprayed it. Always wipe your pets’ paws and their under-belly before heading back inside.

4.  Grooming:  The shedding of the winter coats for many breeds of dogs and cats takes place in spring, so grooming is critical.  Brushing your pet once a day will greatly reduce the unwanted hair as they begin to lose their undercoat.  The more hair you remove, the less you will see all over your home.  A good quality brush is a great investment as it will help to drastically reduce the shedding.  Brushing also helps to restore oils to the new coat, stimulates the skin and prevents matting, which can be painful.  Setting aside time each day for grooming is also a great time to bond with your pet.

5.  Walk Before you Run:  The exercise levels for many of us and our pets during winter have been minimal or non-existent, which has probably resulted in some weight gain.  If this is the case, start with moderate walks and gradually build up the level of exercise until you can get to a brisk walk or run over a few weeks’ time.  This will help to avoid joint and muscle strains or other major injuries.

Celebrate the arrival of spring!  We have the best products that you’ll need to keep your pets happy and healthy during this wonderful season. Global Pet Foods looks forward to seeing you and your pets in our stores!

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Eco-Friendly, Education, Exercise, Flea & Tick, Grooming, Healthy Pets, Pet Care, Pet Food, Spring

Is it time for a Pet Wellness Consultation?

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Many pet parents have questions and concerns as follows:

  1. What’s the best food for your pet?
  2. Is your dog or cat overweight?
  3. Is your pet shedding?
  4. Does your dog have difficulties with stairs?
  5. Is your cat or dog drinking enough water?
  6. Is your pet getting enough exercise?
  7. How do you care for your hamster (or other small animal or bird)?

Our Healthy Pet Care Specialists can answer these questions and more. We have the expertise to recommend the best brand of pet food, supplement, treat, toy, or any other pet product – along with great pet care tips – so that your companion pets are healthy and happy!

If you have any concerns about whether you are providing your companion pet with the best care and feeding them the best food, please schedule a Wellness Consultation with the Healthy Pet Care specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store. The Consultation takes approximately 30 minutes to complete, which allows us to get acquainted with you and your pet. We recommend that you bring your pet with you to the store so that our Healthy Pet Care Specialists can see your pet, which will help them to identify any obvious issues, such as dry skin, issues with their teeth, or other problems.  We will discuss all of your pet care needs and offer you the following:

  • Evaluate your pet’s diet (food and supplements) to ensure that it’s suitable for their age, activity level, and that it address any special needs such as their weight (ie. overweight or underweight), dental health, joint issues, where they have allergies, etc.
  • Information related to vaccination concerns.
  • Parasite and Flea and Tick prevention information.
  • A grooming and general care plan
  • Exercise recommendations.

Discuss any other concerns based your pet’s individual situation.  We may recommend  a food change, adding a supplement to their food or water, or recommend a topical treatment that can clear up any health issues quickly which will help to improve your pet’s quality of life.

You want the best for your pet.  We do too.  We know that being a pet parent can be challenging when your furry child isn’t eating or experiencing health issues. Whether they suffer from allergies, dental issues, joint stiffness or a myriad of other health problems, we understand that you just want to help them. We pride ourselves on being pet nutrition and pet care specialists and we will use our knowledge and expertise to help you find the right solutions for your companion pets’ needs.

While we recommend that you visit a licensed veterinarian on an annual basis, there are many issues that can be cleared up with a visit to a pet specialty retailer such as Global Pet Foods.

Educate and empower yourself with this valuable pet care consultation and receive product and pet care recommendations to help you make better informed decisions for your pet’s health now and in the future.  And the best part about this is it’s free!

To find a Global Pet Foods store near you, visit http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations.

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