Category Archives: Pet Food

February is Pet Dental Health Month

February is Dental MonthYou clearly recognize the importance and benefits of having a mouth full of healthy teeth and gums, so why the lack of interest when it comes to pet’s dental health? A lack of regular and attentive care can result in serious health implications for your pet. Studies show that pets that don’t receive regular dental care can suffer from heart, kidney and liver problems.

Pets that struggle with poor dental health exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, swollen and or bleeding gums
  • Yellow-brown deposits like cement along the gum line or on the crowns
  • Becoming a picky eater
  • Eating on one side and dropping food
  • Rubbing face on the ground, pawing at the mouth and drooling
  • Personality change, irritability and depression

People often underestimate the prevention and maintenance steps required to maintain their pet’s oral health.  Pets should have their teeth brushed on a regular basis.

For the best dental care results, try the following tips and tricks:

  1. Dental care is critical for your pet’s health. If you are not able to brush your dog’s teeth, there are other options when you’re in between vet visits. Consider using oral brushing-dogs-teethrinses that are formulated for dogs and/or cats.
  2. Never use human toothpaste because the foaming agents can pose health risks to pets.
  3. Do not give your pet any type of candy, ever! Like chocolate, sorbitol-sweetened candy is toxic to dogs. Regular candy is bad for your pet’s teeth (and yours!).
  4. Some toys, like nylon tennis balls, can erode the crowns of your dog’s teeth, so look for toys that provide some protection, like durable rubber toys.
  5. While many brands of dry pet food incorporate dental benefits, giving your pet special dental treats formulated to reduce tartar, plaque build-up and stains is another option to help prevent oral health problems. Many people give their dogs a bone or rawhide as a way to help keep their teeth clean. While these can help keep your pets’ teeth clean, they may also cause tooth fractures, or result in your pet ingesting bone shards. Keep an eye on your pets when they are chewing these products to ensure that they don’t choke on any pieces that may have broken off. Ask our Healthy Pet Care Specialists for assistance in selecting the right product and size of bone or chew for your pet.
  6. Contact your veterinarian if you note changes in your pet’s behaviour or health. The following usually indicates an issue that must be addressed by a professional: your pet stops eating, they have bad breath, they are drooling excessively, their gums are inflamed, or their teeth are visibly damaged or they’ve lost a tooth (or teeth).   NOTE: Failure to obtain professional care for your pet’s dental problems can result in serious health problems.

Looking after pets’ teeth and gums is one key factor in keeping them healthy and happy for many years. You’ll find a wide variety of new and improved dental products for cats and dogs in your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store. Our Healthy Pet Care Specialists are happy to provide assistance with managing your pets’ oral health.

We want to see your pet’s smile!cats-teeth-february-2017

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Filed under Cats, Dental Care, Dogs, Education, Grooming, Healthy Pets, love, Pet Care, Pet Food, pet safety, Uncategorized

Halloween Can Be Scary For Dogs & Cats

dog-on-front-stoop-with-pumpkinsHalloween can be a wonderful time for both kids and the adults!  But for pets?  The night can become a nightmare. Please ensure that they’re well protected (safe and happy)!

Keep your pets away from the stress and dangers tonight with the tips noted below:

  • Walk your dog before the trick-or-treating starts. Keep a firm grip on the leash because many dogs are frightened by people in costumes.
  • Keep dogs indoors. It’s just not a good idea to leave dogs out in the yard during trick-or treating.   Most dogs are likely to bark and howl at the constant flow of treat-or-treaters.
  • Find a safe and secure place in your home to keep your dogs, especially if you’re giving out candy to trick-or-treaters. Many dogs will try to get loose when they hear the doorbell or when the door opens and the presence of little kids and adults in costumes is scary for many animals, which may result in them running away.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing an up-to-date ID tag to ensure that you can be reunited in the event they do run off.
  • If your dog has a habit of breaking free from a confined space or someone lets them out, place a dog gate in front of your front door to block access to the kids. Many dogs will run after trick-or-treaters.
  • If your dog has any aggressive tendencies, has a fear of loud noises, or a habit of excessive barking, place him in a quiet room as far away from your front door as possible and at least a half-hour the before trick-or-treaters arrive.
  • You may want to consider crating your pet upstairs, downstairs or in the farthest room from the front door, which can make her feel more secure and reduce the chance of an accidental escapes. Provide chew toys, a favorite blanket, a piece of clothing with your scent on it, etc. Play soft music or a recording of soothing sounds.
  • If you feel that your dog is fine to be near the front door to greet the trick-or-treaters, keep him on leash. Some pets will become very stressed by holiday activities and changes in their normal routine. A nervous dog might feel threatened and growl, lunge or bite at the kids and adults at the door, which can damper the fun for everyone.
  • All cats should be kept indoors at all times during Halloween night
  • Ensure that all candles, jack-o-lanterns, decorations or ornaments are put safely out of reach of your pets. If they’re quite curious and tend to gravitate to these items, refrain from decorating with them.
  • Some pets are afraid of wearing Halloween costumes. Further, costumes can present safety and health hazards for dogs, so think twice before dressing them up. Ensure that your pet can breathe, see and hear, and that the costume is flame retardant. Remove any small or dangling pieces that may be chewed and swallowed. Avoid rubber bands, as these may cut off your pet’s circulation or, can burrow and cut into their skin.
  • If your pet is very high-strung, visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store and speak to one of our Healthy Pet Care Specialists to see what products and supplements can help calm them for the night.bowl-of-halloween-candy
  • Keep all pets away from of the candy bowl. Throw away all candy wrappers so that you pets can’t get at them, since the wrappers can cause choking or intestinal obstruction, and make sure that your dog can’t get into the trash. NOTE: Chocolate contains theobromine, which can cause nerve damage and even death in dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more concentrated it is — and the smaller the lethal dose.
  • Explain to everyone in your home, especially your children, just how dangerous treats are to pets. Put your children’s candy out of reach of your pets. Remind your children about leaving candy wrappers on the floor.
  • Unfortunately, the sidewalks and grass tend to be littered with pieces of candy or wrappers the day after Halloween. When walking your dog during or after Halloween, be on the look-out for this as this may present a choking hazard for him.

Chocolate can be very harmful for pets.  In fact, chocolate poisoning can even result in death.  Chocolate is made from cocoa, and cocoa beans contain caffeine and a related chemical compound called theobromine, which can be fatal for your pets if ingested.

Theobromine is in the same family as caffeine and is a type of stimulant which stimulates the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and causes a slightly increased blood pressure.  Pets cannot metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans can which is why it has such dangerous and toxic side effects for them.

Unsweetened baker’s chocolate contains about 390 milligrams of theobromine per ounce, about ten times more than milk chocolate and more than twice as much as semi-sweet chocolate. White chocolate contains very little theobromine.  One ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is potentially lethal.

The real danger lies with dark chocolate.  Darker chocolate contains higher levels of theobromine which means it`s more poisonous for dogs. Just 2.25 ounces of baking chocolate could potentially kill a 22-pound dog, while the danger levels for milk chocolate is 20 ounces, and semi-sweet chocolate can be very toxic at 10 ounces. Serious toxic reactions can occur with ingestion of about 100 to 150 milligrams of theobromine per kilogram of body weight.

Dogs may exhibit the symptoms following within 1 – 4 hours of eating chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) as noted below:

  • Whining
  • Hyperactive behaviourchocolategroup
  • dehydration
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Excessive panting
  • Digestive problems
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty keeping balance
  • Muscle spasms, seizures
  • Rapid heart rate

When a dog shows signs of hyperactivity and agitation or is having seizures, it’s important that you get him or her to the vet quickly.  While there is no specific remedy for chocolate poisoning, the vet will induce vomiting. Usually, after that`s done, activated charcoal is given to help prevent the absorption of the remaining toxins. Fluids are typically given along with intravenous drugs to limit seizures and protect their hearts.

Most cats don’t have a sweet tooth and won`t usually eat chocolate on their own but may do so if coaxed.  While chocolate isn’t necessarily as lethal for cats as it is for dogs, it should be kept out of reach for them too as it can cause severe health problems.

Keep ALL candy and sugary foods away from pets.  Sugar isn’t good for them either as it can lead to obesity, dental problems and diabetes mellitus.  Further, if wrappers are swallowed, your pet risks tearing of the esophagus or intestines.dachshund

Treat your pet right this Halloween night!  You’ll find a variety of yummy pet treats that are safe for your pets at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada.  Access our store locator via the Global Pet Foods website noted here: http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!!

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Filed under Cats, Dental Care, Dogs, Education, Fall, Halloween, Healthy Pets, love, Pet Care, Pet Food, pet safety, Uncategorized

Chocolate and Pets: A Dangerous Combination!

Halloween and Christmas are quickly approaching and that can only mean one thing…treats! Many of us will have candy and chocolate in the candy dishes at home. Please keep in mind that chocolate can be deadly for pets. Chocolate and coca contain the stimulant theobromine which is toxic for dogs and cats. Some additional information regarding the dangers of chocolate are included in the infographic below.

Please ensure that you keep candy and chocolate out of reach for your pets at all times. We all want to avoid an unnecessary trip to the vet!

We have a large selection of yummy and healthy treats that are good for both dogs and cats.  Visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store and talk to our Healthy Pet Care Specialists about ideal treat recommendations for your pets.   Your pets will love you for it!

Chocolate.jpg

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Education, Exercise, Halloween, Healthy Pets, love, Pet Care, Pet Food, pet safety, Winter

A new year and a new opportunity to improve our pets’ health

happy new year cat2016Happy New Year! A new year brings a clean slate and the opportunity to make improvements to key areas of our lives.

For some of us, the word “resolution” makes us cringe. The definitions for the word “resolution” are:

  • A resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something
  • The act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
  • The mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.

A resolution isn’t a bad thing.  Slowly implementing a few changes each day can make a significant different in people’s lives.  As Canada’s Healthy Choice for Pets, we want to help you incorporate some healthy routines into your daily activity for you and your pets.

Most people consider their pets to be family members.  We want to give our children the very best of everything, don’t we?   The most important thing to remember when you bring a pet into your home is that they do not grow up and “leave the nest” so you are responsible for their well-being for the duration of their life.   Your pet trusts you to feed him, keep her warm, healthy and safe, and it’s critical that you spend quality time with your pet every day.

We recommend that you do the following to improve the overall health and wellbeing of your pet in 2016:

Schedule a Wellness Consultation

Schedule a Wellness Consultation with a Global Pet Foods’ Healthy Pet Care Specialist who can provide feedback and product recommendations for the following questions:

  • What’s the right food to feed my pet (dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, etc.)?
  • Is my dog or cat overweight?
  • Is my pet shedding?
  • What can I do if my pet has difficulty with climbing stairs?
  • Is my pet drinking enough water?
  • Is my pet getting enough exercise?
  • There are changes to my pet’s water consumption, appetite, eliminations, or activity levels that concerns me. What steps should I be taking?

Cambridge1

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

Are you concerned about whether you’re providing your companion pet with the best care?  Schedule a Wellness Consultation with one of our Healthy Pet Care specialists and at your appointment, they’ll do the following:

  1. Evaluate your pet’s diet (food and supplements) to ensure that it’s suitable for their age and activity level, and that it address their special needs, ie. weight, dental, joint, allergies, etc.
  2. Provide you with flea & tick prevention information.
  3. Create a grooming and general care plan for your pet(s).
  4. Provide exercise recommendations and any products needed to maintain your pet’s health.
  5. Answer any other concerns you have based on your pet’s individual situation.

Educate and empower yourself with this valuable pet health consultation which will help you make informed decisions about your pet’s wellness now and in the future.

NOTE: This should not replace an annual check-up with your veterinarian.

Go “Green”

You can be a “green” pet parent by purchasing eco-friendly toys for your furry children. Buy toys made with tough and sustainable hemp, or a bed made out of organic cotton. Avoid cheap plastics or material used in low-quality products which are typically made with harsh chemicals. CIcemelterhemicals inside or outside of the home should be a big no-no, especially if you want to keep your family healthy. This applies to pesticides,   chemical fertilizers and ice-melting agents. Chemicals can stick to pets’  paws which can result in burns, and since they tend to lick their paws, they can become sick. Use organic means to fertilize your lawn and control pests, and look for non-toxic ice melting agents for your drive way and sidewalks during the winter season at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store. Always clean your pet’s paws and under-belly before bringing them back in the house.

Biodegradable waste bags should also be a key staple for every pet parent.  We know that plastic bags are bad for our Earth.  It takes oil to make them, they sit around for over 100 years, they harm fish and wildlife, they plug drainage sewers in cities, and the list goes on. Biodegradable waste bags are made from a combination of corn and other renewable products.  There are no chemical additives to enhance decomposition. The bags degrade naturally when exposed to the earth’s elements and micro-organisms in the soil and usually decompose in a commercial composting environment between 60 and 90 days after use.

Commit to making one change in your buying habits that gets you one step closer to a greener household.

Variety is the “spice of life”

Nature did not intend for people or pets to consume one food for their entire lives.  Feeding your pet something different helps to ensure that he does not become bored and frustrated with his food. This will not make your dog picky.  We’re talking about periodic changes here, not serving up something different or adding goodies to tempt him every time he doesn’t like his dinner. And most importantly of all, variety helps to avoid the development of allergies. In a few extreme cases, people and pets may be instantly and violently allergic to something. This happens in a few extreme cases only – the vast majority of allergies build up over time and with constant exposure to an ingredient(s).

The best way to develop an allergy to something (chicken, for example) is to consume it daily for an extended period. It is no coincidence that the most common allergens are things that have commonly been used in pet foods for many years. The (modern) advice from nutritionists is that feeding a wide variety of different foods, preferably from a young age, can help your pet from developing allergies in the first place (that’s the advice given for humans too).  Commit to spicing up your pet’s diet by starting with adding a can of food, which is an ideal way to ensure that they are consuming water. Bulldog drinking water from dishBuying a different protein within the food brand that your normally purchase is also ideal.  NOTE: If you do plan on rotating your pet’s food, you should introduce the food gradually by mixing it the current food over a period of a week or two.

Staying warm during a cool fall season or cold winter requires extra calories and your pets may need more food or a change in their diet.  They may need to transition to a food that provides additional nutrients or protein.  Need some assistance?  Bring in the bag of food that you’re currently feeding to Global Pet Foods for a nutritional assessment.

Water, water, everywhere!

The cold weather doesn’t mean that your pets don’t need water.  Water is essential to all living beings and cats and dogs need fresh water and plenty of it.  Dogs depend on proper daily fluid intake to maintain good health.  Water makes up 80% of your dog’s body, and it dissolves natural and unnatural substances.  Water is essential for circulation, digestion, and waste removal.  Provide clean water at all times, and change it frequently to ensure freshness.

Monitor your dog’s water intake. Generally, dogs need at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day.  Monitoring water intake is especially important if your dog is recovering from diarrhea, vomiting or other illnesses.

Cats are very finicky about their water; they like it fresh.   cat water fountainThe longer the water sits out, the more oxygen it loses.  Fall is the most common time of year for male cats to “block” where small “stones” form that block the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra.  Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately if your cat that seems to be straining “to go to the bathroom”. Decreased fluid intake may cause future episodes of cystitis.

Don’t forget to wash your pet’s water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from forming.  

Daily Exercise

As the mercury drops and the nights grow longer, it negatively impact the moods and mental wellbeing for many people and pets. The natural mood elevator we receive during the long, sunny days tends to wane during the winter months. This makes it extremely important for adults, children and pets to get that endorphin-boost outdoor activity. A brisk walk will do the mind and body good for both you and your pets!

Woman walking dog

While many of us tend to avoid heading outside during the cold, snowy weather, it is important that you take your kids (if you have them!) and dogs outside for walks.  As long as they’re healthy and it’s not too cold outside arctic temperatures), ensure that you aim for a minimum a 30 minute walk outdoors with your dog. Outfit him or her with reflective collars so that you can see them if they break away from you or you let them run free in a park, and put a coat and booties on them to keep them warm if it’s bitterly cold outside and their paws safe from salted walks.

A bored cat may become destructive and aggressive, and result in excessive grooming or inappropriate litter box use, ie. urinate in other areas of your home.  Caring for a cat is a big responsibility as it’s difficult to keep them healthy in the same manner as dogs, who can head outside for walks every day.

Many pet parents keep their cats indoors for safety reasons (it helps to reduce death, injury and disease), which can pose other health risks for them if they’re not receiving enough physical and mental stimulation.  Keep your cats healthy with the following activities:

(a) play hide-and-seek games;

(b) Place bowls of small amounts of food on different levels throughout your home so that your cat has to use their hunting instinct to find them, which also gets them moving;

(c) Play hide `n seek by strategically placing toys such as fuzzy mice, balls, etc. around your home so your cat can “discover” them all over again. Continue to move toys to unexpected places throughout your home. This helps to keep your cat’s brain active as she walks through the house looking for them;

cat playing with green ball

(d) Try using a laser mouse so that your cat chases the red dot up and down walls and furniture;

(e) Your cat will love hunting down mechanical mice which also gets them running across the floor;

(f) Purchase a toy with a crinkle mouse attached to a string and suspended from wand. Dangle it up and down to get your cat jumping.

Not only is exercise beneficial to keeping your pets happy, active, and at their optimal body condition, exercising with your pets can also provide the same benefits to you!

It’s also important that your indoor pets (rabbits, small animals and cats) get regular exercise too using wheels, climbing equipment, etc. that can be purchased at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.

Expand your dog’s horizons

People are creatures of habit.  As a pet parent, we know that taking the dog out for a walk is important but it’s very easy to get into the same Dog in snowroutine of walking the same route.  New experiences are important for you and your dogs’ mental health and social skills.  There are lots of places in every community for dogs to run and play, whether it’s a dog park or a school yard.   Commit to venturing out of your regular neighbourhood at least once a week.  NOTE: Please remember to stop and scoop!

Time-out to pamper: When you look good, you feel good!  We all like to be spoiled and in turn spoil our loved ones.  Your pets are no exception.  Grooming your pet regularly (at least once a week) is important.  A good quality brush is a great investment.

Some breeds have a seasonal shedding season in the spring when they lose their winter coats. As the winter rolls around, the dogs shed a second time to remove the summer coat and grow their winter coat.

Some pets shed a lot. What can you do to help get the hair loss under control?  The more hair you remove the less you will see it all over your house.  Brushing your dog once a day will greatly reduce the unwanted hair all over your clothes, carpet and furniture, especially during shedding seasons. Ensure that you complete a full brush-out of your dog’s coat to get rid of any loose fur and bathe the dog prior to the dog’s undercoat for the winter begins to grow in.  Brushing also helps to restore oils to a new coat, stimulates the skin and prevents matting, which can be painful.

It is not normal for your dog’s coat to thin as the dog gets older. If you think your pet is shedding abnormally, it is recommended that you speak to the Healthy Pet Care Specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.  If you see bald spots as a result of your pet’s hair loss is abnormal, take her to your veterinarian immediately.

Setting aside time each day to groom your pet is also a great time to bond with them. Whether it’s time spent brushing their coat, buying them a trendy new collar or a new bed, your furry children will love the attention.  Commit to pampering yourself after you’ve pampered your pet!

Keep your pets safe: Keeping your pet contained is healthier both for him and for the environment. In the case of dogs, who like to chase things like cars, a fence or a leash helps ensure their safety and survival. Domestic cats are also a huge predator of native birds, and can decimate local populations pretty quickly. You may not think of your pet as a natural predator, but he or she is more than capable of killing small animals.

Teach your children to be mindful about not accidentally letting the dog or cat to run out of the house unsupervised.  Keep your pets on a leash when you’re out and about in your neighbourhood.

Take more car rides with your pets

Some pets suffer from travel (motion) sickness or extreme anxiety in a car so dislike car rides. Further, many pets dislike being in carriers. Getting your pets become accustomed to car rides and being in a crate/carrier when they are puppies and kittens is very beneficial for them when you have to take them to the veterinarian or when you want to take them on road trips with them.

We cringe when we see dogs running loose in a vehicle or, even worse, sitting on the driver’s lap! All pets should be restrained in a seat belt harness, backseat barriers, pet kennels or crates, or pet carriers to keep them safe from injury if you are in a car accident.  Ensure that your pet has enough room to comfortably sit and/or lie down in it. All kennels or crates should be secured to the vehicle’s floor.

cat in carrier

Summary

We know that there are great psychological benefits from being a pet parent.  Pets can provide us with excellent social support, stress relief and other health benefits — sometimes more than other people can!

Resolve to be the best pet parent that you can be so that you both you and your pets remain healthy in 2016 and beyond.

Happy New Year!!

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Eco-Friendly, Education, Exercise, Grooming, Healthy Pets, Pet Care, Pet Food, Skin and Coat, Small Animal, Uncategorized, Winter

Itching, Biting, Scratching or Licking? Be in the Know About Common Pet Allergy Symptoms.

Many people visit Global Pet Foods stores across the country asking for help with their pets who are itching, biting, scratching, or licking. In most cases, an allergy is the culprit. Just like humans, pets can be allergic to foods (or the ingredients), dust, plants and pollens. Dogs and cats have different reactions to some of the same things we’re allergic to, and reactions can range from minor sniffling, sneezing, itching/biting to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Grass pollen, for example, can make dogs sneeze, give them watery eyes, and have them biting or licking itchy paws or skin.

Depending on the type of allergy, your pet may exhibit different symptoms. Although pets occasionally will have watery eyes and some sneezing, the most common reaction is scratching. Constant scratching may lead to loss of hair, open sores, and raised and infected welts. Many dogs also suffer from ear infections as a result of allergies.

HPJ Photo

Pets affected by allergies may suffer their entire lives and symptoms generally worsen as they age. There are things that you can do to manage your pet’s pain by understanding the signs of allergies and the products that can help to alleviate their suffering.

There are many types of allergies that can affect your pet, as detailed below:

Allergens:  Allergens that are inhaled or come into contact with the skin can cause allergies and common sources are pollens, moulds, and dust mites.

Flea Allergy Dermatitis:  An allergy incurred as a result from flea-bites.

Food Allergies:  Allergies that occur from products your pet ingests, which are typically referred to as food allergies.

Contact Allergies:  These allergies are caused by something your pet comes in direct contact with, such as carpet fibers, plastics, etc. and are referred to as contact allergies.  NOTE: These are far less common than other allergies.

Seasonal Allergies:  Some pets are allergic to ragweed and those symptoms usually occur in the Fall, while pets who are allergic to spring tree pollen will show signs in April and May. An allergy to dust mites typically presents itself in the winter season when pets spend more time in the house.

Signs of seasonal allergies can mirror that of food allergies and can include the following:

  • Chewing at the feet
  • Excessive and constant licking of the flank (side) and groin area
  • Rubbing of the face
  • Inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
  • Recurrent redness or “hot spots” in dogs and pinpoint facial scabbing in cats
  • Hair loss
  • Asthma-like wheezing and respiratory problems (more likely in cats)

Most cats don’t usually suffer from seasonal allergies but will sneeze more often due to physical irritation from pollen. Hair loss, open sores and scabs, discharge from ears, and excessive scratching are also signs of allergies for cats.

Food allergies are the most common for pets. If your pet is scratching all year long (and not just during the spring season), a food allergy is most likely the source of the problem. Pets can be allergic to grains, proteins and/or preservatives, and the symptoms will resemble those of seasonal allergies. Pets with food allergies commonly have itchy skin, chronic ear infections or sometimes gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea and vomiting.

To address the problem dog, we recommend a “food trial” which includes limiting the dog to a unique animal protein source such as duck, venison or fish, and a vegetable. A Limited Ingredient Diet will typically include only one meat and one vegetable. You’ll have to restrict all treats and table food until the allergy source can be determined. Over time, you can reintroduce your pet to other proteins, using the process of elimination to determine the allergy source.  Global Pet Foods carries many different Limited Ingredient Diets for both dogs and cats.  Visit a store near you for a consultation and a food and/or supplement recommendation.

There is no cure for allergies in dogs and cats, and identifying and treating the source of an allergy can be tricky. However, the majority of allergies can be effectively controlled with diet change, supplements, or other types of treatments. A licensed veterinarian may need to be consulted for extreme or ongoing cases, while the Healthy Pet Care Specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store can assist with product recommendations in many other cases.  Find a Global Pet Foods store near you at http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Education, Healthy Pets, Pet Care, Pet Food, Skin and Coat, Spring

The Chocolate Dangers for Pets!

chocolate_infograph-01Many of us will be participating in the annual Easter Egg hunts this weekend.  For those of us who love the taste of chocolate, the colourful wrapped chocolate eggs are one of our favourite treats.

If you have a companion pet or multiple pets in your household, you will have to exercise extreme caution during the Easter holiday as chocolate can be very harmful for pets.  Chocolate is made from cocoa, and cocoa beans contain caffeine and a related chemical compound called theobromine, which can be fatal for your pets if ingested.

Theobromine is in the same family as caffeine and is a type of stimulant which stimulates the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and causes a slightly increased blood pressure.  Pets cannot metabolize theobromine as quickly as humans can which is why it has such dangerous and toxic side effects for them.

Darker chocolate contains higher levels of theobromine which means it`s more poisonous for dogs.  Dogs may exhibit the symptoms following within 1 – 4 hours of eating chocolate (particularly dark chocolate) as noted below:

  • Whining
  • Hyperactive behaviour
  • dehydration
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Excessive panting
  • Digestive problems
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty keeping balance
  • Muscle spasms, seizures
  • Rapid heart rate

Chocolate poisoning can even result in death.

Unsweetened baker’s chocolate contains about 390 milligrams of theobromine per ounce, about ten times more than milk chocolate and more than twice as much as semi-sweet chocolate. White chocolate contains very little theobromine.  One ounce of milk chocolate per pound of body weight is potentially lethal.

The real danger lies with dark chocolate.  Just 2.25 ounces of baking chocolate could potentially kill a 22-pound dog, while the danger levels for milk chocolate is 20 ounces, and semi-sweet chocolate can be very toxic at 10 ounces. Serious toxic reactions can occur with ingestion of about 100 to 150 milligrams of theobromine per kilogram of body weight.

When a dog shows signs of hyperactivity and agitation or is having seizures, it’s important that you get him or her to the vet quickly.  While there is no specific remedy for chocolate poisoning, the vet will induce vomiting. Usually, after that`s done, activated charcoal is given to help prevent the absorption of the remaining toxins. Fluids are typically given along with intravenous drugs to limit seizures and protect their hearts.

Most cats don’t have a sweet tooth and won`t usually eat chocolate on their own but may do so if coaxed.  While chocolate isn’t necessarily as lethal for cats as it is for dogs, it should be kept out of reach for them too as it can cause severe health problems.

Keep all candy and sugary foods away from pets.  Sugar isn’t good for them either as it can lead to obesity, dental problems and diabetes mellitus.  Further, if wrappers are swallowed, your pet risks tearing of the esophagus or intestines.

Treat your pet right this Easter!  You’ll find a variety of yummy pet treats that are safe for your pets at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada.  Access our store locator via the Global Pet Foods website here: http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Easter, Education, Healthy Pets, Pet Care, Pet Food, Spring

New Year’s Resolutions for you and your Pets

happy_new_year_fbook_posting2015-01

A new year brings a clean slate and the opportunity to make improvements to key areas of our lives.  For some of us, the word “resolution” makes us cringe. Some of the definitions for the word “resolution” are:

  • a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something
  • the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
  • the mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose

A resolution isn’t a bad thing.  Slowly implementing a few changes each day can make a significant different in people’s lives.  As Canada’s Healthy Choice for Pets, Global Pet Foods wants to ensure that your pets are also incorporated into your New Year’s resolutions. 

Most people consider their pets to be family members.  We want to give our children the very best of everything, don’t we?   The most important thing to remember when you bring a pet into your home is that they do not grow up and “leave the nest” so you are responsible for their well-being for the duration of their life. Your pet trusts you to feed him, keep her warm, healthy and safe, and it’s critical that you spend quality time with your pet every day.

In an effort to assist with improving the overall health and wellbeing of your pet, we recommend that you resolve to do the following on a regular basis this year.

Schedule a Wellness Consultation with a Global Pet Foods’ Healthy Pet Care Specialist:

  • What’s the right food to feed your pet?
  • Is your dog or cat overweight?
  • Is your pet shedding?
  • Does your dog have difficulties with stairs?
  • Is your cat drinking enough water?
  • Is your pet is getting enough exercise?
  • What’s the best food for your hamster?
  • Are there any changes to your pet’s water consumption, appetite, eliminations, or activity levels that concerns you?

While we do recommend that you schedule an annual check-up with a veterinarian, our Global Pet Foods  Healthy Pet Care Specialists have the expertise to answer the above noted questions.  They can also recommend the best brand of food, supplement, treat, toy, or any other pet product – along with great pet care tips – so that your companion pets are healthy and happy!

Are you concerned about whether you’re providing your companion pet with the best care?  Schedule a Wellness Consultation with one of our Healthy Pet Care specialists.  They’ll do the following:

  1. Evaluate your pet’s diet (food and supplements) to ensure that it’s suitable for their age and activity level, and that it address their special needs, ie. weight, dental, joint, allergies, etc.
  2. Provide you with flea & tick prevention information.
  3. Create a grooming and general care plan for your pet(s).
  4. Provide exercise recommendations and any products needed to maintain your pet’s health.
  5. Answer any other concerns you have based on your pet’s individual situation.

Educate and empower yourself with this valuable pet care consultation which will help you make informed decisions about your pet’s wellness now and in the future.

Go “Green”: You can be a “green” pet parent by purchasing eco-friendly toys for your furry children. Buy toys made with tough and sustainable hemp, or a bed made out of organic cotton. Avoid cheap plastics or material used in low-quality products which are typically made with harsh chemicals.

Chemicals inside or outside of the home should be a big no-no, especially if you want to keep your family healthy. This applies to pesticides, chemical fertilizers and ice-melting agents. Chemicals can stick to pets’ paws which can result in burns, and since they tend to lick their paws, they can become sick. Use organic means to fertilize your lawn and control pests, and look for non-toxic ice melting agents at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.  Always clean your pet’s paws and under-belly before bringing them back in the house.

Biodegradable waste bags should also be a key staple for every pet parent.  We know that plastic bags are bad for our Earth.  It takes oil to make them, they sit around for over 100 years, they harm fish and wildlife, they plug drainage sewers in cities, and the list goes on. Biodegradable waste bags are made from a combination of corn and other renewable products.  There are no chemical additives to enhance decomposition. The bags degrade naturally when exposed to the earth’s elements and micro-organisms in the soil and usually decompose in a commercial composting environment between 60 and 90 days after use.

Commit to making one change in your buying habits that gets you one step closer to a greener household.

Variety is the “spice of life”!  Nature did not intend for people or pets to consume one food for their entire lives.  Feeding your pet something different helps to ensure that he does not become bored and frustrated with his food. This will not make your dog picky.  We’re talking about periodic changes here, not serving up something different or adding goodies to tempt him every time he doesn’t like his dinner. And most importantly of all, variety helps to avoid the development of allergies. In a few extreme cases, people and pets may be instantly and violently allergic to something. This happens in a few extreme cases only – the vast majority of allergies build up over time and with constant exposure to an ingredient(s).

The best way to develop an allergy to something (chicken, for example) is to consume it daily for an extended period. It is no coincidence that the most common allergens are things that have commonly been used in pet foods for many years. The (modern) advice from nutritionists is that feeding a wide variety of different foods, preferably from a young age, can help to avoid the development of allergies in the first place (that’s the advice given for humans too).  Commit to spicing up your pet’s diet by starting with adding a can of food, which is an ideal way to ensure that they are consuming water. Buying a different protein within the food brand that your normally purchase is also ideal.  NOTE: If you do plan on rotating your pet’s food, you should introduce the food gradually by mixing it the current food over a period of a week or two.

Staying warm during a cool fall season or cold winter requires extra calories and your pets may need more food or a change in their diet.  They may need to transition to a food that provides additional nutrients or protein.  Need some assistance?  Bring in the bag of food that you’re currently feeding to Global Pet Foods for a nutritional assessment.

Water, water, everywhere!  The cold weather doesn’t mean that your pets don’t need water.  Bulldog drinking water from dishWater is essential to all living beings and cats and dogs need fresh water and plenty of it.  Dogs depend on proper daily fluid intake to maintain good health.  Water makes up 80% of your dog’s body, and it dissolves natural and unnatural substances.  Water is essential for circulation, digestion, and waste removal.  Provide clean water at all times, and change it frequently to ensure freshness.

Monitor your dog’s water intake. Generally, dogs need at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day.  Monitoring water intake is especially important if your dog is recovering from diarrhea, vomiting or other illnesses.

Cats are very finicky about their water; they like it fresh. The longer the water sits out, the more oxygen it loses.  Fall is the most common time of year for male cats to “block” where small “stones” form that block the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra.  Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately if your cat that seems to be straining “to go to the bathroom”. Decreased fluid intake may cause future episodes of cystitis.

Don’t forget to wash your pet’s water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from forming.  

Set aside at least 30 minutes each day for exercise with your pets: As the mercury drops and the nights grow longer, it negatively impact the moods and mental wellbeing for many people and pets. The natural mood elevator we receive during the long, sunny days tends to wane during the winter months. This makes it extremely important for adults, children and pets to get that endorphin-boost outdoor activity. While many of us tend to avoid heading outside during the cold, snowy weather, it is important that you take your kids (if you have them!) and dogs outside for walks.  It’s also important that your indoor pets (rabbits, small animals and cats) get regular exercise too using wheels, climbing equipment, etc. that can be purchased at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.

A bored cat may become destructive and aggressive, and result in excessive grooming or inappropriate littertwo cats on cat tree box use, ie. urinate in other areas of your home.  Caring for a cat is a big responsibility as it’s difficult to keep them healthy in the same manner as dogs, who can head outside for walks every day. Many pet parents keep their cats indoors for safety reasons (it helps to reduce death, injury and disease), which can pose other health risks for them if they’re not receiving enough physical and mental stimulation.  Keep your cats healthy with the following activities:    (a) play hide-and-seek games; (b) Place bowls of small amounts of food on different levels throughout your home so that your cat has to use their hunting instinct to find them, which also gets them moving; (c) Play hide `n seek by strategically placing toys such as fuzzy mice, balls, etc. around your home so your cat can “discover” them all over again. Continue to move toys to unexpected places throughout your home. This helps to keep your cat’s brain active as she walks through the house looking for them; (d) Try using a laser mouse so that your cat chases the red dot up and down walls and furniture; (e) Your cat will love hunting down mechanical mice which also gets them running across the floor; (f) Purchase a toy with a crinkle mouse attached to a string and suspended from wand. Dangle it up and down to get your cat jumping.

As long as they’re healthy and it’s not too cold outside arctic temperatures), ensure that you aim for a minimum a 30 minute walk outdoors with your dog. Outfit him or her with reflective collars so that you can see them if they break away from you or you’re letting them run free in a park, and put a coat and booties on them to keep them warm if it’s bitterly cold outside and their paws safe from salted walks.

Expand your dog’s horizons! People are creatures of habit.  As a pet parent, we know that taking the dog out for a walk is important but it’s very easy to get into the same routine of walking the same route.  New experiences are important for you and your dogs’ mental health and social skills.  There are lots of places in every community for dogs to run and play, whether it’s a dog park or a school yard.   Commit to venturing out of your regular neighbourhood at least once a week.  NOTE: Please remember to stop and scoop!

A brisk walk will do the mind and body good for both you and your pets!

Time-out to pamper: When you look good, you feel good!  We all like to be spoiled and in turn spoil our loved ones.  Your furry children are no exception.  Grooming your pet regularly (at least once a week) is important.  A good quality brush is a great investment.

Some breeds have a seasonal shedding season in the spring when they lose their winter coats. As the winter rolls around, the dogs shed a second time to remove the summer coat and grow their winter coat.  Some pets shed a lot. What can you do to help get the hair loss under control?  The more hair you remove the less you will see it all over your house.  Brushing your dog once a day will greatly reduce the unwanted hair all over your clothes, carpet and furniture, especially during shedding seasons. Ensure that you complete a full brush-out of your dog’s coat to get rid of any loose fur and bathe the dog prior to the dog’s undercoat for the winter begins to grow in.  Brushing also helps to restore oils to a new coat, stimulates the skin and prevents matting, which can be painful.

It is not normal for your dog’s coat to thin as the dog gets older. If your dog’s hair loss is abnormal you will see bald spots. If you think your dog is shedding abnormally, it is recommended that you speak to the Healthy Pet Care Specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.  In a case where your pet has bald spots, take her to your veterinarian immediately.

Setting aside time each day to groom your pet is also a great time to bond with them. Whether it’s time spent brushing their coat, buying them a trendy new collar or a new bed, your furry children will love the attention.  Commit to pampering yourself after you’ve pampered your pet!

Keep your pets safe: Keeping your pet contained is healthier both for him and for the environment. In the case of dogs, who like to chase things like cars, a fence or a leash helps ensure their safety and survival. Domestic cats are also a huge predator of native birds, and can decimate local populations pretty quickly. You may not think of your pet as a natural predator, but he or she is more than capable of killing small animals.

Kent, UK - Snow falls in Whitstable

Teach your children to be mindful about not accidentally letting the dog or cat to run out of the house unsupervised.  Keep your pets on a leash when you’re out and about in your neighbourhood.

We know that there are great psychological benefits from being a pet parent.  Pets can provide us with excellent social support, stress relief and other health benefits — sometimes more than other people can!  Resolve to be the best pet parent that you can be so that you both you and your pets remain healthy.

Happy New Year!!

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Eco-Friendly, Education, Exercise, Grooming, Healthy Pets, Pet Care, Pet Food, Skin and Coat