Tag Archives: health

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

Happy Canada Day! Keep your pets safe during fireworks

Holiday fireworks can be terrifying for many pets. The noise can be too much for them and can hurt their sensitive ears.  Frightened pets can have different reactions to noise. Some tremble, others retreat to a hiding place, some try to run off and can get lost, while others display bizarre behaviour. Fireworks and even summer thunderstorms can trigger wild fear in about 20% of dogs and pets that are normally well-behaved may become aggressive, destructive and/or unpredictable.

Below are some tips that you can use to help your pets cope with fireworks or other loud noise:

  • Do not take your pets with you to watch the fireworks because if they become frightened, there’s nowhere for them to go that is familiar for them to feel safe.
  • Do not leave pets outside, even in a fenced yard, anytime when fireworks might be set off in the distance.
  • Ensure that your pets are wearing well-fitted collars and securely fastened ID tags.  This way, if they do run off, it will be easier for you to be reunited with your pet.
  • If there will be fireworks in your neighbourhood or if you’re having guests over for a holiday celebration, find a quiet, secure place to keep your pets. Darkening the room can help.  A Thunder Shirt may also help to calm your pets (these are available at all Global Pet Foods stores across Canada).
  • Crating is also a good idea to keep them calm.  Place the crate in the quietest part of the home. Make sure you put safe chew toys in the crate to occupy and distract the pet during the event.
  • You can close the curtains and turn up the radio, CD player or TV to drown out noise. This could soothe them enough to “tune out” the fireworks going off in the area.
  • Sometimes pets find shelter in the bathroom, near, under or in the bathtub. Do not try to lure them out. If the dog finds comfort there, let them be.
  • Rather than cuddle a frightened dog, try to distract the dog from the disturbing noises with physical activity such as playing ball.  Scolding or coddling a scared dog Fireworks2016Awill not help. Scolding will only scare and confuse him and coddling simply reinforces fearful behaviours. Instead, assume a “pack leader” role and act confident and not bothered by the noise and activity outside. You can give your pet a gentle massage, or just place your hand calmly on the pet’s head.
  • If you are hosting a fireworks party on your property, please ensure that your pet doesn’t have access to any debris from firework packaging. Dispose of all fireworks packaging accordingly when the firework has cooled down. Digesting any of the used debris from firework packaging can be harmful to pets.

There’s no question that special days like Victoria Day, Canada Day and Labour Day are all great reasons to celebrate and fireworks are a wonderful way to do so.  However, if you have pets, it’s important that you plan ahead.  Take precautions to ensure that your celebrations aren’t marred by a pet that has run off, or that you aren’t dealing with the after-effects of a pet having challenges in overcoming a bad experience of a really loud celebration.

Hope that you had a wonderful holiday weekend…cheers!

CanadaDay2016

 

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Education, fireworks, Healthy Pets, love, Pet Care, pet safety, Summer, Uncategorized

Spring is a time for Renewal!

Woman on bench with dog

Spring is a time for renewal. The snow and ice melt away and the birds return to our backyards along with warmer weather, longer daylight hours, budding trees and eventually, beautiful gardens. Spring also brings us sweet puppies and kittens. There’s a spring in the step in everyone around us!

The Spring season also brings about new routines and chores, and as well as a list of “things to do” to ensure that we’re ready for the season. Having a pet (or pets!) means that there are some additional items on the list to make certain that they’ll remain happy and healthy during the season. Below are some of our key recommendations:

Winter weight gain:  Getting flabby over the winter can be just as problematic for our pets as it is for us. Many of us tend to avoid heading outdoors in the winter due to the cold and snow and we tend to eat more and exercise less. This means many of us and our pets may have experienced some weight gain. An increase of as little as two pounds for a cat or a small dog may not seem significant, but imagine if you increased your weight by 20% over the winter! This can lead to severe health problems. About one-half of all pets are overweight or obese, which may be directly linked to several illnesses, including behavioral problems, achy joints and arthritis, heart disease and some types of cancer.

Daylight Savings Time provided us with an extra hour of light in the evening, which is family walking dog in Spring.jpgideal for an after-dinner walk. Use the warmer weather as a great reason to head outside and discover some new routes on a daily walk with your dog. Don’t just make your dog sniff the same old spots, rather take a new route and work up a sweat by alternating your normal pace with a quicker one. From retrieving sticks to the simple toss of your dog’s favourite ball, running, catching, throwing and fetching provides a heart-pumping workout for you both….your heart will thank you! Make sure that you bring a thermos with some fresh water to keep you both hydrated during your walk. Even cats will enjoy being out in the garden, but please ensure that you stay with them lest they run off. Many Global Pet Foods stores have weight scales; we encourage you to take your pets in to be weighed regularly.

Spring grooming: Now that spring has sprung, it’s important to pay attention to your pet’s coat. It’s now time to groom your pet to remove the remains of her winter coat. For those with longhaired pets, you’re probably seeing tufts of pet hair all over the floor in your home. This is a key sign that you need to groom your pet on a daily basis. Your pets will enjoy spending some quiet time with you each day while you groom them. The Healthy Pet Care specialists at your Global Pet Foods can help you select the right grooming tools for your pet’s breed. Slicker brushes and brushes with dual level pins on a cushioned pad with a curved head are ideal (the long and short pins work together to remove the mats and dead hair).

Spring Cleaning: When you are giving your home a spring cleaning, remember to clean your pet’s products too. Worn out or torn products should be discarded and replaced with new ones to prevent your pets from biting and choking on torn pieces.

Ticks, fleas and heartworm – is your pet protected?  April showers bring May flowers as well as bugs! Make sure that your pet is on year-round heartworm preventative medication, as well as a Flea & Tick program. When your dog or cat has fleas, your home is soon to follow. Far from a minor irritation, fleas can wreak havoc on your pet’s life and pose a serious threat to his health. Fleas work around the clock to seek a host, and then they feast on enough of the host’s blood to equal up to 15 times their own body weight every day. Because of the challenges caused by fleas, prevention is always your best protection.

Once fleas establish residence in your home, they have no trouble firmly entrenching themselves. With suitable environmental conditions — warm temperatures, enough humidity, and at least one nourishing host — they can complete their life cycle in as little as 18 days. Flea larvae may develop anywhere your pet wanders: in your carpeting, rugs, furniture, and even in cracks in the floor, making it a challenge to treat the premises thoroughly enough. Moreover, flea pupae can be difficult to kill inside their cocoons so even with proper treatment, it can take weeks to successfully eliminate an infestation.

Prevention is the key! Anyone who has ever dealt with these troublemakers never wants to contend with them again. If you’d rather not fight the flea battle, get proactive and help prevent them from ever setting up residence on your pet in the first place. Simply give your dog or cat a monthly topical flea preventive, such as Zodiac® Spot On® Flea & Tick Control, to protect him from a flea infestation.

ZodiacMain

Fleas are responsible for a variety of problems ranging from simple itching and infestation to allergic skin reactions (Flea Allergy Dermatitis – FAD), the spread of tapeworms and some bacterial infections. Fleas have claimed more human lives than all wars ever fought. Contrary to popular belief, the female flea always lays her eggs on the pet. The adult flea is a blood sucking parasite that feeds only on the host’s blood, ingesting it through its piercing mouthpart. Adult fleas represent only a small percentage of the infestation. The vast majority of the flea population is actually not on your pet but appears in your environment in either the egg, larva or pupa stage (which you cannot see). Therefore, if you have an infestation you will need to treat not only your pets but also the environment your pet is in (home/car, etc.).

The flea life cycle consists of four very distinct developmental stages:

Adult Flea – biting, reproducing, and most annoying

Flea Egg – fall from your pet into your home and yard

Flea Larvae – worm-like, settles deep in carpet fibers, furniture, pet bedding

Flea Pupae – shielded by a cocoon, no treatment can control flea pupae

In as little as 15 days, the flea life cycle is completed. In 30 days, 10 fleas can multiply to thousands. If one pet in the household has fleas, assume that all of your pets have fleas. To get rid of fleas, you have to kill both the adult and their offspring.

Ticks: Are bloodsucking ectoparasites which may transmit various infectious diseases to animals and man (Lyme disease). There are two species; Soft Ticks (Argosidae) and Hard Ticks (Ixodidae), which are the most common. Ticks’ only meal is blood and they can take in up to 600 mg of blood but can survive two years without feeding (adult).

There are four stages in the development of ticks: Eggs, Larva (seed tick), Nymph (yearling tick) and an Adult. Most hard ticks take three hosts to complete all four stages. After feeding and mating on the host, the engorged female drops to the ground, deposits up to 3,000 eggs in a protected place and dies.

 NOTE: The key to a successful elimination of fleas and ticks is to target all of  those areas where the problem is to be found:

STEP 1 – Treat Your Pet: control adult fleas/ticks on your pet

STEP 2 – Treat Your Home: eliminate both pre-adult stages and the newly emerging adult

Need some help keeping your pets happy and healthy this spring?  Visit your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store and speak to our Healthy Pet Care Specialists for product re recommendations and for receive answers to your questions about caring for your pets.  You can also purchase  Zodiac Flea & Tick products while you’re there.  We wish you a wonderful Spring!!

Zodiac1

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Filed under Cats, Dogs, Eco-Friendly, Education, Exercise, Flea & Tick, Flea and Tick, Healthy Pets, love, Pet Care, Skin and Coat, Small Animal, Spring, Uncategorized

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

Baby, it’s cold outside! Enjoy the outdoors with your pets this winter.

woman and dog in winter

Snow, ice, blowing winds, bone-chilling cold, parkas, boots, mittens and hats are the hallmarks of the winter season, especially in most regions of Canada this year.  The bitter cold temperatures, regular snowfalls and long nights tend to negatively impact some people’s moods and mental wellbeing, which in turn affects their pets.  For those of us who prefer warmth, shorts, sandals, and playing at the beach, we have a tendency to hibernate during the winter months.

Notwithstanding how we feel about winter, it’s important for people and pets to maintain our physical and mental health through daily exercise all throughout the year, not just during the warmer months.  It raises the heartbeat and generates those “feel-good” brain chemicals.

Regardless of how you feel about exercise, all dogs must be taken for a brisk walk and/or run each and every day.  Fish need to swim, birds need to fly, and dogs need to walk and run.

Playing with your dog in the backyard or heading to a dog park provides your canine with fresh air and the opportunity to mingle with other canines but it still isn’t a great substitute for a brisk 30 – 60 minute walk/run.

Exercise provides great benefits such as:

  • It tones your dog’s muscles and helps the body and metabolic system to function properly.
  • Prevents obesity.  Dogs will become overweight, and even obese, if they are not allowed to burn off the calories they take in during the day.  If you give your dog a lot of treats to compensate for lack of attention, the additional calories also contributes to weight gain.
  • Just as in people, exercise helps our pets maintain muscle tone and preserves joint flexibility.  Obesity puts a lot of stress on joints, ligaments, and tendons.
  • Overweight pets have a shorter lifespan and a lower quality of life.
  • Dogs that get daily walks are usually have better behaviour, are less destructive, obsessive or have separation/dominance issues.
  • The mental stimulation gained from investigating every smell, sight, and sound which they get when they’re on a walk/run.

family in park in winterExercise also provides the opportunity to practice obedience skills with her and reinforce your bond with her while you’re on a walk and the time for socialization and to practice social skills through encounters with other dogs or people on your route.

Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day for your dog, although Large and Giant Breed dogs, who are more prone to joint issues, should be out for at least 60 minutes every day.  Even senior dogs can be out for 60 or more minutes every day if they’re in good health, but start slowly with a light and short jog, and gradually build up to a quicker pace over a few weeks so that they don’t get injured.

If your dog is very active, she may need longer, more vigorous walks, perhaps even two or more times a day.

It is important not to overdo exercise because pets can easily sustain injuries, especially in deep snow. The last thing we want is for our pets to suffer.  Since we don’t speak the same language as dogs, it is important that you read their body language because they demonstrate pain differently than humans and are seldom vocal unless the pain is severe. Therefore, it is important to note that even subtle changes in behaviour or movement may signal a problem and watch for signs of discomfort in your pet such as:

  • Yelping, whining or whimpering.
  • Visible discomfort when lower hips are touched.
  • Irritability or aggression when touched in the joint area.
  • Wobbling rear end.
  • Reluctance to walk or play.
  • Stiffness or lameness after rest.
  • Difficulty getting up after resting.
  • Difficulty climbing or descending stairs.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Depressed or withdrawn.

Try gently massaging your dog’s painful joints to help restore blood flow. Just like us, dogs’ joints may become inflamed in damp or cold weather so a good bed will keep your dog warm, supports its bones, and help your furry friend get a good night’s sleep.  Invest in a good orthopaedic bed for your dog; there are many shapes and styles to choose from at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.

Supplements containing glucosamine can be very helpful for dogs. Glucosamine is naturally present in animal bones and as a dietary supplement. It can help to promote new cartilage growth, relieve joint and muscle pain, and improve joint mobility.  Glucosamine and chondroitin are most commonly used to treat osteoarthritis in aging dogs.   Fish oils are also used to treat a wide range of issues from kidney disease and arthritis to high cholesterol.   Methyl sulfonyl-methane (MSM) is an antioxidant, cell rejuvenator, and joint healer.

Speak with the local Healthy Pet Care specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods about the right supplements(s) that can provide joint relief for your pets.

Since your walks with your dogs may take place when it’s dark outside, it’s recommended that you outfit your dog with dog with boots in snow accessories to make sure your dog is easy to spot by people driving their cars.   Further, pets lose most of their body heat through the pads of their feet, their ears, and their respiratory tract, so sweaters, coats ad booties can provide them with additional warmth particularly for short-haired or small breed dogs. Global Pet Foods offers a broad range of reflective collars, coats, leashes and leg bands, in exactly the right size and style to ensure your dog is safe and fashionable.

The other consideration during winter is the health of our dogs’ paws when walking on salted sidewalks or roads. Salt can irritate our pets’ paws which can be toxic if licked/or ingested, and even burn and dry them out. You can find sturdy dog boots or paw balm, for those dogs that like to go al fresco. Salt, sand and ice are no match for these paw protectors!

If you live near a pond or a lake, be very careful of ice.  Animals can easily fall through the ice and can rarely climb out on their own.  Keep your pet on a leash and stay with them when outdoors, especially if you live near water.

No matter what the temperature is, the wind chill can threaten a pet’s life.  Exposed skin on noses, ear and paw pads can quickly freeze and cause permanent damage.  When you’re outdoors with your pet, watch for the following signs: whining, shivering, appearing anxious, slowing down, stopping movement, looking for places to burrow.  If you notice these signs, take your pet back inside immediately and wrap them in a warm towel.

TIP: Throw a blanket or towel in the dryer for a minute or two before wrapping them up.

Remember the mantra, ‘Wintertime is Fun Time’.  Don’t let the cold keep you indoors.  Just take the proper precautions, for both you and your pets, before heading outside.  Maintain your dog’s physical health and mental wellbeing – and yours – by embracing the winter.

You’ll find all of the products, and expert advice, that you’ll need to keep your pets warm, happy and healthy during the winter season at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.  Yes, it’s cold outside, but the right steps can help you to enjoy the season!  Use our Store Locator to find a Global Pet Foods store across Canada near you:  http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations

Head out that front door with your best friend at your side, and walk away those “winter blues”!

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Filed under Dogs, Education, Exercise, Healthy Pets, Pet Care, Winter

New Year’s Resolutions for you and your Pets

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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

February is Pet Dental Month

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Oral Care 101: Healthy Teeth, Healthy Pets!

You clearly recognize the importance and benefits of having a mouth full of healthy teeth and gums.  Like oral health problems in humans, a lack of regular and attentive care when it comes to your pets’ teeth can result in serious health implications.

Prevention is the key.  Studies show that approximately 80% of dogs who have received little or no dental care will show signs of oral disease by age 3.  Pets with poor oral health have a higher risk of heart, kidney and liver problems, which can lead to early death.

The signs and symptoms of dental disease in pets are as follows:

  1. Bad breath
  2. Red, swollen and or bleeding gums
  3. Yellow-brown deposits (like cement) along the gum line or on the crowns
  4. Becoming a picky eater
  5. Eating on one side and dropping food
  6. Rubbing their face on the ground, pawing at the mouth and drooling
  7. Personality change, irritability and depression

Pet parents often underestimate the steps that need to be taken with their pet’s teeth in order to help maintain good health. To ensure that oral health problems do not interfere with your pet’s quality of life, pets should have their teeth brushed on a regular basis.

1. Don’t assume that you will know when your pet’s teeth are hurting him or her.  Pets will continue to eat even if they have tooth pain simply due to hunger.

2.   Learn how to brush your pet’s teeth.  We recommend the following:

  • Buy a toothbrush and toothpaste that are specifically designed for pets.  Global Pet Foods carries a few different varieties.
  • Don’t brush your pet’s teeth when they’re stressed or full of energy.  Your dog may be more willing to have his or her teeth brushed after they’ve been running around or after a long walk as they may be more tired and relaxed.
  • Let her lick some toothpaste off your finger so she’ll be more open to the cleaning.  Add some toothpaste to the brush and commence the brushing process slowly.
  • Allow your pet to get used to the feeling of the brush first.  Start with the canine tooth, which is the longest tooth on either side of the four front teeth, as these are the easiest teeth to reach first. Gently lift their lip, insert the toothbrush, and gently brush that one tooth.  Start slowly to ensure that he or she doesn’t resist the toothbrush in their mouth.
  • Brush the gum line around all of the teeth gently.  Be tender and speak quietly to your pet to keep them calm. Slowly brush the front of all of the teeth, including the gums, in a circular motion. If your pet continues to pull away or he’s getting increasingly jumpy and irritated, then stop and calm him down.   Try again later in the day or over the next day or two so that you can ensure that all of the teeth are brushed.
  • If your pet allows you to brush their teeth, 30 seconds per side is an ideal length of time.
  • You do not need to brush on the inside of the dog’s teeth. Your dog’s tongue will take care of plaque there.  It’s more important that you regularly brush the outside of your dog’s teeth.
  • Don’t forget to praise your dog after finishing the teeth cleaning!

If you pets really won’t let you brush their teeth with a toothbrush put some dog toothpaste on a small section of old worn washcloth (the thinner the better) and wrap it around your finger. Then rub the outside of the teeth, concentrating on the largest tooth in the upper and lower jaw. This is better than doing nothing and should help to keep their teeth clean.

If you are stressed about the process or are concerned about whether you’re brushing your pet’s teeth properly, ask one of the specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store to demonstrate the proper technique for daily brushing.

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Please also note the following:

  • Dental care for pets 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 rinses made especially for dogs. You’ll find a good variety of oral care products for cats and dogs at Global Pet Foods stores.
  •  Never use human toothpaste, as the foaming agents can pose health risks to pets.
  •  Do not give your pet any type of candy, ever!  Like chocolate, sorbitol-sweetened candy is toxic to dogs.  Regular candy is as bad for your pet’s teeth (and yours!).
  • While many brands of dry pet food incorporate dental benefits, incorporating special dental treats formulated to reduce tartar, plaque build-up, and stains is another option for pet parents to be proactive in preventing 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 cleaner, they may also cause tooth fractures, or result in your pet ingesting bone shards.  Ask our Healthy Pet Care Specialists for assistance in selecting the right product and size of bone or chew for your pet.  Also, 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.
  • 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 dog toys.
  •  Contact your vet if you note changes in your pet’s behaviour or health. If your pet stops eating, or they have bad breath, excessive drooling, inflammation, or visibly damaged or missing teeth, this usually indicates an issue that must be addressed by a professional.

Looking after your pet’s teeth and gums is one key factor in keeping them healthy and happy for many years.  You will find a wide variety of new and improved dental products for cats and dogs in neighbourhood Global Pet Foods stores across Canada.  Let our Healthy Pet Care Specialists help you improve and maintain your pets’ dental health.

We want to see your pet’s smile!

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