Tag Archives: healthy

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!

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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.

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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!!

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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

Say Cheese! Dental Care for your Pet

February is Dental MonthYou clearly recognize the importance and benefits of having a mouth full of healthy teeth and gums. Did you know a lack of regular and attentive care to your pet’s teeth can result in serious health implications.  Prevention is the key.  Studies show that approximately 80% of dogs who receive little  or no dental care will show signs of oral disease by age 3. Pets with poor oral health also have a higher risk of heart, kidney and liver problems, which can lead to their early death.

People often underestimate the steps that need to be taken with their pet’s teeth in order to 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. 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. If you are stressed about the process or are concerned about whether you are brushing your pet’s teeth properly, ask one of our Healthy Pet Care specialists at your neighborhood Global Pet Foods store to demonstrate the proper technique for daily brushing.

Below are some signs and symptoms of dental disease:

Sings of Dental Disease

Please also note the following:

  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 rinses made especially for dogs. You’ll find a wide variety of oral care products for cats and dogs at Global Pet Foods stores.
  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 dog toys.
  5. While many brands of dry pet food incorporate dental benefits, give 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 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.
  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). Failure to obtain professional care for dental problems can result in serious health problems for all pets.

Looking after your pet’s teeth and gums is key to keeping them healthy and happy for many years.  You’ll find a wide variety of dental products for cats and dogs at your neighbourhood Global Pet Food store.  Let our Healthy Pet Care Specialists help you improve and maintain your pet’s dental health.

smiling black dog

We want to see your pets smile!

 

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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

May is Pet Cancer Awareness Month!

woman with dog shadow

Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs and cats. Although cancer can be challenging to treat, early detection can improve the prognosis.   We recommend that you examine your pet at least once a month – mouth, skin, body, paws – for lumps and bumps. An annual visit to a licensed veterinarian is strongly recommended for a complete health examine as well.

Key facts about Pet Cancer:

  • Cancer accounts for nearly 50% of all disease related pet deaths each year.
  • Cancer is the number one natural cause of death in older pets.
  • Dogs will get cancer at roughly the same rate as humans.
  • One in four dogs will die of cancer.
  • Over 50% of the dogs over age 10 will die of cancer.
  • Just like in humans, cancer can occur in virtually any part of your pet’s body.
  • Approximately 1 in 4 dogs will develop a tumour of some kind during his or her lifetime.
  • The cause of cancer in pets, just like people, is largely unknown.
  • Pet obesity will put your pets at a higher risk of cancer.

What are the warning signs?

  • Your pet has a lump or sore that won’t go away.
  • There is a discharge or bleeding from any part of your pet’s body opening.
  • Your pet is eating but losing weight.
  • It is hard for your pet to chew or swallow.
  • Coughing or abnormal breathing.
  • There is a bad smell emanating from your pet.
  • Your pet tires easily and doesn’t want to exercise.
  • Your pet has quit eating for more than a day or two.
  • There are changes in your pets urinary or bowel habits, and/or blood in urine or stool.
  • Your pet appears to be in pain especially during their bowel movements.

Cancer is common in older pets, but there are several steps you can take while your pet is young to help minimize the chance of them developing it at a young age:

Have your pet spayed or neutered:  Many un-spayed female dogs and cats may develop mammary tumours (breast cancer) as they get older. Spaying a female pet before her first heat is recommended. Neutering a male dog while he is young can prevent many problems.

Don’t smoke:  Cancer is more likely to occur in cats in a household with a person who smokes. Smoke is heavier than air and therefore, our companion pets, who spend most of the time lower to the ground are more at risk and end up taking a lot of second-hand smoke into their lungs. Further, cats not only inhale the smoke, but when they are grooming themselves they lick and swallow ash and particles that settle into their fur. Most respiratory diseases occur in pets with household smokers. Smoking is not only dangerous to you, but to your pets as well.

Keep your pet at a healthy weight:  Regular exercise also prevents obesity in dogs. A lean dog is healthier and is better prepared to fight infections and other diseases like cancer than an overweight dog. Those pets who are kept at a healthy weight tend to live longer. Overweight pets, like overweight people, suffer from heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and an increased risk for various cancers.

Feed your pet a high-quality diet:  In the same way that a healthy diet can help to improve our own quality of life, a healthy diet rich in antioxidants and fatty acids will help protect your pet from age-related deterioration, thus reducing the risk of cancer arising from damaged cells.

Feeding your pet a holistic diet can help them live a healthier and longer life. Read pet foods labels carefully. Ingredients must be listed in descending order by weight on the package. This means that the first five to seven ingredients are the majority ingredients in the food. Look for meat (ie. Lamb, Lamb Meal), whole grains and vegetables and fruits. Avoid foods that list by-products (ie. poultry by-product meal, meat meal, or corn-gluten meal), as these are low quality sources of protein.

Need help? Schedule a Wellness Consultation with one of our Healthy Pet Care Specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.  Find a store near you at http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations.

Check for lumps and bumps: Report any lump you find beneath the skin to your veterinarian. Advise your veterinarian if you notice blood in the stool or urine, a persistent cough, difficulty swallowing or chewing.

Decrease your pet’s exposure to toxins:  There is increasing evidence pointing toward the array of environmental toxins as causes of some cancers. Avoid getting pesticides on your pet if possible.  It`s also recommended that you avoid using toxic lawn care products and that you try to clean your house with non-toxic cleaners. As a society, we are exposed to more cancer-causing products than we are even aware so take the time to research what you’re using inside and outside your home.

Limit sun exposure:  Pink-skinned dogs and cats should have limited sun exposure.  White cats are especially prone to getting skin cancer on their ears or nose because of over exposure to sun.

Reduce stress:  Last but not least, the emotional wellbeing of your pet is important. Try to provide an environment for your pet that is as stress-free as possible. Spend time with them talking to them and petting them quietly for at least 30 minutes each day. They’ll enjoy the relaxing time with you!


The pH level is one of the most important balance systems of the body.  The term pH stands for “potential” of “Hydrogen” and is the amount of hydrogen ions in a particular solution. The more ions, the more acidic the solution.  The fewer ions, the more alkaline (base) the solution. The pH level is a measure of acidity or alkalinity, on a scale of zero to fourteen, with zero being most acid, fourteen being most alkaline and seven being mid-range.

Research shows the link between acidic pH and cancer because cancer thrives in an acidic environment and doesn’t survive in a normal, more alkaline environment. A proper pH will improve the quality of your life as well as the quality of life for your pet.  Eating foods that make the body’s pH more alkaline lessens the chance for cancer cells to develop and grow. Accordingly, by adjusting the diet, it is actually possible to create a less hospitable environment for the growth of cancer cells, thus improving a pet’s chances for a long and healthy life.

Canine Caviar and Feline Caviar are the only alkaline-based pet foods in North America that are specifically designed to help reduce the risk of cancer and other health related conditions.  This brand is not the cure for cancer, but it provides the ingredients for a holistic and healthy lifestyle pet plan. Canine Caviar, an easily digested formula, will quickly settle digestive upsets, reduce itching, scratching, shedding and hotspots.

You want the best of your pet.  We do too.  Your pet`s health is important to us.  Let us show you how proper nutrition and care can not only improve the overall health of your pets, but extend their lives.

Canine Caviar and Feline Caviar are available at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada.

Feline Caviar 2Feline CaviarCanine Caviar CAns

Canine Caviar products

 

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

Keep your Pets Safe and Healthy during the Easter Holidays

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Chocolate can be deadly for dogs and cats!

Many 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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Great things come in small packages!

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Caring for Small Animals

If your child wants a pet and you’re not sure that your family is ready for a dog or a cat, you may want to start ‘small’ and add a guinea pig, hamster, or a rabbit to your family. Small animals make great companions for both young children and adults. The Healthy Pet Care Specialists at Global Pet Foods stores can help you with adopting a small animal.

While it may seem that small animals are easier to care for than dogs or cats, small animals still need daily care.

It’s important that your small animal gets used to you and other members of the household as soon as you bring them home. They also need to become accustomed to being handled. If your child is going to be the ‘primary’ caregiver, ensure that they are involved with the pet right from the beginning.

Feeding your new pet a small treat is a great way to have them warm up to you. When they’re comfortable with that, you can carefully pick them up with one hand supporting the bottom, the other over the back. Hold him for a short time at first, and then gradually increase your time with him. The best way to safely approach rabbits is to start by stroking the top of their head. Do not offer your hand to a bunny to sniff in the same way that you would to a dog, because most seem to find this gesture offensive and may attack (lightning fast lunge with a snort). Most bunnies don’t like to have the tips of their noses or chins touched. Their feet also tend to be ticklish.

Teach your child to be very gentle with their new pet.

We often overlook the importance of providing daily activity for small animals – guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils and rabbits – because they seem to enjoy the comfort of their cages. But they need companionship and activity for their overall health and wellbeing too. If you have multiple small animals, they will enjoy playing together. Small animals will also provide great entertainment when they start moving outside of their cages.

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All small animals should partake in both physical and mental exercises every day. Most of the activities will relate to their burrowing and chewing instincts. A running wheel is the most important piece of equipment to ensure that hamsters or guinea pigs get daily exercise. Hamsters typically run a distance of about eight miles per night. TIP: Buy a running wheel without an axle if your pet has a long tail.

Another popular toy that provides great exercise, mental stimulation and entertainment is a polycarbonate plastic ball. Your small animal will love the freedom and exercise as their legs give the ball motion to roll around the room. This allows them to be outside of their cage, and ensures they can’t escape! Your pet can overexert itself, so give them a rest after 15 or 20 minutes of being in the ball.

Small animals have natural burrowing and tunneling instincts, so a great option to facilitate this is tunneling equipment. Although cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels can be used, they will end up being shredded quickly. Buy a cage that is equipped with tunnels. Even ferrets are very curious and will love playing in tunnels (appropriately sized, of course!). Please ensure that the diameter of the components are the right size for your pets. It’s also important that the components are easy to remove and reassemble because you’ll need to clean and disinfect them on a weekly basis.

Some small animals, such as ferrets and rats like to climb. Adding bird perches, bird swings and climbing branches to their cages will encourage this. They may get chewed up, but that’s part of your pet’s play too!

Gnawing is a favourite activity for small animals. To help maintain your small animal’s dental health, ensure that you provide chew toys. There are vegetable flavoured or plain wood chew toys in a variety of shapes, colours and sizes available, as well as hard alfalfa cubes. Some pets, like bunnies, guinea pigs and chinchillas must chew. Their teeth keep growing just like your hair and fingernails do. Gnawing is how they keep their teeth trimmed. With trim teeth, they can keep chewing their food. Without chew toys they will chew on the food bowls and even on their cages. Hamster’s teeth grow continuously, so your pet will need to chew – a lot – to keep their chompers in tip-top condition.

Harnesses and leads work well with ferrets. Even bunnies and guinea pigs can be harness-trained when they are young. Harnesses Imageand leads allow you to take your pet outside and keep them from getting away from you and from getting into things. Most harnesses can be adjusted to fit the size of your small animal.

Be sure to provide the appropriate food for your small animal and water every day. Check the cage for chewed or damaged areas, where your pet could escape. Remove any old food and check the toys to be sure they are still working and in good condition. Your small animal’s cage should be kept in a safe and comfortable area in your home; cages should not be placed in drafty areas or in direct sunlight.

Before bringing a new pet home, it’s important that you and your family are prepared for the responsibility in caring for any animal.  The Healthy Pet Care specialists at Global Pet Foods stores across Canada can provide you with more information and educate you and your family in caring for small animals.   You’ll find a wide variety of products that are suitable for small animals in our stores.  We can help you select the right products that are appropriate for your pet and provide you with guidance on caring for your small companion.

We are Canada’s Healthy Choice for Pets!  Find a Global Pet Foods store near you at http://www.globalpetfoods.com/store-locations.

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