Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Making New Year's Resolutions for the Sake of Your Pet

New Year’s is the perfect opportunity to think about what you want from life during the next twelve months. Once you know what you want the most, you can make relevant resolutions. While there’s nothing wrong with popular resolutions like spending more time with family or losing weight, we want to focus on a different group of resolutions.

Specifically, we want to focus on resolutions related to your pet. Given all the joy that a pet can bring to your life, it’s normal to want to provide the best quality of life for your pet. But with all the challenges and obligations that life can bring, it’s normal to get overwhelmed and fall short in some areas of pet care. Fortunately, you can always make improvements if you’re willing to prioritize doing so, which is exactly what we’re going to focus on now:

1. Socialize

Not every pet wants to socialize in large settings like dog parks. However, almost all pets enjoy playing with a companion that’s similar in size. So if you not only want to spend more time playing with your pet but also want it to reap the benefits of being around other animals, committing to consistently arranging 1-on-1 play dates is a great resolution. While cat playdates may be more difficult because there is much more to consider - territory, anxiety, watching over them, neutral zones, transport - they are still possible, just trickier. 

2. Measure Your Pet’s Food

By using high-quality pet food ingredients, we’re able to ensure that dogs and cats get the nutrients they need. While eyeballing the serving size of your pet’s food may seem good enough, the variance in servings can really add up over the course of daily feedings. Resolving to use a measuring cup is a simple but very effective way to optimize your pet’s food intake.

3. Save Money

Even if your pet seems incredibly healthy, there’s always the chance of an accident or other incident requiring significant medical care. Since you never want to be in a position where you have to compromise about this kind of care, making a resolution to creating a savings fund for your pet can provide a lot of peace of mind. In terms of how much to save, a poll by Angie’s List about this topic found that 34% of respondents paid between $251 and $500 for an emergency vet visit, while 16% spent as much as $1,000 or more.

4. Check Your Pet’s Tag and/or Microchip

Although it’s something you will only need to do a couple of times a year, resolving to check your pet’s tag and/or microchip for accurate information can make all the difference in the event your pet ever accidentally gets out of your home. There are different types of chips and multiple registry databases, which means some chip companies let you do everything online and others require you to call them.

5. Try Something New Together

While all of the ideas for resolutions we’ve covered are great for both pets and their owners, trying something new together is our personal favorite. Whether it’s swimming with your dog or giving your cat the opportunity to see if it likes walking outside on a leash, introducing a new activity into your routine will give you a great new way to bond with your pet throughout the new year! 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Human Foods That Dogs CAN Eat This Holiday

While larger dogs are generally better able to tolerate different foods than smaller breeds, there are a couple of key reasons why feeding table food to dogs isn’t the best thing to do. Not only will this inevitably result in dogs eating substances that aren’t great for their health, but it also trains them to beg for food.

Although this isn’t a practice we encourage, we also understand that dogs are a big part of families, which means there may be times when you want to include your pooch in a meal. This is especially true during special occasions like Thanksgiving. However, it’s important to mention that pancreatitis cases in dogs spike during the holiday season. The increase in this condition, which can unfortunately be fatal, is the result of dogs being fed a surplus of fatty foods.

So if you’re looking for the best way to include your dog in a meal without going overboard or feeding foods that might not be safe or healthy, we’ve put together a list of holiday suggestions for you:

1. Apples

Since apple pie is filled with sugar, you should avoid it and instead opt for regular apples. Just be sure to provide slices that don’t include the core, as ingesting too many apple seeds can make a dog sick. With apples and the next two items on our list, it’s best to choose fresh and certified organic whenever possible.

2. Sweet Potatoes

As with apple pie, candied yams have a lot of sugar. That’s why you should skip those and go with regular sweet potatoes. Vitamin C, fiber, Vitamin B6 and beta carotene are all healthy elements found in sweet potatoes. A very important thing to remember is you need to cook sweet potatoes before giving them to your dog! Doing so will ensure your dog can easily digest this food and has the added benefit of bringing out the sweet flavor.

3. Pumpkin

Even though pumpkin pie may be a favorite around the Thanksgiving table, it continues the trend of goodies with a bit too much sugar for dogs. However, dogs can safely eat pumpkin and most definitely enjoy doing so. Keep in mind that pumpkin tends to have a direct positive impact on a dog’s digestive system, so you’ll want to limit the amount you give to your dog in a single sitting.

4. Green Beans

Given the cream and other elements that tend to go in green bean casserole, it often ends up being too rich for a dog to digest without problems. But if you want to give your dog a Thanksgiving treat that has plenty of Vitamin K, plant fiber, Vitamin C and manganese, plain green beans are the perfect option. It’s worth noting that fresh, canned and frozen green beans are all fine for dogs to eat in moderation. Just be sure that if you go with canned, you choose a brand that doesn’t have added salt.

5. Yogurt

If everyone is enjoying dessert and you want to give your dog something sweet that’s not too heavy on sugar, yogurt is a great option. As long as you pick a brand that’s made without artificial sweeteners, your dog will enjoy this treat and get a dose of calcium & protein in the process.

6. Bonus: Pet Wants Beef Jerky

While any of the items we covered above are fine for your dog to snack on during Thanksgiving, if you want to provide a snack that’s going to make your dog super happy, Pet Wants beef jerky is the perfect option. Available as treats in 1/8 or 1/4 pound sizes, our house-made jerky is made with human grade top round steak and marinated overnight to create a tasty flavor your pooch will absolutely love!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why Do Cats Arch Their Backs?

Halloween is coming up very soon, and we hope you’ve been having plenty of spooky fun all October long. There are a lot of different symbols associated with this holiday, including black cats. While black cats can be depicted in a variety of ways on Halloween decorations and other items, having an arched back is one of the most common poses.

If you have a cat of any color, you’ve probably noticed it posing in this way. Curious about what a cat is trying to communicate when it arches its back? Keep reading to get the full answer:

1. Intimidation

When cats are depicted with their backs arched, they may also be shown to have a snarl on their face. Although this pose can be quite intimidating, it’s actually the result of a cat being scared. If a cat senses any type of threat and wants to protect themselves, they may assume this pose to show that threat just how tough they are. An arched back that’s triggered by this emotion may also be accompanied by spitting, growling or hissing. If your cat acts this way, you’ll want to see if you can figure out what’s triggering it. And if you ever encounter a cat outside that’s displaying this combination of behaviors, it’s best to keep your distance.

2. Playfulness

Just because a cat arches its back doesn’t mean it feels scared and is trying to intimidate whatever is around it. This behavior may occur when a cat is feeling playful. As you may have guessed from our detailed description above, the best way to figure out whether arching is the result of a negative or positive emotion is by seeing what other signs your cat is showing. If your cat’s back is arched and it’s pouncing or hopping instead of doing things like showing teeth, chances are very good that your pet is in the mood to play.

3. Stretching

In addition to intimidation and playfulness, it’s possible for a cat to arch its back without having any specific message to communicate. This pose can be as simple as a cat stretching. Similar to how humans stretch throughout the day, a cat may just be loosening up or working out some kinks. The main difference is because cats are so flexible, stretching via an arch is usually much more noticeable in them than it would be a human.

When it comes to figuring out if your cat is arching its back for intimidation, playfulness or stretching, you can generally pinpoint the reason by taking other context clues into account. Now that you know more about what this type of body language means from your cat, we hope this helps with your kitty communication:) - Pet Wants Hamilton

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

All The Things a Dog's Nose Tells Them

It’s no secret that dogs love to sniff. This is an activity that’s quite noticeable during walks and many other times of the day. Although dogs sniff all the time, it’s something that can seem a little strange to us humans. If you ever wonder why your dog spends so much time sniffing, it’s because this sense is incredibly powerful for our canine companions.

The Basics of Dogs and Sniffing

The area of a dog’s brain responsible for scent is forty times greater than ours. That’s a big part of why dogs are more than a thousand times better at identifying scents than humans. Another contributing factor is dogs have 220 million million olfactory receptors in their noses. To put that number in perspective, humans only have around 5 million. Dogs also have something called the Jacobson's organ, which gives them additional scent processing power.

While all dogs have an amazing sense of smell, certain breeds like the Bloodhound are at the very top of the canine species. Just like fingerprints in humans, every dog has their own unique nose print. There are all kinds of ways that dogs use their sense of smell to process information about their environment. For example, dogs use this sense to tell other dogs and humans apart from each other. That includes being able to distinguish between identical twins simply based on scent!

One of the reasons that most dogs want to sniff so much when they go outside is they’re able to tell exactly who has passed by. Info dogs can get from this kind of sniffing is whether a male or female came by, along with if they were an alpha. Although a dog’s sense of smell is truly incredibly, there are limits.

An interesting limit to dogs and scent is it doesn’t appear that they’re able to distinguish between different regions of a human’s body. So whether a dog smells your chest or feet, they get the same type of information. And because dogs are so influenced by scent, specific aromas like lavender can be used to calm them down.

What to Do About Excess Sniffing

As mentioned above, dogs do things like smell trees or other objects during walks to get more information about what went on there before. However, you don’t have to let your dog determine how much time is spent on this activity. You can take control and provide your dog with rewards for following your lead during walks.

When it comes to other dogs, lots of sniffing is completely normal. But because this behavior can be a little embarrassing when your dog does it to a human visitor, you can focus on training your dog to greet visitors by sniffing their hand instead of all over their body. This will satisfy your dog’s curiosity and prevent guests from feeling overwhelmed.