Common Treats To Your Pets

What is it about pet treats that can make even the most unruly pet obey us in exchange for a tiny piece of something that tastes so good they can barely contain themselves? It’s an ingredient that is found in some of the most popular cat and dog treats. It’s addictive, causes weight gain and could ultimately shorten the lifespan of your pet and it’s commonly known as sugar.

Kibble Crack

Just like humans, dogs and cats can develop a sweet tooth and crave sugary snacks, which are essentially junk food for pets. The sugar in some pet treats can create almost addictive-like cravings that have earned them the name, ‘kibble crack’. Read the ingredients label on your pet’s favorite treats. If any of the following are listed as one of the first five ingredients on the label, your pet’s treats are doing them more far more harm than good:

  1. Corn syrup
  2. Sugar
  3. Fructose
  4. Sucrose
  5. Dextrose
  6. Maltodextrin

Sugar-laden treats are one of the primary culprits behind the pet obesity epidemic and over time can lead to excessive weight gain. An overweight pet can suffer from arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure, any of which can shorten their life and impact your wallet due to more frequent visits to the vet.

Calories Count Too

Besides high sugar content, another concern with pet treats is the calorie count per serving. Often not disclosed on the packaging, most of us are unaware of how many calories we’re adding to our pets diet by giving them treats. According to Marion Nestle, author of Feed your Pet Right, if the treat package does not list calories, you should assume 3-4 calories per gram, (i.e. a treat that is 3 grams/serving would be 9-12 calories per serving). Treats should account for no more than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie requirements to maintain their ideal weight. Some rawhide chews and larger Greenies Dental Chews can contain 100 calories or more, which may far exceed the recommended 10% rule, depending on your dog’s size and calorie requirements.

A New Marketing Gimmick

Treats are big business for the pet industry and the newest marketing gimmick is treats that promote healthy benefits, such as healthier hips and joints. There is no government oversight or scientific basis for these claims. When Consumer Lab tested joint health supplements for dogs and cats they found that a popular treat, Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast with Glucosamine and Chondroitin, contained only 6% of its claimed glucosamine and only 15.9% of its claimed chondroitin; amounts too insignificant to provide any claimed benefit.

Healthy Options

With 88% of dog owners and 68% of cat owners giving their pets treats according to the American Pet Products Association, we’re not suggesting pet parents cut out this much-loved ritual. We do suggest the following eight tips to ensure your act of love promotes a healthy pet:

  1. Read the Ingredients Label: Pet treats with sugar, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose or dextrose in the first five ingredients should be avoided. A very common filler in pet foods, maltodextrin, is another name to look for on the label. It has a high glucose level, so it should be avoided if it is a primary ingredient.
  2. Opt for Natural Sweeteners: Choose treats with applesauce, molasses or honey as a sweetening ingredient if you wish to indulge your pet in a sweet treat.
  3. Try Vegetable Dog Chews: Opt for all-natural vegetable-based dog chews made from sweet potatoes over animal-based rawhide chews. Some rawhide is high in calories and may be treated with chemicals and bleach.
  4. Consider Home-cooked or Naturally Moistened Cat Treats: Try giving your cat a small piece of cut up chicken or fish as a treat. If you prefer to buy packaged treats look for those moistened with vegetable glycerin rather than a chemical humectant such as propylene glycol.
  5. Try Fresh Fruit and Veggie Dog Treats: Opt for low-calorie vegetables or fruit as a treat for your dog instead of packaged treats. Baby carrots, cut-up apples and green beans are good choices.
  6. Don’t Rely on Treats with Health Claims: Discuss supplement options with your veterinarian for your pet’s ailments rather than relying on treats that claim to provide adequate nutrients to maintain a healthy heart or joints.
  7. Use VOHC-Approved Dental Chews: Establish a routine of practicing good dental hygiene on your pet and use treats approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council, (VOHC), to clean your pet’s teeth.
  8. Learn How to Read and Understand Pet Food Labels: Marion Nestle’s book, Feed Your Pet Right , published in 2010, is a great resource for pet owners who want to better understand pet food ingredients and nutrition while also learning how to distinguish healthy pet foods with nutritious ingredients from unhealthy pet foods.

There are many good options available for pet treats and we’ve listed some of our favorites below. They are low in sugar or calories, all natural and generally easy to find in grocery and big box stores if you don’t have a neighborhood pet boutique or pet supply store nearby.

Recommended Dog Treats:

  1. Carnivore Crunch or Carnivore Kisses by Stella & Chewy’s
  2. Charlie Bear Dog Treats by Charlie Bear Dog Products
  3. Jerky Naturals and other treats for dogs by Zukes
  4. Liv-a-Littles Protein Treats for dogs by Halopets
  5. Newman’s Own Premium Dog Treats by Newman’s Own Organics
  6. Original Buddy Biscuits or Muttos by Cloud Star
  7. Sam’s Yams Veggie Rawhide Sweet Potato Dog Chews by Front Porch Pets

Recommended Cat Treats:

  • Natural Purrz by Zukes
  • Liv-a-Littles Protein Treats for cats by Halopets
  • Wellness Pure Delights for cats by WellPet LLC

The Pet Obesity Prevention Association’s Top Treats to Avoid Sugary Dog Treats:

  • Beneful Snackin’ Slice: Sugar fourth ingredient
  • Canine CarryOuts Chew-lotta: Dextrose first ingredient
  • Canine Carryouts Dog Treats: Corn syrup second ingredient
  • Cesar Softies Dog Treats: Sugar third ingredient
  • Exclusively Dog Vanilla Flavor Sandwich Creme Dog Cookies: Sugars first two ingredients
  • Milk-Bone Chewy Chicken Drumsticks: Sugar third ingredient
  • Milk Bone Essentials Plus Oral Care: Sugar third ingredient
  • Pedigree Jumbone: Sugar third ingredient
  • Pedigree Jumbone Mini Snack Food for Small Dogs: Sugars 2 of 3 first ingredients
  • Pedigree Marrobone: Sugar third ingredient
  • Pup-Peroni Lean Beef Recipe: Sugar third ingredient
  • Purina Busy Chewnola: Maltodextrin second ingredient
  • Science Diet Simple Essentials Treats Training Adult Treats with Real Beef: Sugar third ingredient
  • Snausages SnawSomes! Beef and Chicken Flavor: Sugars 3 of first 4 ingredients
  • Three Dog Bakery Lick ‘n Crunch: Dextrose third ingredient

Sugary Cat Treats:

  • Petrodex Dental Treats for Cats: Dextrose second ingredient
  • Meow Mix Moist Cat Treats: Corn syrup fourth ingredient
  • Pit’r Pat Fresh Breath Mint Flavored Cat Treats: Maltodextrin first ingredient

Emergency Things You Should Prepare For Your Pets

Disasters happen each and everyday. In an instant your life can change completely. Are you prepared for a disaster with all the variables you may face? Are you well informed and prepared with proper documentation to leave the disaster area, perhaps by air, with your pet?

These are important things to consider. As we have harshly been reminded witnessing the catastrophic situation in Japan, that we should be prepared in advance and have everything “at ready” for the survival of you, your family members including your animal family members. In Japan, pets are extremely important to the people so there are millions of pets. There is no law against tying up a dog and this practice is done particularly in rural areas. If the animal is abandoned by evacuation, injury or death it has no way of foraging for food or finding a safe, dry, place to survive if left to its own devices.

Whether we have pets or not, we should all be ready for natural disasters. Some wonder “How do I prepare?” “How do I find my documentation during a disaster for my family and pets?” “Is there a way?” Of course there is a way. Many have thought out these questions well and we have suggestions for you to help plan and prepare for a natural disaster and increase the chances of survival of everyone, including your pets.

Be one of the prepared!

    • The ASPCA has RESCUE ALERT STICKERS for FREE to alert rescuers that there are pets in your home, what type, how many, your vet and the contact number. If you evacuate and manage to take your pets with you and you have the time, write EVACUATED on the sticker so those rescue agency members will not spend too much time when others are awaiting help.
  • Decide in advance where your pet will go in an emergency

When presented with an emergency or disaster and you must or are ordered to evacuate DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS BEHIND. Not all Red Cross Stations accept pets so have your backup plan in place. Here are a few ideas to assist you:

  • Contact your vet for list of trusted kennels and boarding facilities outside your immediate area.
  • Find out if your local animal shelter provides emergency shelter.
  • Locate hotels or motels outside of your immediate area that accepts pets.
  • Set up arrangement with family and friends outside your immediate area willing to shelter your pets temporarily in case of emergency evacuation.
  • Always have your Emergency Evacuation kit ready. These are good suggestions to include in your KIT.
  • Pet First Aid Kits and guide book on how to recognize and treat pet injuries.

They should include the following:

  • 1 Cohesive Bandage, 2′ x 5 yds (Compares to Vet Wrap);
  • 10 Plastic Bandages, 1′ x 3′; 1 Packet BurnAid Burn Gel, 3.5 g;
  • 1 Instant Cold Pack, 4′ x 6′;
  • 1 Emergency Blanket, Aluminized;
  • 2 Sterile Eye/Skin Wash ‘Squeezits,’ 15 ml;
  • 30 Non-Sterile Gauze Pads, 2′ x 2′;
  • 10 Sterile Gauze Pads;
  • (5) 2′ x 2′ and (5) 3′ X 3′;
  • 1 Roll Conforming Gauze, 2′ x 4.1 yds;
  • 4 Vinyl Gloves, Medical Grade;
  • 2 Hydrogen Peroxide Packets, 1 oz;
  • 1 Leash, 6′ Slip Style;
  • 3 Lubricating Jelly Packets;
  • 1 Oral Syringe-10 cc;
  • 1 Oral Syringe-30 cc;
  • 6 Safety Pins;
  • 1 Scissors-Metal, 3′;
  • 8 Cotton Swabs/Applicators;
  • 1 Roll Adhesive Tape, 0.5′ x 5 yds;
  • 1 Digital Thermometer;
  • 1 Ticked Off™
  • Tick Remover;
  • 3 Tongue Depressors;
  • 4 Triple Antibiotic Packets;
  • 1 Tweezers/Forceps – Metal;
  • 9 Alcohol Wipes;
  • 6 Antiseptic (BZK)Wipes;
  • 6 Hand Cleansing Wipes;
  • 6 Sting Relief Wipes.

Also include:

  • 3-7 days worth of pop-top or dry food. (Must be rotated every 2 months.)
  • Disposable litter trays for cats. (Suggest aluminum roasting pans are perfect choice. Light and inexpensive)
  • Litter bags or paper towels
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Garbage bags for clean up
  • Pet feeding bowls
  • Extra harness and leash note: harness is recommended for security and safety.
  • Photocopies of medical records in water-proof sealed bags
  • 2 weeks worth of dog medication for each pet in water proof sealed bags
  • bottled water for 7 days minimum for each family and pet member of the family
  • Traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier for each pet, if possible
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Recent photos of your dog in case you become separated. You may need to make “lost” posters
  • For Cats specifically: a pillowcase or Evack Sack
  • For Dog specifically: long leash with yard stake, toys, toy chews, weeks worth of cage liners, if necessary.

Prepare an Emergency Kit for human members of family as well. Add:

  • Batteries
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight
  • Radio
  • Multi-tool
  • Tarp
  • Rope
  • Permanent marker
  • Spray paint
  • Baby wipes
  • Protective clothing and footwear for each family member
  • Emergency cash
  • Rescue whistle
  • Prescriptions for 2 weeks minimum for each person in waterproof sealed bag.
  • Copies of medical and insurance information in waterproof sealed bags.

Arrange a Designated Caretaker

Pre-arrange with someone in your vacinity, preferably at home during the day who agrees to take over care of your pets in case of emergency hospitalization, temporarily out of home, example a house fire and you cannot afford a pet-friendly hotel. This should be someone you trust with your pets. And perhaps you would agree to reciprocate.

Worst-case scenario

  • Store emergency kit and leashes close to exit as possible.
  • Make sure pets wear collars with tags with up-to-date contact information, pet’s name, vet, vet contact info, vaccination ex: rabies. Also write this information on your pet’s crate or carrier, in case of separation.
  • ASPCA recommends micro-chipping your dogs, implanted in the shoulder area. You will only have 72 hours once picked up by Kill Shelter agencies to find and retrieve your pets before they will be EUTHANIZED.
  • Always bring pets indoors at first sign of bad weather or disaster. Even pets may panic and run off during crisis, dogs, cats and horses.
  • Pre-determine several evacuation routes and call ahead to make arrangements for boarding or pet-friendly hotels or motels outside the danger zone at first sign of disaster, whenever possible.

Specific Climate Considerations If you live in an area prone to certain natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, stay prepared for these events…always.

  • Know and inform all family members of safe areas in your home. No windows, no flying debris, not underneath heavy objects that will trap you…perhaps a mattress.
  • Choose easy to clean areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms and basements for safe zones.
  • Access to fresh drinking water is extremely important. Have your stores of water stored throughout your home in case parts of your home become inaccessible. Before you lose power, in situations such as hurricanes, blizzards or other strong storms, fill before hand all sinks and tubs to ensure easy access to water during a power outage or other crises.
  • In the event of flooding, go to the highest location of your home or room with high counters or high shelves where you and your pets can take shelter.

Follow the instructions of Emergency Management Officials. If you are told to stay inside your home, KEEP YOUR PETS INSIDE WITH YOU. Keep your Evac Pac and supplies ready at exit for quick evacuation. This requires no further thought. You will have enough to think about and you will be ready to face what comes next. If pets become distressed during in-house confinement, you might consider putting them inside open door crate. This should calm them but also allow them to get out on their own if necessary. Also Rescue Remedy is a great natural mixture of herbs that helps keep your pets calm.

See ASPCA for guides for all other animals in emergency situations. But remain responsible for your pets for as long as possible. If you are ready in advance you have a better chance of evacuating with your pets or get them to safe location.

Pros When You Adopt Your Pet From Shelter

Sometimes I get a funny reaction when new acquaintances meet my two dogs, Chewie and Miles. The look of surprise and incredulous response – “You mean she came from the streets? He came from the pound?!”

So many people have the misconception that rescued dogs are less than other dogs. Are children less than other children because they came through the foster home system or are raised in single parent homes? Are the children that come from the “perfect” set of parents better than other children? We can all think of examples of the hard-luck children that make good and the children with everything going for them making a mess of their lives. So why do we assume homeless pets are less than other pets? I’d like to help set the record straight: there are many reasons to adopt a shelter pet.

1) You will Save Money
Adopting a pet from a shelter can cost a lot less than buying a pet at the pet store or from a breeder, especially when taking into account the fees for neutering and vaccination. Beyond the medical care, shelters provide education about how to care for pets, how to introduce your new pet to your other animals, how to deal with behavioral problems, etc., so you also get an entire support system for free.

2) You Will Get a Healthy Pet
Since most shelters give their animals vaccinations, feed them healthy diets, and neuter them before adoption, these pets are happy and healthy. Shelters also pay close attention to the temperament of the animals, in order to match these pets with the most appropriate owners possible. Sometimes pet owners take on pet ownership before they are ready, without proper circumstances or knowledge, or without the necessary commitment, but through adoption these pets get a new chance to find great owners who will commit to keeping them fit and content.

3) You’ll Get a Great Companion
Pets really do become our best friends. They make us smile and they love us unconditionally. Owning pets has even been shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as helping with loneliness and depression. And all these great benefits have nothing to do with a pet’s breeding.

4) You Won’t Be Supporting Puppy Mills or Pet Stores
Puppy mills have received a lot of bad press lately, and rightly so. These mills put profits above the welfare of the dogs, which means that the dogs are treated cruelly and often kept in cages. Pet stores buy these puppy mill dogs, and many people who buy from the stores are not aware that they are supporting these horrible places, but by adopting a pet you can be sure that you are actually supporting a great cause for great animals.

5) You are Saving a Life
Sometimes we forget that most of the animals that become homeless are great pets that had less than stellar owners or the owners had to face insurmountable obstacles that made keeping their pet impossible. The circumstances can vary greatly but the bottom line is – rescued pets are wonderful animals that deserve love and a chance to live as much as any pet.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, between three and four million dogs and cats are euthanized each year because people are not able to keep their pets, shelters are not able to house them all, and not enough people adopt animals. By adopting these pets, which have been left by their owners through no fault of their own, we can save them from being euthanized.

It is a common misconception that shelter pets have bad breeding, but do not assume that pound pooches do not have purebred breeding, as often the dogs that breeders cannot sell end up in shelters. If you really want a certain type of dog, you can also check out local rescue leagues that tend to specialize in certain breeds. And do not forget that one of the best adoptions is the older, wiser, already-potty trained pet. Sure, we hear that puppies are more readily accepted by the pets already in the household, but bringing in new older pets is do-able. Very do-able. It just takes a little know-how and patience. If you don’t have the patience to acquaint stranger pets to each other then you certainly don’t have the patience to raise a puppy.

Unless your purpose for having a dog in your life is to have a show dog, or to produce purebred puppies to sell to worthy pet parents, I strongly believe you should look into adoption from the shelter first. And if you still feel purebreds or breeder dogs are smarter, just take a look around at the great work former shelter pets are doing. Shelter pets have been rescued to go on to do great work for performers, the military, the justice system, and as therapy animals – just to name a few examples. Granted, breeding can help accentuate specific genes for certain desired traits but environment has a lot to do with molding a pet or a person.

When a pet is given love and a chance, MAGNIFICENT things can happen! No matter where they come from.

Tips To Take Care Your Pet On Hotel

As pet lovers, we know it’s just not a vacation if we don’t bring our family’s four-legged member! Vacations are about enjoying time together, relaxing, and de-stressing. Selecting the right hotel or accommodation that allows pets will make or break your vacation with your dog or cat. Not all pet friendly hotels and accommodations are created equal. Did you know that many accommodations offer our pets the same amenities that we get? Hotels know how important our dogs and cats are to us, so they are offering an array of different pet services and amenities to make our furry ones feel right at home when they travel. With more and more pet parents refusing to travel without their pets, it only makes sense for hotels and other accommodations to start catering to the whole family.

Pet Welcome Packs & Stocked Rooms

Don’t you just love it when you get to your room and there is a nice packet of goodies waiting for you? Maybe with some snacks, bottled water, nice toiletries, and some information on area activities? Well your dog or cat can also get a nice welcome package depending on where you’re staying. If you’re at a Loews Hotel, each pet that stays gets a personal note from the hotel GM with a full list of different activities and services just for your pet. Oftentimes, pet friendly hotels will have food and water dishes, toys, scratching posts and treats like chicken, salmon, or tuna (among many other delicious items). If you peek into a mini bar, you might find some delicious cookies or biscuits for Fido.

It’s also not unheard of for rooms to be equipped with dog and cat beds, complete with pet turn down service and treats each night that they can enjoy while you eat the chocolate left on YOUR pillow. At Boston’s Nine Zero Hotel, their doggie guests are given ID tags and a special room service menu. If you’re staying at New York City’s W hotels, you can also arrange for pet birthday cakes if you happen to be staying there during that special occasion.

Spa Services for Dogs and Cats

Yes, you can schedule a relaxing massage or pawdicure for your pet at the Epic Hotel in Miami. In addition to the VIP (Very Important Pet) amenity delivered to your room upon arrival, your pampered pet can get a bubble bath, nail trim, and massage! If you’re at the Casa Laguna Inn & Spa in Laguna Beach, you can schedule a massage for both you and your pet. The masseuse and pet massage therapist will come right to your guest suite – the lap of luxury!

Pet Psychics & Events

Did you ever want to learn about your pets’ past lives? Well, as part of Affinia Hotels’ Jet Set Pets Program, your pet can have a reading from a pet psychic. Not only can you learn if your dog was a cat in a past life, but you can find out what your pet is thinking, as well as communicate with a pet that has passed over.

When you’re in Alexandria, Virginia at Hotel Monaco, get ready for Doggie Happy Hour where it’s all about the pooches. Every Tuesday and Thursday from 5 to 8 PM, from April through October, Hotel Monaco goes to the dogs! Complimentary doggie treats are served along with unlimited fresh water keeping the pooches happy, while adult human cocktails and pub fare ensure a fun gathering for all.

Some Kimpton Hotels host pet costume parties where you can dress up your pets and get together for some fun so everyone can get to know each other. Many pet friendly hotels host meet-and-greets and cocktail parties where humans and pets alike can socialize.

Other Pet Friendly Services

Ever receive a questionnaire from a hotel prior to your stay so that you can tell them exactly what kind of services you’re looking for? The Peninsula Beverly Hills does just that and even sends pet preference surveys! It gives the hotel a chance to know what your dog or cat might be interested in doing and which services she will want to partake in. Many properties offer pet sitting services, dog walking services, and even a concierge to arrange any additional pet pampering.

Surf’s Up! Let your dog hang 20 at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in California. This resort gives dog surfing lessons alongside their human so they can both enjoy some time in the sand and surf. At the Arizona Biltmore, you can sign your dog up for some Doga (dog yoga) classes if your canine needs to regain some Zen.

It’s not just the posh pet friendly hotels that are offering all of these wonderful things for our pets. There has been a large movement over the last few years in many hotel chains, vacation rentals, motels, and bed and breakfasts to make sure traveling dogs and cats are comfortable during vacations as well. One of the best parts of this trend is the welcoming attitude that accompanies all of the services. Pets are treated with the same love and respect that they receive from their own family members.