Myth Busting Raw Food Diets for Dogs and Cats

Just like when we eat raw food, we need to ensure that we are feeding our pets the sort of clean, high-quality food that we would eat ourselves. When managed correctly, a raw food diet or partial diet can be exceptionally healthy for your pet and keep them living vibrant and active lives for years. And, just like us, you are what you eat so feeding your pets low-quality, over-processed food products day in and day out can lead to health issues and deficiencies. Here are a few myth-busting facts about raw food diets that you can take to the bank. Or, to our store, because we have tons of really great raw food to try!

We will say this, when considering a transition to a raw food diet or partial diet consider that your pet will go through an adjustment period. After living off kibble for their lives, their tummies are used to a certain type of food. Just like you and I, if we suddenly change to some exotic food we may have a … reaction. You know… The same thing can happen to your pet, so be prepared. While a little runny poop might be alarming, it’s just the pet adjusting to a new diet with a lot more moisture. It’s no biggie.

Myth 1: Raw food is smothered in salmonella and bacteria and your pet will die!

Okay, that might be a bit gratuitous, but we hear similar sentiments all the time; this is just fear-mongering. While ALL things carry bacteria from your fingers to apples, lettuce, toys, door handles, cell phones (you don’t want to know), get what we’re saying? It’s true that raw food that isn’t handled or stored correctly can lead to an increase in harmful bacteria, the handling of food should carry with it some basic common sense.

It’s a fact that both dogs and cats carry traces of salmonella in about 20-30% of all healthy pets. To limit any exposure to harmful bacteria, handle your pet’s raw meat/food as you would your own. Wash your hands before and after handling raw food. Serve the food shortly after thawing or immediately after prep. The rest should just come naturally.

Myth 2: Raw food diets for pets are unhealthy.

Again, this just isn’t true when applied with proper direction and common sense. It’s not healthy for humans to exist solely on fast food, right? I hope you said yes. Likewise for your pet. Dropping a handful of ground beef into your dog’s bowl isn’t going to be healthy over time, although doggo might wolf it down every time. Raw diets are a significant shift from over-engineered dry food that, depending on what you buy, is providing most of the required nutrients for a healthy diet. It just tastes like sawdust.

A raw food diet should be well researched and planned out with the help of your vet or a pet nutritionist possibly through your local pet store. Raw food diets can certainly deliver sub-optimal nutrition if it’s managed incorrectly, and who would do that to their pet?

Myth 3: Raw food diets are expensive and cumbersome.

As with all food, this can certainly be the case. A pre-made lasagne is many times the cost of the ingredients; the same goes for raw food diets. Companies that develop highly nutritious bricks of frozen, pre-made raw food dinners are providing an understandable convenience which is accounted for in the price. It takes a great deal of research, testing and regulatory hopscotch to produce a retail-approved product that meets all of your pet’s dietary needs. That adds up to a little more overhead but with the added assurance of the amazing, fresh and fully balanced diet, it’s well worth it in the end.

You will quickly fall into a rhythm of moving food from the freezer to the fridge and finally to the bowl so the food is only thawed for the least amount of time. You’ll get a kick out of watching your pets eating carrots and brocoly and other yummy vegetables.

Consultation and proper food handling will save the day.

All that aside, there is certainly the potential to do harm to yourself and your pet when choosing to feed a raw food diet that hasn’t been vetted by a pet nutritionist or your vet. This is why the pre-made options are very convenient but come with a higher price tag. There’s no guessing, it’s balanced, clean and processed according to approved food prep regulations.

Mishandling raw food can and will cause health issues and possibly, very serious health issues; as it would for humans. At the end of the day, transitioning to a raw food diet should be carried out in stages by slowly adding portions to your pet’s existing diet. Over a few weeks, your pet (your pet’s digestive tract) will adjust to the new meals and you’ll be off to the races.

Thinking of giving raw food a try? We have a whole host of assorted raw food options from very reputable companies. Here are just a few options to browse. Don’t hesitate to give us a call and chat about what might be a good fit for you and your fur-kids.

 

Traveling With Your Dog

When you travel locally and you have a dog, there’s no question, they’re coming with you! You’ve got the back seat covered and some great tunes to keep you occupied as you gobble up the highway miles, but your pooch is going to need to be entertained, exercised, watered and all the normal doggy things that you take care of at home. We’ve put together a few super helpful gadgets and stuff that will make your pet travels so much more bearable for both you and your pet; well, in this case, it’s a dog.
Camping with a dog next to a lake

Splash-Free Water Bowls

You know what we mean, right? Put a panting, thirsty doggo next to an open bowl of water and you’re going to end up with a Picasso water painting on the floor of your van or wherever you drop the bowl. Its wedge design is to allow you to ‘water your dog’ on the back seat which is tapered and keeps the mess completely inside the bowl! If anything is going to save you on those long trips (except perhaps the showerhead down below), it’s this splash-free dog water bowl from Kurgo. We’ll even demo it for you, just ask! We absolutely love them. They hold up to 24oz, are made from food-grade silicone and can be used for water or food. Shop here

Foldable Vehicle Dog Ramp

As your doggies age, their joints get a little unstable (know what I mean?). Dogs and hips are notorious for getting a little out of sorts as they age. The impact of jumping down from your car trunk can cause long-term issues that we don’t notice until it’s too late. It’s heartbreaking when your best walking or hiking buddy is in distress or visibly limping. Why not make their lives a whole lot easier with an extremely durable and lightweight, foldable ramp. This groovy ramp is just the thing that can make going out for walks enjoyable again and can hold up to 200lbs! Shop here

Incredible Travel Dog Shower

We’ve been there. You’re out in the woods for a hike and your buddy disappears for a short time. When they find you again, panting and full of pride, it hits you; the stench. He’s managed to find a rotten ‘something’ that you’d rather not know and you can barely breathe. Dogs love to roll in sh… er, stuff. The smellier the better, right? Or, if you’re just looking to clean off a layer of mud, this travel dog shower adapter is a life-saver (and a car or even relationship saver!). This hardy little nozzle fits on the end of most standard 2-litre pop bottles and more! Turn your lightweight water bottle into a super functional dog shower. You can get a couple of minutes out of a single 2-litre bottle. This is a MUST for any dog travel kit. Shop here

Floating Fetch Skipping Rocks

This is one of our neatest travel toys that we have available. It’s water playtime with these ingenious, floating, skipping rocks. Skipp them over the surface of the water and watch the doggos go mad chasing them down. These brightly coloured skippers will keep you both in shape throwing and retrieving all day long. Remember though, these particular toys aren’t meant to be chewed on, they’re a fetching toy, so try to limit the amount of chewing that they do on these little things. Give them a once over each time you toss them in case your pooch is a serious chewer. Shop here 
Be sure to check out our complete line of great travel gear for you and your dog. We’ve always got sales going on so drop by and introduce us to your travel buddy.

Grooming your dog at home

Grooming your dog at home

Home Grooming

The weather is getting noticeably warmer and your dog is getting noticeably … dirtier. A few
quick calls to local groomers prove that Fido is either destined to stay this way for a while, or
it’s up to you to give your (very) furry friend an at-home makeover he fully needs and deserves.
Grooming your dog at home doesn’t have to be difficult, but it’s important to follow these simple
steps to ensure your dog not only comes out smelling clean but looking great too! Grooming
can be an overwhelming experience for some dogs, so always be sure to take it slow and follow
your dog’s lead.

Step One – Prepare Yourself

You do not want to go into this home grooming experience unprepared. Do your research,
watch a few YouTube videos, but most importantly, have everything you may need on hand.
Some of the important items include dog shampoo and conditioner, brushes, clippers, scissors,
nail clippers, lots and lots of towels, patience and perhaps an umbrella to hide behind when he
inevitably shakes all of the soapy water all over you and your chosen bathing area.

Step two – Prepare Your Dog

Never bathe a dog that has not been brushed out. Thick, matted fur holds water, which will not
only make the matting worse, but be painful for your friend once his hair is dry.

Step three – Bath time

Use warm water and shampoo and conditioner that was formulated for dogs; some target
specific skin issues, hair types or shedding. Tip, at this time of year, dogs tend to have drier skin
and fur, so spoil your pet with moisturizing aloe or oatmeal-based products for a healthy coat.

Step four – Dry and Trim

Once he is out of the bath and fully-dried, give him another once over with the brush to get out
any remaining tangles. Now is where those YouTube videos will come in handy; whether you
choose to use electric trimmers or trim up areas that are in need of a little love (usually the face,
paws and sanitary areas), take it slow and follow the growth of your dog’s hair. Also, be sure to
read the instructions fully to know which blade is best for your dog and how short it will cut. The
last thing you want is for him to have patches of different lengths of fur.

Step five – Nails

Select a pair of nail clippers that fit the size of your dog and be sure not to cut too low to stay
clear of the nail quick – the area of nerves and blood vessels inside the nail. It is a good idea to
have some cornstarch on hand in case you do hit this area to help stop the bleeding.

Step six – Treats
Once your home grooming session is complete be sure to reward your pet for his good behaviour. This is also the time to treat yourself as well.

At A Pet’s Life, we have a great selection of home grooming products. If you
have any questions about which products would be best for your pet, please don’t hesitate to
ask. We love answering questions just as much as we love seeing your happy, clean pets.

Dogs can benefit from snacking on fruits and veggies too!

Dogs can benefit from snacking on fruits and veggies too!

There is no question about it, dogs love treats! As soon as you reach into the cupboard with just the thought of giving them a treat, their ears perk up and within seconds your furry friend can be found by your side waiting to see what delicious snack is coming their way (don’t get us started on the crackling of a plastic wrapper – those can signal a dog from an entirely different area of the house!). But even though they can’t get enough of their beloved dog treats, it doesn’t mean that is all they will enjoy. Sometimes you don’t need to look any further than the fruit and vegetables you have in the fridge to find a quick and healthy treat for your furry friend.

Fruits and vegetables are not only nutritious and vitamin-rich, they are tasty too, which is really the only requirement for dogs when it comes to their food. To take some of the guesswork out of your day, here is a list of just some of our dogs’ favourite treats.

Carrots
Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and are an enjoyable crunchy snack. Cut them up into small pieces to reduce choking hazards and give them as a treat or a food topper. As an added bonus, carrots will help keep their pearly whites clean and tartar-free.

Cooked sweet potato
Peeled and cooked (NEVER raw) sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A and an ideal treat once in a while. This high-fibre treat not only tastes great but can also help dogs maintain regular, healthy bowel movements.

Broccoli
No matter how you serve it – raw, steamed or cooked, most dogs love broccoli! And even better, this popular snack is naturally rich in vitamin K, potassium and calcium!

Cooked pumpkin
Pumpkin is a quick and easy way to treat your pup while also giving them the nutritious boost they will love! Canned, unseasoned pumpkin is best for dogs and can help benefit their digestive tract as well as help promote a healthy coat and skin.

Blueberries
Blueberries are a quick, easy snack that is high in vitamins C and K as well as fibre. They are perfect on their own or on top of their food.

Banana
Bananas are a healthy, occasional sweet treat for your dog! Though they are high in natural sugars, they are also packed with vitamin C, potassium as well as magnesium.

Strawberries
Like bananas, strawberries are a sweet snack that your dog will love – and they also happen to be rich in vitamin C! Keep in mind strawberries are high in sugar, so give these sparingly when you really want to treat your pup.

Some fruits and vegetables are better than others, while some are actually toxic including grapes, avocado and onions. If you are ever unsure, you should always check with your vet prior to giving them to your dog. Keep in mind that whenever trying out new food, it is best to err on the side of caution by starting with a small portion to ensure it does not upset your dog’s stomach. Now let the fun begin and start testing out what new snacks will be your dog’s new favourites.

What are Pet Food Toppers?

What are pet food toppers (and how can you use them)?

 

Have you noticed lately that your dog or cat is no longer interested in their food?  Just like humans, our pets can become bored or otherwise disinterested in what’s on the menu! Food toppers are a great way of adding a little pizazz to their food and an extra boost of nutrition.

Food toppers can be added to your dog or cat’s kibble to add an extra layer of nutrition and flavor. They come dried, wet, in gravies, or even freeze-dried.  When looking for a food topper for your pet, keep the following 5 things in mind!

 

  1. Added Hydration

Wet food toppers are a great way of adding moisture to your pet’s food for added hydration. Male cats, for example, don’t often drink enough water and a wet food topper can benefit them.

Try: Open Farm Harvest Chicken Bone Broth

 

  1. More Protein

If you’re looking for a simple way to get more protein into your pet’s diet, a food topper made with natural and simple proteins can  give the added boost you’re looking for.

Try: Primal Lamb Butcher’s Blend Topper

 

  1. Help finicky eaters

Sometimes our pets are just a little finicky and may need an added incentive to eat their regular kibble. Food toppers can  add extra and new flavour to existing kibbles to help picky eaters!

Try: Primal Edible Elixir Winter Squash Puree

 

  1. Extra nutrition

To boost the nutrition value of your pet’s everyday food, adding additional nutrients and vitamins with a simple food topper can  help increase your pet’s immunity.

Try: Primal Edible Elixir Healthy Green Smoothie Immunity Boost

 

  1. A tasty treat

While Food Toppers add nutrition to your pet’s diet, they can also be used as a treat!  They are healthy and nutritious and pets find them delicious!

Try: ORIJEN Original Freeze-Dried Dog Food

 

If you’re looking to try a food topper for your furry friends, check out our wide variety of food toppers for both dogs and cats — you can order online or pick up in-store!

 

5 Easy Ways to Entertain Pets When Working from Home

Working from home with your pet

Keeping our pets entertained while working from home can be challenging, especially when you’re working long days or are always on a Zoom call! Despite how busy we might be, our pets need mental stimulation to help keep their minds sharp and to nurture their instincts, especially as they grow older.  Let’s take a look at 5 simple yet effective (and fun!) ways you can keep your pet entertained while you work from home.

 

Give your dog something to chew

Dogs love to chew, so let’s give them something to gnaw on (besides the couch!). Provided the chew toy is the appropriate size for your dog, this will keep your dog busy and entertained while avoiding any destructive behavior. Try one of our quiet Hush toys or Benebone’s to keep your pup busy when you are!

Try interactive toys for your cat

Cats are tiny little hunters, and they love trying to hunt down and catch things! To stimulate their
senses and their hunting instincts, you can use interactive toys like puzzle toys lasers, and
interactive tunnels to keep them busy (and their instincts busy, too).

Give them treat puzzles

Treat puzzles are a simple yet effective way to entertain pets as they hunt for treats and will keep
them busy for hours. They’re also a great way to train your dog’s or cat’s minds!

Get longer walks in earlier

If your dog appears to be bored while you’re working from home or has lots of energy in the
morning, consider taking them for a long walk or jog in the early morning. This will help them burn
off excess energy and give them a daily dose of exercise.

Make pet popsicles!

Not only are pet popsicles a great way to make healthy, nutrient-rich treats for your pets at home,
but dogs and cats alike will be kept busy licking and eating their popsicles while you’re on work calls
or getting projects done! Pet-healthy ingredients like bone broth, goat’s milk and
other nutrient-rich foods right from your fridge can make popsicles delicious and good for your pet!

With these 5 simple yet effective ways you can keep your pet entertained all day!
If you’re looking for new and healthy toys, treats, and accessories for your furry friend, stop by our
store or shop our variety of products online. We have an array of goodies for your pet that will keep
them entertained and stimulate their senses!

Travelling With Your Cat and Dog