Feeding Finicky Felines: The Optimal Kitty Diet

cat diet, cat nutrition, cat food, cat health, optimal cat diet

http://blog.theyellowpet.es/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/gato-gloton.jpg

Written by Molly Joseph, St PetersBARK Pack Member

The classic adversary of dogs. The noble hunter of small rodents. And sometimes, the most stubborn creatures on the Earth. If you have ever owned a cat, or have even been around one for more than five minutes, you know they live by their own set of rules. All the time at the shop, we hear, “I have the pickiest cat ever!” We feel your frustration; their unrelenting stubbornness can make providing a healthy meal for them a challenge, especially when they turn their nose up to anything new and different.

But…what is good for a cat anyway?

Earlier this year we posted an article on the basics of doggie digestion, in hopes that it would provide some useful knowledge to help you pick out the best food for your four-legged companion. This time, it’s all about cats.

Cats are carnivores. There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Cats must eat meat because they are physically incapable of synthesizing several nutrients (taurine, arginine, retinol, and more) and must therefore obtain them from their diet. This makes them “obligate carnivores” meaning they must eat a meat-based diet.

Fortunately, cats have been blessed with sharp teeth and intimidating claws so they can catch something meaty and juicy for dinner.  ”Juicy” is important there, as their prey is typically 70% water! Your furry roommate needs his meal to be just as juicy (or at least close to it) as the prey they would hunt in the wild. That being said, kitties do best on a wet canned food diet, or when they are devouring a mix of canned food and dry kibble. Simply placing a bowl of water next to their food will not be enough, as they cannot compensate for the lack of a moisture-filled meal by lapping some up wherever they can find it.

Many of the common health issues cats face is because they are not getting the water they need from their diet. The risk of stones and crystals in their urine, for example, can be decreased with an appropriate amount of water. The increased volume of water will help to flush away the crystals before stones can form.  

Besides moisture, our little hunters are getting a ton of protein from their prey in the wild, and it’s not flowers and grains that they are sneaking up on. Cats need a lot of animal protein for their bodies to function. Along with fat, animal protein is what provides them with most of their energy, and it also helps their bodies with everyday metabolic functions.

While we, as omnivores, are able to digest and make use of carbohydrates, cats simply do not have the same ability. Not only do they lack amylase in their saliva to help them break down starches (just like dogs!), the enzymes that specialize in breaking down carbohydrates in their pancreas and intestines are not highly active. This means they can digest very small amounts of grains and starches, but their bodies are not designed to process a whole lot. In fact, a high load of carbs actually diminishes their ability to digest proteins.

Additionally, cats just get a lot of good stuff from meat. Vitamins B, A, and D are all important to their physique, and they all happen to be found in animal tissue. Taurine is especially critical for our felines, as it assists with the proper functioning of the nervous, immune, and reproductive systems. This special amino acid is also essential for vision and cardiac muscle function, and it is a major component of bile. It’s easy to see that taurine plays a big role in keeping our companions happy and healthy, and so it’s no surprise to learn that a deficiency of taurine can lead to blindness, reproduction failure, and heart conditions.  

So…what is bad for a cat?

Fish, interestingly enough. For being a major motif for cat-related products, fish actually isn’t the best option for their diet. While great in moderation, it is often too high in mercury and phosphorus to feed exclusively. Not to mention, it can be highly addicting for cats, and is a common kitty allergy. Chicken, other fowl, and small game animals have been recommended for their meals over fishy delights.

Cats can be stubborn creatures. Do not be surprised if they turn up their nose to a new can of food as if it were something you scraped off the sidewalk and had the audacity to present to them. This is normal and should not discourage you from providing a quality meal to build towards a healthy diet. At St. PetersBARK, we offer a wide selection of quality canned foods (and kibble as well!) to ensure you have plenty of options to choose from. When it comes to your cat, we’re here to help!

Sources:
http://catinfo.org/
http://catinfo.org/docs/DrZoran.pdf
http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=1+2142&aid=2729

Pet First Aid Kit Must Haves

cat first aid, cat first aid kit, dog first aid, dog first aid kit, emergency preparedness, emergency vet, pet care, pet emergency, pet first aid, pet first aid care, pet first aid kit, preparedness

http://www.alcottadventures.com/products/explorer-first-aid-kit

What should I have on hand in case of a pet emergency?

Last week, we talked about planning and preparing for emergency situations we may face concerning our beloved pets. As their guardians, it is our duty to know how to respond when they need us the most. So since we now know what sort of things need to be done to prepare for an emergency, let’s talk specifics.

What exactly does a pet first aid kit entail?

There are many recommended supplies included on the list to ensure that you are ready for any situation, and most of them can be found at a store nearby. At St PetersBARK we carry the Alcott First Aid Kit for pets and humans. However, it is necessary to understand the importance and function of each of these items, because crafting the perfect pet first aid kit is only half the battle. As they say, knowledge is power, and this information will provide you with the peace of mind to know that you can handle any critical situation concerning your pet.

    • Pet first aid handbook (this is the one given out during our recent class): Become familiar with the information the first aid book offers so you won’t have to frantically search for the solution to your emergency when the moment strikes.
    • Important Phone Numbers: Your veterinarian, a 24 hour emergency vet, poison control, and the Vet Care Express ambulance
    • Muzzle: A dog in distress can potentially behave differently. They may unintentionally lash out, even at the one they trust most. A muzzle is recommended for any situation in which you must give care to the dog, with a few exceptions: if the dog is vomiting, choking, or having difficulty breathing, a muzzle will only be harmful to their condition.
    • Nylon Slip Leash: To restrain and control the dog or cat. Especially important if an incident happens outside of the home. A panicked pet may try to run off.
    • Non-latex Gloves: These should be thinner, so you still have your sense of touch available. The powder-free version is recommended. Gloves will protect against the spread of an infection when treating a wound.
    • Gauze Pads, gauze rolls: Necessary to control the bleeding of an injury or create a pressure bandage.
    • Gauze sponges: Used in the cleaning of abrasions, or to clean and dry a dog’s ears.
    • Roll Cohesive Wrap, 3-inches: Used to wrap a wound or hold limbs in place.
    • Adhesive, Hypoallergenic Tape: A necessary item when dressing a wound. Secures the bandage.
    • Antibiotic Ointment: Can be used as a disinfectant for minor cuts, abrasions, and tick bites.
    • Diphenhydramine (Benadryl): For allergic reactions, dose is dependent on size and should be advised by your veterinarian. Be cautious: it is crucial that the product contains only diphenhydramine, and nothing else.
    • Nail Clippers, Scissors, Tweezers: Uses range depending on the situation. For example, tweezers can be used to pull out an embedded object, and scissors can be helpful when bandaging a wound.
    • Grooming Clippers: Grooming clippers are better than scissors when you need to trim fur away from the area around an abrasion.
    • Towels: If your pet is seriously injured and needs to be moved to a safer location, it must be done carefully. Move the pet as little as possible, the goal is to not disturb any injuries they might sustain.
    • Syringe: A good additional item for a pet parent with a diabetic dog.
    • Small Wire Cutters: Used to cut through tough material wounding your pet, like the barb on a fishing hook.
    • Ice Pack: Controls and reduces swelling.
    • Penlight: A light may be necessary to inspect your dog or cat’s mouth, eyes, or ears.
    • Rectal thermometer, Rubbing Alcohol, Petroleum Jelly: Checking your pet’s temperature is necessary when they show signs of overheating, or another ailment. The rubbing alcohol will sterilize the thermometer, and the petroleum jelly acts as the lubricator. A dog’s normal internal temperature is 100-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the same for a cat as well. A deviation of even just 1.5 degrees could be a sign of a problem.
    • Needle-Nose Pliers: If your pet was attacked by a porcupine, you can remove the needles using pliers. Do not attempt to remove the needles yourself if they are embedded in the eyes, mouth, or throat; take your pet to the vet immediately.
    • Expired credit Card: Your fingernail can get the job done as well, but this is handy to scrape away any stingers left behind by bees. Scraping out the stinger is safer than pulling it out, as more toxins could be released.
    • Sterile Saline Solution: Helps to clean a wounded area and flush away any dirt or debris.
    • Water-based, Sterile Lubricant: If there is a wound you need to treat on your cat and dog, this would help to push away the fur around the area.
    • Sterile Saline Eye Wash: Used to clean foreign debris from the eyes.
    • Hydrogen Peroxide: This is used to induce vomiting. Typically this should only be done if instructed to do so by a professional.
    • Styptic Powder: This will stop the bleeding from a broken nail.
    • Corn Syrup or Glucose Paste: A solution if the dog is suffering from hypoglycemia. This should be rubbed on the gums. This item is especially important for diabetic dogs or dogs with low blood sugar levels.

Most of these items have various uses, and the descriptions here are not meant to be an all-encompassing guide. Remember to study and become familiar with the information in the first aid book. Additionally, keep in mind that a few of the listed supplies have expiration dates, and so it is a good idea to revise your kit once a year.

Once you’ve got the first aid kit prepared, there are a few additional items that should be considered in the event of a natural disaster or a large-scale emergency situation. Fill a durable, transportable container or bag with these items and first aid kit, and then store it in an easily accessible location.

  • Medications, Medical Records, Food sensitivities, and General Information: This is crucial in the event that you, the pet parent, is not able to communicate your pet’s information to someone trying to assist. Record anything that will be necessary to care for your pet, including the number to your veterinarian. This helps to prepare for a natural disaster situation where you and your family must evacuate. Consider including a current photo of your pet, in case they get lost. All of this should be in a waterproof container.
  • Drinkable Water and Pet Food: Consumables have expiration dates, so it is important to replenish these items every year. A collapsible bowl or container is a good idea to have handy as well.
  • Cat litter/pan: Ensures your cat will have a clean place to do business.
  • Toys and Treats: Recommended to ease tension and stress.
  • Leash, harnesses, carriers: Controlling your pet is critical in an emergency situation.

What else do I need to know before an emergency?

One of the things we mentioned last week was to get to know your pet’s normal, everyday state. Get to know their bathroom schedule, their vitals, and eating habits. Some pets may act normal after an emergency but that doesn’t mean their ok so it’s important to visit your first aid booklet to learn how to test your pet’s vitals. Jot down a few days worth of notes so you know what your pet’s normal signs, habits are if you ever have to help them in an emergency. The less you have to rely on your memory in an emergency, the better.

Pulse:

  • Puppy: 120-160 beats per minute
  • Small Breed Dog: 100-140 beats per minute
  • Medium to Large Breed Dog: 60-100 beats per minute
  • Cats: 160-220 beats per minute

Breathing Rate:

  • Dogs: 10-30 breaths per minute, or up to 200 pants per minute (open mouth, tongue out)
  • Cats: 20-30 breaths per minute

Temperature:

  • Dogs and Cats: 100-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything under 100 degrees and over 104 degrees is a bad sign.

Now that you have all the information for getting a kit, making a plan, and being informed we recommend that you practice at least once a year. Products in your kit may expire and as your pets age, their normal states may also change. Stay on top of your preparedness and you’ll have peace of mind during an emergency.

Sources:
http://www.redcross.org/prepare/location/home-family/pets
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/resources/tips/pet_first_aid_kit.html?referrer=https://duckduckgo.com/
American Red Cross Dog First Aid (Book)

 

Pet First Aid & Emergency Preparedness

pet first aid, dog first aid, first aid for pets, cat first aid, emergency preparedness, pet emergency

http://www.upei.ca/communications/files/communications/pet_first_aid.jpg

Are you prepared for a pet emergency? 

Written by Lacy Marshall, Pack Member

As a pet parent, there are few things scarier than having an emergency situation or health crisis arise and not knowing what to do. Dogs and cats are naturally curious creatures, and like children, they often get into things or places that they shouldn’t. Supervision and responsible ownership will prevent a lot of issues, but sometimes a naughty dog or rascally kitten can sneak past even the most watchful guardian. There are also events you can’t control at all, like natural disasters. Frantically trying to Google information, locate supplies, or formulate a plan in the heat of the moment can make an already stressful situation that much worse. This is why it is so important to be prepared for the unexpected.

We recently had Cheryl from Vet Care Express (“Driven By Compassion!”) come to the shop and teach an American Red Cross pet first aid & CPR class. Vet Care Express is a pet EMT/ambulance service operating in Manatee, Pinellas, and Hillsborough Counties. They are available to help pet guardians in the event of an emergency, and they also partner with vet clinics and other organizations for delicate/medical transport situations. Here are some lessons we learned to be prepared, protect our pets, and take action in an emergency.

GET A KIT!

Assemble or purchase at least one Pet First Aid Kit, preferably one for home, and a smaller one in your car or for travel/walks/adventures. You’ll want your first aid kit to be in a clearly-labeled, waterproof container. Know exactly where your kit is and check it periodically for missing items and expiration dates.

We have the 40-piece Alcott Explorer First Aid Kits available for purchase here at St PetersBARK, but if you want to make your own, we’ll give you a list of supplies in Part 2 of this blog series.

MAKE A PLAN

Have the phone numbers for your veterinarian, a 24-hour emergency vet, poison control, and Vet Care Express ambulance written down in one place.  Know where the nearest emergency vet facility is. Post this information on the fridge, in a drawer, and/or with your first aid kit(s).

  • ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center ($65 fee for the call): 1-888-426-4435, 1-800-548-2423, or 1-900-680-0000
  • Pet Poison Hotline ($35 fee for the call): 1-800-213-6680
  • Tampa Poison Hotline (free): 1-800-222-1222
  • Pinellas County Pet Ambulance (Vet Care Express): 727-900-7775
  • Hillsborough County Pet Ambulance (Vet Care Express): 813-895-6200

Develop a plan in case of disaster ie fire, flooding, hurricane, etc., and in case you and your family are evacuated from your home. Know which disaster relief shelters are pet-friendly.

BE INFORMED

Having your kit and making a plan are wonderful but you’ll still need to know how to execute those things. Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself fresh with pet first aid knowledge.

  • Attend a Pet First Aid class. (our next date is TBD)
  • Get to know your pet’s individual standard for “normal”. Be familiar with bathroom habits. Examine your pet’s gums for what they look like in a healthy state. Be hands-on with your pet and spend some time practicing checking vital signs like pulse, breath rate, capillary refill time, and temperature (never practice CPR or the Heimlich on a breathing, healthy animal). The more you know your pet and the more comfortable you are handling them, the easier it will be to tell if something is wrong and get them help.
  • Always choose toys, treats, and bones carefully. Remember that dogs are descended from wolves and have teeth designed for ripping and shredding flesh and for grinding bone. Any chew or toy has the potential to splinter or become shredded. Select items that are appropriate for your pet’s age, size, and chewing style. Always monitor playing and chewing, especially with puppies or when giving any new items. Avoid rawhide chews which may contain harmful chemicals, pose an increased choking risk,and lead to intestinal obstruction. The Pack Members at St PetersBARK would be happy to help you pick out an alternative to rawhide.
  • If your dog is a breed that is prone to bloat, print out and hang a bloat chart for easy reference.
  • Be aware of issues that may be specific to your pet’s breed or type (ie increased heat intolerance/respiratory issues in brachycephalic (short-snouted) breeds, bloat in large-breed, deep-chested dogs, trachea issues with small breeds), as well as dangers specific to the area you live in (ie Sago palms, Bufo/cane toads and alligators in Florida). Educate yourself on how to protect your pet and the signs and symptoms of potential distress related to these issues and hazards.
  • Be aware of dangers to your pet that may not exist for humans, or that may be less serious for us two-leggeds. Hot weather may make exercise dangerous during the day, putting your dog at risk for heat stroke and/or burned paws due to hot pavement. Don’t even think about leaving a dog in a car, even in what may seem like mild, warm weather! The consequences can be deadly and in many states (including Florida), it is against the law. Leaving the car running with the A/C blowing is a false sense of security. If the A/C system or engine fails, the dog can suffer and die quickly, and cars have been stolen this way, with the pets inside. Although we don’t experience many frigid temps in Florida, pets get cold too and living in a mostly warm climate can be even more shocking to their system. Take necessary precautions if your dog spends time outside. Educate yourself on food hazards for animals such as chocolate, grapes, onions, cooked bones, and sugarless gum, and other household hazards including empty chip bags, dryer sheets, plastic bags, toxic houseplants/garden plants, or cleaning agents. Don’t leave these items where pets can get to them.
  • Always keep your pet leashed in public places to avoid putting your pet, other pets, and people in dangerous situations. Adhere to park rules and leash laws and only allow your pet off-leash in designated areas and dog parks. Respect the DINOS!
  • Always keep your pet restrained while riding in a vehicle. Use a crate, pet car seat, or car harness. This will protect you and your pet during the ride and in the event of an accident or abrupt stop.
  • Periodically walk the perimeter of your yard and the area within to check for fence holes, sharp objects, stagnant water, poisonous plants, and other things that may be dangerous for your furry companion. Don’t leave your pets alone in your yard for extended periods of time.

Our pets’ genetic relatives are wild and able to fend for themselves, so sometimes it’s easy to forget that the dogs and cats that we count as family members really rely on us to do what’s best for them and keep them safe. They’re like furry toddlers! So keep your eyes on them, protect what you value, and like the American Red Cross says, Get a Kit, Make a Plan, & Be Informed! Keep your eye out for our next post, and we’ll tell you exactly what you need to put together a Pet First Aid Kit

It’s all about poop! An overview of your dog’s digestive system

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/238479742742327754/

Written by Molly Joseph, St PetersBARK Pack Member

From the scraps of garbage littering the sidewalk, to the “presents” left behind by other animals, it seems that dogs can turn anything they find into a delicacy. Besides the apparent differences in taste, there are many features separating our furry friends from ourselves when it comes to digesting food. Understanding the way their body processes nutrients is key to picking out the right food for your dog.

Fighting Off Bacteria

We all know that dogs are descendants from wolves, but we may not be aware of how this affects our pet’s digestive tract. While dogs are omnivores, meat was the main course for their ancestors, every meal. Given this, their entire system is streamlined to fend off bacteria, since wolves didn’t usually take the time to cook their food first.

Beginning at the mouth, dogs have 42 teeth specially designed to tear and shred. Their saliva contains an enzyme called lysozyme, which excels at destroying any initial bacteria. Instead of lysozyme, we humans have a different enzyme known as amylase, which helps us break down the starchy foods so common in our diet.

Next, food travels into the stomach, where the acidic environment breaks down the meal. On the pH scale, our stomachs sit between 4 and 5, whereas a dog’s stomach clocks in at 1. That’s significantly more acidic than our own! Food also lingers in their stomachs for a longer period of time, so they feel full for longer. It is at this stage that most of the bacteria gets killed off.

A Short And Simple System

Next stop on the journey is the intestines. A dog’s intestines are only about 5% as long as a human’s. Given this fact, you may be surprised to learn that food actually travels slower through their digestive tract in general. The extra length of our intestines gives us the ability to process tougher materials like grains and fiber. So in addition to not containing the appropriate enzyme in their saliva to assist with the process, dogs have a harder time digesting grains because their system is simply too simple.

http://www.dog-nutrition-naturally.com/dog-digestive-system.html

http://www.dog-nutrition-naturally.com/dog-digestive-system.html

Our pets need easily digestible food to maximize the amount of nutrients their intestines can absorb. However, this does not mean we must eliminate grain from their diet. Many dogs thrive on a diet that includes grain when the amount consumed is monitored and it is paired with other nutrients.

And of course, the final destination at the end of this long, exhausting journey:

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-windows-poop-emoji-discussion-2015-8

http://www.businessinsider.com/microsoft-windows-poop-emoji-discussion-2015-8

All the food your dog eats ends up in your backyard… or in the house, poop happens. Your dog’s diet determines not only the consistency and ease of passing, but how much you have to clean up too. For example, when fed a grain-based diet, there just tends to be more of the stuff left behind because much of it passes through their digestive tract unscathed. From loose stool to lots of stool, if there is a poop problem, chances are a change in their diet will be the answer to your prayers.

Finding The Best Choice For Your Dog

A dog may happily chow down on every gross morsel they find, but that doesn’t mean their diet isn’t important. A quality dog food will be designed with a dog’s unique digestive system in mind. Just like a human however, individual dogs may have some special dietary restrictions, so it is equally important to be sensitive to your pet’s needs.

At St PetersBARK, we are sure to stock a variety of different dog food options for precisely this reason. We are certain we can help you pick the best option for you and your loved one. Stop by anytime!

Source:
http://www.doggies.com/articles/134-your-dog-s-digestive-system.html

Fromm Dog Food Recall

Hey Fromm feeders! I want to bring this Fromm Family Foods recall to your attention. All of our stock of the Fromm Gold Canned line for Dogs has fallen under recall due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. Your dog should only be impacted if he/she has been eating the canned food exclusively. You can read more about the voluntary recall here.

If you have purchased any of these formulas from us, please bring them to the shop for a full refund and a discount on your replacement cans. Call us with any questions at 727-217-5366!

yuck lab

fromm-gold-recall-480

Positive Health Benefits of Loving Your Furry Friend (Part 1)

 Written by: Kathryn Atkinson, Pack Member

affection, love your pet, national love your pet day, St. PetersBARK!, St. Petersburg, Health Benefits, Happy, Cuddle

Why it’s important to love on your furry friend

February 20th was National Love Your Pet day – a late Valentine’s Day for pets, if you will. Our pets love us, and National Love Your Pet Day is a reminder to return the favor!  There are many reasons that our furry friends have earned their own day for showing them love and appreciation. Not only are they cute, lovable, and fun, but there are many health benefits associated with pet ownership as well.

Studies show that pets can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and improve self- worth. 

Few things are as pleasing as coming home after a long day to a soft, cuddly, tail-wagging dog or purring cat.  Stress caused by work, traffic, and everyday life just seems to melt away when you your furry companion greets you when you get home.  For those that live alone, pets can provide companionship and make an empty house seem not-so-empty.   Additionally, research shows that a dog’s brain responds similarly to a human’s brain when responding to emotion and tone of voice. Have you ever cried and your pup came to comfort you? This happens because your dog’s brain reacts in the same way a human brain would, which leads them to come and console you. Moreover, taking responsibility for the care, feeding, and well-being of a pet can encourage feelings of fulfillment and self-worth.

Dog owners tend to be more active

One benefit to owning a dog is that you have a reason to go for a daily walk.  Our dogs need to be walked regularly and having a furry walking buddy tends to overwhelm any excuses you may have for putting off some outdoor activities.  By keeping you accountable and providing companionship during walks, pups make great workout buddies!  Interestingly, studies show that dog owners are less likely to be obese than cat owners because they require regular walks, which forces the owner to be active.  Cat owners: don’t despair!  Many people have successfully got their cats to walk with them on leash, which is good for both kitty and owner alike.

The CDC and NIH did studies that owning a pet helps reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. They have also seen decreased stress levels in pet owners and faster recovery for medical patients. According to a study done at the University of Wisconsin- Madison, having a furry friend in your home helps boost your immune system. The study showed that growing up with an animal will strengthen your immune system, as well.  If you’re an adult with immune issues or allergies, a pet may not fix your problems now – but at least your furry friend can still comfort you!

Stay tuned for our next BARK! blog next week to find out more positive health effects of loving your furry friend.

Resources:

  • https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/200906/health-and-psychological-benefits-bonding-pet-dog
  • https://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/2015/01/12/your-brain-pets/geoJHAfFHxrwNS4OgWb7sO/story.html
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/13/pets-psychological-benefits-study_n_897022.html
  • http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/08/07/dog-human-brain-chemistry.aspx

Changes to Orijen and Acana Pet Food with the new Kentucky facility

Written by Krista Schmidt – Owner

Have you heard about the changes with Orijen and Acana?

Orijen, Champion food, All Natural Pet food, St. Petersburg, St. PetersBARK!, Dog Food, Cat Food, Grain- free, Healthy Pet food

Champion foods (Orijen and Acana – dog and cat food) is a Canadian brand of pet food that we carry in our shop. In the past, Champion foods have sourced and made all of their food up in Alberta, Canada. Their company has some of the best dry food out there with sustainability sourced, non-gmo, high protein diets for dogs and cats. In 2014, Champion pet foods broke ground to begin making pet food in a brand new, state of the art Kentucky facility. Now, in 2016, the facility is complete and they’ve begun producing pet food which began shipping to distributors in early February.

I’ve had a few customers ask about the new facility and voice their concerns about the new product lines.

Let’s first take a step back. For those of you that aren’t familiar, Champion only makes their pet foods from regional farms and ranches typically within 48 hours of the pet food facility. They are also incredibly picky about the farms, fisheries, and ranches they get their ingredients from. Champion chooses the highest quality, freshest ingredients, which are delivered to the pet food facility daily. Their ingredients are all human grade and, again, all within a maximum of 48 hours from the Alberta facility. Depending on the ingredient, you’ll find a lot of non- gmo, grass fed, free range, sustainable, and humanely raised ingredients. We love this food’s compassion for quality sources!

So what will be changing during the transition?

With the launch of the Kentucky facility, US customers will no longer have access to any of the Canadian made food; we’ll only have access to foods being produced out of Kentucky. This is because ALL of the current lines of Acana and Orijen will be modified by using regionally sourced ingredients around the Kentucky facility which are different from those in Alberta. For example, instead of wild-caught Pacific fish, they’re now using wild-caught Great Lake fish or wild-caught North Atlantic fish. Again, this means we will see a complete re-formulation of every single Acana and Orijen bag of food in the US.

Looking at the new formulas, we don’t believe there’s anything to worry about with the changes. They’re still the great, high-quality, high-protein foods that you’re used to with the Canadian made formulas. However, we understand your concerns and are here to answer any questions you may have about sourcing, labels, or any other concerns. Please contact the shop with any questions or concerns you have and we’ll be happy to help you!

Acana, Champion Food, Free- Run Poultry, Wholeprey Diet, All Natural Pet Food, Fresh, Raw, St. Petersburg, St. PetersBARK!, All Natural Pet Market, Protien Rich dog food, Heritage LineWhen will the transition take place?

We will start rolling in the new Champion foods in late February starting with their Heritage line. This new line contains three formulas, Free-run chicken, Freshwater fish, and Heritage meats. These formulas are unique to the US and we’ll start seeing changes to the Acana Regionals and Singles lines late spring 2016. After that, Orijen will be changed, with release dates to be announced. For more information on the ingredient changes and the Kentucky facility visit their website.

EDIT 7/5/16: Please note that this post is for informational purposes only. We are simply, as a courtesy, notifying our customers that these changes are coming. It is solely up to you and your dog or cat to determine if the changes are a good fit going forward. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback regarding this food outside of how St PetersBARK can help you, please contact Champion foods directly. If you’re a customer of St PetersBARK and your dog has any issues with the changes to this food, please bring your bag of food back for a full refund and we’ll help you find a new food. All of our dog and cat foods are always guaranteed to you.

Part 2: Tips on caring for your pet’s teeth and gums

Written by Lacy Marshall, Pack Member at St PetersBARK

It’s still February, so we are continuing our focus on Pet Dental Health Month!

dental health, dog dental, dog teeth, dog dental health, brush my dog teeth, dog dental health, tips for dog dental

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In our last post, we discussed how important dental health is for your pet’s overall health. In addition to brushing or using sprays, gels, or water additives, an excellent way to help keep teeth and gums healthy is to give your pets something to chew on. Frozen raw bones are very beneficial in general and can be reused after your dog has eaten the meat and marrow off of the bone. Horns, antlers, bully sticks, and other edible tendons and parts will also help to physically scrape plaque and tartar build-up off the teeth and move bacteria out of the mouth while simultaneously keeping your dog entertained and stimulated.

dog dental health, dental bone, dental health, dog dental, dental chew, dog dental chew, dog chew st pete, dental chew st pete, natural dental chew, natural dental bone

St. PetersBARK! also carries several chews made specifically for dental health.

The Indigenous Dental Health Bones and Petzlife Complete Treats Natural Dental Chews are brand new to our shop. Both are made in the USA, gluten-free, and contain ingredients to help remove bacteria and freshen breath. Indigenous chews are grain-free and GMO-free, feature a unique, patented design for cleaning teeth, and come in different flavors. Petzlife Complete Treats  Both of these products come in one size and can be cut for smaller pets.           dog dental health, dental bone, dental health, dog dental, dental chew, dog dental chew, dog chew st pete, dental chew st pete, natural dental chew, natural dental bone

Whimzees chews come in different sizes and fun shapes like toothbrushes, alligators, and hedgehogs. The grooves and ridges help clean teeth and they are made with all-natural, gluten-free ingredients including potato starch and vegetables.

dog dental health, dental bone, dental health, dog dental, dental chew, dog dental chew, dog chew st pete, dental chew st pete, natural dental chew, natural dental bone, whimzee bone, whimzee dental chew

For cats, try a duck foot! Cats are carnivores and hunters, and many really enjoy playing with and chewing on dried duck feet. The duck feet are a great size for them and can be a supplemental part of your feline’s dental maintenance routine.dog dental health, dental bone, dental health, dog dental, dental chew, dog dental chew, dog chew st pete, dental chew st pete, natural dental chew, natural dental boneAs with any chew, please choose the appropriate size when choosing which dental health chew is best for your pet. Supervise your pets and discard any sharp pieces of bone, tendon, or horn. A Pack Member at St PetersBARK! would be happy to help you choose the perfect chew for your pet.

To kick off St PetersBARK!’s monthly Try Me! program which will help our customers test out a different item every month, we are offering a free Indigenous Dental Health Bone, Petzlife Complete Treat dental chew, or a duck foot with any purchase. Swing by the shop any time this month and snag a tooth treat for your pup or kitty!

Part1: Tips on caring for your pet’s teeth and gums

Written by: Lacy Marshall – Pack Member

February is Pet Dental Health Month – let’s talk natural solutions for your pet’s teeth and gums.

Dental health is essential to your pet’s overall health and well-being. Many pet parents neglect their pet’s dental health and ignore symptoms of dental issues (like bad breath). Periodontal disease (which affects the gums) is the most common clinical condition among dogs and cats, and by age 3, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some form of dental disease. Bacteria and disease in the mouth can even impact other organs throughout the body and ultimately cause more serious issues and illness.

Dental Health Infographic

Click to enlarge

The good news is that dental health problems in your pet are entirely preventable! There are many tools, products, and practices available to help you take better care of your pet’s teeth and gums, resulting in less discomfort, fresher breath, and a potentially longer life for your furry friend.

Just like we brush our own teeth, you can also brush your dog’s teeth. St PetersBARK! has special doggy toothbrushes and doggy-safe toothpaste with flavors your dog will love. We also carry some alternatives to brushing for dogs or cats that won’t tolerate brushing.                                                                                                          

Petzlife Complete Oral Care offers a variety of safe and effective options for maintaining a healthy mouth. They offer a spray and 2 flavors of gel to solve 4 problems: eliminating plaque, removing tartar, reversing gum disease, and freshening breath. This product contains 6 all-natural ingredients/extracts like neem oil, thyme oil and grape seed extract to remove build-up, kill bacteria, and heal gums. You can either spray the product onto your pet’s gum line or have them lick the gel off your finger. No brushing is required, though brushing in between daily or weekly (depending on level of build-up) applications will speed up the process. Petzlife Oral Care spray or gel is easy to use and a great option for any pet’s dental routine. 

petzlife                                                            

A water additive like Zymox Brushless Enzymatic Oral Care Therapy is an easy, no-fuss way to cure bad breath and support or restore dental health for any pet, but is especially beneficial for sassy cats, grumpy senior pets, or those with chronic illness. It contains six natural enzymes that dissolve plaque and inhibit odor-causing bacteria by balancing the good and bad bacteria in the mouth. Simply add a couple pumps of this tasteless solution to your pet’s water daily!

zymoxoralcare

Another great way to help keep your pet’s teeth sparkling clean is by giving them something to chew on. In our next post, we’ll suggest some items that will help keep teeth and gums healthy while entertaining your pet at the same time. To kick off St PetersBARK!’s monthly Try Me! program, which will help our customers test out a different item every month, we are offering a FREE Indigenous Dental Health Bone, Petzlife Complete Treat dental chew, or a duck foot with any purchase. Swing by the shop any time this month to ask our Pack Members about the dental solutions discussed in this post and snag a tooth treat for your pup or kitty to try!

Welcome to the St PetersBARK Blog

Knowledge is power – Written by Krista Schmidt, Owner

Welcome to the St PetersBARK! blog

One of our biggest goals for St PetersBARK has always been education for our customers. We want to educate and bring to light topics that our customers often ask questions about or that we find interesting & important to cover. We’re not interested in replacing your veterinarian but working with them to offer natural, healthy, holistic approaches to caring and feeding your pets. This blog is intended to be another reference for you as you educate yourself about feeding and caring for your pets.

We intend to publish a post once a week across a variety of topics and interests for both dogs and cats. Our pack members as well as myself will be contributing to the content on this blog for different and fresh perspectives on the topics we’ll cover. If there is a topic you’d love for us to explore or if you’d love to write a post for our blog, send us an e-mail to barkmail@stpetersbark.com.

Next week, we’ll begin with dental care for dogs and cats since February is Pet Dental Health Month.