07.27.2015 | 10:50 am
What is a grain-free diet and is it right for your pet? Well, that’s what we are here to talk about. With so many different brands and recipes out there for pet food, it can be overwhelming to try and find the perfect one for your pet. Our pets are just like us in the sense that no diet is perfect for everyone, so a grain-free diet isn’t necessarily the right fit for all pets. However, for some pets it can prove to be very beneficial to their overall health. Let’s break it down and find out what this grain-free diet is really all about.
What are the Benefits of a Grain-Free Diet?
It is always important to talk to your veterinarian to figure out what type of diet is recommended for your pet. If a grain-free diet is something that both you and your veterinarian agree is the right choice for your pet, it can benefit your pet in many ways.
- Less is more. With a grain-free diet, your pet is likely to thrive on a smaller amount of food than with their previous diet. Grain-free pet food contains a lot of proteins and nutrient-dense ingredients that will leave your pet feeling energetic and satisfied and less likely to want to ‘graze’ all day long around the food bowl.
- Improve the condition of your pet’s skin and coat. Pets that may have intolerances or allergies to grains can benefit from a grain free diet. A grain free diet can help to decrease the itching and scratching that can be associated with allergies and intolerance’s.
- Improve digestion. For pets with sensitive stomachs, grain free diets can help support digestive health. The absence of grains and rice can help improve overall digestibility.
Is a Grain-Free Diet Right for my Pet?
There are some pets that can benefit from a grain-free diet more than others. Some of those pets include –
- Pets with high energy levels. Grain-free diets are especially beneficial to pets and breeds that are known to have high energy levels due to the higher protein and fat levels along with additional nutrient-dense ingredients. Combined, these cater to a dog or cat that require enhanced energy sources.
- Pets with allergies. It is common for some pets to develop an allergy to grains in their food, causing symptoms such as vomiting, bloating, stomach distress and itching and scratching. Your veterinarian can help to diagnose these allergies and a grain-free diet could be the answer to your pet’s problems.
Making the Switch
If after consulting with your veterinarian, it is decided that a grain-free diet is the right choice for your pet, be sure to transition into a new diet properly. Transitioning your pet into a new diet is a slow process. New foods should be introduced in small amounts at first and increasing those amounts over the course of a full week at least.
Now that you have the low-down on what a grain-free diet is all about, talk to your veterinarian and decide if you should make the switch. Holistic Select offers a high-quality grain-free recipes for both cats and dogs that could be the perfect fit for your pet.
06.01.2015 | 11:03 am
05.21.2015 | 02:15 pm
7 Ways to Spoil Your Cat
Sure, you can hug your cat today as many times as you would like – that is, as long as your cat appreciates hugs. Cats can be moody, but those of us who are true cat lovers can find even the less pleasant moods endearing. Here are some ways that you can spoil your cat:
- Improve the King or Queen’s Living Quarters – Even if you also have dogs in the house, chances are the cat(s) rule the roost. Two words for you – cat condo. These living spaces for cats are a dream come true for the boss of the house. They have everything your cat needs – from built in scratching posts to several perches and perfectly sized sleeping spots. Trust us, your cat will be the one hugging you.
- Give them the best of both worlds – Do you have an indoor/outdoor cat? Have a cat door installed in your home that allows your cat to go outside freely. If you do not have a fenced in yard, be sure that your cat has a collar with your information in case of emergency and be sure that your neighborhood is safe for your cat to roam. As always, make sure to have your cat spayed or neutered to avoid any surprise litters.
- Get Frisky – Sometimes our cats grow out of their frisky stage as they get older. Did you know that there is an all-natural way to bring back the spunk of your cat’s younger years? It’s called catnip, and it is no joke. You are guaranteed to get some serious laughs watching your cat’s reaction to this stuff. Give your cat some catnip and watch their frisky side come to life!
- Tasty Meals – Holistic Select has some really great dry and wet cat recipes that will quickly put you at the top of your cat’s list of favorite people! They are delicious and they are HEALTHY. They are made from all natural ingredients that are sure to keep your cat happy and healthy.
- Treat them to something new – Does your cat stay outside the majority of the time? Do they rarely get the opportunity to come inside? If this is the case, make a point to change things up on occasion. If you have an indoor cat, spend the day outside with your cat and allow them to experience the fresh air and their outdoor surroundings. Be sure to keep them safe while they are exploring. If your cat stays outdoors the majority of the time, bring them inside for the day. Let them curl up on the couch with you while you indulge in a lazy day of mindless television or a good book.
- Replace old toys with new ones – People often have this idea in their heads that you can’t interact with cats in the way that you can with dogs. While all cats are different, this is an overall misconception. There are plenty of cats who love toys and love for their owners to play and interact with them. Maybe your cat is just bored with the toys that have been collecting dust the last few months – or maybe even years. Buy some new toys and have a play-date with your cat.
- Quality Time – Cats can be so self-sufficient and independent that sometimes it is easy to let too much time pass without giving them the attention they deserve. Be sure to set aside time on a regular basis to focus on giving your cat that attention and extra love – even when they play hard to get.
Don’t forget to give a little extra love to your cat this May!
04.27.2015 | 04:12 pm
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is transmitted by the deer tick. After a cold winter, Spring arises and out comes tick season. To be able to prevent Lyme disease, pet owners must first understand the disease, how it is transmitted, and be able to recognize the symptoms. The following information will help you to understand, recognize, and prevent Lyme disease in your dog.
Understanding Lyme Disease
Lyme disease was first recognized in dogs in 1985. It is caused by the bacteria Borrellia burgdorferi, and it is transmitted by the common deer tick. Humans are also susceptible to the disease, but it cannot be transmitted from one to the other.
In order for the disease to be transmitted, the tick must be attached to its host for about 48 hours
- If the tick dies or is removed before then, the disease will likely not be transmitted
- Even if the tick is attached for 48 hours or longer, it does not guarantee transmission of the disease
- A dog infected with Lyme disease does not pose a threat to other members of the household – the deer tick is the only carrier that is capable of spreading the disease
Sometimes, symptoms of Lyme disease can be difficult to recognize in your dog. It can take up to 2 to 5 months for symptoms to arise once the disease has been transmitted. The symptoms that occur in dogs are different than the symptoms of humans infected with the disease. The most common symptoms shown in dogs have been –
- Loss of appetite
- Swelling of the joints
Although not as common, some dogs infected with Lyme disease develop kidney disease which can result in kidney failure and/or death. It is important to have additional blood and urinalysis tests run on your dog if he or she is infected with Lyme disease, to be sure no further problems exist.
Now that we all are a little more educated on the disease itself, let’s talk about how you can prevent your dog from becoming infected.
Tick Control – Tick control is the best and most effective way of preventing your dog from becoming infected with Lyme disease. There are many different kinds of flea and tick prevention that you can buy for your dog. Whether you want a topical treatment that you usually apply once a month, or an oral medication also usually given once a month, there are plenty of options. Ask your veterinarian which method is recommended for your dog. Remember to also check your dog carefully on a regular basis, especially after outdoor excursions.
Vaccination – Most veterinarians do offer a vaccination to protect your dog from Lyme disease; however, there is some debate surrounding the vaccine and its effectiveness. Some studies have shown that it is not 100% effective in preventing Lyme disease. Talk to your veterinarian before making any decisions regarding any vaccinations.
Lyme disease can be a scary thing for you and your dog. The symptoms can sometimes be hard to recognize, meaning your dog could become infected and go untreated for any length of time. It is important for us as dog owners to educate ourselves on these kinds of diseases so that we can protect our dogs from unnecessary harm. Help spread the knowledge this month for Lyme Disease Prevention!
04.10.2015 | 12:54 pm
April 11th is National Pet Day and it’s a perfect time to celebrate your pets. Spring is sprung, the snow is melting and summer fun is but a few months away. Plus, April 11 falls on a Saturday this year which makes it even more perfect for celebrating your pet!
Here are 10 ideas for celebrating National Pet Day:
1—Take your dog to a Yappy Hour. Many dog bakeries (barkeries?) and some restaurants/hotels celebrate pups and their people with a regular Yappy Hour. Like Happy Hour for people but with dogs, it’s a social time that usually includes treats of some kind.
To find one near you Google “Yappy Your + your town” or call a local store to inquire if they’re hosting one.
2—Bring catnip to Mr./Ms. Furry Paws – Watch your cat go crazy over catnip. A member of the mint family, catnip is an herb that acts as an aphrodisiac for some cats because of an essential oil called nepetalactone. Your cat might sniff, roll it in, run wild through the house and even eat it. Scientists think it triggers “happy” hormones.
3—Take your dog on a long walk—Like most of us, our dogs probably need more exercise. Take them out on a hike or a long city stroll so they can sniff the air and the bushes and the fire hydrants. Dogs smell up to 100,000 times better than humans and it’s the way they “see” the world.
To dogs, scents are stories. Whereas, we might see an object—fire hydrant—and if pushed might describe it as ridged metal, oblong and red, a dog smells all the dogs that were there before. And they love it.
4—Brush your pets – Both dogs and cats are shedding more this time of year and a good brushing will eliminate the dead hair. They’ll feel lighter and you’ll be able to throw out the piles of fur with less housekeeping needed. (HUGE bonus!)
5—Have a photo shoot – Hiring a pet photographer can help you capture treasured memories. Whether your home, their studio or another location—like a park—an experienced pet photographer will get the shots you want.
6—Massage – Both dogs and cats can enjoy the gift of massage. Slow, steady movements along the joints can be especially relaxing. If your pet suffers with arthritis, massage can help loosen her joints so she can move with less pain.
Plus, massage isn’t just stress reducing for the receiver but also for the masseuse!
7—Teach your dog a new trick – If your pup has the basics down—sit, stay, come—you can teach him to roll over or even to dance. “Canine freestyle” is a dance you do with your pet. It takes a lot of practice but if you want to spend quality time with your pet and bond, it can be a fun activity.
You can find out more at the World Canine Freestyle Organization.
8—New Toys – Both dogs and cats enjoy new toys. Let them shred, chase and pounce to their hearts content. Does your pet prefer squeaky toys or chew toys?
9—Adopt –through at your local shelter or connect with a breed specific rescue to find your new furry companion. If you’re not ready to take on a new pet, you can make a donation. Most shelters are happy to accept old towels/linens/food and of course, financial donations.
How will you celebrate National Pet Day?
03.20.2015 | 09:57 am
It is not uncommon for your dog or cat to be allergic to certain things. The most important thing is that you be able to recognize the symptoms, know how to treat any allergic reaction, and also to learn about ways that you can possibly prevent these allergies. This knowledge will help you to deal with any allergies that your pet may have.
Signs and Symptoms
Recognizing the signs and symptoms that your pet exhibits is a very important part of determining what type of allergy that your pet may have.
This is the most common allergy among dogs and cats and is often seasonal. Common sources of this type of allergy are pollens, molds and dust mites.
- Pollen allergies tend to surface around April and May
- Dust mite allergies are usually at their worst in the winter time
- Ragweed allergies are more common in the fall
Common symptoms for these allergies are –
- Red or inflamed ears or recurrent ear infections
- Chewing of the feet
- Facial scabbing in cats
- Rubbing face against carpet or furniture
- Wheezing in cats
- Flea allergy dermatitis – This is a common allergy and it is a direct result of flea bites.
This includes allergies to carpets, cleaners, or plastic and are much less common than Atopy. Symptoms of contact dermatitis allergies can include –
- Red bumps or blisters on areas of the body with less hair, such as the belly
- Excessive scratching
- Hair loss in serious cases
Food allergies only account for a small percentage of allergies in pets. Symptoms can include –
- Recurring skin infections
- Ear problems
- Chronic itching
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
If you suspect that your pet is dealing with allergies, the first thing that you should do is schedule a visit with your veterinarian. They will do a complete history workup and physical examination to try and determine the source of the allergic reaction. If needed, they will do some skin and blood tests and possibly even an elimination diet to get further answers. Once the source of the allergic reaction is determined there are many different treatment solutions –
- Flea control medication for all of the pets in your home
- Weekly bathing with prescription shampoos for skin allergies
- Frequent washing of your pet’s bedding to keep it free of potential allergens
- For suspected food allergies, consider placing your pet on a grain free diet.
- If the source of your pet’s allergic reaction is something that cannot be removed from their environment, allergy injections are available
- Antihistamines such as Benadryl can be used, but only after consulting with your veterinarian and determining proper dosage amounts
- Topical solutions containing hydrocortisone
- Oral and injectable steroids
There are some things that you can do to avoid some of the triggers of allergic reactions.
- Keep pets in uncarpeted rooms
- Keep pets indoors during high pollen season
- Use dehumidifiers in the room that your pet sleeps in
- Avoid stuffed toys
- Keep grass cut short
- Choose a diet for your pet with wholesome and natural ingredients and less additives
Watching your pet struggle with the symptoms of allergies can be painful. The best thing that you can do as a pet owner is to educate yourself about pet allergies so that you can recognize the symptoms early and even learn how to prevent and lessen the chances of certain allergies developing.
02.16.2015 | 12:20 pm
We love our pets every day of the year, but that is not stopping us from dedicating an entire day to making them feel special. February 20, 2015 is Love Your Pet Day, and that is reason enough for us to shower our pets with extra love. Need some help coming up with the perfect way to celebrate this special day with your pet? Maybe it’s a special outing, a new treat, or a day at the doggie hair salon; we have some great suggestions, and your four-legged best friend will never know that you didn’t come up with the idea yourself.
For the Love of Dogs
Dogs spend every single day loving us unconditionally, so let’s talk about some ways that we can show some extra love in return on this special day.
- Turn your ordinary daily walk into an extraordinary one by taking a path less traveled. Find some new trails nearby, take a walk in a new neighborhood, or explore the local state park together, as long as it is pet friendly.
- Love Your Pet Day can be the perfect playdate for your dog. Take your four-legged friend to the local dog park and let him mingle in the social scene of the dog world.
- We all like our dogs healthy and happy. Love Your Pet Day is a great time to schedule a yearly check-up at the Vet Clinic to make sure that your pet is exactly that – healthy and happy! This one goes for all pets.
- What dog doesn’t love treats? Love your dog by scoring him some new healthy treats. The best part? You don’t have to feel guilty on those days that you give in to an extra treat or two.
Pamper Your Pet
- Does your dog need a fresh haircut, or maybe just a really good bath? Make your furry friend an appointment at the hair salon for the full treatment, complete with good-smelling pawfume and a pawdicure.
- Let your dog join you on a trip to the pet store to pick out a favorite new toy.
For the Love of Cats
Only true cat lovers can fully understand the loyalty of a cat and the comfort that they bring to our daily lives. They are known for being self-sufficient in many ways, so let’s talk about some ways that we can give them the extra attention they deserve.
- If your cat spends most of his days indoors, plan a special outing that will allow your cat to safely enjoy some fresh air. They are sure to enjoy it even if you aren’t venturing farther than the back yard.
- If your cat spends most of his time outdoors, a day inside could be all he wants and more. Bring your cat inside and plan a movie marathon on the couch – chances are he will be so pleased that he will even let you pick the movie.
- Let your cat explore his frisky side – bring home some catnip and let the games begin! Be sure to have your phone handy because there is sure to be some video worthy moments and you wouldn’t want to miss a good social media post!
- Surprise your cat with a pâté party! Holistic Select offers many grain-free wet cat food recipes that can be served as a meal or mixed in with their daily dry food. Grab a few new recipes for Fluffy to try a sampling of to celebrate Love Your Pet Day.
Share the Love
Whether or not you own a pet, everyone can celebrate Love Your Pet Day. If you have a love for animals in general, you can be part of the celebration and help out a four-legged friend in the process.
- Adopt a pet from your local shelter
- Make a donation to a local shelter or volunteer your time
- Most shelters have websites and/or social media pages that list the animals that are up for adoption; spread the love by sharing these pages on social media to help find shelter animals a loving home.
The love of a pet is unconditional and as pet owners and animal lovers alike, we know that our pets deserve a day of celebration. Take advantage of Love Your Pet Day and show your appreciation for your four-legged best friend in a way that only you can. Be thankful for your pet, and take this day to also remember the shelter animals that are patiently waiting for their day to become someone’s beloved pet.
02.06.2015 | 11:50 am
They say dog is man’s best friend, which actually makes a lot of sense when you consider how similar dogs and cats are to humans both emotionally and medically. They’re just as excited to see you as you are to see them when you get home; they like to eat just as much as you do; and they need regular exercise to stay healthy –just like you!
As veterinary science progresses, researchers are learning pets have more in common with their owners than just habits; dogs and cats are also subject to major diseases. As pet diabetes is on the rise, now is the perfect time to figure out if your pet may have or be a likely candidate for the disease.
Recognizing the Signs of Pet Diabetes
Many pet owners don’t realize that their dog or cat is just as likely for getting diabetes as humans are. Just like in humans, pet diabetes is the result of both genetic and environmental factors. Certain pet breeds have a higher likelihood of contracting diabetes, so if you have a Siamese cat, a Dachshund or Cairn terrier, for example, you may want to have your pet checked regardless of whether signs of diabetes are present.
While signs of pet diabetes can easily be confused with signs of other ailments, be on the lookout for the following:
- Extreme thirst (polydipsia)
- Frequent, excessive, or irregular urination (polyuria)
- Increased hunger despite maintaining or losing weight (polyphagia)
- Weak hind legs
- Blindness or “whiteness” of eye lens due to cataracts
- Poor skin such as dandruff or an oily coat
Pets that are older (7-9 years for dogs; 8-13 years in cats), have never been spayed (females), or that are obese are of an increased likelihood to fall into the narrowing bracket of animals diagnosed with diabetes.
Risks and Effects of Pet Diabetes
There are two types of pet diabetes or diabetes mellitus (DM):
- Type I DM: Type I DM is the result of the body not producing enough insulin. This type of diabetes is treated via twice-daily received syringe of insulin for the remainder of a pet’s life. Type I diabetes is most often seen in dogs.
- Type II DM: Type II DM sees some insulin production from the pancreas; however, the production is not adequate or there is something disabling the body from using it. The treatment for Type II DM is the same as Type I; however, the good news is that with Type II DM, the treatment doesn’t have to last for the remainder of the pet’s life; rather, it may only be needed for a few months to a few years.
Cats vs. Dogs
Both cats and dogs are capable of having DM; however, the effects and consequences of diabetes in canines are much direr than they are for felines.
- Cats are able to receive supplementary oral medications (oral hypoglycemic agents) that help lower their blood sugar. When cats are diagnosed with diabetes, their life expectancy isn’t necessarily compromised especially when the feline is also being treated with a high-protein diet and weight loss because a successful treatment regimen can resolve the diabetes in cats.
- Dogs are not receptive to supplementary oral medications, and the lifespan of dogs diagnosed with diabetes is typically lowered to two to five years following diagnosis. Lastly, even with a rigorous, successful treatment regimen, canine diabetes can never be resolved.
In any animal, diabetes left untreated will be fatal. Thus, it is of extreme importance to take as many preventative measures as possible to ensure your furry best friend is not one diagnosed with diabetes.
The good news about preventative measures for pet diabetes is that they are easy to do; also, they are things that you probably do with your pet anyway…so, all you have to do is do them more often (and as an added bonus, at least one of these things is good for your health, too).
- Exercise: Your pet should get regular exercise just like you to ward off obesity; obesity in pets is on the rise (over half of dogs and 60% of cats are considered overweight or obese). As we all know, obesity is one of the number one preventable causes of diabetes, so taking your pup out for a half hour walk before or after work will not only help keep him or her in shape, it will also ward off diabetes. For indoor cat owners, here’s the perfect excuse to buy that laser pointer you’ve never been able to rationalize to your spouse. As an added bonus, watching the kitty chase that little red dot is worth a heart-healthy barrel of laughs.
- Diet: Consult your vet to determine which natural pet food is best for your animal. In pets with diabetes, maintaining glucose concentrations is essential, so something created for your pet’s age, size, breed, lifestyle and dietary needs can make a big difference in prolonging his or her life.
- Monitoring: Now that you know the signs, be on the lookout for any significant changes in your pet’s diet, energy levels, thirst, or urination habits / frequency. Immediately take your pet to the vet if any concerning changes are noted.
Only a licensed veterinarian can diagnose your pet with diabetes or help you best determine if your pet is at risk. If you think your pet might be at risk, there’s no harm in having him or her checked out. In the meantime, make sure you’re feeding your pet high quality natural pet food and –while you’re at it– tack an extra 15 minutes onto the day’s walk because it could save your pet’s life and if nothing else, it will lead to a healthier, happier, longer life for both of you.