Monthly Archives: May 2009

Does Your Pet Have Allergies?

By Ruthie Bently

Did you know that dogs and cats can have allergies? Many people don’t realize that, just like people, their pets can be allergic to numerous things. Does your dog scratch at its ears a lot, even after you’ve ascertained they don’t have ear mites? Does it look like your dog has developed a case of acne or blackheads? This may not just be a dirty face; they could be allergic to their food bowl, or the food it contains. Allergies can also cause hot spots, skin rashes and hair loss. Your dog could actually have a case of irritable bowel syndrome, which can be attributed to a food allergy.

Most food allergies are caused by corn, soy and wheat products used in pet foods. By eliminating these items from your pet’s diet you can often relieve the symptoms of the allergies you are seeing. Even if you have been feeding the same food for several years, your pet can still develop an intolerance to what they are eating. CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods makes two grain free formulas for dogs, which are formulated with a ratio of 80% meat proteins to 20% fruits and vegetables. None of the CANIDAE dog and cat formulas are made with any corn, wheat or soy products, and can help animals that may be allergic to what they are eating.

Signs of allergies to plastic can be manifested in a case of “dog or kitty acne,” which looks like pimples or blackheads on your pet’s chin or lower face. If your pet is allergic to their plastic food bowl, change to a ceramic or stainless steel one, which has less chance of causing an allergy. I prefer the stainless steel bowls myself, as they are easy to keep clean, and they are usually unbreakable. If you choose to use a ceramic bowl, remember that they will break if dropped, so if your kids are helping fill the food or water dish, you may want to get one they can handle easily.

Another thing many people may not realize is that our pets are coming down with more environmental allergies than they used to. I had a client with two Labrador Retrievers, and after putting cedar closets in their house, they found out their Labs were allergic to them. Cedar is great for keeping insects away from clothing, and cedar shavings have been used for years in dog beds. However, if your dog begins sneezing or snorting and doesn’t want to use their bed, they may have developed an allergy to the cedar shavings inside if that is what you use to fill it with. What may smell pleasing to us may not be so pleasing to our pets, as their noses are so much closer to the source of the odor.

By considering our environment and how it affects our pet’s way of life, we can make it a more pleasant experience for us all. After all, as members of our families, don’t they deserve the best we can provide for them?

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

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Advice on Raising Your Pet: Take It, or Leave It?

By Julia Williams

People who wouldn’t dream of giving parents advice on how to raise their children often think nothing of doling out plentiful bits of their (apparent) pet-rearing wisdom to cat and dog owners. I’m not sure how this double standard came to be, but it does exist because I’ve seen it play out more times than I can count.

From my own experience, I believe that most of the time the advice is given with good intentions. The advice givers truly think they know how to solve a pet owner’s problem or help them with raising their cat or dog. In reality, sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t.

The challenge pet owners face is knowing when to listen to the advice and act upon it, and when to just tune it out. It can be hard for pet owners to know which advice is the “right” advice. Often, the advice comes from family members, which further complicates the matter. We may want to please or placate the advice giver, so we take their advice to heart even though our own intuition is telling us it’s not the right course of action.

I firmly believe that if every person listened to their intuition every time they were faced with a decision –not just with how to raise our pets but every life choice – we would never make a wrong decision, because our intuition is always right.

Human beings are always second guessing their intuition, which is something that animals never do. Animals trust their instincts because their survival depends upon it. Humans could really learn a lot by living as an animal for just one day. I imagine that we’d come back from the experience knowing a lot more about how to trust that gut feeling, and we’d know a lot more about when (and when not) to take advice on raising our pets.

One thing I know for certain is that you should never take someone’s advice just to humor them. This will never turn out good, and I offer my own recent experience as proof.

I moved myself and my three cats back to my home town so I could help out my elderly parents. They are not “pet people,” and although they don’t dislike animals, they’ve never shared their home with one. Consequently, they know next to nothing about how to raise pets or what to do in various circumstances.

Yet for some inexplicable reason, my mother thought she knew how to help my cats recover from the shock of being driven 1,000 miles to a strange new home. She told me they would hide in the closet less if I locked them in the garage and let them explore it. (I’m still laughing about that one). Next, she said they would be less fearful of the cars driving by if I forced them to spend time outdoors. But the “pièce de résistance” was when she said that if I made them walk around the yard on a leash and harness, they would enjoy it.

One day I decided to humor her, knowing full well this advice was pure hogwash (sorry Mom!). I had a made-for-cats leash and harness that I’d bought (and used) for my trip out, so I put it on Annabelle and carried my quivering cat outside. Almost as soon as I set Belle down on the ground in the garden, she bolted. I didn’t have a good grip on the leash, and as Belle scurried across the yard to the door, I zigged and zagged along behind her, desperately trying not to fall on my face. When we reached the patio Belle darted under a lawn chair and I had to let go of the leash to keep from crashing into the chair. My foot kicked over the plastic tub of Felidae cat food I’d brought out to the patio to use as a treat for Belle. Naturally the lid was off, and kibble spilled everywhere. Meanwhile, my mother was laughing hysterically.

I told her, “Stop laughing and pick up all this kibble!” I went in to remove the harness and leash from Belle so she wouldn’t hurt herself. When I came back, my mother hadn’t picked up a single piece of cat food because she was still too busy laughing. Apparently the sight of Belle dragging me across the yard and the subsequent “kibble mishap” was a lot funnier from her end, because every time she tells the story to someone (which is often) she goes into fits of laughter! Suffice it to say, that was the first and last time I tried to take Belle outside on a leash. It was also the last time I let my well-meaning mother give me advice on how to raise my cats.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Does Your Dog Need a Raincoat?

By Ruthie Bently

We are now well into the spring season, and Skye hates to go outside when it is raining. She will go out in the middle of a blizzard, but won’t put a whisker outside when it’s raining. Is your dog the same way? Did you know you can purchase a raincoat for your dog along with booties if they are fussy about getting their feet wet?

Most pet shops carry raincoats and boots year round, and they are available for most sized dogs. If your dog needs a raincoat, it’s a good idea to take them into the store to try on their raincoats to see which one will fit the best. Some of the deeper chested breeds may be a bit hard to fit, but it can be done. Most raincoats are made of plastic and have a hole for your dog’s head along with a chest protector and a belt for around their middle to hold it in place around their body.

The raincoat should fit well but not too snugly, the dog should have room to move comfortably. If you can’t bring the dog into the store, ask the store personnel if you can bring it back if it doesn’t fit. Usually they will say to be sure to keep your receipt and try not to remove the tags from the coat. If this is the case and your dog is at home, you can still get a good idea of what size they will need.

The best way to fit a coat on your dog is to have the dog stand up while you are trying it on them; this will give you a truer picture of how the coat fits. Get your dog to stand and use a tape measure to measure down their back from the neck where their collar lies, and measure down to where their tail comes out of their rump. Most coats run in even sizes from 8 inch to about 36 inch. If your dog measures say 19 inches, buy an 18 inch coat. You would rather buy a bit smaller than too large, this will keep your dog from soiling the coat if he is a male and lifts his leg, or hanging too far off the back when they need to defecate. The chest piece should not be too binding and the belt should fit snugly around the dog’s middle.

Rain boots are just as easy to fit. Boots come in many kinds of materials, but the best for rain is either rubber or cordura nylon. I used to sell two good rain boots; one was cordura nylon with a Velcro® closure and the other was made of cordura nylon with an elastic closure. When fitting boots you also want to have your dog standing up. If you cannot take your dog with you, get the dog to stand up and take tracings of each foot. Make sure to include their toenails, as they will be on the inside of the boot and while these boots are tough, you don’t want them too tight, as your dog’s toenails may be tougher. Get the closest size to your tracing, and if you need to, go up a size to get the correct fit.

When fitting your dog for a coat, they may be uncomfortable for a bit because they are not used to having something on their back. Fitting your dog for boots may take a bit longer as you are buying them in sets of four, and you will probably be tempted to laugh the first time you see your dog with boots on their feet, but try not to. They may not understand that you are laughing at their perceived misery, but don’t let on because believe it or not your dog can get embarrassed. What I do when fitting a dog for a coat or boots, is have a Snap-Bit dog treat ready. They feel better if they know there is a cookie waiting at the end of their “ordeal.”

If your yard is “mud central” like ours has been, having boots for your dog isn’t such a crazy idea. I have a white tile kitchen floor and while I love the color, I don’t love the mud that Skye can bring in on her feet. Skye knows that she has to stop in the mudroom on the rug to have her leash and whatever else she has on removed. But if she comes in barefoot, even with the rug in the mudroom, my floors are still muddy. So on rainy days, Skye has to wait while I put her boots on before she goes out. She knows she gets a Snap-Bit at the end of it all, and she does love her cookie.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

About the CANIDAE Customer Support Team

By Diane Matsuura and Beth Morgan

We’re not “JUST” Customer Service here at CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods, we’re more than that. At CANIDAE, Customer Service has always been a top priority for us. We have a small staff of caring individuals, real people, who are passionate about pet food and pets. Among us, we have a wealth of pet care and nutrition experience to draw upon, and we are nice people too (maybe we’re biased, but it’s true).

At CANIDAE, we aren’t an answering service or receptionist who answers the phones and transfers calls to someone more qualified, as many companies do. We are a small, personable and caring company, and we make every effort to talk to every client in person, by email and via the new online chat feature. Yes, sometimes you will have to leave a message on our phone system, but that just means that we are on the line helping another valued customer and we will call you back as soon as possible.

A customer service representative at CANIDAE wears many hats. We have to know our entire product line from top to bottom and be able to answer any nutrition and ingredient questions you may have about our products. We can assist you with coupon requests, frequent buyer and breeder program information, store locations and send you a free sample. We can also connect you with your local CANIDAE Sales staff and wholesale order department or distributor. We also offer retail sales support. Sometimes we have to be detectives and help you figure out what formula would be best for your pet. Occasionally the answer may be CANIDAE is not the right food for your pet, and we will be honest and tell you so. But what we try to be the most is a friend, someone to listen to your problems with your pets, share happy memories and experiences with, share your excitement of adopting a new pet, or sharing your sorrow over one who has passed away, and someone who really understands how important your pet is to you and your family.

There are a few things that you can do to make your experience with CANIDAE more productive and helpful. If you have a concern about one of our products, please make sure you have all the date and batch code information handy when you call. All products come marked with this information either on the bag or box, either front or back, or on the bottom of the can. We also love to hear from our customers who love our products, too. Send us a photo of your pet and a testimonial letter about why you and your pets love CANIDAE and we’ll post it on our website. We welcome helpful suggestions about our products and how they might be improved. It was customer suggestions that led us to offer an improved bag design that uses a Velcro closure, and encouraged us to formulate pet foods made without any grain.

What our jobs at CANIDAE Customer Service mean to us is the chance to talk to so many diverse people about their pets, from not only the United States and Canada, but many other countries as well, whereever CANIDAE is sold. Each of our callers is a new opportunity for us to grow as a Customer Service representative and as a person. You introduce us to new breeds, interesting questions and descriptions about where you live, your families and the pets that share your life. Our job is rewarding, sometimes frustrating, but always fascinating and never boring. Call us anytime 8:00am to 4:30pm PST. We love to hear from you, and thank you for choosing CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods for your pets.

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Norwegian Forest Cat: Ancient Breed Has Mythological Origins

By Lexiann Grant

The Norwegian Forest cat is, as its name indicates, a cat of Scandinavian descent. A breed believed to be between 1,000 and 2,000 years old, the “Wegie” was the cat of the Vikings, living as a ratter on both farm and ship.

Breeders from Finland describe the cat as the “mystic wildcat of the fairy tales.” Norse mythology tells that these cats were the favorites of Freyja (also spelled Freya, Freja, or Frejya), goddess of love, fertility and the hearth. Freyja traveled in a chariot drawn by either two white or gray Wegies.

Legend says that the goddess’ presence passing through the countryside caused seeds to sprout and grow. Farmers that left out pans of milk for her divine cats were blessed with bountiful harvests.

Freyja also symbolized domesticity and was often portrayed with Norwegian Forest cats playing around her feet. Lovers wanting to marry asked the blessing of Freyja and her cats. Because of this custom, many superstitions about weddings and cats began. Some of these were:

* Girls who value cats will definitely marry
* Giving newlyweds a black cat as a gift represents good luck
* If someone steps on a cat’s tail, that person will not marry for a year
* If a woman feeds a cat before she goes to her wedding, she will have a happy marriage
* Scandinavians believed that feeding a cat well would guarantee sunshine on the day of a wedding.

Besides the Norwegian Forest cat’s role in transporting Freyja about the countryside, they drove her into battle against the Aesirs (or Asers), the gods of the dark side. They also pulled her chariot to the funeral of Balder, the god of beauty and kindness.

Called Norsk Skogkatts or Skaukatts in their native Norway, these cats were originally thought of as fairy cats. A naturally large breed, Forest cats were said to be so huge that not even the gods could lift them. One tale relates how Thor, the strongest of the gods, lost a contest of strength to Jormungand, who was disguised as a Forest cat. (Jormungand was the serpent son of Loki, god of mischief and deceit.)

Old though the breed is, their mythology continues into the present. Stories as recent as the 1930s spin mythological narratives about Wegies turning into trolls, and trolls turning into Wegies. Today’s breeders still name their catteries after ancient Norse myths.

For more information about Norwegian Forest cats, visit the websites of The Cat Fancier’s Association or The International Cat Association.

Read more articles by Lexiann Grant

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The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.

Separation Anxiety: Theirs, not Yours

By Ruthie Bently

I just got back from a vacation shortened by weather. But I was pining even the week before I left – I was already missing Skye and she hadn’t gone anywhere yet. You see, she was going to spend her time at the breeders, as I could not take her with me. I was having separation anxiety before the fact. Did you know that animals can also have issues with separation anxiety? Not only that, I discovered after this recent trip, that there can be separation anxiety issues between animal species.

I had a client, “Mrs. Jones,” whose daughter went away to college, and their Golden Retriever began to misbehave. Mrs. Jones came in and asked what she should do because she was baffled. This was a dog that had gone through obedience classes and was a wonderfully behaved dog. So what was going on, why was her superbly trained dog misbehaving? Any time anyone comes in to see me about a specific issue, whatever it is related to, I always ask what has changed in the pet’s environment. We don’t necessarily see changes in our households as major changes, but our pets can and often may. Any changes we make in our lives can affect our pet’s lives as well.

Mrs. Jones mentioned that her daughter had gone off to college, but was home recently for the Thanksgiving break and to do laundry. The dog followed her daughter all around the house and would not stop. If they crated the dog, she whined the whole time. It took me a bit of time to figure it out but I did; the dog loved the whole family, but had apparently bonded to the daughter. Her owner asked me what I thought she should do. “Laundry” was the key word for me. I asked Mrs. Jones if her daughter came home with laundry on a regular basis. “No” was the answer, so I suggested she give the dog a pair of her daughter’s dirty socks and see what happened. That solved the problem, because since the dog had grown up with their daughter and she went away to school, the dog was pining for her. All pets can suffer from separation anxiety, though some may have more issues with it than others.

Some obvious signs of separation anxiety are pets following you around the house or yard and not wanting to let you out of their sight. Our animals are smart enough to know that something is going on; they just don’t have the particulars yet. Your pets may want to go outside and then want to come right back in, because of their fear that you might leave and not let them in again. Sometimes the same pet will stay outside so you can’t leave, because they realize that if they delay your time of leaving that gives them more time to spend with you. (These issues can arise either before or after you actually take your trip.) Your pet may start pacing around the house or yard; they may start whining and crying for no apparent reason.

I explained to Skye before I left why she could not go with me, and told her when I would be back to get her. The last time Skye went to the breeders, one of her cousins was an agitator and would get Skye going. But Skye did fine – I was the basket case!

Some things you can do if you are leaving your dog in a kennel while you are gone are to take a few of their favorite toys or a favorite blanket from home to help them settle in better. Some kennels offer extra exercise for a fee, which can help keep your dog’s mind off your absence. You could also speak with a homeopath about using an herbal remedy for calming your pet while you are away.

I even learned something new after I got home – the cats missed Skye as well. How do I know? They wouldn’t let Skye out of their sight, and followed her around the house whether she was inside or outside. Two of them, Munchkin and Mouse, actually put their front paws around her neck and began kneading her fur, and then they began giving her love bites. Munchkin even spent the first night we were all home together sleeping on Skye’s back with her front paws wrapped around Skye’s neck to prevent her from moving without Munchkin knowing. Skye being the long suffering dog she is, took it all in stride.

The most important thing to remember is that your pets love you and can’t always understand why they can’t go along. Have patience when dealing with their “acting out” and try to be a bit more understanding of their possibly odd behavior after you get home; it will pass in time.

Read more articles by Ruthie Bently

Find CANIDAE Retailers Near You!

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.