Monthly Archives: November 2009

The Best Chew Toys for Dogs

By Suzanne Alicie

We have all heard horror stories about dogs who chew. I have lived through this terrible event and after losing several pairs of leather shoes and one really great leather jacket, I learned some hard lessons. The first is that no matter how well behaved your dog is being, you can’t trust them. Don’t leave your valuable chewable items in a dog’s reach, because that is just too much temptation.

The second lesson is that if you provide your dog with good chew toys they may learn to leave your stuff alone. Spending a few bucks on chew toys is preferable to replacing your entire shoe collection. I don’t know why my dogs only chewed on leather and completely ignored my dollar store flip flops. I suppose they have expensive tastes, but the non leather chew toys I found seem to intrigue them just as well.

There are chew toys of all shapes and sizes; some even hold treats which will keep your dog occupied for a long time. Because each dog will have a preference, you may have to try several chew toys before you find the ideal one for your canine friend. When you are choosing a chew toy for your dog, the most important thing to look for is that the chew toy is the right size. If you have a small puppy, a large hard chew toy won’t interest them because they won’t be able to chew on it well, and if you have a large dog a small chew toy can be a choking hazard.

Safety must come first when it comes to entertaining your dog. Chew toys that are flimsy and will get torn into pieces easily are not recommended. You can find chew toys everywhere, from your grocery store pet aisle to pet specialty stores and websites.

Squeaky chew toys are a personal annoyance of mine simply because my dogs can squeak them a hundred times in just a few minutes and drive me crazy. For that reason alone I don’t give my dogs squeaky toys. If the noise doesn’t bother you, be sure to select toys that are well made so the ‘squeaky’ part does not become dislodged and present a choking hazard.

When it comes to choosing a dog chew toy you should follow these suggestions for your dog’s safety and happiness.

• Look for chew toys that are made of durable rubber.

• Avoid strings, buttons and other pieces that can come off and be swallowed by your dog.

• Choose chew toys in an appropriate size for your dog – replace puppy chew toys as the dog grows.

• Purchase more than one shape of chew toy. Dogs prefer having a choice and will use the chew toy that is comfortable for their mouth and teeth.

Keep in mind that chewing is a natural dog activity. By choosing smart chew toys, you can help maintain your dogs dental health and even improve their breath, while preserving your home, furniture and footwear.

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie

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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Who Won the CANIDAE Facebook Pet Photo Contest?

Most people love taking photographs of their beloved pets and showing them off to the world. But when this includes the chance to win a one-year supply of premium pet food from CANIDAE, all the better!

The moment many of our readers have been anxiously waiting for, is finally here. It’s time to announce the winners of our recent Facebook photo contest, and show you the prize-winning pets. We received hundreds of great photos, depicting everything from family vacations, children hugging their dogs, cats sunning in windowsills, dogs walking along the seashore, and beautiful shots of some of the cutest pets on the planet.

After narrowing the field down to the top 50 pictures, the entire CANIDAE staff voted for their favorites. Everyone had a lot of fun looking at, and voting on, all of the wonderful photos. Many pet owners attached touching stories to their pictures as well, relating how they rescued an injured or abandoned pet and brought them back to health. Often, they said that our premium pet food was part of the recovery process. “That always puts a big smile on everyone’s face around the office,” said CANIDAE employee Jason Castillo.

Dog Category Grand Prize Winner

Kristi M. of Broadview, Montana won the dog category with the adorable photo of her Fawn Boxer and Australian Cattle Dog mix jumping in the air to catch snowballs. Kristi wrote, “Our dogs and cats are more than just pets, they are family; and as such their health and nutrition are very important to us. Thank you for making such wonderful foods.”

Kristi’s dogs Laila and Viktor both endured hardship before coming to live with the family. Laila had been neglected, left chained to a shed to be a “guard dog” and was underweight. Viktor had been thrown from a car window and suffered from a broken shoulder as well as having other signs of abuse. Both dogs are now happy, well-cared for members of the family.

Cat Category Grand Prize Winner

Amy R. of Farmington, MN won the cat category for her charming picture of best feline friends Attis and Arley snuggled close to one another. Amy wrote, “We’ve had Attis and Arley for about two years now. We feed them FELIDAE Grain Free because Attis is an Egyptian Mau and I read that grain free is best for his sensitive tummy. He does really well on it. They are such cute cats. They look out for each other and they love to play.”

Dog Category Second Place Winner

The votes were so close in the dog category that a second place prize was created and awarded to Diane S. for her photo of Rain, an 8 week old Aussie mix puppy she helped to rescue after it had been discarded by the side of the road. Diane is affiliated with Paw Safe Animal Rescue in Virginia and will receive a 6 month supply of CANIDAE dog food.

We want to thank everyone who submitted their photos for this contest. It was so nice to see all of your cherished pets and read your heartwarming stories – and so very difficult to pick the winners! Even if you didn’t win the contest, your dog or cat could still get a little taste of fame – many of the photos and stories will appear on the CANIDAE website or in a special Facebook Fan Page photo album.

We may even feature the photos here in our Responsible Pet Ownership blog. We created this blog to provide helpful tips and advice for caring pet owners, and strive to offer insightful articles on virtually every aspect of pet care. We hope to see you here in the future, and on the CANIDAE Facebook page too!

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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.

Tips for Buying or Building a Dog House

By Ruthie Bently

Here in Minnesota, while the season on the calendar is still fall, it feels more like winter, sans snow. Skye does have a dog house, though she does not have to use it for winter shelter because she is never left outside. In any country that has a winter season, it is best to have a dog house for those very cold days and nights. Dogs that have no shelter of any kind can get frostbite on their feet, tails and ear tips. They can also suffer from hypothermia which can cause more permanent damage if not treated quickly enough.

You can buy a dog house, or you can make one yourself if you are handy. Visit your local library for do-it-yourself books on how to make a dog house, which will usually include plans. You can probably even find free dog house plans on the Internet. Whether you buy a dog house or make it yourself, the things you should look for are the same.

One thing to consider is the height of the interior space of the dog house. Your dog should be able to get in, turn around and lay down. They don’t have to hold their head up, but should be able to walk into the house without bending their knees. Think of it like your dog’s outdoor den, or (if you use a crate in the house) your dog’s outdoor crate without a door. It should be comfortable for them to get into if they need to. For example, Skye fits well into a crate that is 36” long x 24” wide and 26” high; so if I were looking for a dog house I would look for one with those basic measurements. An important thing to remember is that the dog’s body heat keeps the house warm, so if it is too large your dog won’t be able to stay warm.

Another important factor is that you don’t want your dog house to sit right on the ground. Instead, you want a bit of clearance between the floor of the house and the ground. Rain, snow and ice can get into the floor of the dog house if it sits right on the ground, causing it to deteriorate. Clearance will also keep insects from getting into the dog house, and allows air to circulate. Try to find a dog house with an offset door; this will help keep the winter winds from whistling in and keep snow off your dog as well. One with a baffle pattern is good, but again your dog has to be able to maneuver without too much trouble. If the roof is peaked, you may want to get a sheet of insulated wallboard for extra warmth. A dog house with a shingled roof is a plus, and will protect the roof of the house from the weather.

To cover the floor you can get a piece of indoor/outdoor carpeting, which makes it easier to clean. On top of that you can put an old quilt or down comforter. If you use a down comforter, get a good heavy cover for it, as your dog will probably want to make a nest. Several clean, old rugs work well as bedding too. There are even heated pads you can purchase, but if you use one of these, the dog has to be able to get off of it if they want to. You can also use a nest of straw, but make sure it is clean and mold-free. I like to use old comforters, and can buy them for a few dollars at the thrift store. They are nice and thick, and Skye loves to dig in them in her crate.

If you get a dog house and want to put it into a dog run, make sure your dog run has a top on it. Your dog could use the house as a launching place to get over the dog run fence. If your run does not have a top or is too small for the dog house, you can cut an access panel through the dog run fence, butt the dog house up to the fence and anchor it to the fence. This will keep your dog from pushing it out of the way and trying to escape the dog run. You may also want to use tie downs if the dog house is lightweight and you live in a particularly windy area. I am a fan of wooden dog houses and have had good luck with them, but these tips will apply to any dog (or cat) house you get to protect your pets from the elements.

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.

Giving Thanks for Pets

By Julia Williams

Thanksgiving is a day when people come together for feasting, fellowship and fun. For many, this day also includes the tradition of giving thanks. Very often, this is done by going around the dinner table before the meal, with each person sharing what they are thankful for. Younger children seem to really love this custom, while most teens and some adults think it’s silly and would just rather eat their turkey.

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with giving thanks for pets? Well, it reminds me of a similar “thanks giving” ritual I practice, and not just on Thanksgiving, but every day. I’d like to share it with you, and will explain how it relates to pets.

I got the idea for my “thanks giving” ritual from Jack Canfield’s Key to Living the Law of Attraction. As you may know, Jack Canfield is the co-creator of the bestselling “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. The basic principle of the Law of Attraction is that “like attracts like.” In this book, Jack explains that “Being truly grateful for what is already present in your life will automatically and effortlessly attract more good into your life.” He says that by making a conscious effort to appreciate and acknowledge all the good things in your life, you attract even more to be thankful for.

Even those who might not believe in the Law of Attraction should be able to see the value in this way of thinking. Having an “attitude of gratitude” just makes you feel better – not only about yourself and your individual situation, but about everything in your world. It’s practically impossible to feel surly or sad when you are in “thanks giving” mode.

I developed my own “thanks giving” ritual that helps me cultivate this attitude of gratitude. Every night when I crawl into bed, no matter how exhausted I may be, I take a few moments to silently think about all that I have to be grateful for. I might give thanks for material things like having a warm home or a comfortable bed, or intangible things like having a peaceful or productive day. It’s not structured, it’s just what comes to mind in the moment– and it’s never the same on any two nights.

But the one thing I always include is a line about my cats. “I give thanks that Mickey, Rocky and Belle are safe, healthy and happy.” That never changes. I want to always remember to feel grateful that I’m able to keep my cherished pets safe, healthy and happy. And when I express that gratitude, albeit silently and only to myself in a dark room, it makes me feel good. It makes me feel blessed to acknowledge that I have good, nutritious food for them, and a warm home for us all to live in.

Every pet deserves a responsible owner who will always do their best to keep them safe, healthy and happy. Sadly, some pets are not as fortunate as mine. I like to include my pets in my “thanks giving” ritual, because I’m so grateful I can give my feline companions a good life. And no matter what else has occurred during my day, I go to sleep every night feeling thankful for their companionship and love.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May this holiday find you and your four-legged friends safe, healthy, and happy.

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.

Portland’s New Pet Food Bank Gets “Two Paws Up”

By Julia Williams

Throughout the year but especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas, many compassionate souls step up to help those who have fallen on hard times. Food banks and soup kitchens ensure that the homeless, jobless and low-income families all have a nice holiday meal. But what about the beloved pets of those less fortunate? If they are lucky enough to live in Portland, Oregon, they too will have plenty of good food to eat this Thanksgiving! Thanks to The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank and CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods, no companion dog or cat in Portland has to go hungry this holiday season.

This new food bank for pets officially opened on November 8th, and plans to be open on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month. Reflecting on their first day, The Pongo Fund Founder Larry Chusid said it was a “perfectly joyful opportunity to help the community. We were able to effortlessly guide each person through the facility, providing them with food and nutritional advice, in only a matter of minutes. Providing a respectful and efficient experience will be critical as we expect to help more and more people as news of the pet food bank spreads.”

Although this past Sunday was only the second day The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank was open to distribute high quality dog food and cat food to the needy, it’s already clear that it’s going to have a huge positive impact on the lives of many – humans and animals alike. The number of customers on the second day doubled that of opening day, and in November alone The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank provided more than 10,000 meals to hungry pets who might not otherwise have any food.

Anyone with a genuine need can receive a two week supply of premium pet food for their four-legged friend. What’s more, the warehouse full of kibble and cans generously donated by CANIDAE will allow people to come back to get more food every two weeks, so long as they have a need.

Keeping pets and families together in tough economic times is a challenge. Although many may still have a roof over their heads, the loss of a job can drastically impact a family’s financial stability. Families are torn apart, because there’s just no money to buy pet food. “If people can’t afford to feed their pet, they have to give them up. The Pongo Fund fills a unique need… they help keep families together by feeding the pets,” said Lael Concordia, Director of Social Services at William Temple House, another Portland organization that helps individuals and families in crisis.

I read a touching story in the Oregonian that illustrates just how critical it is for cities to have a pet food bank like The Pongo Fund. A social worker told of parents who had explained to their children that they didn’t have enough money to feed their dog and didn’t want it to go hungry, so they were giving it up for adoption. The children had become despondent, not only because they’d lost their cherished pet, but because they feared they would also be “given up” if there wasn’t enough money for food.

Until our economy recovers, this family is probably not the only one whose young children might have that same concern. Children just don’t understand adult worries such as the need to put food on the table or in the dog’s mouth. Nevertheless, when a family is in dire straits financially, kids do feel the anxiety and the anguish of their parents, and having to give up their pet only adds to their fragile emotional state.

Organizations like the Pongo Fund are so important right now, because they help both the pets and the people who love them. By providing quality dog and cat food to families in need, Larry Chusid knows he is saving lives and lifting spirits. He recently received an email from a family who had been loyal CANIDAE customers for years, but were experiencing true financial hardship. They had run out of dog food and were feeding their two dogs oatmeal and rice. Larry knew The Pongo Fund Pet Food Bank would be able to help them, but it wasn’t going to be open for another 12 days. Not wanting the dogs or the family to suffer, he opened the food bank just for them.

This Thanksgiving, many needy families in Portland, Oregon will have a lot more to be thankful for. The Pongo Fund and CANIDAE have not only given them the food they desperately need for their dogs and cats, but renewed hope and joyful hearts too.

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.

Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs

By Linda Cole

Along with all the heaping dishes of good food and fantastic desserts at family gatherings this holiday season, alcohol will probably be included. There’s nothing wrong with humans having a glass or two, but alcohol is dangerous for dogs and cats. Alcohol poisoning in pet is preventable, however, provided we as responsible pet owners take some precautions during our upcoming holiday celebrations.

I’ve grown up with dogs and cats, and am still amazed at how they try to manipulate us into giving them what we have. My mom had a dog (Heidi) years ago who had a persistent cough, and Mom took her to the vet. Heidi had bronchitis and the vet put her on antibiotics and suggested giving her a teaspoon of Sloe Gin to help ease her coughing. This was many years ago, before much was known about alcohol poisoning in dogs. Following the vet’s instructions, Mom gave Heidi a teaspoon of gin when her coughing became excessive. Heidi’s coughing subsided as she recovered from the bronchitis, and Mom stopped giving her the gin. However, Heidi liked the gin and wasn’t ready to give it up. Her coughing returned a week later – only this time, it was obvious she was faking in order to get some gin!
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