Category Archives: cat

Grain Free Cat Food – New From CANIDAE


By Ruthie Bently

I am thrilled to be able to impart this news to my readers. CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods is introducing two new formulas to their FELIDAE® line of cat foods, and they are both grain free. FELIDAE Grain Free Cat and Kitten is made with chicken, turkey and fish meals, and fresh lamb. The other formula is FELIDAE Grain Free Salmon and the salmon is wild-caught from the Pacific Ocean.

Like the CANIDAE Grain Free ALS for dogs, both formulas are grain free and the protein comes from 80% meats and 20% fruits and vegetables. Not only that, they also include essential antioxidant vitamins and amino acid chelated minerals. The formulas contain carefully balanced Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids with a 5 to 1 ratio for optimal nutrition, and guaranteed viable micro-organisms and cranberries for urinary tract health. These formulas are a win-win for any cat that eats them.

I have been associated with the pet industry since 1976, and am very happy to be working with a company that pays attention to the needs and requests of its customers and their pets. Jason Castillo from CANIDAE recently commented on the new formulas, “Cat owners have been asking for all natural grain free diets. Since cats generally require a higher level of protein than dogs, we feel grain free makes a lot of sense for felines. So, we’re very proud to once again deliver what our customers have asked for by offering two new wholesome and nutritious high quality cat foods that are completely grain free.”

I can personally attest to the palatability of the new FELIDAE formulas. I was lucky enough to be able to try the new formulas on my own cats. When I first put my AmStaff Skye on the CANIDAE Grain Free ALS, I couldn’t keep the cats out of her dish. I had to feed Skye in her crate, so I was delighted when I got small bags of the FELIDAE Grain Free formulas to try on the cats. The cats knew that what the delivery man dropped off was for them, and I could not keep them away from the boxes containing the new food before they were even opened.

I tried to gradually introduce the new formulas one at a time by mixing them in with the regular FELIDAE Cat & Kitten that my cats were eating. They decided that they wanted the new formulas rather than what they were eating, and started picking out the new formula, even though it was mixed in with their regular food. I do not free feed my cats and they get a bowl of food in the morning and one in the evening, and the queue at the feeding dish would have been an unbelievable sight if I hadn’t known what had been the cause.

So if you get the chance the next time you are in your local independent retailer of CANIDAE, stop in and pick up a bag of the new FELIDAE Grain Free Cat & Kitten food; I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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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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Animals Can Warn of Danger


By Ruthie Bently

Have you ever wondered how your dog or cat knew there was a storm coming? How animals sensed the approach of the Indonesian Tsunami? Or how pets in California know when there is an earthquake coming? Living in Minnesota, I am very glad that I live with animals. You see, Minnesota is on the northeast corner of what is known as “Tornado Alley,” and when we get severe weather here everyone knows about it. Our house is in a valley upon a slight rise in the land; there is a meadow to the east of the house and a river just beyond that. The river seems to attract a certain amount of lightning and we get some spectacular thunderstorms here. I am happy to say that I can usually tell if they are going to be bad or not depending on how the animals on the property behave.

I can feel changes in the weather coming when it is turning cold and damp and have read that some people can tell when it is about to thunder because they feel strange, but I wondered how my animals knew there were changes coming. When there is a bad storm coming the animals all go to ground. The wild birds and animals retreat to their hiding places and get very still and quiet. The chickens that don’t usually go into the hen house until around dusk, go in several hours early and won’t come back out. Skye and the cats will go to the open door, give a sniff and turn around and retreat back into the house.

I even remember seeing a story on the local news after the tsunami in Indonesia several years ago, that mentioned a little girl who was saved by an elephant, as he took her to higher ground with him. So how do they do it? How do animals know the weather is changing, that California is in for another trembler or that an earthquake on the ocean bottom created a tsunami? I was discussing it with a friend of mine one day and he said that our animals actually sense the changes in atmospheric pressure. Because they can also sense changes in the temperature and humidity levels they are aware that a storm is coming and go take cover. I was reading about animals and weather recently and learned that they can smell changes in the ozone levels and as ozone levels change during storms, they would be even more alert to the bad weather coming.

According to scientists, because animals have such physiologically highly developed senses they are able to feel changes in magnetic fields, electrostatic and chemical changes as well as touch, vibrations and sounds that may be too low for our human range of hearing. Because a dog’s sense of smell is between 10,000 to 100,000 times better than ours, it is possible for them to smell the chemical changes in the air before an earthquake. However, there are several opinions about how animals tell that an earthquake is coming. As most of the evidence is anecdotal and hard to duplicate in a laboratory, the scientific results are inconclusive, so this will probably be an ongoing project.

However you look at it, our pets are more connected to our world and more aware of changes than we are. It makes sense to me; they are connected to the earth through their feet at the very least. I am very glad that I have such a well functioning animal early warning system here where I live.

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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.

Gardening with Your Pets in Mind


By Ruthie Bently

Now that the snow has theoretically left Minnesota it is time to get our garden started. I have been told it has actually snowed somewhere in Minnesota every month of the year, which is a statement I can well understand after living here for over 10 years. We have a garden every year, but with all the animals we have to be careful how and when we use machinery, fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides.

So how do you have a garden and animals at the same time? It is relatively easy; it just takes a bit of planning. Skye has a dog yard that is fenced in so she can go outside and enjoy the sunshine while we are outside to watch her. We don’t use commercial pesticides or insecticides on our plants, as the animals are in and out of our garden all day. They may not always be as careful as we are to walk between the rows. If we were to use pesticides or insecticides they could get whatever was sprayed on their feet. Both Skye and the cats are cleaning themselves all the time and they could ingest the chemicals they might walk through, which would make them sick. Some chemicals used on lawns have been linked to canine cancer, and I had a client in Illinois who lost a German Shepard for just that reason.

We are lucky to have chickens, which make great walking insecticides. You don’t need a rooster for hens to lay eggs, so if your city allows you to have chickens, you may want to consider investing in a few. They are relatively easy to take care of and you get fresh eggs too. If chickens aren’t your thing, look into companion planting. Certain plants will drive away bugs; marigolds or chrysanthemums for example, which is where natural pyrethrums come from. While we didn’t use this method last year, we have used it in the past with rousing success.

One of my favorite pastimes is weeding, which relieves my stress and makes my garden look better. My favorite time is right after a good rain because then the weeds are easier to pull. I even have one of those rotary human powered tools with discs on it to help cut up the weeds. After that, out comes the rototiller to get rid of weeds that are too stubborn to pull or dig up. Did you know that the definition of a weed is a plant that is growing where you don’t want it to?

I am happy to say that the cats avoid anything in our yard that makes noise (i.e., the rototiller, lawnmower, weed whacker). When we have to mow Skye’s dog yard she stays in the house, unless she has to go potty and we have a separate gate so she can’t get into the larger part of the dog yard. I unfortunately have personal experience with a dog and a lawn mower, and am very careful that Skye will not have an issue like that.

For fertilizer we use aged chicken manure. In the spring we clean out the chicken house and put all the pine shavings from the floor into a compost bin. We also compost whatever kitchen scraps and weeds cannot be fed to the chickens, as well as the weeds we pull. You can buy organic fertilizer at most home garden stores, just make sure it is aged, as fresh manure is too strong to put right on the plants. Last year was the first year we used chicken manure, and we put up about 60 quarts of tomatoes from just half a dozen plants.

Watering is easy too, as I have barrels and tubs around the house under all the downspouts to catch the overflow that the gutters cannot handle. If you decide to collect rain water, make sure you keep your water mosquito free by using “Mosquito Dunks®” or something like them. They are made from a larvicide that won’t hurt birds, fish or any other animals that drink the water. They short circuit the life cycle of the larva, and the larva die. They have been on the market for over 15 years and have been used in many applications. There are also other insecticide products made with beneficial nematodes (Steinernema feltiae) that will kill almost all pests. They are a worm-like parasite that prey on and eat other bugs in the soil of your yard. They can be used in most applications, and are not harmful to earthworms, pets, people or plants.

For dealing with the flies in the yard we use a wonderful dome-shaped fly trap that you put attractant in and toss when it is full. We have used these for many years, and have re-used them for more than one season, though you have to bring them inside after they have been emptied for the year. This year I was stung by a wasp and as my dad is very allergic I could become that way too. So we began to use a wasp trap. While I am normally a “live and let live” kind of gal, this bothers me a bit. Since the wasps are primarily in the vicinity of where we sit in the yard and exercise Skye, the safety of my pets and my family are more important. The wasp traps also use an attractant (the one we have uses 3) to attract the wasps to the trap; they go in and can’t get back out.

Some of the things we do may seem time consuming to you, but we feel the need to make sure that all the animals and people we love are able to live a safe and happy life together, and this system seems to be working well for us. My last American Staffordshire Terrier, Smokey Bear, was almost 20 when he died of old age. This is just one more way to live as peacefully as we can without making any big changes that may do more harm than good.

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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 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?

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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

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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.

Being Your Pet’s Advocate

As pet owners, we are responsible for our pet’s care and feeding. This includes veterinary care as well. While we don’t actually provide the care itself, we are responsible for making sure our pets have regular vet visits, that their vaccinations are up to date and that their overall health is good. You don’t need to use the most expensive vet you can find, but you need to make sure the vet you pick understands your pet and their specific individual needs. 
If you have children, you probably looked long and hard to find a pediatrician to fit their needs. You should look at your pet’s veterinarian in the same light. For example, will the office hours fit in with your schedule? Do they have emergency hours or are they open on Saturdays? Are they open to alternative forms of treatment, if that is what you are interested in? Will they listen to your explanations or will they expect you to follow what they want you to do?
On Easter Sunday evening I found a lump the size of a medium sized egg under Skye’s jaw. I was flabbergasted as I had just put a new collar on her four days before and there was no lump there then. After calming myself down, I immediately called the breeder to discuss the situation. The breeder felt that it was probably an enlarged lymph node. We discussed the options, as Skye’s regular vet is about an hour an a half away. So we decided that I would call the local vet I had used for my other dogs and see if he could see Skye on Monday morning. 
Here is where being your dog’s advocate comes in. I kept Skye’s original vet because they knew her history and when I had an initial interview with my local vet about Skye when she first came to live with me, he was questioning why she was not on more modern drug therapies for her seizure issues. The local vet felt that Skye would be better served if she was on a more modern drug and not one that had been used since the turn of the twentieth century. I felt that you use what works and if an older drug was keeping her from having seizures, I was not going to play with her medications. So I personally felt more comfortable with going back to the original vet Skye had and we go back to him every six months for her blood tests.
I was able to get Skye in to see my local vet on Monday afternoon. I have gotten to know Skye’s body language pretty well and she was uncomfortable about being at the local vet’s office. While we were waiting to see him, Skye began pacing around the exam room like a tiger in a cage at the zoo. Not only that, she began to shed profusely, not just a few hairs here and there but lots of hair. It looked like I had never brushed her at all. Pacing and shedding are both signs of stress, so Skye my normally calm, people loving dog was not having a good time; and we hadn’t even seen the vet yet.
When we got to see the vet, he aspirated the lump under Skye’s jaw and after looking at a slide determined that it was not a lymph node, but an encapsulated abscess with no draining tracts, as he found pus in the sample. In laymen’s terms, Skye had gotten something under her skin and her body trying to protect itself, walled the foreign body off much like an oyster with a grain of sand in itself does. I was told that it had probably been there for two to three weeks. I found this hard to imagine and explained about the new collar and the fact that I would have notice something to the vet but he felt that I could have missed it.
Now I am having doubts about my care of this wonderful dog and how could I have not seen something? I asked the vet what he would suggest and he felt that the lump should be removed. The vet put Skye on amoxicillin for the infection. So I scheduled Skye for surgery for two days later and went home with her. I called the breeder as soon as I got home to discuss what the vet had mentioned. I discussed my misgivings and feelings and she said she would call the vet that Skye had been seeing and would get back to me.
Please remember this: As your pet’s advocate you are entitled to a second, even a third or fourth opinion, whatever it takes to get and keep your pet healthy. Don’t stop at just one if you are having doubts or issues with what you are being told. The hardest part is that you have to get past your own emotions and do what is best for your pet, and if you are not happy with the first diagnosis or have questions, get a second opinion. As your pet’s advocate you have this right, and this is the most important thing to remember.
This story has a happy ending. I was able to get Skye in to see her regular vet. It was not an abscess, it was an enlarged lymph node and Skye did not have to go under anesthesia, which could have sent her into a seizure, though I did not know that at the time. We still don’t know what caused the infection, but now my little girl is just as sassy and demanding as she was before she got sick, and I learned first hand what being your pet’s advocate means.

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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.