Summer’s in full swing and that means getting outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. And on those glorious sunny days, what could be better than a good, old-fashioned cookout? But before you invite your friends and head to the park, or even just the backyard, make sure that your cookout is safe for your dog.
Recently we had to make the difficult decision to discontinue a couple of products. You may have noticed that Kung Fu Fido Fortune Cookies, Monzies Cookies, and Sojos European-Style Cat Food Mix are no longer listed on our website. For the smattering of loyal customers of these products, this song’s dedicated to you.
It cracked me up today to open the latest edition of Pet Business Magazine, and see myself included in the cover story, "A View from the Top". The cover promises "Visions of the Future: Prominent pet industry executives discuss their expectations for the pet specialty channel." Unfortunately for the reader, the editors of Pet Business deemed Ward Johnson of Sojos a "prominent pet industry executive".
Albuquerque is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country, home to more than 70 different ethnicities. That diversity is reflected in the area’s architecture, artwork, cultural centers and cuisine. The city is home to more than 550,000 residents, and both humans and pets will discover many fun activities in the Duke City, as it’s known.
Southern charm with no shortage of style: that’s Asheville in a nutshell. The city’s spirit is steeped in the arts as much as the outdoors, and its spectacular setting in the Great Smoky Mountains is inspiring to people who love both. For vacationers and locals alike, the added bonus is that the city of roughly 85,000 residents is incredibly pet-friendly.
Atlanta is a buzzing metropolis that is a major hub in the southern United States. The city boasts an amazing arts culture, a breathtaking aquarium, headquarters of big businesses like Coca-Cola, and quaint surrounding neighborhoods. The variety you will find in Atlanta is sure to have you coming back for more.
Boston is much more than one of America’s largest cities – it’s one of the country’s most outstanding travel destinations. History buffs, foodies, art lovers and others all have an endless list of reasons to visit, and dog owners should certainly be counted among the population who will love a trip to Boston. The city stands apart as a dog-friendly destination, as well as a great place to call home.
The “Queen City” of Charlotte, N.C. lives up to its nickname with true genteel character. It’s a place that’s bustling with business as one of the biggest banking centers in the United States, but it also has a strong cultural heartbeat and visitors are always treated to a generous dose of the famed Southern hospitality – even if the visitors are four-legged. If you’re traveling with your pup, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this dog-friendly city.
The “windy city” is known for its thriving metropolis and bustling culture. As the third largest city in the United States, Chicago has a lot to offer. From amazing museums and shopping to world renowned restaurants and sports teams, Chicago has something for everyone. No matter what brought you and your dog to the biggest city in the Midwest, be sure to check out some of the best dog-friendly sites while you are in town.
If you’re looking for a hassle-free vacation with plenty of beautiful country scenery, rich history, architecture and the small-city charm, take a quick trip to Kentucky. Tour the Kentucky Derby Museum, or a race at Churchill Downs, visit one of the many performing arts centers or one of the many amazing restaurants. Without making your way too far south, Louisville offers the warm southern hospitality and delicious dining that the south is recognized for, and, it’s a great place for Fido to visit!
In a country that truly loves its pets, some cities stand out for being exceptionally dog-friendly. From pooch-welcoming patios to abundant trails and parks, many factors go into making a town a doggie paradise. In Minneapolis-St. Paul – also known as Sojos HQ – there’s just about everything a dog owner could want. So, what is it that makes our hometown so dog-friendly? Here are just a few examples of amenities that keep people and their pooches happy:
If there’s one thing dogs love, it’s being outdoors - and the same can be said of residents and visitors of Missoula, Mont. Nicknamed the “garden city” because it enjoys a milder year-round climate than the rest of the state, Missoula has something to do in every season. And with a population that boasts one dog for every two people, you can bet that plenty of the activities in the area are pup-friendly.
Portland routinely ranks as one of America’s best-loved cities, and if dogs could vote, they’d probably give it a bark of approval, too. The “City of Roses” is a great place to live if you have four-legged friends, but it’s also welcoming to visitors of all breeds. So whether you’re shopping for a place to relocate or simply your next vacation destination, check out what makes Portland so pup-friendly.
With a reputation for weather that’s pretty much perfect all year round, it’s easy to imagine that San Diego is a great place to be a dog. But weather isn’t the only important component in creating a truly dog-friendly city (after all, Minneapolis-St.
If there’s any question about whether the City by the Bay loves its critters, just look at its namesake: Saint Francis, the patron saint of animals. No, the name wasn’t chosen by pet lovers back in 1847, but it’s a fitting moniker for today’s animal-friendly town. In a city where dogs have been noted to outnumber children, there are lots of services and amenities that cater to pooches and their “parents.”
Tampa is a popular destination for eager vacationers of all walks of life. The sunny skies, lively city and plentiful beaches draw tourists from far and wide. Tampa’s rich culture hosts a diverse past and a unique blend of art and athleticism. Whether you are drawn to attractions like Busch Gardens and The Florida Aquarium or the sandy beaches of Tampa Bay, this city has something for everyone – even your pets.
After the first few months of owning a pet, you master the basic grooming tasks. You brush your pet frequently, and he knows exactly what that bottle of pet shampoo means. But grooming your furry family member means more than just the occasional brush and bath. When you are ready to move beyond the basic grooming for your pet, you can start to take on additional tasks. Grooming should be a relaxed process, so be sure to ease in the new tasks to your pet’s at-home grooming routine with plenty of treats and praise. Start by adding these tasks to your pet’s routine:
Your love your pets—they’re a part of your family—so of course you want the best care for them when you’re away. Whether you’re travelling or an emergency requires you leave Fido at home, there are several options to consider.
Even the most devoted dog people can find excessive barking bothersome. It can keep you up at night, annoy the neighbors and just generally set you on edge. Dogs that bark too much face a lot of potential problems – some owners elect to have their dogs devocalized or “debarked,” while others actually choose to euthanize their pet. But those extreme options can be avoided – and you can still find solutions for a quieter, calmer, dog-friendly household.
Every dog owner knows that each dog is a uniquely special animal. Whatever they might look like on the outside, dogs have their own personalities and develop one-of-a-kind relationships with their owners. Unfortunately, those outward appearances can have an effect on the kind of life a dog has – and it shows in the effects known as “Black Dog Syndrome.”
If you’ve ever seen a police dog follow the trail of a missing person or a mischievous pet sneak his way out of a fenced-in yard, then you know that dogs can be very clever. Dogs can learn some impressive skills, but just like humans, they need to exercise their minds in order to keep them in shape.
The Siberian Husky was originally bred as a sled dog and this animal has incredible endurance. These pups have a thicker coat than many other breeds, with a soft fluffy undercoat and a dense, coarse top coat. With this thick coat, Huskies thrive in sub-zero temperatures, allowing them to make long treks through the winter snow. The Siberian Husky loves to run and is an active breed that often has a happy-go-lucky temperament. Huskies are long famous for participating in the grueling long-distance Iditarod race.
When summer finally arrives, who wants to get outside more – you or your dog? It’s probably about even, and sometimes, going for an afternoon hike doesn’t quite quench your desire to get back in touch with nature. Camping can be an absolute doggy dream-come-true, but it’s up to you as his owner to make sure that it’s a pleasant, rather than painful, experience. These are some key things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about sharing a wilderness experience with your dog.
Developing a daily routine for you and your pooch is essential to both his wellbeing and yours. Having a schedule creates structure for Fido—structure that comforts him. Pets don’t necessarily understand the concept of time; instead they react to events. For example, if you always let your dog out the moment you return home from work, your pet will expect to be let out immediately after you return, even if you are early one day.
There are millions of human yogis in America, but there is also a growing number of four-legged acolytes of the age-old Indian wellness practice. Pet owners who enjoy the calming, centering and health-promoting effects of yoga are keen to get their best friends in on the benefits.
If you hear “essential oils” and think they’re only for pampering beauty products, think again. These powerful natural remedies can be and are used for much, much more. For dogs, essential oils can provide helpful solutions for both physical and behavioral problems, but only when used safely and wisely. That’s why it’s important to learn a bit more about essential oils before incorporating them into your pet care regimen.
It’s the biggest, boomiest celebration of the summer for Americans, but for some dogs, the Fourth of July is more frightening than fun. The thunderous noise from fireworks can have a major effect on some dogs, while others barely seem to notice. Much of that has to do with their first exposure to fireworks, but it sometimes happens that even if a dog is well out of the puppy stage, a major scare will stay with him for the rest of his life.
Dog ‘waste’ is a major concern for the environmentally conscious pet owner. Especially since the 78 million dogs in America produce 10 million TONS of dog ‘waste’ each year. The way you pick up and dispose of your pup’s poo has a major effect on the environment when you consider those stats. Here are some options to make cleanup more ‘green’:
Sojos RAW dog and cat foods provide many health benefits to pets, but ensuring healthy eating doesn’t stop at the type of food you serve. Make sure the type of bowl you are using to feed your pets is the best possible to support a healthy lifestyle.
Moving to a new location with your dog or cat can add extra stress to the moving process. On top of packing, hauling and organizing, finding a pet-friendly rental can be difficult. There are often weight restrictions or breed restrictions on apartments and homes even if those places are listed as “pet-friendly,” so be sure that you ask for the specifics before you fall in love with a location.
To the disappointment of those who feed raw dog food and raw cat food, the American Veterinary Medical Association adopted their proposed policy to discourage the feeding of raw foods to pets (as we recently discussed). And while the language of the policy was changed from “never feed” to “avoid feeding,” the controversy around the topic seems unlikely to quiet down any time soon.
In recent years, there’s been a growing awareness among both regular people and health care professionals – including veterinarians – about the benefits of non-Western medicine. In many cases, it used to be called “alternative” but is now called “complementary,” illustrating a widening perspective about what treatments are effective. Chinese traditional medicine, having been practiced for thousands of years, naturally captures attention for its longevity and effectiveness.
Dog training has gone through some profound changes over the eons that people and dogs have lived and worked together – and even in recent years. Unfortunately, many of the formerly common methods were cruel and only served to intimidate and hurt dogs. Today, we have a better understanding of how to interact with our dogs in ways that are both humane and encouraging, and therefore more effective for training. Positive reinforcement is at the heart of those ideas.
We humans are lucky: We have an array of ultra-high-tech winter gear that helps us get through the winter cold. While we’re piling on the socks, thermals, gloves and gaiters, we sometimes assume that because our dogs have fur, they can handle whatever Father Frost throws at him. But cold tolerance, like so many things, varies from breed to breed, and can even be dependent on what your dog’s used to.
What could be more fun than a spring or summertime hike with your dog? Getting out into the wilderness sounds like a blissfully carefree activity until you remember one thing: ticks. Every field of tall grass, every thicket of trees, every meadow of wildflowers is potentially crawling with those nasty parasites that can do much more damage than giving you a case of the heebie-jeebies.
A carpet of emerald green lawn, a dazzling rainbow of fragrant flowers in bloom and not a pest in sight - it sounds like the perfect garden, doesn’t it? But for your dog, that same backyard paradise could be a minefield of poisonous plants and dangerous chemicals. Plan carefully, though, and you can have the garden you want, with far less risk to your pets.
Both humans and dogs are dealing with obesity in increasing numbers. More than half of American dogs (52.5 percent) are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. It’s hard not to think there’s a connection. For the good or for the bad, is your lifestyle affecting you pet’s?
Pets play such an integral role in our lives. They greet us in the morning with kisses, they welcome us home with wagging tails, and bring a smile to our faces on the days when nothing else seems to do the trick. Pets are a part of our families and when we lose a pet, it can be difficult to deal with that loss. It is not unusual to feel a deep sense of grief when a pet dies. After forming such a strong bond, severing that tie can be painful.
When someone asks what I do for a living and I say that I run a pet food company, the question invariably comes up – “How did you ever get into that?” If I had a nickel for every time that I’ve told the entire story, I would have $3.65. Most of the time I just shorten the story to the Cliff Notes version – “Oh, I just kinda fell into it.” Of course, that doesn’t do the story justice, but then again, a nickel ain’t worth what it used to be.
They say that the five most stressful events in a person’s life are getting married, having a baby, buying a house, the death of a loved one, and bringing the manufacturing of your pet products in-house. Most people never have to deal with the last one because, luckily for them, they don’t own a pet food company. In the early Summer of 2001 I was tackling three of these, simultaneously preparing to walk down the aisle, sign my first mortgage, and completely shift my company from one that sells pet food to one that makes and sells pet food.
In the future, I need to remind myself that there is no such thing as “just looking” when it comes to a visit to the animal shelter. Set foot through that door and it’s a virtual certainty that you’re going home with new member of the family. I learned this the hard way when we spontaneously decided to pop by a local shelter last week and wound up coming home with an adorable Terrier mix named Andy.
Summer isn’t summer without a vacation, and there’s no better time of year to bring your dog along for the fun. As you plan the great getaway, whether it’s a weekend visit or a two-week camping extravaganza, make sure that your pets’ needs are covered and plan for ways to make the trip comfortable for them.
“Fighting like cats and dogs.” Everyone knows that old chestnut has a shred – or maybe more than a shred – of truth in it. Nevertheless, plenty of pet owners love both dogs and cats, so mixed-pet households are a definite reality. Pet parents know that finding a balance that keeps the fur from flying can sometimes be a challenge, but with a few adjustments, everyone can get along just fine.
Kids and dogs are a classic combination – what mom hasn’t heard a plea to bring a puppy home? Whether you adopt a pet when your kids are old enough to ask or raise a baby in the presence of a dog, there are plenty of lessons to be learned so that your kids are dog-friendly.
While it certainly is not a glamorous part of being a pet owner, it’s important to care for even the smelliest parts of your pup. Anal glands play an important role in your dog’s life, and all dogs – no matter what breed – produce the pungent, musky fluid. This fluid identifies your dog to other dogs, telling them things like his gender, age and health status.
It’ summertime and temperatures are heating up! You love your dog, and want to bring him with you whenever you can. Sometimes, though, it’s better to leave Fido at home. When you’re headed to a place that does not allow dogs, consider what could happen when you leave your pet unattended in the car.
Deciding on a dog to bring home can be very difficult process. Your dog will be with your family through thick and thin, for a lifetime. While it’s easy to fall in love with an adorable face, not every breed will be suited to your lifestyle. Although there is no formula for picking out the right dog for you, there are a few characteristics to consider when making your decision, whether your are picking out a new pupy from a holistic breeder or rescuing a pup from your local shelter.
At Sojos, we don’t just value growth for the sake of growth – to us, real growth means always finding new ways to improve our product and boost our efficiency at bringing the best raw dog and cat food available to our two-legged customers and four-legged fans. With that in mind, we’re excited to announce that we’ve set up shop in a brand-new-to-us space, just down the road from our old home in Northeast Minneapolis, Minn.
When nightmare stories about pets dying on airplanes make the news, it’s enough to make any pet owner weary of flying with Fido or Boots. However, there are situations in which you need to transport your pet over a long distance – so what’s an owner to do?
What could be better, in your dog’s mind, than a free and unencumbered run through the outdoors? On the list of things he enjoys, a trip to the off-leash dog park probably ranks right near the top. But when you visit the park, you’re sure to encounter other dogs - and their owners - so sharing the space politely is a priority.
It’s not just we humans living in a high-tech world – our pets do as well.. From microchip identification systems to food and water dishes that refill automatically, pets are very much a part of the digital age. Since new developments are practically constant these days, it pays to stay up to date on what new and wonderful innovations are available for pets and their owners. These are some of our favorites:
It can be hard to leave your pet behind when traveling. Those pouty eyes and droopy tails give you the guilt trip whenever you bring out the suitcase. Many pet owners decide to take their pet on the journey along with them. If you pet enjoys traveling, then Phoenix may be your next must-see destination. This pet-friendly city has plenty to offer, from unique Southwestern architecture and geology, to a Wild West history and relaxing resorts.
Traveling with your pet is a great way to spend time together and enjoy some new experiences together, whether you want to hit the hiking trails or explore a pet-friendly city. But when your pooch is along for the ride, there are a number of new factors to consider.
We all need to do our part to be more eco-friendly, and dogs and cats are no exception! Of course, owners are the ones who make the decisions, but an increasing numbers of pet products on the market promise to be better to – and demand less from – the earth. So, when you’re out shopping for your pet, do what you can to pick out environmentally-safe supplies and accessories. As a bonus, most earth-friendly products are also pet-friendly! Dogs
It’s a pet owner’s worst nightmare: a beloved cat or dog goes missing. After the panic sets in, what can you do to ensure that your best buddy gets home safely? Luckily, in today’s digital world, there are options that will spread the word far and wide faster than a flier on a telephone pole could ever do.
Grooming your dog is about much more than looking good – it’s also important to his health and comfort. Grooming helps protect your pet from diseases and parasites that could harm him. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid these problems by getting into a regular grooming routine. Your pooch will look and feel his best. To get started, keep these grooming necessities in mind: Brushing
Pet-proofing your home can be just as challenging as baby-proofing. It takes a lot of work to prepare and it’s a job that’s never over. Keep your pet safe and your family happy by taking a few precautions in your shared space. Make a sweep through your home to pinpoint these potential dangers. Indoors *Latch cabinets with childproof latches if you have a curious pet. Especially secure household chemical, medications, and cleaning products. *Block small spaces behind appliance or cabinets where pets could get stuck.
The new year is upon us, and that has many people thinking of how they can prepare for a happy, healthy and successful 2013. While there are plenty of resolutions that fall to the wayside by February, you can beat the odds by taking a slightly different approach: share your resolutions with your best four-legged friend. We all want to give our pets the best lives possible, so tying them into your resolutions can help bolster your resolve to turn goals into accomplishments. When you succeed, your dog will benefit as much as you do.
For many people, summer means out-of-town vacations. But what are you going to do about your pooch? It’s often not feasible to take him along, which means you may have to decide whether to board him at a kennel or select an in-home sitter. Each has its pros and cons – many owners worry that kennel management won’t be attentive enough to their pooches.
Pet overpopulation in the United States can turn what should be a joyful event – the birth of a puppy or kitten – into a tragedy. Each year far more cats and dogs are born than will ever find homes. In fact, the leading cause of death for cats and dogs in the United States is the euthanasia of healthy but unwanted animals. Animal Ark, a no-kill shelter right here in Minnesota, is committed to helping to solve this problem. The organization works to raise awareness about the needs of homeless animals in Minnesota and throughout the nation.
Manners are important during the holidays – and that goes for both people and dogs. With a house full of people things can start to feel a little chaotic, which can make your dog feel stressed. And if your dog’s not behaving, it can make guests feel uneasy, too. Maintain some order and keep the celebration focused on fun by giving your dog the tools he needs to be a polite pup.
Many pet owners enjoy the companionship of bringing their dog to work with them and dogs have long been assistants to their human counterparts. From the earliest days of domestication, dogs began working with humans as guards, hunters and herders. With an unwavering loyalty, a willingness to please and training capabilities, dogs make wonderful workers.
The holidays are coming, and for many people, that means traveling long distances to see friends and family and celebrate the season. For dog owners, that can also mean leaving their beloved best friend at home, either with a sitter or a boarding facility.
It’s not exactly breaking news that puppies are hard to resist – those wiggly, soft, sweet little critters can charm just about anyone. If you’re already a pet owner, however, you know that a puppy, cute as it is, is a real commitment – though it’s worth all the work in the end. If you’re considering adding a new pup to a household that already includes other dogs, you have even more to think about.
Winter’s always going to be a little chilly, but every now and again a harsh cold snap descends. With temperatures and wind chills in some parts of the U.S. dipping well below 0 F this week, animals of all kinds can be very vulnerable to frostbite or worse. By protecting your own pet and lending a helping hand to others, you can make the difference between life and death.
For those out there who said I'd never amount to anything – check out the March/April Dogs Naturally Magazine. Ok, I admit it, I'm still not a world-famous novelist. Baby steps, right? I was honored to participate as a guest writer for the latest issue of this up-and-coming publication. You can find a sampling of my journalistic artistry by clicking here. You'll find your's truly on page 11.
Your dog has some durable paws, but they certainly aren’t indestructible. You throw on your hiking boots for a climb in the mountains and your rubber boots in the rain. Dogs don’t have that luxury—their paws come in contact with all kinds of surfaces when they walk, run, play, swim. This exposure can lead to some painful injuries if you aren’t careful to help your pet tend to his tootsies. Here are some tips to help your pet keep those feet healthy: Moisturize
At the beginning of 2011, to say that our staff was spread too thin would have been one of the world’s all-time understatements. My production supervisor had recently quit. I was working long hours, sometimes through the night. We were still adjusting to bringing our own freeze drying operation in-house. We were growing like a weed and having a hard time keeping up with demand. I was putting out fires left and right, all while hosting a perpetual knot in my stomach. After owning Sojos for 15 years, I was running on fumes.
In the days since the shooting in Newtown, Conn., the affected community - and the nation - have been reeling with grief. In the face of such a senseless tragedy, we all mourn together. Finding a sense of connection and love is incredibly important, and many people believe that dogs can help suffering people do just that.
There are few things more disarming than a sweet, roly-poly puppy. If you’re looking for a pup to be a new part of your family, it can be hard not to fall in love at first sight, but knowing more about where that adorable little furball comes from can make all the difference in the world.
Almost all people can read emotional cues in other human faces and body language – but can you do the same with your dog? Humans and dogs have a long history together; most scientists agree that the earliest domestication of dogs took place at least 16,000 years ago – others have found evidence that domestication happened as long as 32,000 years ago. In either case, that’s a long time that we’ve shared our spaces and activities with dogs.
It can be difficult to read your pet’s body language. If he growls, bares his teeth, snarls, snaps or bites at you or others, these aggressive behaviors are unacceptable. Paying close attention to your pet’s body language and aggression triggers can help you understand why he is acting that way. There are several types of aggression. Here are some common types:
Even for the most planned, organized person in the world, getting a puppy or a dog can be all about emotion. Seeing a sweet look on that cute little critter’s face can somehow make it feel as though everything will be easy and turn out well. But after you’ve brought a new dog home, no matter his age, challenges usually start to appear, and it’s up to you to handle them with a calm demeanor.
Any dog lover knows how cute puppy breath is, but when those roly-poly little furballs get bigger, “doggy breath” is a whole other aroma – and often not a pleasant one. But don’t be fooled into thinking that bad breath is normal for a dog. In fact, it can be an indicator of deeper health problems. The numerous possible reasons for bad breath mean that brushing his teeth won’t necessarily fix the issue.
The instinct is strong, whether you’re human or canine: When the cold winds start to blow, it’s hard to resist curling up to stay cozy and warm. But after a few weeks – or months – of laying low, we all get a little stir-crazy and want to get moving.
Most people know what dog-sledding looks like, but what about skijoring? Skijoring is a mix between cross-country skiing and mushing. Residents of icy climates have long practiced this winter sport, and it’s now gaining popularity all over the world. When skijoring, a dog connected by harness, pulls a person on cross-country skis. Whether you are a competitor or just trolling around the park, skijoring is a great way to have some fun with your pooch during the frigid winter months. Almost any dog breed can try this sport, but should be over 30 LBS.
Most dog owners have been on both sides of this equation: An eager dog-lover approaches a dog, and the pup has a negative reaction -either barking, nipping or running away. It’s upsetting and embarrassing, but it’s hard to place blame in that situation. Some communication might have saved the day.
You’d love to get a cat or dog, but worry about allergies. The advantages of owning a pet typically outweigh the disadvantages, note the experts at the Humane Society of the United States. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your animal companion with a minimum of sneezing.