5 things you can do to make your summer cookout dog friendly

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.

Acupuncture for dogs: What you need to know first

Acupuncture is one branch of traditional Chinese medicine that has been steadily gaining popularity as a holistic treatment modality for pets. It involves placing extremely thin needles in the skin along energy meridians to balance or restore the flow of energy. The practice has been used to treat an extensive variety of conditions in humans for thousands of years.

AVMA to vote against feeding of raw pet food

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is about to vote on a policy against the feeding of raw meat to pets. Specifically the AVMA Council on Public Health and Regulatory Veterinary Medicine will vote to create a policy to "discourage the feeding to cats and dogs of any animal source protein that has not first been subjected to a process to eliminate pathogens because of the risk of illness to cats and dogs as well as humans."

Babysitter’s club: how to select a sitter for your pet

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.

Can dogs get colds or the flu?

With widespread illness grabbing headlines these days, most of us are trying our best to stay healthy. As we’re washing our hands, lining up for flu shots and boosting our vitamin C consumption, another question often comes to pet owners’ minds: Can my dog catch a cold or the flu?

Cats and finicky eating

Even for devoted cat owners, cats can be a bit of a mystery. Of course, that’s part of what makes them so fun to live with. From their peculiar behaviors to their range of vocal tones, cats will keep you on your toes. Unfortunately, many cats have a quirk that can be a real concern to their owners: picky eating.

Cats and grooming: Helping your cat look and feel her best

Cats have a reputation for being low- or even no-maintenance when it comes to keeping clean. It’s true that they’re a fastidious species, but grooming is something that most cat owners will have to think about at some point in their pets’ lives.  As an added benefit, grooming can help keep your cat’s shedding under control, cutting down on the amount of cat hair you need to deal with in your home.

Cats and taurine: Is your feline friend missing out on an essential element?

Cats are unique creatures - any owner will confirm that with a litany of stories about her cat’s peculiar habits. But they’re not just set apart by their exceptional talent for starring in Internet videos. Cats have unique health needs to keep them up for their busy schedules of mischief, snuggles and jumping on top of the refrigerator.

do allergies have your dog itching this spring?

It’s springtime and many of us are looking at the fresh buds on the trees through red, watery eyes. Unfortunately our four-legged friends don’t get a hall pass when it comes to allergies. While environmental allergies (ie. pollen, etc.) and genetics can play a role, often the guilty-party can be found on the ingredient panel of your dog’s food. Dog food allergies can mimic seasonal allergies, causing flaky, itchy skin, scratching, shedding, irritated ears, goopy, watery eyes and digestive issues.

Doggy DIY: How to make the best first aid kit for your pup

Dogs love nothing more than to get out and play – and sometimes they play rough. That can mean bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes, so every dog owner should be prepared to treat their dog in case of a minor boo-boo or a more major injury. Pre-made first aid kits can come in handy, but they often don’t contain enough of the key essentials to fixing up your pet when he needs it most. Taking a DIY approach and building your own first aid kit will ensure that you have everything you need – and enough of it.

Feeding pets with medical issues

When you consider your pets family members, there’s no question about whether you’re going to help them when they need special medical attention. Whether it’s a short-term injury or a chronic condition, making your pet feel well and doing what you can to keep him healthy is second nature.

Feeding “people food” without encouraging begging

As we’ve discussed before, feeding your dog human food and table scraps isn’t a bad thing – as long as you’re feeding healthy items, along with his natural dog food diet. And while it can be a fun feeling to give Fido a taste of what you’re having, going about it the wrong way can leave your dog with some undesirable habits, like begging.

Food safety tips to keep you and your pet healthy

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.

Ingredient profile: Sushi’s components are good for your pet

It’s no secret that many people love sushi. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also packed with ingredients that are good for you. From brown rice and cucumbers to fish or seafood, sushi is both tasty and healthy. Dogs can experience some of the same health benefits that humans do from many of these ingredients. Because of their nutritional benefits, each bag of Sojos contains kelp and ginger.

Is it possible to train a cat?

“That’s like herding cats” is an old phrase used to describe a particularly difficult or unwieldy task. Cats definitely have a reputation as being more independent and unconcerned about listening to the “rules”, compared to their canine counterparts. But as plenty of cat owners have learned, it really is possible to train a cat – even if you can’t herd a whole group of them.

is raw dog food dangerous?

News spread Friday that fourteen people spread across nine states had become ill from salmonella poisoning after handling tainted dog food. As an advocate of raw pet food, It was interesting to see that the food in question was a cooked kibble.

Keep that puppyish figure! Using food to maintain your pet’s weight

Pet obesity has been getting a lot of notice in recent years, as our four-legged buddies’ waistlines expand right along with those of many humans. And just as in humans, diet and exercise are the two key factors in how your pet gains - or doesn’t gain - weight. 

Keeping everyone happy in a multi-pet household

“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.

Kibble, canned and beyond: Making sense of dog food options

Go to any pet food and supply store and it’s easy to feel like you’re suffering from sensory overload. With aisles upon aisles of food options, each touting its own tagline, it can be confusing to make any choice, let alone the one that’s best for your dog. If you find yourself mystified by the multitude of options, let us offer a little extra help.

Know more about meats for raw feeding

A lot of considerations drive owners to transition their pets to raw dog food: concerns about health and meeting a dog’s real dietary needs are just some of them. Once you’ve made up your mind to give your dog a raw diet, you have a lot of options when it comes to the kind of protein you’ll be feeding.

Laser pointers: Are they a safe toy for your cat?

Watching your cat dart across the room after a laser pointer may appear like a harmless game, but is it really safe? Cats seem to enjoy frantically chasing the little red dot from corner to corner and up the wall. While laser pointers may seem like a good way to exercise and entertain your cat, they may not be a safe toy.

Making sense of cat myths and legends

Cats have a long history as companions to their human owners, and some seriously wild stories have come out of all those centuries. In some societies, they were treasured; in ancient Egypt, cats were so loved that owners shaved their eyebrows in mourning when a prized pet feline died. In others, cats were on the receiving end of dangerous superstition and were seen as the companions of witches.

Pick of the litter: What to consider when choosing a cat breed

When you decide to bring a new pet into your home, there are many factors you should consider when selecting a cat breed. While dog breed information seems readily available, it can be tricky to find information about cat breed temperament and activity level, whether you are adopting a cat from the shelter or selecting one from a holistic breeder.

Resolutions to share with your pet

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.

Spotting skin problems in cats

A shiny, soft and full coat is a telltale sign of a healthy cat. Logic says that the exact opposite is true as well: if your cat’s coat isn’t looking so good, it’s a sign that her health isn’t up to par. Unfortunately, there is a whole host of skin diseases that your cat can come down with – and it’s up to you as the owner to be able to spot them, treat them and prevent them for the future.

The Animal Ark Animal Walk

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.

The declawing debate: What’s best for your cat?

Much like roses have thorns, cats naturally come with claws. What can be useful tools – and, in the wild, a necessary evolutionary trait – can also cause problems in the home. When kitty starts to scratch on a beloved piece of furniture, it can be an expensive frustration. In many cases, avoiding those frustrations is the reason behind getting a cat declawed. Before you make the decision to do so, it’s important to know some key facts about the procedure.

The value of feeding raw dog food

There’s no doubt about it – interest in feeding raw dog food is strong and growing. As more and more people encounter raw-fed dogs and see how healthy they are, owners look for realistic solutions to do the same for their pets. However, there’s a persistent perception that feeding raw is too expensive to make financial sense, whatever the benefits might be for a dog or cat. But is it true? The simple answer: No. And why not? Here are two key reasons:

There’s more than one benefit to neutering your pet

Animal shelters and rescue organizations regularly implore the public to spay or neuter their pets – and for good reason. Those organizations are on the frontlines of the battle against pet overpopulation, and see daily the negative consequences it can have. Preventing unwanted litters isn’t the only good reason to spay or neuter your pet, however. Altering a pet brings multiple benefits. So why should you spay or neuter your pet?

what the AVMA Ruling means for you and your pets

Earlier this month the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) passed a resolution discouraging the feeding of raw meat to cats and dogs. During the groundswell of opposition that arose in the weeks prior to the vote, there was much fear and gnashing of teeth among raw feeders (including myself) trying to prevent this resolution from passing. Many worried that the AVMA was trying to ban raw food for pets, or that this ruling would ultimately alter the FDA’s stance on raw diets.

What’s new, kitty cat? Things to know when bringing home a new cat

It’s easy to fall in love with cats – and because of that, it’s easy to want more than one. If you already have a cat, however, adding a new one to the household should inspire some serious consideration and planning. Without it, the introduction of a new purring bundle of joy could lead to some unwanted chaos. Whether you’re considering a kitten or an older cat, keep these tips in mind to make the transition smooth and less stressful for you, your existing cats and the new kitty on the block.

What’s the difference between holistic and traditional veterinarians?

Keeping pets safe, sound, healthy and happy is something every dedicated owner wants to accomplish. The unconditional bond you share makes you willing to go the extra mile to maintain your animal’s wellness - but what’s the best option for doing so? For many people, the method of safeguarding a pet’s health is changing, moving away from traditional veterinary medicine to a more holistic approach.

Your pet’s food could help lessen your allergies (Gesundheit!)

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.

‘Fraidy felines: Understanding skittish cats – and how you can help them

You want your pet to be a confident, happy member of your family. A confident pet will be more interactive and spend more time with you, and most of us want all the extra snuggle time we can get with our little buddies. But, many cat owners have to cope with pets that are skittish and scared, which can leave owners feeling like they’ve done something wrong – and lead to a less-than-ideal relationship.

‘Naturally occurring nutrients’: What it means for your pet

Back in the ’50s and ’60s, the pop culture vision of the distant future – like the all-too-crazy-to-imagine year 2000 – often included people getting all their nutrition in the form of a single capsule. While we live every day in that previously unimaginable future, it seems sillier than ever to think that we could get everything our body needs from a pill instead of real food. And why? Because we’ve wised up, and now we know better than to buy into the idea that synthetic food can be as healthy as real food.