Category Archives: Pet Safety & Health

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dog in exam room being scanned for microchip - microchip technologies for your pet

Microchip Technologies for Your Pet

Microchip Technologies for Your Pet

A Small Chip, with a Big Impact

Our pets are an important part of our family. We take important steps to keep them healthy and safe. Diet, exercise, registering them and keeping their tags up to date are all small steps that add up to safeguard our beloved pets. Now, thanks to technology, we can take our efforts one step further with microchip technologies.

What is a pet tracking microchip?

Microchip technology now allows a vet or trained technician to insert a small chip, no bigger than a grain of rice, subcutaneously (under the skin) of your pet.  Often located near or between their shoulders, this chip, unlike collars or their tags, won’t fall off or get lost. This technology has become so influential that the American Animal Hospital Association has created a national database for tracking these chips.

We now have options when it comes to choosing the right microchip for our unique needs. These chips are radio frequency transmitters. Which are comprised of a few simple working parts to ensure a longer life cycle.

Plain and Simple

The first generation of pet microchips provided a simple function. Providing rescuers and people who find lost pets a means of easily locating and contacting the pets family. These are the most affordable and are offered by many veterinarians. Simply put, the microchip contains an ID. A matching record is created with your contact information in the manufacturers database.

Different chips may use different radio frequencies. But don’t fret — most vets, rescues, and shelters carry scanners that read microchips from different manufacturers. If you plan on traveling outside of the country you may need to check with the manufacturer first, in-case you may need a different chip. If you are remaining in the US and need to update information on your chip – contact the manufacturer rather than implanting a secondary microchip.


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black and white border collie playing with toy on grass. - pet care

Daily Activity for Dogs

How Much Activity Does My Dog Need?

This is a complicated question. The amount of daily activity for dogs will differ depending on the breed, age, and health of your dog. In this post, we’ll dive into some recommendations. Ultimately, this is a great topic to discuss with your veterinarian, since you both have an understanding of your pet’s total well-being. Dogs need two different types of activity: exercise and mental stimulation.

When dogs lack either of these, they tend to get into trouble, acting out behaviorally and destroying items they shouldn’t. Proper nutrition, exercise and mental stimulation can be achieved in a variety of different ways and can be great fun for both you and your dog. Pet health experts recommend that depending on the size of the breed, the age of the dog, and the dog’s overall health, anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours of activity is recommended per day.

Toy or Small Dog Breeds

The smaller the breed the less exercise will be required and the exercise should be appropriate for the build of the breed. This means we wouldn’t take a French bulldog for a three-mile trail run. Chasing a toy, indoors or outdoors, or frolicking around the yard, can achieve the 30 minutes of healthy activity in a smaller breed needs. More than this may cause respiratory problems or other injuries. Be sure to consult with an expert about your specific breed and dog.

Terrier or Medium Sized Dog Breeds

These breeds are built to work and will require more exercise and mental stimulation than their smaller, more delicate cousins. Terriers were bred to hunt or chase down a certain type of prey, from foxes to rats, and as such have more energy and durability. This results in the need for a higher amount of exercise and stimulation to keep them healthy and out of trouble. Depending on your breed you could be looking at closer to an hour or two of activity per day.

Retrievers and Large Breed Dogs

These are dogs that mature to weigh between 45 and 99 pounds. Like Terriers, Labradors, Retrievers, Huskies, Shepherds and Poodles were bred to work as well as to be companion animals. These dogs are smart and have a high level of energy, requiring between 60 to 90 minutes (sometimes more) of exercise per day. As these dogs start to age, their level of physical activity will diminish and pet owners should watch for signs of hip injuries or conditions like dysplasia. Talk to your vet about your specific breed and which types of exercise and stimulation are best for your dog.

Extra Large Dog Breeds

Extra large dogs are breeds that weigh in excess of 100 pounds at maturity. These dogs will typically require between 30 to 60 minutes of exercise per day depending on their age, weight and health.  Your Mastiffs, Great Danes and other large breed dogs will have a lower energy level than their large dog breed cousins. You should talk to your vet regarding your specific breed and dog to avoid injury and ensure the best quality of life for your XL fur baby.

Exercise

From fetch, to tug, and wrestling to playing with other dogs, there are a number of different ways to exercise your dog. If you live by a local dog park, off-leash play provides both exercise and  socialization (which is a form of mental stimulation that we’ll talk about later).

Fetch

While your Fido might love to chase a good stick, there are a few dangers when using objects that can break. We prefer to a good ball, rubber disk, stick alternative, or even a partially deflated soccer ball.

Walking or Hiking

Get outside and enjoy some quality time with your pet by walking or hiking. Take in the views while your pup takes in the scents, and raise your heart rate together.  Depending on the area and ownership of the land, you may be required to keep your dog on a leash or lead.

Jogging

When both you and your dog can use a bit of exercise, running is a great option. Running can also help keep your pets nails trimmed, but be sure to keep an eye on the pads and nails to avoid injury. Pavement can heat up in the sun causing burns in the summer, and salt from winter road maintenance can burn as well. When jogging or running with your pet, we recommend a comfortable and snug fitting harness, with a non-extendable, durable leash.

Wrestling

Whether it’s in your backyard, at daycare or the local dog park, romping and wrestling with other dogs is a total body workout for your fur baby. Dogs jump, run, and get a myriad of exercise when playing with other dogs. And, you get to stand by and enjoy their happy antics! Remember it’s a good idea to engage with other dog owners before allowing your dog to play, and staying engaged to make sure play doesn’t get too rough.

Mental Stimulation

Dogs are intelligent and sentient creatures, and just like humans, they can get bored. As they look for means to entertain themselves, it is helpful to have a variety of toys on hand so that your dog opts for something of their own rather than your shoe.

Toys

Terriers and hunting dogs have an inherent prey drive. They were bred to hunt.  Now that many of us don’t hunt they need another way to occupy their time. Toys, especially ones that make noise are a great option. You can find an array of different priced options in various sizes.

Puzzles

A number of different retailers now offer puzzles for your pet. You load them with treats and give to your pet for mental stimulation. The puzzles make the dog work to find the treats, providing an entertaining and rewarding challenge. There are also some great ways to make your own dog puzzles on sites like Pinterest.

Hide and Go Seek

Not all stimulation requires you to shell out cash. Some dogs can learn and love to play hide and go seek. The downside is that you are the one that always ends up hiding. This provides a bit of exercise as well, as they run around trying to find their favorite human who has magically disappeared.

Classes

Check in your area for canine classes – The sport of dogs has grown in the last few years. Along with Obedience classes, there are Nose work classes, Fit paws – Fun and Fitness Classes for your K-9 friend, Agility, Rally, Trick Dog, and Canine Good Citizen. All of these will stimulate your pet and you to be active, spend time together, and grow.

Activity is a great way to bond with your dog and create a beautiful, lifelong friendship. Your dog will be more healthy, content, and less mischievous, and so will you! 😊


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What Amount of Dog Treats do I feed my Dog?

Too Much of a Good Thing

Dogs and humans aren’t much different in some respects.  Think of the last time you popped open a bag of potato chips. Did you eat just one? How can we expect our dogs to be content with just one treat?  Especially when they’re delicious, soft and chewy, grain and gluten free, freeze dried dog and cat single ingredient treats…like Northwest Naturals?

We can’t, and we shouldn’t.  Treats are just one more way that we can show our pets how much we love them.  So, the first part of our answer to this important question is to buy nutritionally healthy treats that taste as good as they sound.  When the treats are healthy, it’s easier to give them more frequently.

Nutrition

The second answer is a bit more situation dependent, as it’s based on the daily nutritional requirements of your pet.  The food you give to your pet, the amount of that food your pet receives at each meal, and how many times you feed your pet per day are the big factors.  If you are over-feeding or meeting the total nutritional requirements with your dog’s daily meals, it leaves less room for tasty treats and rewards throughout the day.

When feeding your pet, a raw based food diet, free from fillers like grains and gluten’s, your pet is getting optimal nutrition.  Imagine if every meal you ate was specifically designed to promote your health and well-being.  You’d have more room in your diet for a sweet treat now and again.  Just like you might work with a nutritionist or medical expert to develop that diet, we work with vets and pet health experts to develop our dog and cat foods and treats.

Pet food and treats should have recommended daily portions and serving sizes on the packaging.  But, you still need to know the specific nutritional needs of your pet.  And some companies are focused on selling more product vs. the health of your pet.  When shopping for your pet, read the ingredient labels.  Try to pick out the main ingredients.  In healthy pet food and treats, this is easy to do.  Aim for a single ingredient treat, or chicken, rather than chicken by product or chicken meal.  Avoid grains and gluten’s as these are fillers, which aren’t good for your pet, or your wallet.

Resources

Our dietary feeding suggestions are based on your pet’s weight and caloric needs, but we cannot know things like your pet’s activity levels, dietary restrictions, and/or allergies.  You can use the Feeding Calculator on our website or find another one online. You can also take the information on our packaging to your vet to develop a recommendation for daily meals and treats that will spoil your pet while maintaining good health.  Pair this nutritional information with healthy exercise levels and your fur baby will be set to live a happier, healthier, and longer life.


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keeping your pets safe on halloween

Keeping Your Pets Safe on Halloween

The Dangers Hiding in the Sweets, Tricks, and Treats.

You’ve worked hard to switch your pets over to a healthy and balanced diet, and take care to make sure that they are eating only the best foods and treats.  To ensure they stay healthy, here are some tips on keeping your pets safe on Halloween.

Chocolate

Most people know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but the reason why is a lesser known fact. One of the ingredients is chocolate is something called theobromine.  This is something that we humans can easily metabolize, but dogs cannot process it out of their system.  Depending on the size of your dog and the amount of chocolate ingested, the effects can range from an upset stomach too much more serious issues and even death.  Keep chocolate out of reach and if your dog does eat some, be sure to call your vet.

Artificial Sweeteners

While low calorie candy might be the lesser of two evils for us humans, artificial sweeteners like Xylitol are harmful to pets.  Xylitol is dangerous to both cats and dogs because it causes a sharp increase in the production or release of insulin, which can make your them hypoglycemic. These sweeteners are in everything from chewing gum, to candies, to beverages.  Keep things with artificial sweeteners out of your pets reach.

Small Toys

With the rise of food allergies, humans are opting in some cases to give away small toys.  Just like in small humans, these toys can be a choking hazard to your pets and may even cause other damage like intestinal blockage.  Be sure to watch for the little treats in your small human’s treat bags.

Streamers, Faux Cobwebs and Other Decorations

Keep an eye on your pets around Halloween decorations.  Things that are brightly colored might attract them and look like something fun to chew on.  What your fur baby doesn’t know, is that eating these string-like decorations can lead to a trip to the emergency vet.

Scary Lights and Sounds

Halloween is full of frights for pets and humans alike.  People dressed up in costumes, ringing your doorbell and yelling words that dogs don’t understand can cause high fear and anxiety.   In fact, aside from holidays with fireworks, Halloween is the night when more pets go missing, as they run off in fear.  Take a few steps this Halloween to make sure that your pets are comforted and safe.

Have some Fun!

Dress up your pets! Check out your local pet store for fun costume ideas or contests. Northwest Naturals is having a contest – watch for our posts!

You can do some good this Halloween for shelter pets in need!

Many shelters accept gently used pet Halloween costumes and use them at different events to help shy pets get adopted.  If you have costumes lying around your house, consider dropping them off at your local shelter.  Call ahead if you have questions about their need or whether they accept costumes – they’ll be happy to hear from you!