Dog Blog

As temperatures drop, humans aren’t alone in feeling the harsh affects of winter weather. It takes a toll on our pets too, but there is one important supplement that can keep our furry friends healthy until the weather warms up.

Fish oil supplements contain two essential fatty acid’s: EPA and DHA (or eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid). Both are omega-3 fatty acids are only made in a limited capacity in dogs and are even more poorly synthesized in cats. These two fatty acids come straight from fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, black cod, hearing, anchovies, and albacore tuna.
Benefits of fish oils
1. EPA, One of the two omega-3 fatty acid’s in fish oil, acts as an inflammatory. It will help with the condition that causes. Inflammation of the heart, kidneys, skin, and joints-such as arthritis.

2. It will ease inflammation due to allergies, and reduce itchy skin and dandruff. This can also be an effective way to potentially decrease the incidence of hotspots on your pet.

3. Like many fat supplements, it promotes a shiny, healthier coat, and reduces shedding. (for cats, this may also mean fewer hairballs, since your cat won’t pick up as many loose hairs while grooming.)

4. DHA, the other omega-3 fatty acid in fish oil, is important in brain and eye development in puppies and kittens. Giving fish oil to pregnant or nursing pads can benefit the babies once they are born.

5. In some studies, fish oil has slowed the growth of cancer. Though more studies are needed to reach conclusive results, some veterinarians recommend it for any pet with cancer.

Feeding your pet fish oil supplements can insured their pet skin, coat, and joints stay healthy all winter long

Along with serving grain free, organic, and all other foods to their cats and dogs. More and more Americans are starting to dish out raw foods to their pets. In the past year retail sales of raw/freeze dried dog and cat foods jumped 64%, from 25 million to 40million, and sales of frozen raw foods jumped 32% from 52 million to 69 million, according to a market research firm.

Just like people, cats and dogs are biologically designed to thrive on a diet of the whole, minimally processed foods. As pet parents become more educated about nutrition and the benefits of raw feeding as the category continues to grow more each year.

One of the goals of raw pet food is to maintain as much of the naturally occurring nutritional value as possible. These naturally occurring nutrients have a number of benefits for cats and dogs alike including:

Brighter eyes
Improved breath and whiter teeth
Increased energy
Shinier coat
Healthier skin
Smaller stools

Some pet parents are comfortable with safely handling raw foods, but freeze dried and dehydrated segment of the category are experiencing exponential growth for its convenience. Multiple options make it easy for concerned pet parents to make the switch to raw feeding.

If you are interested in incorporating raw into your pets diet but haven’t quite made the jump, try an inexpensive trial size as a food chopper. This is an easy way to introduce raw nutrition into your dog or cats diet, but not shock their system. There are many options to try out. Give raw/freeze dried/dehydrated a try you will see the difference.

Spring Cleaning and your Pets

For many people the start spring time means a new beginning.  Not only is the world outside shedding its winter coat and slowly budding new flowers and plants, but spring also a great time to clean and get rid of the old and in with the new. 

As you start your spring cleaning around your household it is important to keep your furry friends in mind when beginning this yearly task.  As you clean around the house  in spring, or for the matter any time of year, we share the following tips to keep you pet fresh and happy.

  1. Use Mats-  Synthetic, rubber backed mats by doors, under food dishes, and in your pets sleeping area with help collect dirt and make the clean up a breeze.
  2. Keep Toxic Products away from Pets-  Keep toxic household cleaning solutions, poisons, paints, insecticides, antifreeze, and medications in a locked cabinet or in a room where your pets do not have any access to.
  3. Regularly Brush or Groom you Pets-  This will not only bring you closer and strengthen your relationship with your furry friend, but also improve the cleanliness of your home.  You will notice that any pet sheds less when regularly brushed or groomed.  Look into better diet and supplements such as salmon, krill, and Pollock oils to help with Omega vitamins that will make a nicer coat. 
  4. Keep your Furniture Clean-  Remove pet hair from upholstery and furniture by using a pet hair pick up device of by wearing damp rubber gloves and swiping them over the couch, pillows, blankets, and rugs.
  5. Use Pet Safe Cleaners and Odor Removers-  Some household cleaning products can be toxic for your pet.  Make sure to invest in a variety of products that will keep your home smelling fresh and so clean and keeping your furry pets safe and healthy.  Look for all natural cleaning agents if possible. 

Using these tips will avoid possible issues with your pet getting into, getting sick, or getting in the way of your household cleaning projects.  Come visit Sierra Fish and Pets for lots of ideas on how to clean with the very best of products for you and your pets!!    

Flea and Tick Season

Even though it may still seem like winter and it may still be cold in parts of the country, days will soon be getting longer, temperatures will rise, and the seasons will change.  This means that we and our pets will surely be spending more time outside attracting those pesky fleas and ticks.  Flea and Tick prevention is the very best defense against these parasites for both cats and dogs.  It is first very important to recognize the symptom of fleas and tick so you can diagnose and treat your pets fast and correctly. 

  • FLEAS 

Fleas are the most common external parasite to attack common household animals.  Fleas can live for as little as 13 days or as long as 12 months.  During that time if in contact with a host (your pet) they can produce literally millions of offspring or eggs.  Make sure to keep an eye out for these symptoms of fleas on your cat or dog:

  • Dustings of “flea dirt” in their fur
  • Itchy, irritated red skin
  • Flea eggs (tiny, white grains)
  • Tapeworms
  • Hair loss
  • Pale gums

The biggest thing to remember with fleas is that you are not always concerned about the adult fleas but what you should be concerned with is breaking the cycle of those individual adult flea and preventing them from creating millions and millions of eggs by attaching or hosting on your pets.  If those eggs hatch that’s when you have a flea outbreak.  Make sure your treat fleas early and correctly to break the lifecycle.

  • TICKS

Although ticks are not as common in the climate that Western Washington natives have grown to love.  Tick are becoming more of a common problem especially in the drier Eastern Washington climate.  Ticks may not be noticed by the host they are feeding on, but they can transmit diseases to your animal.  Fortunately, most ticks are noticeable by the naked eye.  they are about the size of a pinhead before they bite, and not noticed until the swell up with blood.  Even though they rarely cause discomfort, it is a good idea to check your pets for ticks if you are in an area that tick are more prevalent especially if outside a lot.  If you do happen to notice a tick on your pet it is very important to practice safe and correct removal:

  1. Prepare: Put on latex gloves so you don’t come in contact with the tick or the bitten area of the animal.
  2. Remove:  Using a pair of tweezers, grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible, pull up with straight and even pressure.  Make sure you do not twist the tick this could leave the mover hooked into your pet.
  3. Disinfect and Monitor:  Disinfect the bit area, wash your hands with soap and warm water, and sterilize the tweezers alcohol or by running it through a flame.  Monitor the bite areas really well for infection over at least 2-3 weeks. 

When it comes to flea and tick safety, preparation and preventions is the key.  Treat your pets with quality flea and tack treatments like topical drops (Advantage, Pet Lock), flea shampoos, and flea dips.  Use a flea comb once a week to help check for fleas especially when they have been outside or around other animals.  If you happen to need to treat your house area, make sure to get under areas that the fleas may be like, pet bedding, dressers, and under any furniture.  Check out all our flea and tick options to help prevent flea outbreaks and to help treat existing infestations.       

With more and more pet parents looking to incorporate healthier diets into their pet’s lives, it is no surprise that freeze-dried treats have gained in popularity in the past few years.  These treats are popular because they are minimally processed and have higher nutritional value then other type of treats.  

If you are still unsure about tying out alternative freeze-dried treats for your pet, these are some of the reasons you may want to consider these simple, healthy snacks for you dog or cat.  

  1. Freeze Drying Preserves Meat with No Added Chemicals-  When food is freeze-dried it is first “flash frozen” at a very low temperature to lock in the nutrients.  Then the moisture is removed through a vacuum process.  Since bacteria needs water to thrive, freeze-dried foods are preserved in a safe way without the use of chemical additives or preservatives.
  2. Less Ingredients=Less Guilt-  Most freeze dried raw treat consist of very little ingredients.  With more pet owners being concerned with allergies and additives more then ever, freeze dried treats offer a great options for both dogs and cats that may be exhibiting signs of allergies.
  3. Freeze-Dried Meats have More Nutrients-  Because most treats are heat baked or dehydrated this process can kill off most of the healthy nutrients that the pets need.  Freeze drying treats provides a healthy, full of flavor snack for your fury friends. 
  4. More Bang for Your Dollar-  Freeze drying removes water, which significantly reduces the size and weight of the treats.  This can be deceiving because the bag size will typically be much smaller.  A 5oz bag of freeze dried treats will equal to about 17-18 oz of raw meat before the freeze drying process.  that is a ton of treats for the money!!

Offering your pets the benefits of raw foods with the convenience of a dry product is a great way to keep them happy and healthy.  Besides a happier healthier pet makes a happy pet parent.  See some of our freeze-dried treats and alternative treats we offer. 

  

A Dog’s Diet Influences Oral Health
Your dog is your very best friend. Every time you get home and open the door your dog is so happy to see you that he wags his tail and almost seems to smile at you.  How can you show how much your dog means to you? One way is to take care of that smile. Did you know that your dog’s diet and what they eat can influence their oral health?
 
Humans need to brush and floss their teeth regular basis to keep their teeth, tongue, and gums in good condition.  Humans brushing and good oral hygiene is proven to help ones overall health.  Research has recently shown a link between good oral health in humans and a lower risk of heart disease. If good oral health can have such a profound affect on people, then consider the impact it can have on your dog.
 
It is important to brush your dog’s teeth to keep plaque and tartar from building up. Even wiping his gums with a clean, damp cloth can be beneficial.  If you have a puppy make sure to start when they are young, that way they get used to the idea of brushing it will be much easier asthey grow up.
 
Your dog’s diet can also play a role in your pet’s oral health. Do you typically feed your dog wet or dry dog food? What kind of treats and toys do you provide for your pet? All of these things can influence overall oral health.  When your dog’s diet complete and balanced, containing essential vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes, your pet’s oral health will benefit. Feeding dry dog food rather than a
moist canned variety is can have an added benefit for your dog. The tiny kibbles’ hard surface rubs against the teeth to remove and reduce plaque.
 
The treats you give your pet are part of your dog’s diet just like snacks are to a person’s diet.  It can be very easy to overlook the treats you give your dog. Carefully consider all the items your dog will consume and the treats you like to buy them.
 
Do you give your dog raw bones, raw-hide chews, jerky treats, or dog biscuits? Maybe your pet prefers dental chews like Greenies or veggie based chews like Whimzees.  There are a ton of good options to give your dog to chew on that will help with oral health. Many of the treats and snacks you provide in your dog’s diet can be just empty wasted calories and have zero added benefit besides being a reward. Some treats though provide excellent opportunity to improve oral health. Greenies, Raw bones all help to keep tartar at bay.  The softer snacks, such as jerky treats, do not provide much relief from plaque. The healthy treat can also prevent your dog from having bad breath.
 
Just like humans we are what we eat your dog’s diet must be healthy to ensure excellent oral health. Raw bones can be some of the best whenever possible. Don’t forget to select treats for your pet that will help your dogs diet and not just be a reward. Consciously monitoring your dog’s food and treats will no doubt positively influence your best friend’s oral health.

One of the most common goals for people is to loose weight and get healthier.  Statistics show that pet owners should share that goal with their cats and dogs. 

Data from Nationwide one of the largest and first providers of pet health insurance, reveals that pet obesity is on the rise for the 6th straight year.  Nationwide members filed 1.3 million pet insurance claims for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity.  The boost in total obesity related claims signifies a 23% growth over the last 3 years.

Similar to their pet counterparts, excessive body fat increases the rick of preventable health issues and may shorten the life expectancy of cats and dogs.  Nationwide recently reviewed its database of more than 585,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat obesity related conditions:

Most Common Dog Obesity-Related Conditions 

  1. Arthritis
  2. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
  3. Low Thyroid Hormone Production 
  4. Liver Disease
  5. Torn Knee Ligaments
  6. Diabetes
  7. Diseased Disc in the Spine 
  8. Chronic Kidney Disease
  9. Heart Failure
  10. Fatty Growth 

Pet health can be easily regulated by avoiding feeding table scraps or poor quality treats/foods, keeping a consistent monitored diet of quality pet foods, limiting the treats, and creating a healthy exercise regimen.  All of these will help your pet lead to a longer and better quality of life.    

Caring For Your Older Dog

Once your dog becomes older it is time to take some preventative steps in order for them remain healthy, happy, active, and to be able to enjoy as many years as possible. Have your vet examine your pet annually or more often, if necessary.

As in humans, keep your dogs weight within the proper or optimum range. Extra weight can do damage to joints and also cause more stress on vital organs. An overweight dog has far more health problems such as joint problems, arthritis, diabetes and liver or kidney malfunctions. Cut down on the amount of treats given to your older pet. It is sometimes hard to resist those eyes but always remember that it is for their own good. Feed your pet once a day or smaller amounts twice a day but remove the food if there is any left. If you have children, explain to them why they should not sneak food to the family pet especially table scraps.

As with dogs of any age, make sure there is always fresh, cool water available at all times. Some older dogs have problems getting to the water bowl so make the water easy for them to access. You can bring the water to them or place bowls of water in several different places so they do not have to go far for a drink.

If possible take your dog for a short walk daily. This helps the dog’s blood circulation and provides some new sights and smells to stimulate their minds and senses. Walking them or spending time with them gives you quality time to spend with your pet. They may be a bit older but still are very curious.

You may need to switch from dry food to a semi-moist or canned food as your dog ages. His teeth may not be able to handle the hardness of dry kibbles. Freeze dried can be a good option because it is very soft for them to eat and provides the essential nutrition still required. Looking after your older dog and taking him to the vet regularly helps keep your dog healthy and happy longer and allows you to enjoy as much time as possible with your best friend.

Many of us are continuously trying to do our part in protecting the environment.  But do we always know whether or not these efforts are contributing to a healthier planet?

Here are a list of 6 reasons to switch to eco-friendly products

  1. Animal Friendly:  Using natural or eco-friendly versions of your favorite products will help reduce the risk of our pets or children coming in contact with these harmful chemicals.
  2. Odor:  Many chemicals have a strong smell-making the switch to eco-friendly products will help fill your home with a more natural pleasant odor rather then the strong chemical smell of the counterparts.
  3. Safer:  Just like with our pets and children, using these products makes it safer to use during clean up from them.
  4. Value:  Though some eco-friendly products may have a much higher price, the lasting value on the quality of your home and environment is worth the extra costs.
  5. Conscience:  With the amount of large scale pollution that occurs, it’s hard to think our change will make a difference, but even taking the smallest of steps can help.
  6. Less Toxic:  The more natural the ingredients, the less headaches and issues we will get from the harmful chemical polutants.

All of us can do our part in protecting ourselves, our pets, our children, and our earth by using eco-friendly products as much as possible.    

 

 

People who can’t enjoy burger without cheese or a shake without whipped cream understand that some things are just a bit better with some extra flavor on top.  Pet food manufactures and pet owners are starting to think the same thing goes with their furry friends.  Meal enhancers, or food toppers are a rising category in the pet food market.  These emerging sector includes everything from gravies to raw mixers, and will help bring the dullness out of every day kibble foods. 

Here is some data from GFK about the current success of food toppers in recent years:

  • According to their data, meal enhancers contributed $21 million in sales for pet stores in 2015.  That is 332% increase vs. the prior year.  The number of items for the category has doubled since 2013, from 65 to 128, with 4 out of 5 marketed for dogs.
  • Freeze-Dried mixers accounted for 63% of all enhancers sales in 2015, for 625% growth rate over the previous year.  Wet food toppers racked up $6.5 million in 2015 and made up 31% of the total meal enhancer category.
  • GFK’s data also shows pet specialty shops taking a different approach to the category than big box stores.  Independant retailers appear to be focusing on premium options, with 96% of all meal enhancers sales coming from complete diet freeze-dried, compared to 38% in the superstores.  Despite that 52% of all meal enhancer sales in pet box stores are attributed to wet foods, or gravy food toppers.

Dont be left behind and join in on the growing industry trends and enhance your pets boring foods with one of the many food toppers or mixers we offer.

In February hundreds of retailers, food and product manufactures, distributors, and veterinary service providers gather together in CA for the second annual Pet Industry Leadership Conference (PILC).  This convention provided a powerful platform for exchange of ideas and practices that will help keep the industry thriving.

Presenters provided the results of a Pet Leadership Council (PLC) and PIJAC funded study examining the economic impact of the pet industry.  This team found that the responsible pet industry’s total effect on the overall american economy amounted to $221 billion in 2015, generating almost $23 billion in taxes at the federal, state, and local level.  The industry also provided or supported 1.3 million jobs nationwide.  

Perhaps the most incredible findings fro this study is that consumers spent about $77 million on their pets in 2015- this includes pet foods, toys, grooming, vet care, and other pet purchase.  That equals out to be $8.8 million per hour, $147,000 per minute, and more then $2,400 per second.  The power of pets is bigger then we think.  To compare Americans spent 7x as much on their pets as they spent on going to the movies in 2015.  That is a crazy fact that people spend more and more on the pets then they ever did before.  

We all know that getting a new dog is equal parts exciting and difficult.  Some people who bring a new dog home are not prepared for what being a new dog owner entails.  Whether you just adopted a new family friend or are just thinking about the process here are some helpful tips to the transition of being a new dog owner.  

  1. Puppy Proof Your Home-  Even if you adopt an older dog they still will be curious of their new surroundings and naturally like to explore that can sometime get them into trouble.  Keep an eye out for household dangers like electrical cords, poisonous houseplants,and other small items that can be swallowed.  They are in a sense like a small baby and can easily swallow something or chew on something they should not.
  2. Get Your Gear-  Being a new dog owner you should prepare yourself with the essentials when bringing your new family friend home.  You should have foods, treats, chew toys, a cozy bed or mat, toys, a leash/collar, poop bags, and grooming supplies just to get started.  
  3. Go to the Vet-  Find a trustworthy vet in your area or ask for recommendations.  At Sierra we use Renton Animal Healthcare Center and Renton Vetrinary Hospital.  We also have Good Neighbor Vet that comes to our store each 3rd Saturday for low cost  vaccines and microchipping.  Make sure your puppy is healthy and is up to date on all its vaccines.
  4. Microchip and Register-  It is always a good idea to get your pet microchipped that way if your dog gets lost or stolen the microchip will help insure his safe return.  It is also a great idea to get a name tag with your information and contact  but remember collars can come off but microchips are there to stay.  
  5. Clear Your Calendar-  Make sure you avoid extended days away from your new family member.  Consistency is very important first step in the training process.  Having your dog stay with someone else during the first few months could interrupt your bonding time, especially for rescue pups, being around them as much as possible with the new transition home will be the best thing possible for your new family member.  
  6. Reach Out to Other Puppy Parents-  Having a new dog can be overwhelming and a ton of work.  Keep in contact with the puppy parents or foster family for assistance and support.  It is crucial in the development of your dog to understand its tendencies, and routines.  Plus the support will help you remain calm through the difficult training process.  Some reassurance that you are doing the correct thing goes a long way in the pups overall development.  Remember puppies do not come automatically trained nor do they have an operation manual.
  7. Enroll in Puppy Classes-  Even if your dog is a rescue and already is somewhat trained, it is still a good idea to get to the basics and take them to an obedience class.  Your dog will get more socialized, learn basic commands, and become much easier to handle and have around other people and dogs.  
  8. Set Rules-  It can be very tempting to bring home a new dog and bend the rules just a bit, make sure you resist the temptation to have your dog snuggle with you in bed and stick to the rules.  It will avoid problems later on.  It is much easier to prevent a bad habit from starting then have to break a bad habit that has formed.
  9. Expect Rules to be Broken-  It is so very easy to get frustrated when you think your pup should understand you and your rules quickly, but he still does not and it takes time and consistency.  It can take up to 50 or more perfect repetitions before your dog may truly understand a command.  
  10. Introduce Outside-  If you already have another dog or cat in the household, let your pet(s) met the new dog outside before your bring them into the house if possible.  Take the dogs on walks together so they can fell like they are a pack and can start to bond without felling territorial of one an others space.  

There are many helpful tools to help you adjust to a new furry family member.  Ask for one of our new dog adoption packs that has useful training tips and valuable coupons with up to $250 in savings to be used long-term.  You can also check out some helpful articles on Dog Crate Training Guide, House Training Guide, and Puppy Training to help with your transition to his new home.   

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