Dogs and Kids: Only Slightly Different in your Brain

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We bathe them, feed them, comfort, and cuddle them. We celebrate their birthdays, shower them with affection, and refer to them as our babies. And, occasionally, our kids will join in the fun. It may sound silly, but a recent study conducted by Massachusetts General Hospital found that the bond between humans and their dogs tug at the same heartstrings as the bond with their kids (meaning, similar areas of the brain were triggered.)

The study involved 14 women who had at least one child age 2-10; they were then showed a series of photographs: their kids, their dog(s), and those that were unfamiliar. Turns out, that many of the areas of the brain associated with emotion and reward processing were activated when they viewed their children and their dog, and nothing happened when showed the unfamiliar images. Of course, this isn’t to say mothers love their dog equally as much as their children. In fact, other, more specific parts of the brain were triggered when looking at their children versus their dog and vice versa, giving further insight into the human-animal bond. Read more about the study here.

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Introducing Young Dogs to New Things

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Like children, when dogs are young they are essentially sponges for new experiences, giving owners a wonderful window to make their dog a social, confident, and well-rounded companion. The ideal age to introduce puppies to new things is from birth to 4 months old, as it’s the most formative time and generally when dogs adhere to their opinion of things. The trick is to introduce them to as many things as possible – we’re talking elevators, baseball games, other dogs, car rides, people, cats, whatever’s safe that you can think of – and to do your best to act as support and protection. How to go about this is relatively simple: go slowly, use a calm tone of voice, and praise, praise, praise.

Of course, you can’t control everything and some things may startle your young dog, but that’s when owner support comes in. Make sure your puppy knows you’re in his corner and willing to remove or protect them from the situation at hand, as that forms an irreplaceable part of your bond.

Quick Product Plug: Our Freeze Dried Food is available for puppies! Now you can give your young dog the best nutritional foundation we have to offer. Farm raised chicken and choice produce create a meal that provides complete and balanced nutrition for every stage of your puppy’s development including DHA for brain development, calcium for strong bones, and antioxidants for immunity building.

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April Showers Bring May Flowers: Plants your Pup Should Avoid

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Now that the weather’s warming up, you’re probably noticing lots of things blooming in your yard, parks, and on the streets. While we enjoy the look of beautiful new blossoms, your dog may just think they’re pretty enough to eat. We trust you’re familiar with plants native to your area, but here’s a quick overview of some plants your pup should avoid, as ingestion can cause a variety of issues ranging from tremors and seizures to diarrhea, vomiting, depression, or even death.

 

  • Tulip
  • Hyacinth
  • Daffodil
  • Peace lily
  • Easter cactus
  • Azalea
  • Crocus
  • Rhododendron
  • Tiger lily
  • Easter lily
  • Daffodil
  • Day lily
  • Lily of the valley
  • Narcissus
  • Morning Glory
  • For a full list with images, head here.
  • For information on plants harmful to cats and/or horses, head here.

Quick Tip: Keep some Pro-Treats® in your pocket when adventuring to distract your pooch from plants you’re not sure of.

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Stewart Wins!

UntitledWe are incredibly excited to announce that Stewart® Raw Naturals™ Freeze Dried Patties earned us a 2015 Editors’ Choice Award from Pet Business magazine! Even if you’ve never heard of Pet Business magazine, this acknowledgement and appreciation from a publication at the forefront of the pet industry reinforces our mission of providing convenient, responsibly resourced, nutrient-rich food for pets. While we’ve known from the beginning that the Stewart® Patties would be a wonderful addition to our variety of delicious products, getting this kind of validation really lets us know we’re providing what pet parents want (and need) for their beloved companions.

 

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How to Recognize (and Deal with) Dog Park Bullies

English Bulldog-715531_640It’s safe to say that dog communication is very different from human communication (and thank goodness! We can do without their sniffing rituals when meeting someone new.) But that doesn’t mean it’s not important to realize how dogs send and receive messages to one another, especially if those messages are unwanted by your pet.

Let’s be clear: a dog park bully is not indicative of a bad or even aggressive dog. Just like people, individual dogs socialize differently and some simply aren’t good at it. In fact, a bullying dog usually won’t display blatant aggression, but rather acts in a pushy manner: unnecessarily jumping, nipping, chasing, or barking (which, in their head, is prompting play) without reciprocated social cues from other dogs. Differing energy levels also play a part – if a young, spry dog tries to evoke play with a senior, his energy will be completely overbearing to the older pet (but he could be another dog’s best play pal.) In most cases, the lack of a tail wag or play bow from the potential playmate will cause them to move on; what makes a dog a bully is not taking the social cues given and continuing with the unnecessary behaviors.

So, what do you do?

The best advice is to be proactive. If you can see your dog is visibly scared or bordering on lashing out, get your dog’s attention to come to you and away from the bully. Also be aware that your dog could be culprit and be willing to correct them accordingly. Another great suggestion is bringing a dog or two along for the play date; having a pack of ‘friends’ won’t just give your dog additional confidence, it will usually deter a bully from singling them out. A quick Internet search can provide a more in-depth rundown of dog body language and communication, as being aware is the best way to handle these overbearing park playmates.

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Fun Activities for Rainy Climates

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April can be a tricky month when it comes to weather, which can be stressful if you have a pet that gets restless when cooped up for too long. If your area is being bogged down by April showers, here are a couple of indoor activity ideas to help keep Fido happy.

 

Hide and Go Treat
Keep your dog mentally stimulated by making a game out of mealtime. Rather than dropping their freeze dried Stewart® Raw Naturals™ patty in their bowl or merely handing them their Pro-Treat®, try hiding it! Break up their serving into smaller portions and hide them around the house for Fido to seek out and enjoy. You can also hide and call for Fido; when he finds you, reward him!

Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Training is a wonderful way to not only pass the time but also enhance your relationship with your dog. Most dogs love to learn new things and it, undoubtedly, keeps them mentally stimulated. Whether it’s roll over, play dead, shake, or to grab you a drink from the fridge, a quick Internet search can teach you how best to teach your pooch.

Have a Puppy Play Date!
Have a friend or family member with a pup? If space permits, have them over for a play date! Even if the dogs can’t hit the ground running, they can still benefit from the socialization of hanging around another dog (and we suspect there will be a LOT of tug-of-war happening.)

And, of course, there’s always the option of pulling out the raincoat and rubber boots to brave the damp weather for a walk, which could actually be a fun change of pace!

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National Pet First Aid Awarenesss Month

ApriUntitledl is National Pet First Aid Awareness Month, an opportunity to bring pet safety to the forefront of people’s minds, just in time for summertime adventure. When we think of first aid kits we usually attribute them to human needs; a splint for a rolled ankle, bandages and gauze for cuts or abrasions, tweezers for splinters or other skin discomforts – you know the deal. But why would we think for a second that these types of precautions don’t need to be taken when it comes to our dogs? Imagine planning a hike, or overnight camping trip, and Fido unfortunately suffers an injury. While you can cut your trip short, there’s still immediate action that should be taken to prevent the injury from getting worse – cue: the first aid kit.

Whether you pick up an extra kit from your neighborhood drug store, or get a pet-specific kit from the pet supplies store, it’s absolutely worth it to know you can treat a minor injury on the trail, campground, or even at home. Let this month serve as a friendly reminder, the next time you see a first aid kit, pick up an extra for Fido!

 

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Optimal Health is Reached Through the Stomach

UntitledJust like in humans, pets’ diets play a monumental role in their overall health. While vaccinations contribute a great deal to keeping your pet healthy, it’s really the day-to-day stuff that makes the difference. Just like the human food market, there are tiers of quality when it comes to pet food, which can generally be recognized by their price (and we know what happens when we indulge more in $1 cheeseburgers than farmer’s market shopping.) It’s simple, if you think about it, what you put in directly effects how your body functions – and it’s no different for our beloved canines.

Here at Stewart® Raw Naturals™, we put ample research into the effects of our ingredients and only opt for those that deliver ample nutrition without loads of unnecessary calories. You can be sure we don’t cheapen our foods with grains or by-products and we safely prepare our food in a way that maintains their nutritional integrity (and our reputation!) If you want to learn more about each ingredient’s health benefits, head to our Learning Center, click the ‘Product Benefits’ tab, and then the ‘Ingredients Benefits’ link.

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National Pet First Aid Awareness Month- April

As responsible pet owners, we are always making sure our loyal companions have our best interest. April is the month focusing on first aid for all pets. This should not only be awareness for only April, but all the months out of the year. Making sure you know what to do in case of an emergency could save your pet’s life. A few tips to consider during this awareness month are below:

  • To check if your pet is dehydrated, pinch the skin on the top of your pet’s neck. If dog-126164_640the skin does not retract back to its original form, your pet could be dehydrated.
  • In case of an instance of food poisoning, check to see if your pet has dilated pupils or if foaming or drooling from the mouth.
  • If your pet happens to have a seizure, do not try to restrain any part of their body. Also, do not put your hand in your pet’s mouth in case of confusion and accidental biting.
  • If your pet gets bit by another dog take him to the vet immediately, even if it is a small wound.

Most likely none of these instances will occur, but just in case, you will know what to do. For more tips visit http://www.redcross.org/news/article/April-Is-Pet-First-Aid-Awareness-Month.

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Introducing a New Dog

Many of us, who already own a dog, have probably thought about getting another dog as an addition to the family. Before rushing to the local shelter and bringing home your new furry friend, there are a few things to consider. Introducing your new dog to your dog at home is an important process and will form the foundation of friendship between your two dogs. The process of introducing your new dog will take time, but follow the tips below and your dogs will be best buddies before you know it.

The Day You Get Your New Dog

Before you bring home your new pup, leave your other dog with a friend. You do not want to mix two dogs who are meeting for the first time in a car. You will also need some help from another person so that there will be one person to handle each dog. When introducing the two dogs to each other:

  • Have a loose leash on both dogsdogs-at-sunset--1438808-m
  • Let both dogs meet in a neutral territory, such as your friends backyard or a park
  • While having each dog on a secured leash, let them sniff each other for a while
  • Once sniffing ends, lead each dog away from each other to sit and reward with a treat- this releases tension build up
  • Observe both dogs body language and behavior at all times
  • Once both dogs feel comfortable around each other, walk both dogs around the area they will be living- such as your house or apartment

Inside Your Home and the Next Couple Weeks

Dogs recognize things and people by their sense of smell. A tip when introducing a new dog to a previous dog is before letting them visually meet let them smell each other’s toys. Continue doing this while letting each dog smell the area of the other dog, before visually meeting. This will make introducing them easier since the sense of smell will be recognizable.

  • Before your dogs enter your home, pick up all toys and bones. Possessiveness and aggressiveness can occur over a toy
  • Let each dog have their own food bowls and beds, and feed them separately to avoid confrontation
  • Keep playtime brief and consider age differences in each dog- an older dog may need more quiet time
  • Praise both dogs when they are playing nicely
  • Spend time with each dog individually
  • Give the new dog his own confined space and let your old dog visit the new dog as he pleases

Following these tips will make the transition of bringing a new family member home easy for everyone. Sooner than later, your two pups will be best friends.

 

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