Did you Hear That? A Quick Guide to Dogs’ Ears

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 11.28.50 AM By the time a dog’s hearing is completely developed, it’s about 4x stronger than a human’s, and also has a wider range, meaning they can hear frequencies we can’t – which explains why some dogs despise the vacuum cleaner, because they can emit an annoying pitch that goes undetected by us. Dogs also have 18 muscles in their ears, allowing them to move and tilt them to best decipher the source of the sound, while humans have only 6. A dog’s ears are also major indicators of their mood: if their ears are forward facing, they are engaged, if they’re slightly pulled back, the dog is relaxed and friendly, and if they’re laid tightly against the head, they’re fearful or intimidated.

What a human can hear from 20 feet away, a dog can hear from 80, which makes it important to know that you can speak to your dog in a normal tone to convey whatever you want them to understand – they can absolutely hear you. Whether or not they’ll listen, well… it may help if you have a Pro-Treat handy.
For regular ear care, check out our Miracle Care line of products to aid in cleaning, drying, and preventing common ear issues.

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A Dog’s Sense of Smell: Understanding their Strongest Sense

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Much like humans rely on sight to make sense of their surroundings, dogs rely on their sense of smell. By smelling something, dogs are able to decode a lot more information about it than by simply staring. That’s because the scent-detecting membrane in their noses is about 60x bigger than ours – a human’s membrane is about the size of a postage stamp and dogs’ are the size of a piece of paper. So, yeah, they smell things pretty intensely.
Different breeds have different senses of smell, too. For example, a bloodhound has 300 million smell receptors, while dachshunds have about 125 million (and we mere mortals have about 5 million.)
While smelling something on a molecular level works against us when it comes to dogs and the garbage can (what ARE they smelling that’s so interesting?!), it works for us when it comes to our bond. Each of us has a unique scent, sort of like a fragrant fingerprint, and it’s all dogs need to tell one person from another. It’s also why dogs are able to detect when our mood is off, because it affects how we smell. Something else that piqued our interest: a dog’s urine is essentially a full profile on them, which explains why others can’t walk away from the telephone pole, bushes, and fire hydrants when out and about. So, if you have the time, let them indulge in a little sniffing when on a walk, it’s sort of like their neighborhood gossip column.
At Stewart, we know smells are among the first things that attract dogs to something, which is why our Pro-Treats boast one all-natural, deliciously smelly ingredient: 100% pure liver. Just try them, you’ll see. Hide them around your house for a fun game of hide-and-seek – we bet Fido finds most, if not all, of his rewards!

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National Immunization Awareness Month

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 2.37.18 PM August is National Immunization Awareness Month and, while the focus is supposed to be on humans, we’re taking the opportunity to bring that attention to our pets. As a pet owner, routine vaccinations may be the easiest obligation we have with the biggest impact on our pets’ health. We say easy because, not only does our veterinarian remind us that it’s time, but some clinics even do free or discounted immunization boosters because it’s a non-negotiable facet of pet health. It’s important to remember that when it comes to immunizations, the age and sociability of your pet doesn’t matter, so please don’t think your dog is too young, old, or antisocial to need their vaccinations. In our experience, it’s best to call the veterinarian as soon as you receive the reminder postcard, then write the date of your appointment on the card and hang it on your fridge. This is also handy because if you see the postcard hanging on the fridge without an appointment written on it, you’ll know you probably forgot to call. We hope you take this opportunity to look through your pets’ records and make sure they’re up to date on their shots – and keep them that way!
And between check ups, it’s important to maintain general health through a lean diet and proper feedings – head to the Health & Nutrition section of our Learning Center for more information.

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Assistance Dogs: Saving Lives on Four Paws

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 9.31.29 AMEach year in the pet realm, the first week in August is International Assistance Dog Week, a wonderful awareness holiday dedicated to recognizing and appreciating the incredible work assistance dogs do. Through ample training, testing, and patience, assistance dogs are able to transform the lives of the human they help – whether they detect life-threatening seizures, act as a blind person’s eyes, or help a veteran acclimate back to civilian life, these amazing canines are an irreplaceable facet of the communities they help. IADW also gives credit to the trainers that make these life-changing canines a reality for their humans. Just think of how much diligent training must go into training a dog to detect low blood sugar or stop its owner from walking into the street… it’s pretty incredible.
While we’re talking service dogs, it’s important to be aware and respectful of the job they do by always asking their handler if you can pet them before doing so. We know how irresistible all dogs can be, and wanting to give them some attention is expected, but assistance dogs have a round-the-clock job and a distraction can result in unfortunate injury.
For more information on assistance dogs and spreading awareness about them, head to http://www.assistancedogweek.org/.

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A ‘Ruff’ Guide to Dog Breeds

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It’s pretty incredible how many breeds of dog exist and how different they can be. While a dog’s love can come in many shapes and sizes, from the short Corgi to the regal Husky, it’s important to have some familiarity with the breed before making them your next family member. Every year, the American Kennel Club tallies their registrations to establish the most popular breeds of that year and the 2015 results are here.

No. 1 – Labrador Retriever
This is the 24th consecutive year Labs have taken the #1 spot, and it’s easy to see why. Active, friendly, and outgoing, Labs tend to play well with other dogs and have a consistent temperament. Apt to training, great with children, and occasional grooming needed.

No. 2 – German Shepherd
Confident, courageous, and smart, shepherds are people dogs that do well with other pets but can have a prey drive that isn’t ideal for cats or small dogs. Loyal and protective, German Shepherds become incredibly fond of children once a relationship is established, respond well to training, and require occasional grooming.

No. 3 – Golden Retriever
Energetic and sporty, Goldens are intelligent, friendly, and devoted companions that work hard to succeed at any job or task they’re given. Easy to train, gentle, and playful, Goldens are great with people, including children, and require regular grooming to maintain their coat’s health and luster.

No. 4 – Bulldogs
Calm, bold, and friendly, Bulldogs are good for busy couples because they do well alone. Independent to a fault, these free thinkers can be stubborn to train but aren’t needy the way other breeds can be. They require minimal grooming and it’s recommended to crate train them, especially during potty training.

No. 5 – Beagle
Lively, curious, and sweet-as-can-be, Beagles are easygoing companions that enjoy the company of other dogs and do great with children. Common among hounds, beagles have an independent nature and can be a challenge to train. Curious and active, Beagles should be kept on leash in open spaces since their sense of smell can quite literally lead them into dangerous situations.

How popular is your breed? Check out the rest of the 2015 AKC rankings here.
http://www.akc.org/news/the-most-popular-dog-breeds-in-america/

Here at Stewart we make quality diets for all stages of life for every breed, check out any of our fabulous Fresh to Home recipes for your pets.<img src="http://stewartpet.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Dog-Breeds-300×126.jpg"

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Itching, Scratching, and Nibbling: What You Should Know About Pet Allergies

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At any time in their lives, dogs can develop allergies and, while everyday allergens are harmless to your dog’s health, they can be uncomfortable to live with. If your dog is exhibiting any of the following, he may be suffering from allergies:

• Itchy, red, moist, or scabbed skin
• Increased scratching
• Runny eyes
• Itchy ears or ear infections
• Sneezing
• Vomiting or diarrhea
• Snoring (when they didn’t used to before)
• Swollen paws or paw chewing
• Constant licking

Allergies seem to be especially common in Terriers, Setters, Retrievers, and flat-faced breeds like Pugs, Bulldogs, and Boston Terriers, and the allergen responsible can range from tree pollen and dust to cigarette smoke, perfumes, food, and more. Food allergies usually cause itchiness, ear infections, and [sometimes] gastrointestinal issues. If you think your dog may have a food allergy, consider a limited ingredient, grain-free diet, like our Fresh to Home line of frozen foods or freeze dried diets. We don’t recommend diagnosing your dog’s issue yourself. If your pet is exhibiting discomfort, talk with your veterinarian and establish the best course of action to treat his specific issues.

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Hot Dog! It’s Getting Warm Out There!

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 12.33.05 PMSummer is one of our favorite times of year; the kids are out of school, the weather allows for outdoor fun, and we get a little tan in the process! It’s also a time to be hyperaware of our pets since they can’t exactly grab themselves an ice water out of the fridge or run themselves a cold shower. Here are a few quick tips to keep your pet happy and healthy in the heat:

Water, Water, Water. If your pet already has two bowls for water, add one more, just to be sure. Also make sure to check their water daily, as it can get pretty funky and deter pets from wanting to drink. If your pet spends a lot of time outdoors, consider a bowl that hooks up to the hose or has a freezer insert to keep the water cold throughout the day.

Watch the ground. We know your intentions are good when you come home from work and immediately take Fido on his walk, but if the sun’s still beating on the asphalt it can really harm his paw pads. Before you take out the leash, hold the palm of your hand on the ground for 7 seconds; if you can’t, the ground is too hot for a stroll. Our advice? Limit exercise to the early morning or evenings after the sun’s gone down and it’s still light out.

Provide shade. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, be sure there’s a tree, tarp, or other shade structure that will provide Fido a break from the sun without blocking airflow. Doghouses aren’t ideal for summer shade due to their lack of ventilation, but providing a cool spot somewhere in the backyard will be throwing your dog a major bone.

Consider a baby pool. You know the relatively cheap plastic ones you simply fill with hose water – well, dogs love them and it’s a sure-fire way to give him access to something that will cool him down.

Know the signs of overheating. Excessive panting, increased heart rate, drooling, mild weakness, or even collapsing are all signs of heat exhaustion and can lead to much bigger issues. Dogs with flat faces, like Pugs and Bulldogs, as well as older dogs, are especially susceptible to overheating and should be monitored when outside in warm weather. Discuss the subject with your veterinarian beforehand so you’ll be prepared. If you have any concerns, see your veterinarian immediately.

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Dogs and Fireworks: It’s Not as Fun for Them

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 12.26.14 PMFourth of July is around the corner and, while two-legged civilians love to celebrate America’s independence, our four-legged family members have a harder time figuring out what all the racket’s about. July 5th is historically among the busiest days at animal shelters simply because pets are looking to escape the rockets’ red glare. But you don’t have to abandon attending your neighbor’s barbecue just yet; here are some tips to help your animals relax during the festivities.

  • Make sure their tags and microchips are up-to-date. This is the best way to ensure you’re reunited with your pet in the event they try to escape the ‘chaos.’
  • It’s safer inside. If possible, keep your pets indoors for the nighttime festivities; it not only decreases their chances of escape, it also serves as a familiar space that can muffle some of the fireworks’ noise.
  • Consider a safe place. Whether it’s a room, crate, or their favorite blanket on a bed, consider delegating a space that can serve as a retreat for Fido.
  • Muffle the madness. Lower the blinds and turn the TV on as an attempt to muffle the flashes and sounds your dog considers foreign and scary.
  • Always remember to use products intended for dogs only, including bug repellent and treats, to ensure your pet’s safety after the holiday’s passed.

 

We hope you and your family, neighbors, and friends have a wonderful and safe Fourth of July celebration! Don’t forget to post some pictures to our Facebook page!

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Don’t Eat That! Tips on Chew Training

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 12.55.03 PMWe’ve all been there: we leave the house for a mere 20 minutes to run an errand and come back to a destroyed shoe, chord, or table leg. Before you get angry, it’s important to remember: chewing satisfies many natural needs in dogs. For puppies, it can alleviate the pain of incoming teeth, and for adult dogs it’s a natural instinct that keeps their teeth and jaws strong (which is crucial to survival) while also being an outlet to relieve anxiety. But we understand that won’t recover your favorite shoe or re-polish that table leg, so here’s a few tips on re-directing your dogs’ urges to chew the wrong things:

  • Dog-Proof the House: We can’t tell you how many times we’ve heard people say they refuse to dog proof because they want their dog to learn ‘the right way.’ While dog-proofing may seem like you’re giving in to your pets’ whims, it’s actually the best form of prevention. Put shoes away, close doors, and barricade the tables if you have to. You won’t have to do this forever, it’s just until Fido gets the hang of what he should actually be chomping on.
  • Provide Plenty of Options: Provide your pet with a few inedible chews and toys and, if you have enough, rotate them to keep him interested. Be sure the bones you’re buying are specific for chewing so they’ll last and you can avoid injury.
  • Challenging Chews: Also give your pet edible chews, like bully sticks or our Raw Frozen Ground Bones, so they know that some chews are actually delicious treats. Be sure you give these as treats and not permanent playthings to avoid overfeeding and supervise your pet to make sure they don’t bite off more than they can chew (literally.)
  • Pay Attention: Is there a time of day your dog tends to chew more? Consider stuffing an indestructible toy or puzzle with their favorite spread or Pro-Treat flavor and give it to them during this time. Not only will it keep them busy, it will prevent them from finding their own entertainment during this high-energy time.
  • Deterrent Spray: Yes, they exist and most dogs hate them. Some experts suggest spraying the deterrent on a piece of paper towel or tissue and give it to your dog. Chances are, they’ll spit it out (probably with a, “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO ME?!” face), and now associate that smell with the terrible taste. From there, these sprays are great for table legs, baseboards, and even shoes. But, these sprays don’t alleviate you of your training responsibilities, it’s important to teach Fido as you go.
  • Miscellaneous Tips: Physical activity can play a major role in pooping your pup out to the point that chewing isn’t even on his radar.
    • If you see Fido sniffing around something you don’t want him interested in, re-direct his focus to something he can Do this over and over again, he’ll get it.
    • A lot of owners will give their pup old shoes or pillows that they no longer care about to give Fido something he clearly likes to chew. This merely adds to their confusion; you can’t expect them to know which shoes or pillows are fair game and which aren’t. If you can, avoid this practice.
    • Don’t be afraid to crate train. Crate training is a major peace of mind for owners and can actually enhance your relationship with your pet. Be sure to give them some chew toys in the crate, but keeping them confined while you’re at work or running errands is perfectly fair while they’re learning.

 

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Responsible Resourcing – Where We Get Our Goods

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If you read anything about pet trends, you’ve probably seen more attention being paid to resourcing, or where ingredients come from. And, even if not, we’d like to take this opportunity to put your mind at ease: all of our ingredients come from right here in the United States, with the exception of our lamb which comes from both the US and New Zealand, where they have strict regulations in regard to how they’re raised and treated. We take great care in making sure our ingredients come from farmers we trust in locales we’re familiar with. With Stewart, you can be confident your pet isn’t getting anything mysterious in their food or treats, and if you have any specific questions, feel free to give us a call! We pride ourselves on being a trusted name in pet nutrition and maintaining transparency when it comes to our policies and processes.

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