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.

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


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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So, What Exactly is Freeze Dried?

Untitled Untitled1By now you’ve probably heard and seen all about our freeze-dried raw food and treats and, while you may know your dog loves them, you might not know what exactly freeze dried is. Freeze dried simply means the moisture has been extracted but the nutrients remain. Fresh foods consist largely of water. Fresh, raw food is freeze dried using a vacuum chamber in which controlled temperature and pressure eliminates the moisture from the food in its frozen state.

Why do we freeze dry? Not only does it make the bags and tubs feel lighter to carry (which is always more convenient, right?) but it stabilizes the shelf life without refrigeration, which also proves to be pretty convenient. But not to worry, the flavors and nutrients of a raw diet are still completely intact. And, of course, all of our foods remain grain-, gluten-, and preservative-free and are comprised of responsibly resourced ingredients, so you know your dog is getting the best!

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Even Dog Lovers Support Adopt a Shelter Cat Month!

UntitledYou know how much we love an awareness holiday around here, and June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month. While we tend to focus more on the dogs, we are equal opportunity pet lovers and fully recognize how fabulous felines can be. This month, if you’ve been thinking about adding another pet to your family, consider a cat! They may not seem to need us as much as our dogs do, but they are just as entertaining; in fact, some people even prefer how hands off cats tend to be versus their canine counterparts. And if it’s companionship you want, cats are fully capable of being the happy face you come home to and cuddle on the couch with; their personalities range just as much as dogs’ do and they provide the same health benefits ranging from stress relief to unconditional love.

Check with your shelter and see if they’re running any adoption specials during this wonderful awareness month!

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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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