Guests and Pets: Tips to Make it Work

UntitledFor some, the onset of the holiday season means houseguests and, for pet owners, that can be a bit of a wild card. Pets and guests can be a tricky balancing act when hosting, but we’re here to offer a few quick tips to help you enjoy your company and your pets during the holidays.
• Be Proactive – Put signs on your guests’ door reminding them to close it behind them to avoid pet hair or a nosy animal rummaging through their things. It also doesn’t hurt to put a sign on the front door if your pet tends to escape.
• Pre-Approved Treats – Some guests will have the overwhelming urge to be your pet’s favorite by treating them, which is a sweet gesture but can cause weight gain and stomach upsets. Try setting out a box of pre-approved treats with a note that guests can give your pet one special something per day. Pro-Tip: Think small, healthier treats you won’t mind them having a few of per day – Pro-Treats are perfect.
• Train – This goes both ways – don’t shy away from reviewing some basics with your dog, but also be prepared to train your guests a little on proper interactions and any bad habits your pet may have that they should be aware of.

We hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

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Let’s Talk About Turkey

UntitledLet’s be honest, while November is a beautiful autumn month, it’s really all about turkey! And so are we. Turkey is a fantastic addition to pets’ diets because it’s low in calories but high in protein, which is necessary to fuel their energy without unnecessary weight gain. Our Fresh to Home™ Turkey Recipe boasts turkey as its first ingredient for these exact reasons, making it a wonderful option for feeding all year round.
While on the topic of turkey, be sure you cook your Thanksgiving feast thoroughly and be hyperaware about Fido getting ahold of poultry bones, as they splinter and become dangerous when chewed.

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It’s Adopt a Senior Pet Month!

senior-dogThere’s something about a white faced dog that really tugs at our heartstrings, so when they end up in a shelter we can’t help but wonder why. November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, intended to give these elderly companions the recognition they deserve and [hopefully] prompt people to welcome them into their family.

A lot of people go into the shelter with the hopes of adopting a young dog or puppy, which we understand, but have you ever MET a senior dog?! Not only are they already house trained, but their temperament is usually laid back and calm, simply wanting to love and be loved; they’re out of their destructive phase, and can usually get by with short walks around the neighborhood for exercise. Furthermore, senior dogs in shelters need your love the most, as they probably once had a family and are wondering why they’re there. The young dogs will get adopted, but it’s the senior pups that need us most.

We hope you take this month to consider opening your home up to a dog that will immediately become a beloved part of the family – consider adopting a senior pet. And don’t forget our nutritious diets promote health throughout every life stage, seniors included!

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Thanksgiving Tips for Pets

UntitledBy now, we’re sure you’re aware that we really love the holiday season. Something about cold weather, warm ovens, and family get togethers really makes us feel grateful for this time of year. Now, you know when we say family we mean our four legged members too, which is why we’re offering you some quick safety tips to keep Thanksgiving safe for everyone.
• Watch what they eat – When a holiday is centered around food, it can be tough not sharing the special occasion with your pup – and that’s okay. A bite of some cooked turkey or a small spoonful of mashed potatoes certainly won’t be damaging, but make sure they don’t overindulge. The most important thing to keep out of pets’ reach are poultry bones and sweets, but also be aware of onions and herbs used in side dishes, as those should be kept out of Fido’s dish.
• Consider giving them a place – Whether it’s a bed, crate, platform, or their favorite room, designating a place for your pet to retreat to may help thwart unwanted begging or jumping on guests. Not only will they begin enjoying the peacefulness of their place, but it helps you be consistent when training. *Pro-Tip: Stuff some Pro-Treats in an interactive toy during mealtime to keep Fido busy while in his safe place.

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Cold Weather Prep: Things to Consider

UntitledNow that October’s here, there’s no denying that the weather’s really starting to cool down. But, before the real ice hits, we suggest doing a little cold weather prep for your pets so everyone can stay safe and warm this winter.

• Inside is best – The obvious answer to avoiding cold weather dangers is to keep pets indoors but, at the very least, you must provide a shelter they can retreat to when winds whip and snow falls. It should be raised off the ground for added warmth and dryness, and beds and blankets to cozy up to are a wonderful addition. Be sure they have access to food and [thawed] water.
• Some coats need a boost – If you have an active pet that will need walks throughout the cold months, consider a coat or sweater to help keep them warm where their fur may fall short.
• Beware of salts – Some snow melting products will irritate paw pads if walked on and can affect pets’ mouths if licked. Even if you don’t see anything, chemicals can still be present so, before they come inside, wipe their feet off with a damp towel (bonus points if it’s a little warm!) Side note: There are pet-friendly snowmelt products, so seek those options for around your home.
• Beware of antifreeze – Antifreeze is deadly when ingested and what’s worse is it has a sweet scent and flavor, so pets have a hard time resisting a lick. Keep antifreeze out of everyone’s reach (children included) and be aware of leaks from your car, in winter and all year.
• Cats + cold weather – Sometimes cats will hide underneath cars, on tires, or even under the hood for warmth. During cold months, get in the habit of knocking on the hood of your car before you get in to let them know it’s time to move.
• Don’t be afraid to speak up – If you’re concerned about an animal you see outside, don’t be afraid to either help that pet yourself or tell their owner you’re worried for their well being in these frigid temperatures.

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Adopt-a-Dog Month

UntitledJust a quick reminder that October is Adopt-a-Dog Month, which we think should be celebrated every month but that would defeat the purpose of an awareness holiday. We believe in adopting shelter dogs with our whole hearts; some of the best dogs we’ve ever had walked out of the shelter and immediately into our hearts. We also like to bring attention to the incredible individuals who make shelters and pet rescues a safe haven for animals, as many of these facilities thrive on the help of volunteers – which is pretty incredible when you consider what a monumental task it is to care for displaced pets. Whether you want the mutt of all mutts, a special needs dog, a puppy, a sweet senior, or a pure breed, they all come through the shelter at one point – and they all need forever homes. If you’ve been considering adding a dog to your home, October’s the month to do it! Check with your local shelter to see if they’re doing any adoption specials for the month.

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Pumpkin: The Secret Ingredient for Stomach Issues

Screen Shot 2015-09-30 at 3.58.59 PM When your pet has minor digestive upset, it’s hard not to feel a little helpless. Aside from cutting back on anything extra in their diet, it’s one of those situations where there’s not much a pet parent can do besides monitor the issue and hope it passes in a reasonable amount of time. Of course, we always recommend consulting your veterinarian in regards to any health issue, but when it comes to diarrhea or constipation, there’s a little-known home remedy in the pet world we’re about to let you in on: canned pumpkin. No, this isn’t us partaking in the human trend of “pumpkin spiced everything,“ this is a real solution that’s here to stay.

The most important thing is to get all-natural, unsweetened pumpkin – absolutely never use pumpkin pie filling, as it will have the opposite effect you want it to and merely make matters worse. From there, put a large dollop on top of their kibble or let them lick a good amount off the spoon; start with a teaspoon for small dogs and a heaping tablespoon for large.

The way it works is this: pumpkin is naturally high in soluble fiber, which means it’s absorbed into the system quickly and efficiently. In cases of diarrhea, the fiber absorbs the excess moisture in the stool to aid in reestablishing the right consistency. When it comes to constipation, the pumpkin softens the stool and makes elimination more comfortable for pets.

We suggest grabbing a couple of cans the next time you’re at the store to have in the pantry the next time a digestive upset happens. Some pet owners integrate it into daily mealtime to keep things running smoothly, but all dogs taste is a delicious treat!

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Keeping Howl-oween Safe for Fido

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If you’re anything like us, you include your pet in almost everything you do, including holiday celebrations – and Halloween’s no different! But with costumes, children, and a constantly ringing doorbell, it can get a little hairy with pets. Here a few quick considerations to help keep everyone safe this Hallows Eve.

• When it comes to costumes, keep it simple – unless your pet really doesn’t mind wearing clothes. While companies have gotten keen on making more comfortable costumes for pets, a festive collar or bandana goes a long way!

• Consider keeping animals in a separate room or their crate during peak trick-or-treating hours. For some pets, it’s a relief to be in their space. For others, it may help to have a puzzle toy and some Pro-Treats if it’s possible to distract them.

• Only pets with a consistently friendly temperament should be taken along for the trick-or-treating fun, as some dogs may get uncomfortable having unrecognizable people being around you and your family – and that’s a perfectly okay reaction to have.

• Once the fun is over, be hyperaware of keeping candy out of paws’ reach! Any kind of candy, from chocolate to gummies, can be dangerous for pets to ingest.

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Dogs and Humans: We Go Way Back

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 2.39.22 PM There’s certainly a reason why dogs are called man’s best friend today, but how exactly did we get here? According to naturalist Mark Derr, as many as 30,000 years ago, humans and wolves forged their relationship through food (of course!) Well, hunting, to be exact. Humans would follow wolves as they tracked prey and, eventually, the wolves realized humans would leave scraps, making eating much easier than needing to catch and kill it themselves. Eventually, the two began working (and living) together consistently, which actually yielded physical changes in the wolves’ appearance over time, like a shortened jaw and smaller skeletal frame. Since then, humans and dogs became essentially inseparable, and the foundation of our relationship, food (a.k.a. reward), might be why dogs have a chemical reaction in their brains when they see us.
Now that both species are out of their hunting and gathering phase, feeding them a raw diet has never been easier with our Fresh to Home™ recipes. Whether you like the authenticity of our frozen recipes or the convenience of freeze dried, you can feel good knowing you’re getting your dog back to their nutritional roots. As far as getting them back to a traditional sleeping arrangement, well… good luck getting your bed back.

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Food Safety Education Month

Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 1.01.57 PM Another awareness holiday for humans is Food Safety Education Month, but we just couldn’t pass this up. At Stewart, we take your pet’s food safety incredibly seriously – in fact, our sole mission is to provide pets ideal nutrition via properly handled food that owners trust is safe. Not only do we know where all of our human-grade ingredients come from, but we process them in a USDA-inspected facility that, realistically, you could eat food from! You can also rest easy that we use high pressure processing, which is a non-thermal process used to kill harmful bacteria while maintaining the nutritional integrity of the ingredient(s). With so many recalls happening, it’s important to stay up-to-date on which food and treats are being investigated (and avoid them) and always pay attention to your pet’s behavior – diet plays a big role in everything from activity level to mental sharpness so, if your pet seems off, don’t discount what’s in their dish.
We’re proud to report we have never fallen victim to food contamination or recalls as a result of our rigorous safety procedures, but educate yourself! Don’t be afraid to research how and why recalls happen or contact those brands to inquire further for your own knowledge. If you want more information on how we do things over here, head to our Learning Center and click the Food Safety link.

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