RPOWhen people think of getting a pet they usually talk about “feeding it” and “cleaning up after it” – but there’s so much more to being a responsible pet owner than that. February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, a virtual acknowledgement to the owners who don’t just feed their dogs and let them out but cherish them and raise them to be confident, loving, playful companions.

Being a responsible pet owner isn’t just about monitoring your dog so they don’t chew someone’s shoes or make a mess of the backyard – it’s also interfering on their behalf when someone or something is making them uncomfortable or nervous. It’s showing your pet that you’re there for them, too.

A responsible pet owner doesn’t ignore their animal but lovingly pets their whole body, paying close attention to any lumps, bumps, or sensitive spots. It’s being their personal health monitor and voice when something doesn’t seem right.
It’s more than giving a dog a roof over their head, it’s about bringing in a new family member to love, care for, and make memories with.

Being responsible is more than just feeding them; it’s reading the labels for quality ingredients and monitoring their weight, skin, and coat to keep them as healthy as possible.

It’s being patient when they misbehave and doing what you can to teach them in an attempt to grow and nurture your bond. It’s not giving up on them if they mess up “one more time.”

But most of all, it’s love. From us to you, thank you for being a responsible, loving pet owner. We’d love to see! Feel free to share pictures of you and your pet on our Facebook page!

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Let’s Talk Teeth

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When it comes to optimal pet health, most people think diet and exercise are all that matter, but there’s another key contributor to keeping your pet in tip-top shape: their teeth. February is Pet Dental Health Month, intended to bring awareness to the importance of healthy teeth and gums when it comes to Fido’s well being.

Think of your pet’s teeth as little icebergs: what you see on the surface is just the beginning compared to what’s beneath the gum line. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 80% of dogs (and 70% of cats) show signs of oral disease by age three, which can lead to bacteria getting into the bloodstream and causing life-threatening infections in different organs (most commonly the lungs, heart, kidneys, and liver.) But, before you worry too much, here are a few quick tips to help maintain your mutt’s mouth before it gets to that level.

● Brush Up. If your pet will let you, try brushing their teeth. Whether you get the supplies from your pet store or prefer your vet’s recommendation, there are toothbrushes and toothpaste for dogs that will scrape and prevent plaque buildup.
● Regular Check Ups. There’s no substitute for proper veterinary care. Your pet’s routine examination should include their teeth and gums and is recommended at least once a year.
● Consider a Cleaning. Talk with your vet about a cleaning (they may even be offering a discounted rate for the month.) The same way going to the dentist benefits us, a veterinary-administered cleaning can do for them.
● Diet and Chewing Matter. Among the first noted benefits of a raw diet include cleaner teeth and better breath, and don’t discount the effect of specially formulated treats to help scrape teeth and prevent plaque build up.

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4 Outdoor Activities To Do in the Snow

UntitledJust because it’s the coldest time of year, it doesn’t mean you can’t have an outdoor adventure with your pup. Although the snow outside can be discouraging to you, most dogs love it! So, if you live in an area with snow, bundle up, grab some Stewart treats and go on an adventure with Fido!

Here are four dog friendly activities that are perfect to do in the winter:

1. Cross Country Skiing: If you get a hamilton pulling harness and straps to connect to your gear, you’re in for a treat. Your dog is able to pull you through the snow! (Meant for dogs over 30lbs)
2. Fetch: This is fun to do in the winter months and makes for a great video if you have lots of snow. Sometimes the dogs can get lost in the powder and will pop up out of nowhere. One thing to note: if you do have a large amount of snow, get a bright colored ball or Frisbee.
3. Snowshoeing: This is a great winter activity especially if you feel like going on a hike or walk. You may want to invest in some paw covers for your dog to avoid frostbite if you plan to do a long hike.
4. Dog Park: Take a trip to the local dog park so your pooch can run off some energy. It also allows for some socialization with other dogs. Even if it’s for a half hour or so, any activity is beneficial.

If any of these activities are new to you it’s important that you do the proper research and know what to bring for you and your pup. Remember, your dog loves spending time with you and needs to get out at least once a day for their health, so go have some fun!

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The Gift of a Puppy

PuppyDid you get a new puppy for the holidays? After the excitement of this wonderful new adorable little face and soft fur, comes the reality of actually taking care of a puppy. Don’t worry it gets easier, just stay patient, stay consistent and find what works best for you. Below are some additional tips to keep in mind:

• Designate the pack leader. This might be you, might be your spouse or partner, but whoever it is will be the disciplinary party if your puppy gets into trouble. There can only be one leader because the puppy will be confused on whom to listen to otherwise.

• Training is essential for your puppy’s behavior success. Whether it’s housebreaking, commands, or tricks make sure that the leader is consistent with the training.

• Don’t overwhelm the new little guy with visitors. Take baby steps, or shall we say puppy steps when introducing new people. Let them get comfortable with you and the people in the house before they have to learn to deal with others of varying age, personalities and boundaries.

• Get it into a routine. Show them where their food bowl and bed is. Also, make sure that you try to feed them at the same time everyday so they know when its time to be fed. Following a routine everyday results in a better-trained dog.

• Set up an appointment with the veterinarian. It’s important to make sure the puppy has all of its vaccinations and is doing well. The vet may suggest flea treatment or specific food for your puppy’s development.

• If this is the second puppy in the house, be sure to introduce your new pet to resident pets in controlled situations. Let them get to know each other on neutral ground where neither will feel the need to defend territory. Also, there should be two separate feeding dishes and distribute attention evenly so the resident dog does not feel jealous or threatened.

There is so much joy when getting a puppy and its important to make sure they are brought into an environment that they can succeed into a well-behaved dog.

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January is National Train Your Dog Month!

UntitledHave you ever seen a dog so excited to be at the dog park they pull their leash so hard that they end up walking their owner, instead of their owner walking them? Or, once off the leash, they take off running and go right up to other dogs and people with complete disregard for their owner’s commands? Well, you’ve most likely witnessed the behavior of a dog that has not been properly trained.

Dog training is important for discipline and obedience at home and in public, but also for safety reasons. With training, it is important to be consistent so your dog can quickly learn what is, or is not acceptable behavior. Check out the below training tips that you can use to avoid being that person at the park with the misbehaving dog.

Setting House Rules: Whether you’re bringing a new puppy or an older dog into the home it’s important to set rules from the get-go. Are they allowed on the furniture? Are they allowed in all parts of the house? Setting these rules in the beginning will avoid future confusion.
Be Concise: Give your command once. Repetition of commands teaches your dog to ignore them because it sounds like you don’t care if they obey or not.

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Discourage them from biting or nipping: Puppies especially consider nipping to be a form of play. Before disciplining them, try pretending that you’re in pain when they are biting or nipping you. Because of their naturally caring nature, most of the time they will be surprised and stop. If this doesn’t work then it is important to make them understand that this is not acceptable and will result in a disciplinary action.

Keep them from jumping: Although puppies love to jump, refrain from rewarding this behavior. It’s cute when they are little but allowing it at a young age can quickly turn into a bad habit. Simply ignore the jump and turn your back so they realize the behavior is not rewarded or acknowledged.

Be Generous: Reward your dog for good behavior and completing a trick. Give them a treat, verbal praise, or an ear massage.

End training sessions on a positive note: They may not have done everything right during the training session but ending things on a positive note helps get them excited for the next session. Getting a treat at the end will be something they remember and look forward to the next time.

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Famous Pets of 2015

From a famous grumpy feline, to a courageous hero, to a fund-raising rescue dog, here are just a few of the famous pets who made national headlines in 2015.

HarleyMeet Harley, the tiny Chihuahua who has helped raise money to save and care for more than 500 dogs to date. Harley spent the first 10 years of his life in a small cage in a puppy mill where he lost an eye, lived with a broken tail, gnarled toes, infected teeth and heart disease before he was rescued. He was given only few months to live, but he beat the odds and is 4.5 years older now. He has since been the face of the Harley to the Rescue campaign, aiming to raise money for National Mill Dog Rescue. Harley was named the American Human Association’s 2015 American Hero Dog.

FigoFigo the service dog became a national hero when the story of him jumping in between his blind owner and a school bus went viral. Witnesses who saw the accident said it looked as if the dog took a lot of the blow and didn’t want to leave her side after it happened. Figo’s owner suffered a fractured right elbow, three broken ribs, a fractured ankle and a cut to her head in the accident and Figo had surgery on his leg but both he and his owner are ok. We give Figo two paws up!

TadarTurning two is definitely something to smile about, unless your name is Tadar Sauce (AKA Grumpy Cat). April 4th has been dubbed the grumpiest day of the year in honor of Grumpy Cat reaching her terrible two’s. She spent the day touring Vogue, posing in photos and promoting her “awful” birthday contest giving people the chance to win a trip to her ”Super Terrible 2” birthday party in New York City. Sounds pleasant enough.

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New Year, New Diet

Let us guess…last time your pet went to the vet, you were told that your companion is a few pounds overweight but you just can’t help but give him 2-3 “cookies” every day for being a good dog. Sound familiar? It’s important that we as pet owners take responsibility for our dog’s health, not only because they can’t do it themselves, but because they deserve to and should be healthy.

As the new year approaches, we encourage you to include them in your New Year resolutions and resolve to exercise more and live healthier lives WITH your pets.

UntitledTo help you do just that, we have a line of raw food products that provide balanced nutrition and are perfect for keeping your dogs healthy and at an optimum energy level. Offering, Raw Naturals freeze dried food, Raw Naturals frozen food and functionally nutritious Pro-Treats, all of which are produced in the USA. Our products are made only with wholesome, all natural, human-grade ingredients because nothing is more important to us than helping you take the best care of your pets! Pets are similar to us in that, when we eat junk or don’t get enough balanced nutrition, we feel sluggish, tired, achy….well the same goes for our pets. Paying attention to the ingredients in your pets’ food, and the amount you’re feeding them, can make a world of difference both physically and mentally for them.

So, as you sit down and make those New Year resolutions, keep your pets’ health in mind and live life at a 100 percent. Being healthy starts in the kitchen and that’s true for you and your furry friends!

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Holiday Card Round Up

Happy holidays! We have a sweet treat for you this week as we scoured the Internet to round up the best holiday cards with the family pet. I mean what would a family photo be without the entire family after all? Take a look at some of the best below, and share yours with us on social media, too!

From the couple that likes to make their family laugh…
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to just the ‘fur babies’…
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and the family who caught their dog snooping under the tree…
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and the Jacksons who are hand in hand, or hand in paw…
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to the Williams family who likes a little bit of it all.
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Happy Holidays to all, from Stewart Pet!

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Holiday Travel With Your Furry Friend

UntitledTraveling during the holidays is no easy task, especially if you have pets joining you. Luckily, Stewart® is here to make traveling with your furry friends easier. We have a wide selection of freeze dried dog food that makes it easy to maintain a healthy diet while on the road. Instead of resorting to basic kibble or canned dog food with by-product and fillers, make sure you pack our Fresh to Home Freeze Dried Patties. These patties provide balanced raw nutrition for your dog and are easy to serve crumbled, or moistened with 4 tablespoons of warm water.

Traveling can also be very stressful for a pet. If your pet refuses to eat, try sprinkling ½ teaspoon of our Flavor Enhancer™ for every 10 pounds of body weight onto your dog’s food and mix it up. Our 100% pure liver Flavor Enhancer™ was made to help entice your pet to eat and might be helpful in stressful situations like traveling or being in a new environment.

Regardless of your travel plans this holiday season, make sure you bring enough water to keep your dogs hydrated. And if you’re taking long trips in the car, make a few stops to let Fido out and stretch those legs. Holiday travel doesn’t have to be stressful if you are prepared and plan ahead, so make a list and pack the necessary items to keep you and your pups happy!

Happy Holidays!

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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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