Choosing A Dog and Cat Food

With so many pet food brands and slick advertising campaigns, it can be overwhelming to choose wholesome pet food for our dogs and cats. Certain brands mislead us with “All Natural!” “Real Chicken!” “Quality Ingredients!” buzz words on their packaging…but the truth can be found in the small print ingredient listing on the back of the bag. 

Earlier this year, pentobarbital (the drug used in euthanasia) was found in Kibbles ‘n Bits, Ol’ Roy, and Gravy Train. The manufacturer, J.M. Smucker, also makes dog treats and cat food. In addition to pentobarbital-related recalls, salmonella, listeria, and thyroid hormones have been found in pet food. Dogs and cats have died, or became extremely ill, at the hands of irresponsible manufacturers with one objective: profit.

Let’s Get Started: 
As pet parents, it is our responsibility and obligation to do the research. You’ll find there are many reputable, high-quality, USA-made pet food brands that won’t break the bank. 

Brands to Avoid:
Keeping your four-legged friend healthy and happy starts with a good diet. When reviewing an ingredient list, keep in mind that ingredients are listed in descending order of predominance. The first 3-4 ingredients are the ones that matter most.

Below are a few dog food brands to avoid, as the first 3-4 ingredients list grains, by-product meal, and fat as the dominate ingredients. When reviewing cat food, the same logic applies. 

Questions to Ask:
When reviewing an ingredient list, ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the first ingredient a meat product? If the first ingredient is a grain (typically corn) or by-product meal, it isn’t the best choice. If your dog or cat has allergy issues, consider a grain-free option all together.

2. Are the ingredients sourced in the USA? As you may have read in the news, food and treats sourced from China are recalled on a regular basis.

3. Is the food GMO-free? If the ingredients list chemicals and/or artificial flavors, it’s best to avoid this pet food option.

Pet Food Review Website:
Dog Food Advisor is an excellent online resource to research dog food prior to making a purchase:
Pet Food Recalls:SELRES_ef83b72b-c262-41a1-a641-5c2b9e20f0d5SELRES_bbb20325-7d8a-44f1-931b-24d835347ea7SELRES_0d481bad-1245-4692-a321-a9b65a3c2bc7SELRES_d9b886ae-05ac-4d77-92bb-05c87c294bdfSELRES_614a8f61-3047-4ee5-a500-1efa283f43c1
Stay up-to-date on all pet food and treat recalls. You can also opt-in to receive email notifications. 

Shop Local: 
A great place to shop for food and treats is at a local pet food/supply store with a focus on pet health and wellness. These types of stores employ a knowledgeable, animal lovin’ staff and sell USA-made, all-natural, and organic pet foods. In the Kansas City area, Four Leg Stretch frequents Brookside Barkery and Bath for Wiley’s food and treats.

The Pros of a Professional Pet Sitter

You’ve booked your personal vacation or work trip. Check! Now the most important decision…who will care for your beloved pet while you’re gone? You may have considered many different pet care options…from asking a friend or neighbor, to boarding at a kennel, to hiring a professional pet sitter. Four Leg Stretch shares the benefits of using a professional pet sitter during your next trip.

What is a Professional Pet Sitter?:
A professional pet sitter provides pet care in your home while you’re away on vacation or a work trip. In advance of your trip, a pet sitter professional will meet with you and your pet, provide proof of liability insurance, and review a contract agreement. During the visit, detailed information about your pet, routine, special needs, and requests will be collected. Client and home instructions will be reviewed, such as light and blind rotation, mail retrieval, and alarm/garage codes. Two house keys will be provided (one key is for day-to-day use; the other is for back-up purposes).

During your travel, a professional pet sitter will visit your pet 3-4 times (dogs) or 1-2 times (cats) per full day gone. A variety of tasks are completed during the visits to include:

  • Feeding, watering
  • Exercise, playtime
  • Medicine administration, if required
  • Mail and newspaper retrieval, blind and light rotation, plant care
  • Litter box clean up
  • Lots and lots of TLC
  • Recap and pet picture following the visit

Benefits of a Professional Pet Sitter:
More and more pet parents have recognized the benefits of in-home care by a professional pet sitter. Here are a few benefits to consider:

  • Comfort and Security: Your pet will never have to leave the comfort and security of home sweet home. Home has familiar surroundings, sights, and smells that keep your pet comfy-cozy and relaxed. Boarding facilities can be a very stressful environment for pets.
  • One-on-One Care: While you’re away, attentive focus on your pet gives them the one-on-one attention, care, and love that they deserve.
  • Routine: Your pet will be able to maintain his/her feeding, potty break, exercise, and playtime routine.
  • Avoid Kennel Cons: Pet’s exposure to kennel-related illness, the need for extra vaccinations, and interaction with other pets is eliminated.
  • Peace of Mind: You’ll have peace of mind knowing that your pet is being cared for by a trained, experienced, and reliable professional. The care will be tailored to your pet’s needs, likes, dislikes, fears, and habits.
  • Human/Pet Bond: A professional pet sitter forms a very strong bond with your pet. This special bond reduces stress, provides a sense of security, and prevents fear and confusion caused when multiple people are caring for your pet.

Professional vs. Hobby Pet Sitter:
A professional pet sitter cares for pets as their career – your pet is the top priority. Below is a comparison between a “professional” and “hobby” pet sitter:

Professional Pet Sitter:

  • Offers pet sitting services as a primary business – it’s their career
  • Has local business license, full liability insurance, and bond rider
  • Requests client’s to review and approve a contract agreement
  • Has extensive pet care experience
  • Centralized and secure portal with pet, client, and home details
  • Daily visit communication process in place
  • Solid reputation and 5-star reviews

Hobby Pet Sitter:

  • Not a business/career
  • Posts as a pet sitter on websites and apps, such as Rover and Wag
  • Offers pet care as a side job to earn extra money
  • Does not have a license, insurance, bond rider, or contact agreement
  • Asks pet parents to email or leave a note with details about their pets
  • Does not have extensive pet care experience
  • Caring for your pet may not be their top priority

Four Leg Stretch offers professional pet sitting services in Brookside, Waldo, Plaza and surrounding areas. Our client’s reviews on facebook, yelp, and google speak for themselves – our client’s have complete trust and peace of mind when Four Leg Stretch cares for their furry family member. We would be honored to care for your pet during your next getaway. To schedule a complimentary meet and greet visit, please fill out the Contact Us form.

5 Reasons to Hire A Professional Dog Walker

Hiring a professional dog walker has many benefits for your dog – and you, as well! Below are 5 reasons to consider hiring a professional dog walker.

1.) Health & Wellness:  Just like humans, dogs require daily and consistent exercise to live long, healthy, and happy lives. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54% of dogs are considered obese. A daily dog walk will keep your dog active and at a healthy weight. Additional daily dog walk benefits include mind stimulation, agility maintenance, and daily confidence boosts!

2.) Peace of Mind: Hiring a professional dog walker will give you peace of mind that Fido had a midday potty break, exercise, and one-on-one care while you’re at work during the day. Professional and reputable dog walkers are experienced, reliable, attentive, and bonded/insured. 

3.) Behavior: If your dog is displaying undesirable behaviors such as chewing, barking, potty accidents, and/or separation anxiety, Fido may not be getting enough exercise during the day. A well-exercised dog is a well-behaved and happy dog!

4.) Time: Life is busy! Many of our clients work long hours, are unable to drive home during their lunch break, and/or have after-work commitments. It can be very difficult to get a walk in during the work week. With a professional dog walker, your dog will get the daily exercise and attention they deserve. You’ll come home to a relaxed and happy doggo!

5.) Physical Limitations: If you are physically unable to walk your dog or Fido’s energy level surpasses yours, a professional dog walker is the perfect solution. The walk duration and pace will be customized per Fido’s needs.

Thank you for considering Four Leg Stretch for exceptional pet care. Please fill out the form on the “Contact Us” page for more information or to schedule a meet and greet visit.

Does Your Dog Get Enough Exercise?

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54% of dogs (and cats) are considered obese. Does your pet get enough exercise?

Most people exhaustively juggle a career, long commutes, work engagements, appointments, and more. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

A casualty of our busy life patterns may be the health of our beloved pets. As with humans, dogs require consistent exercise to maintain good health. Their current exercise routine may be limited to a brief run around the backyard. But that is just not enough.

Four Leg Stretch provides dog walk services to ensure your pets get the exercise they need. We offer midday dog walks in 15, 30, or 60 minute increments. While you’re at work, you’ll have peace of mind knowing Fido got his exercise for the day. You’ll come home to a relaxed and happy dog!

To schedule a complimentary meet and greet visit, please contact us. We look forward to meeting you and your four legged family members soon!

{Exercise plus quality food is the golden ticket to a healthy pup. Read tips on how to choose a dog food here.}