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: 

http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-reviews/brand/SELRES_614a8f61-3047-4ee5-a500-1efa283f43c1SELRES_d9b886ae-05ac-4d77-92bb-05c87c294bdfSELRES_0d481bad-1245-4692-a321-a9b65a3c2bc7SELRES_bbb20325-7d8a-44f1-931b-24d835347ea7SELRES_ef83b72b-c262-41a1-a641-5c2b9e20f0d5
 
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.

http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recalls 

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.

Let’s Talk About Dog Poop

Let’s talk about dog poop, shall we? Below is what you need to know from bags – to the importance of poop pick up – to the “Four C’s” of dog poop. It’s not a glamorous topic, but these tips will make poop pick up a breeze and provide you with insight on healthy vs. concerning dog poop.

Poop Bags:
Four Leg Stretch picks up a lot of dog poop during our daily walks. And trust me, we’ve tried a lot of poop bag brands over the years. A leak-proof, thick, and sturdy bag makes the pick up experience clean, quick, and easy. Paws down, the best poop bag brand on the market is Earth Rated. The USA-made poop bags are super tough, made from recycled materials, and offer unscented and scented options. Just imagine the sweet smell of lavender while you pick up poop! It’s heavenly!

Poop Pick Up (Please and Thank You):
Picking up after your dog is an important and responsible pet parent task. In public spaces, common courtesy is an obvious reason to pick up after your furry pal. Nothing can ruin a walk more than stepping in dog poop. A more urgent and concerning reason to pick it up is health-related. There are many common diseases that can be transmitted to other dogs and even people through contaminated dog poop. There’s also a misconception that dog poop acts as a fertilizer…sadly, this is not true. Dog poop is high in nitrogen so it actually has the reverse effect of fertilizer. Sometimes it can even burn your lawn if it isn’t picked up!

The Four C’s of Dog Poop:
You see and pick up Fido’s poop on a regular basis, but do you take a moment to really look at it? Have you noticed changes in color, consistency, coating, or contents? Just like human poop, dog poop can reveal if something is wrong with your pup. Veterinarians reference the “Four C’s” when examining dog feces – you can also refer to the “Four C’s” on a daily basis! Always seek input from your vet if Fido’s stool has changed or looks concerning.

Color:
Dog poop can be a variety of colors, with each meaning something different.

 

Consistency:
Dog poop should be compact, moist, and easy to pick up. Many vets compare healthy dog poop consistency to Play-Doh. Diarrhea, watery, or unformed dog poop can be an indication of an intestinal upset.

Coating:
Dog poop should not have any sort of coating on it. Mucus on the stool (formed or watery) may indicate irritation or inflammation of the intestines.

Contents:
If you feed your dog a grain-based food, Fido may pass undigested food such as corn and other grains. Consider a grain-free alternative food option all together – read more about how to choose a dog food here.

If you see anything out of the ordinary or concerning, always call your vet.

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Spring has sprung! Is Fido’s poop still on the ground from the brrrr winter season? KC Pet Collective lists reasons why it’s so important to pick up the poop from last season.

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.}