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It’s officially summer! While the season is optimal for enjoying the great outdoors with your family and fur babies, it can also be an opportunity for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion occurs when a dog’s body temperature reaches over 103-degrees. A definite cause for concern is heat stroke, when their temperatures reach 106-degrees or higher.

As a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to monitor your pup while outside to ensure they do not experience overheating, which can result in more fatal effect such as a shutdown of the organs and heart.

Heat stroke, as defined by PetMD, is a type of non-fever hyperthermia that occurs when the “heat-dissipating mechanisms of the body cannot accommodate excessive external heat.”

Essentially, dogs do not sweat externally the same way as humans do, which is why they pant to keep cool. Sometimes, especially in summery temperatures, panting isn’t adequate enough to keep their body temperature regulated, resulting in heat complications.

Symptoms to look out for include, but are not limited to:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive Panting
  • Thickened saliva/drooling
  • Dizziness/wobbling
  • Irregular or rapid heart rate
  • Tremors/seizures
  • Little to no urination
  • Unconsciousness
  • Bloodshot eyes

The greatest knowledge you can obtain is recognizing and preventing symptoms before they become harmful or fatal. If you are traveling or know you will be outside with your pet all day, always keep water on hand. Provide plenty of shade and make sure you are not outside with them during peak hours.

If they require a great deal of exercise or have a lot of energy, try walking, running or hiking with your pups early in the morning or late at night. You can also allow them to swim in a pool or lake to cool off while getting exercise at the same time.

Heat exhaustion doesn’t just happen outdoors or in summer! When in the home, make sure your pup has plenty of cool air- including air conditioning and fans. Never leave your dogs in an unventilated, hot car for any reason. Even a “perfect”, 70-degree day can transform a car into a 104-degree oven after just half an hour!

Similar to humans, keep a watchful eye on dogs that may be more susceptible to heat-related issues such as senior dogs, puppies, and dogs with health concerns that can worsen in heat (obesity, cardiac disease, brachycephalic breeds or thick coated breeds, etc). Another risk factor to be vigilant of includes high temperatures mixed with high humidity, which increases the likelihood of heat stroke.

If your dog becomes heat exhausted, bring them inside or to a cool area immediately. To help stabilize them, you can place your dog in a cool (not cold) bath or pour water over their body to help bring their temperature back down. Also, give them the opportunity to drink plenty of water.

Simultaneously, call your vet so that they can advise you on additional steps to take. If suspected to be heat exhaustion or heat stroke, your vet may ask you to come in to administer fluids to help restore any minerals and liquids lost in the process. They will also monitor your pet for any complications associated with heat including kidney failure, dehydration, and shock.

The best things you can do are to be prepared, stay observant and plan ahead when it comes to the heat and your fur friends. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to reach out to your veterinary professional. In doing so, you and your pups can have a safe summer full of adventure!

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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Opening your home and heart to a new dog can be exciting, but there are many things to consider before adding a new member to your pack, especially when you already have a fur baby at home.

Before taking the plunge, it’s essential to examine the pros and cons. This is a decision that will affect your family significantly, so being prepared and educated is the key to keeping the household in balance.

 

The Pros:

The process of introducing a new dog to the home can be taxing at first, but in the end, your family will experience double the love! Dogs truly are man’s best friend, and what better way to spread the love than by expanding your fur family?

You’ll also be able to provide Dog #1 with a playmate/wrestling buddy/partner in crime. Historically, canines are pack animals, and adding a second pup can help them feel more socialized and less lonely. Dogs with separation anxiety may feel more at ease when you are away from home if there is another dog with them. Most importantly, you are giving a new pup a happy and safe place to call home.

 

The Cons:

In addition to doubling the love, you will also be doubling everything else that comes with having a dog. This includes vet visits, food, grooming, potty clean up, training, and more. It’s essential that you consider finances and time management before bringing home the new dog. Can you afford to give two pups the same creature comforts you provide for one?

You also want to take note of how compatible the two dogs will be. You may notice some sibling rivalry, jealousy, and bad habits.

Don’t think of these as dealbreakers! Yes, another dog can be a lot of work, but if you and your family are ready for the task, it can be the most rewarding decision you’ll make.

 

The Introduction

One of the biggest factors when deciding if to become a two-dog household is determining whether or not Dog #1 is ready for the addition. Just because you are ready for another companion, doesn’t mean that your dog is. If your pup at home is not the most dog-friendly, it’s best to test the waters before committing to a second dog. You could ask other dog parents you know to meet you in an outside area with their pups to see how your dog does. If your attempts don’t go as planned, try investing some time in behavioral training.

Your current dog and the adopted dog may not be the best of friends right away. Don’t be discouraged if they aren’t hitting it off in the beginning. Similar to humans, they need time to adjust, and if that means coexisting, that is a win! You’ll want to have the dogs meet somewhere outside of your home, like the dog park. This encounter will ease the transition and allow them to meet each other on neutral territory without it being an overwhelming experience. Try taking them on a walk to learn to walk alongside one other in a neutral space.

Once home, keep the two dogs separate with dog gates or crate training, and gradually let them intermingle. You’ll also want to feed them in separate areas, as they may experience resource guarding with food. This can extend to other things like toys or spaces. It’s of utmost importance that each dog has its own safe space. 

 

Choosing The Right Dog

Bringing a new dog home is not as easy as it seems when another dog is involved. Don’t forget to be considerate of your dog at home.

 

Things to Consider

Activity Level, Age, and Size: 

Is your dog at home a couch potato or a high-energy breed? You may want to find a pup with a similar activity level to avoid conflict within the home.

You can find similar issues with dogs in different age ranges and sizes. A senior dog may bode well with an adult dog rather than a puppy, or a 100-pound dog might not be a good match for a 5-pound dog.

You may find this is not the case. Use your knowledge of your current dog to find the best match.

Gender and Breed:

Does your pooch prefer dogs of the opposite sex or get along with particular breeds? Generally, males and females do better together as there is less competition for them in the home. There are always exceptions, and with proper introductions dogs of any kind can learn to live together.

No matter what the breed, age, sex, etc. it’s important to remember that every dog is an individual. While there are characteristics that can help you find your pup’s perfect match, every dog’s personality is unique.

Being consistent at home will set your dogs up for success when it comes to coexisting in their new environment. If you are ever frustrated, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet, trainer, online forums or communities, or friends and family for advice!

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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If you or a loved one has ever dealt with anxiety, then you know that it can be physically and emotionally exhausting to get through the day. The same is true for dogs. The many different causes of anxiety in dogs, if not addressed, can cause long-term fear throughout your pup’s life. Knowing which form of anxiety your dog suffers from is the first step to providing your furbaby with relief.

It’s important to keep an eye out for outward indications of an anxious dog in order to communicate with your vet and find the best options for treatment. These could include excessive barking, licking, panting, destroying household items, aggression, or diarrhea.

Behavioral and Situational Anxiety

Dogs typically experience two main types of anxiety:

Behavioral anxiety is a constant anxious feeling about something. Separation anxiety, for example, is one type of behavioral stress that many pet owners witness at home. You’ll notice these dogs, also known as “velcro dogs,” act up while you are gone (chewing furniture, having accidents inside, etc.) due to the stress of being alone.

This type of anxiousness is thought to be more common (though it is not always the case) in shelter pets who have been to multiple homes, been abused, or have lost someone close to them, as well as very human-dependent breeds who tend to rely on our companionship more than others.

Situational anxiety, on the other hand, occurs during unusual situations that prevent your pup from calming down. These can include thunderstorms, vet visits, car rides, or holidays (especially the Fourth of July and Halloween).

Anxiety also comes with old age. Similar to Alzheimer’s in humans, senior dogs tend to develop Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)or “doggy dementia” as they grow older. A study performed at the Behavior Clinic at the University of California, Davis showed that 28 percent of dogs 11-to-12 years old, and 68 percent of dogs 15-to-16 years old, showed one or more signs of cognitive impairment.

Signs to watch out for include pacing, disorientation, staring incessantly at one spot, and changes in sleep schedule. It is always important to talk to your vet if you notice any of these symptoms, as they could be something else entirely.

During bouts of anxiety, there are things you can do as a pet owner to help ease your dog’s nervousness:

  • Create a Safe Environment: When you go out, or an event like a thunderstorm causes your pup to hide in a corner, turn on relaxing music or the TV for your dog. There is even music out there made explicitly for relaxing dogs! Daily exercise and mental stimulation (such as a puzzle toy) can help tire your pup out before you leave. You can also create a safe space like a crate or bed. Leaving items with your scent, such as clothing, can relax your pet even more—especially when you are not home.
  • Ask for Help:There is no shame in asking for assistance! If you have to leave for long periods, have someone come over to walk or play with your dog. You can also work with trainers who specialize in fearful and anxious dogs to help you find a routine that works for you and your four-legged family member.
  • Talk to Your Vet: For severe cases of anxiety, do not hesitate to ask your vet for help. Your dog may need anxiety medication or solutions that require professional assistance such as massage or acupuncture to help ease the stress.
  • Natural remedies:Natural alternatives can also be beneficial instead of, or in conjunction with, medication. For events such as a loud party or storm, many pet parents use weighted blankets or thunder shirts designed to add gentle pressure that has a calming effect. Using essential oils in a diffuser, such as lavender or iemongrass, are also said to bring a calming sensation.

Here at JustFoodForDogs, our Calm supplement, which is a blend of three natural ingredients (valerian root, passionflower, and magnesium), can safely reduce stress in situations that commonly cause tension such as separation anxiety, mood changes, and irritability.

Please note: always talk to your vet about any new supplements, medications or remedies you would like to try for your dog!

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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The truth is in the poop.

That’s right, we said it! Keeping an eye on our dog’s stools, albeit not the most appealing activity, is one of the ways we monitor his or her health. We don’t like to think about the inevitable diarrhea days (and the mess that comes with them), but they do happen. While we can’t predict it, as owners we need to become familiar with the different types of stools and learn the possible causes to help our vets pinpoint the problem.

Before you learn about the types of diarrhea, you’ll need to understand how and why it happens. It’s important to know that diarrhea is not a disease, but rather a symptom of a variety of concerns. According to Ernest Ward, DVM, diarrhea is “the result of increased speed of passage of fecal material through the intestine, combined with decreased absorption of water, nutrients, and electrolytes.”

Common reasons for diarrhea include intestinal infections from bacteria, viruses, parasites, and more. Another cause of an upset stomach that we pet owners know all too well is the consumption of inappropriate items, such as garbage, household materials or human food that is not suitable for dogs. Other dishonorable mentions include stress caused by changes in their environment, switching foods, illnesses, and allergies.

There are many different types of diarrhea in dogs. Knowing their characteristics can help you determine what to do to help your pet, whether it means switching food or visiting your veterinarian for further resolution.

Acute Diarrhea is usually treated at home. The common suggestion would be to withhold food for an extended period—around 12 to 24 hours—to allow the intestinal tract to rest, and provide water to ensure your pup is adequately hydrated. Small, bland meals would then be the next step to allow your pup’s sensitive tummy to ease back into solid foods. As always, check with your vet before doing this because some dogs don’t need fasting and doing so could cause more issues, especially if the diarrhea is not acute and followed by vomiting.

If diarrhea happens more frequently and for an extended period, it may be a sign of a more serious underlying cause. If your pet experiences lethargy, vomiting, weakness or other symptoms, in addition to continuing stomach issues, then it may be time to call your vet. Chronic Diarrhea can mean disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), kidney and liver concerns, cancers, or food intolerances. Always defer to your vet to properly diagnose these concerns so that they can be accurately treated.

Your vet may also ask you some questions about the GI upset, including if there is mucus or blood. It may sound a bit off-putting, but stools will tell a story that can be quite important. While you are monitoring your pet at home, make sure to keep track of what they ate before the diarrhea occurred:

  • Did they ingest anything non-food related or an item that could upset their stomach?
  • How much water did they consume?
  • What have their bowel movements been like (consistency and color)?
  • How often do they happen?

It can also be quite helpful to save a sample of the stool in the event that it needs testing by your vet. If you have multiple dogs, be sure to check and see if they all have the same symptoms, or is it just affecting one of your furbabies.

When it comes to your dog’s poop, it takes some investigative work to see what their bodies are trying to tell you. Be mindful of what your dog is eating, the regularity of their bowel movements, and how their diet and lifestyle affect their overall health. While some cases of diarrhea may be resolved in a few days, others may require regular management throughout your pet’s lifetime.

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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Spring weather is just around the corner! Along with better weather, longer days, and more outdoor activities, the upcoming months have a lot of changes in store for our furry friends.

While you are spring cleaning this season, don’t forget to prepare your pups and kitties for the changes as well. Here are some things you can do to ensure that your pets are ready for springtime.

Pest Prevention and Healthcare

We aren’t the only ones emerging from winter hibernation when the seasons change. Pests, including fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and flies make their debut in warmer weather. Talk to your vet about the appropriate preventative care to protect your pets from these unwanted neighbors. Being proactive about pests will ensure you and your fur babies are safe for the year. This is also a good time for other preventative care such as deworming, teeth cleanings, and a yearly check-up.

Seasonal Allergies

April showers might bring May flowers, but May flowers (as well as many other allergens) can cause irritating seasonal allergies in humans, dogs, and cats alike. If your pet is prone to allergies, be sure to tidy up his or her surroundings (yes, your four-legged family members’ habitat needs spring cleaning, too). That includes washing bedding, sanitizing toys, and vacuuming dust and dander. If your pet experiences any itching, sneezing, watery eyes, runny nose, or any other allergy symptoms, ask your vet about treatment for your pet!

Exercise and Wellness

Cold weather can inhibit you and your pets from going outside for exercise. That, and the busy holiday season, can contribute to pet weight gain during the winter. It is important to remember that if you haven’t kept up a regular workout schedule, neither has your pet. For dogs, gradually work up to a full exercise routine in order not to overwork your pup. Cats can partake in exercise wheels, cat trees, and even leash walking! This is the perfect time for outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy such as swimming, hiking, camping, and more.

Grooming

Another thing to remember is brushing. Your pet’s coat will start to shed at a rapid rate to get rid of that thick winter layer. Remember to brush and wash their coat to help with the excess fur and to decrease the number of airborne allergens that may have attached themselves throughout the day. Regular baths can ease the shedding and can provide some relief from the heat. Visiting your local groomer can provide much needed amenities, including thorough fur cleaning, haircut, ear cleaning, and nail trim.

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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As much as we wish they would stay puppies forever, we cannot prevent our pups from aging. We can, though, take measures to allow them to live as happy as possible during their golden years.

Outward signs of an aging dog that we tend to see include characterisitics such as gray hair and foggy eyes. However, there are many other internal concerns that come with age that we as owners may not immediately notice or we may attribute them to being a normal sign of senior dogs, rather than warning signs of something deeper. Noticing these common health concerns for aging dogs early may prolong their lives with you, and can allow them to age more comfortably.

1. Joints

While arthritis and joint concerns are most common in larger breed senior dogs, it can affect dogs of any age. Just like humans, dogs are prone to arthritis as they become older. Most dogs are considered seniors around seven years old, depending on breed. Even being considered a “senior” your dog still has a lot of life to live! If your pet is struggling to jump onto the couch or bed or is having a hard time climbing stairs, this may be signs of degenerative joint issues. Since joint problems arise with age, there is no cure. However, you can ask your veterinarian if they would suggest a diet change, medication or supplement to support your pup’s joints. Nutrition and a balanced diet play a tremendous role in maintaining joint function with the vitamins and minerals in your dog’s food.

*Talk to your vet about: Joint Care, Joint Care Plus, Omega Plus, Joint and Skin Support

2. Cancer

According to the Animal Cancer Foundation, there are around six million cancer diagnoses in dogs every year. If you notice any abnormal bumps or lumps on your pup, don’t hesitate to talk to your vet about them. While older dogs tend to develop lumps with age, not all are cancerous and can be taken care of- it never hurts to check. Catching these diagnoses early is key! Especially as your dog reaches senior age, remember to take them in for regular screenings and check-ups. Here is some good news: “Pets today have a better chance of being successfully treated for neoplasia and cancer than they did before, thanks to advances in early recognition, diagnosis and treatment”, said by the AVMA.

*Talk to your vet about: Critical Care & Neoplasia Support

3. Heart

As expected with age, heart issues can develop and it is important to have any heart concerns checked and/or diagnosed by your vet to find the appropriate regimen. These could include medication, supplements or a new low sodium, cardiac-friendly diet.

If you notice your dog has a rapid or irregular heartbeat (especially with low impact exercise), excessive coughing, difficulty breathing and more, talk to your vet about your dog’s heart to get them on the right track for a heart healthy life.

*Talk to your vet about: Beef and Russet Potato, Venison and Squash, Turkey and Macaroni, Lamb and Brown Rice, Joint and Skin Support

4. Kidney

Kidney failure is quite common in older dogs due to the natural aging process, which is why it is important to schedule consistent appointments with your vet to catch the disease early or keep up with regular treatment. It is not curable, but it can be managed with an appropriate diet consisting of lower protein and phosphorus levels, medication and supplements as prescribed by your veterinarian. Watch for signs of kidney concerns early on and let your vet know if you notice your pup is experiencing excessive thirst or urination.

*Talk to your vet about: Renal Support Low Protein, Renal Support Moderate Protein, Hepatic Support Low Fat

5. Gum and Dental Health

Years and years of tartar and plaque buildup can be a recipe for periodontal disease with a senior dog. The best way to manage teeth health is by daily brushing and routine dental cleanings with your vet. Why is dental health important in pets? Lack of brushing and care can result in bad breath, tooth decay and organ damage. Yes, damage to your senior’s organs can stem from tartar buildup, which can travel through the bloodstream and cause things like arthritis, heart disease and kidney concerns. Routine cleanings early in your pup’s life and throughout their life can help make sure their senior days are filled with a mouth full of healthy teeth to enjoy yummy treats and food for years to come! 

*We do require a prescription from your vet for any of our veterinary directed diets when there is a health concern present. Please reach out to us at 949-722-3647if you or your veterinarian have any questions about a diet for your pet. If any of our suggested diets would not be suitable for your particular pup, consider having a custom formulation created!

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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Just Food For Dogs by Nicholehill - 7M ago

Have you ever thought about how your pets process emotions? While dogs and cats do not express themselves exactly as we do, they do experience a lot of the same feelings that humans go through—in their own ways. This is true with sadness. Yes, even dogs and cats can experience periods of depression, and it’s important to find out the causes and know the symptoms to let our furry friends know we are here to help.

A recent study from the United Kingdom even suggests that dogs can become depressed from their owners using their smartphones too often. Founder of VetUK and veterinary surgeon, Iain Booth, told Metro that “this gadget dependence is jeopardizing the important relationships we have with our pets, particularly dogs and to a lesser extent house cats.”

Have you ever noticed your dog or cat pining for your affection or being more vocal when you are scrolling through social media? Pets want to please us and need our attention or else they may feel neglected, similar to children, and disconnecting with a smartphone can potentially harm that bond causing depression-like behavioral issues.

If your dog or cat is sleeping more than usual, has a lack of appetite, not interested in playing or going for walks, whining or whimpering and more—these could all be signs of pet depression. As a pet owner, it’s important to recognize these signs and feel comfortable reaching out to your vet if you are ever unsure of the cause, as these signs can also be indications of physical concerns not related to emotional distress.

One of the biggest differences between pet sadness and human sadness is that animals, particularly dogs, are affected more by instant changes in their surroundings while we experience depression more deeply and emotionally over time.

There are a number of reasons why your pet may be sad, including but not limited to, a loss of a companion—human or animal, a change in routine (moving homes, weather, a new family member, etc.), a negative experience at home, an illness or injury, and many other reasons. Figuring out the source of the sadness can help you determine what course of action to take, whether it be adjusting a behavior at home or reaching out to veterinary professionals.

Similar to people, there are many things you can do to help ease your pet’s blues. For dogs, encouraging exercise, rewarding with special or new foods or treats, or even offering them a trip outside to see their dog friends could get them out of that rut. Our animals take on a lot of our emotions as well, so being positive around them, especially when they are feeling sad, can bring up their spirits.

Cats can be a bit different, as they are not pack animals like dogs and don’t rely on us as intensely, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t feel depression as well. Oftentimes owners don’t recognize cats as being sad, as many cats keep to themselves.

Many depression signs can mimic medical issues common in cats such as pancreatitis and renal failure. If your cat is experiencing prolonged depression signs, it is suggested to visit your local vet. This will give you peace of mind and rule out any serious health concerns, or help diagnose medical problems, if any. Even if you don’t have an affectionate cat, be sure to give them your attention every day to let them know they are loved, whether it be by spoken acknowledgment, pets or playing with toys.

Pet parenting can sometimes be a full-time job with unexpected hurdles, but we’re sure many of you would agree it’s one of the best jobs out there!

It’s also important to note that every pet is an individual, just like us, so what they need will depend on their unique situations. Always consult with your veterinarian for diagnoses and advice when it comes to your pet since, besides you, they know them best!

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

Photography by: Dogma Pet Portraits

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Tis’ the season of giving back! We all get caught up in the commotion of the holidays, but let us not forget the animals that need a little extra love this season.

According to the ASPCA, nearly 6.5 million pets find themselves in animal shelters in the U.S each year! What better way to share the spirit than by helping those waiting for their fur-ever homes? Here are just a handful of ways you and the family can get involved in bringing joy to some fur babies that need some extra kindness.

DONATE

There are multiple ways to make a donation at a shelter. Making a monetary donation is always helpful—no matter the amount you are able to give! Additionally, you can ask your shelter what is on their “Wish List” so you can provide them with the items they need most! Common items include towels, leashes, food bowls, blankets, food and more—these can be new or gently-used! Many shelters need to cover the costs for food, housing, vet visits and more all on their own. Donations of any kind make a world of difference, and it can be a great holiday tradition when the family gets together.

VOLUNTEER

Similar to how shelters rely on donations, they also rely on their wonderful volunteers to keep the shelters up and running! You can help facilitate adoption events, take the dogs for walks, clean kennels, read to the animals and more! If you’re unsure how you can help—give them a call and ask what you can do. Keeping a shelter in good condition puts less stress on the dogs and cats (and humans!) that call the shelter their temporary home.

FOSTER

Of course, one of the best things you can do for your shelter is adopting an animal in need! If your family is not quite ready for another pet, you can try fostering! This is a great way to bring an animal into your home, especially during the holidays which can be a very busy time for everyone, shelters included! The animals can benefit from getting out of the shelter environment, even if it is just temporary. You can learn how fostering works, and you might just become a “foster failure.”

SHOP

You heard us right! Shopping at companies that support local shelters is a great way to help animals from all over! There are businesses—big and small—that give back all year round, and it all starts with customers. For example, Amazon Smile will donate 0.5% of your purchase price to a charity of your choice! Many shelters are on the list, and if you don’t see yours you can help sign them up! The Petco Foundation helps find homes for thousands of pets when you donate in-store or online every day. Research stores near you that give back to animals and opt to shop there instead, while supporting local business at the same time! Making a conscious decision to shop smart is just one of the small things you can do to make a difference.

SPREAD THE WORD

Raising awareness via social media is another form of spreading the holiday cheer that is just one mouse click away! It is a powerful tool that can bring attention to shelters that would otherwise not get attention on a daily basis. If your local shelter or rescue is holding an event, click that share button and let your friends know. Follow your favorite animal organizations on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to keep up-to-date with adoptable animals to share with your followers; you might just help a dog or cat find their forever home just because you shared a post.

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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There is no doubt about it: Our pets are our family, and we want them in our lives for as long as possible. To keep them in good health, we turn to our wonderfully skilled veterinarians to help us along the way, but we must also help them—by asking the right questions.

Just like with our own health, our fur babies need annual checkups to prevent or detect any major health concerns. Though, since our pets can’t tell us how they feel it is up to us as owners to watch out for any unusual signs and ask the appropriate questions to hopefully catch health issues before they begin.

Just as you would for your own doctor, try jotting down your main concerns in regards to your pet’s health to talk about with your vet. Bringing up some of these important topics at their next exam that could make a world of difference:

 

How much exercise/play does your dog or cat need?

Just like humans, no two animals are alike. Depending on their age, size, breed and overall health their exercise needs will vary. That is why it is important to talk to your vet about how much exercise your specific pet will need. Insufficient exercise can cause to joint pain and obesity, while too much can be taxing on the body. For example, dogs bred to work such as retrievers or collies will require more exercise than smaller, more sedentary breeds such as a pug or Shih Tzu. Additionally, larger breed dogs tend to have more joint problems and may need extra joint support, especially if they are very active.

 

What can you do for dental health?

Periodontal disease is very common in pets, some breeds can even be more susceptible to bad teeth. Poor dental health can cause an myriad of health concerns including gingivitis, tooth loss, and organ issues- so it’s best to catch it early. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, your dog’s teeth should be checked at least once a year by your vet to determine if professional cleaning is needed. The AVMA suggests seeing your vet if you encounter symptoms such as swelling of the gums, bad breath, reduced appetite, mouth bleeding and more.

These symptoms can be preventable. The best way to avoid major dental issues in the future is by daily brushing. Items that claim to clean teeth such as bones and rawhides can actually causes blockages and do more harm than good. If daily brushing is not possible with your cat or dog, your vet may have alternative methods you can use to keep your pet’s teeth healthy as can be!

 

Is your pet at a healthy weight?

We know those puppy dog eyes and tiny meows can be very persuasive, especially when it comes to feeding time, but maintaining your pet’s weight is crucial to keeping them in good health. You can reduce your pet’s risk of diabetes, cancer, kidney disease and more just by keeping them at a healthy weight. Many pet parents are not sure what exactly their pet’s “ideal” weight is, and that is OK! Your vet can look at not only your pet’s weight on the scale but how their body looks and feels to establish whether or not they require a special diet and/or exercise regimen. Excessive weight gain can also be signs of other concerns such as Cushing’s Disease and Hypothyroidism, so it’s always a good idea to schedule an appointment if you cannot get to the root cause of your pet’s weight issues.

What kind of food should they be eating?

Feeding your pet a completely balanced diet is the first step to a healthy, long life for your cat or dog. When choosing a diet, especially, consulting with your vet is vital—if your pet has health concerns such as kidney disease, pancreatitis, IBD, etc., you will want their diet to reflect and help manage the disease. Be wary of foods that claim to be natural or have fillers or preservatives, as these will not help your dog or cat nutritionally and can make any health problems worse.

JustFoodForDogs believes a human edible, USDA certified and nutritionally balanced diet- especially one that has been scientifically proven to boost the immune system- will give your pets everything they need to live long and happy lives. When health concerns are present, deferring to your vet about diet changes is always suggested. If you have any questions about switching to whole foods, feel free to reach out to us seven days a week at 949-722-3647 or orders@justfoodfordogs.com!

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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While we do everything we can to protect our fur babies, nothing can prepare us for natural disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes and more. It’s always a good idea to prepare an evacuation plan for your family—and that includes your pets.

According to the American Humane Association, approximately 10 million pets are lost each year—and those numbers rise astronomically during unplanned disasters. More recently, Hurricane Florence reports describe overflowing animal shelters in North Carolina and the surrounding states. Though, caring people are always willing to help in times of need. According to CBS News, one good Samaritan drove a school bus to shelters to rescue as many animals as he could that were at risk from the storms.

We can’t control these unforeseen events, but we can be ready for them. In the event of an emergency, there are many things you can do to formulate a top-notch preparedness plan for your four-legged family:

1.     Calm Before (and after) the Storm

If you know when the event may take place, remember to bring your pets inside well in advance and assure them that you are there for them. When you are stressed, your pets are stressed. Take familiar items with you such as your pet’s toys, bed or bowls to help ease their worry and remind them of smells that make them feel safe, even if you’re not at home. The key is to create a secure environment.

 

2.     Identification

Microchipping your pet is the best and more permanent way to provide them with proper identification if you are ever separated. If any information changes, such as your address or phone number, be sure to keep everything up-to-date throughout their life. In addition, remember to update any collar tags with your dog’s name, your information and any health concerns they might have. Keeping a photo of your pet, their microchip information and/or license number on hand may also be helpful if they ever get lost.

 

3.     Find a Safe Place

If you ever need to evacuate your family, make sure you find a friend or family member you can lodge with. You can also research hotels or pet-friendly facilities outside of your immediate area that might be available. Don’t forget to leave your pet’s information and an extra copy of house keys with a trusted person in your community so that they can evacuate your pet if you are not around and vice versa. Confirm evacuation plans with this person so that everyone is on the same page.

 

4.     Emergency Kit and Supplies

In addition to your human family, your pet will also require supplies if evacuation is needed. ASPCA suggests storing an emergency kit ready at all times; one that is in reach and near an exit. You will want items such as extra leashes, a supply of food (Our Fresh on the Go is great option to store for emergencies and travel!), clean water and bowls, waste bags and any medication your pet needs, and a first aid kit—we suggest speaking with your veterinarian as to what would be best to include for your specific animal.

Blog Post Written By: Jasmine Kemper
JustFoodForDogs Nutrition Consultant

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