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National Mutt Day

A hidden gem, a diamond in the rough, the four-legged prince (or princess) among thieves – the mutt has found its place in the dog world. What used to be thought of as a derogatory term, the “mutt” is now something to be celebrated. Shelters around the country harbor many of these gems – sitting undiscovered, waiting to pick their perfect human family.

The Best Kept Secret: Why You Should Rescue a Mutt

The real question to be asked is, “Why would you not rescue a mutt?” Animal shelters are known for harboring the mutts of the dog world, the diamonds in the rough.

  • No one expected that the dog in the third kennel down on the right, that looks to be the perfect mix between a Corgi and a Jack Russell Terrier, would bring life into the home of a husband and wife struggling with conception.
  • Who would have thought that the Golden Retriever and Border Collie mix with bright blue eyes, would be the missing puzzle piece of motivation for his new owner with dreams of running a marathon?
  • The Pit Bull mix that sat quietly in the corner, in the very last kennel on the left: her owners would tell you that she is the most loyal dog to ever enter their home, and that taking a chance on her was one of the greatest decisions they have ever made.

There truly is no greater love and appreciation than that of a dog who has been rescued, but their owners will inevitably begin to ask themselves the question, “Which one of us is really being rescued here?”
Rescue a mutt from your local shelter and you will officially be in on the secret. Here is a not so subtle hint: It’s both of you.

There truly is no greater love and appreciation than that of a dog who has been rescued, but their owners will inevitably begin to ask themselves the question, “Which one of us is really being rescued here?”  Rescue a mutt from your local shelter and you will officially be in on the secret. Here is a not so subtle hint: It’s both of you.

This Mutt’s For You

No matter the breed, making the decision to bring a dog into your life and home is not one to be taken lightly. There is indeed a perfect mutt for your family, but there are things that deserve your careful consideration. Lifestyle, space in your home, and breed characteristics are all things that factor into finding your ideal four-legged companion.

What does your Saturday morning look like?

  • Do you wake up, eat clean and jump on your mountain bike, or maybe pound the pavement in an early morning run? There is a Labrador and Boxer mix somewhere, dreaming of the day he can join you.
  • Do you like to curl up on the couch with your coffee and a good book, or even indulge in one of those guilty pleasure television shows? There is a Shih Tzu and Poodle mix somewhere that would love nothing more than to make a cozy spot right next to you. That’s one of the good things about dogs: they won’t tell anyone how much you love The Real Housewives.

A Happy Home

  • Larger breed dogs with a high energy level are not going to be happiest cooped up in a one bedroom apartment in the city, unless maybe you have them trained to do your Starbucks coffee run each day. . .multiple times a day.
  • On the other hand, a dog with a lower energy level will be happy with a more low-maintenance, leisurely schedule: even if that schedule consists of hours of mindless television in your one bedroom apartment.

The dog that you bring into your home should be a direct reflection of your lifestyle, and your home should appropriately accommodate his or her needs.

Breed Characteristics

Animal shelters are filled with mixed-breeds of many kinds, and the beauty of the mixed-breed dog is even better odds of finding the perfect mutt for you. Mixed-breed equals a broader gene pool, and once you discover what characteristics fit best into your life, the shelter is the right place to begin your search.

  • For example, any breed mixed with a poodle would be a good fit for someone with a mild pet dander allergy, as poodles tend to be hypo-allergenic.
  • Likewise, a dog that appears to be a mix of Labrador and Border Collie, may have the friendly disposition of the first and the whip-smart agility of the second.

No one is trying to take anything away from the purebreds of the world. However, it is time for them to scoot over and make a sunny spot for their equally adorable furry friend, the mutt, because all dogs deserve their day in the sun.

Fireworks Safety: How to Keep Your Dog Safe This Fourth of July

Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays. When you think of 4th of July celebrations, what comes to mind? Celebrating our freedom? Of course. Family cookouts? Pass me a burger. We all may celebrate the 4th of July holiday a little differently, but let’s talk about the grand finale – the fireworks! While most people love a good fireworks show, we can’t say the same for dogs. This time of year can present many dangers to your dog, as fireworks can cause them severe anxiety. Let’s talk about how you can keep your dog safe this 4th of July.

Bring Your Dog Inside
If you know that your dog doesn’t like fireworks, or even if you have a new dog and are unsure, it is always best to bring them inside on the days surrounding the 4th of July holiday. Fireworks can cause your dog extreme anxiety, which can present many dangers if they are left outside alone. Possible dangers can include –

  • Injuries sustained as a result of attempting to jump the fence
  • Getting hit by a car while roaming frantically around the neighborhood
  • Wandering away from home to escape the noise and getting lost
  • Getting picked up by strangers (and not the nice kind) while roaming aimlessly

July 5th is known to be one of the busiest days for local shelters, due to these dangers that fireworks present to your dog. Play it safe, and bring your dog inside – they will be happy to join you.

Talk to Your Veterinarian about Anxiety Medication

This may sound a bit dramatic, but for dogs who experience severe anxiety from fireworks, this can be the best way to keep your pet safe and comfortable. If you using natural methods of medication, talk to your vet about that as well – chances are he can steer you in the right direction. Check out these natural remedies:

  • Chamomile
  • Lemon balm
  • Oat
  • Valerian
  • Skullcap

Always consult your vet before giving your dog any medication, even natural remedies, as doses can differ for different dogs and breeds.

Keep Your Dog Away from Windows

When you bring your dog inside, it is important to find a nice, comfortable spot for them to be while the fireworks are going on. A good tip is to try to find a spot away from any windows, as this can help to relieve their anxiety. Some cozy spots to consider –

  • A spacious laundry room without windows
  • A central room in the house that can be closed off
  • A comfortable room in the basement – “No scary basements, Mom.”

Make Sure Your Dog is Wearing Identification

This is a common rule that applies year round, but at times like these it is especially important to make sure that your dog can be identified in the event of getting lost. Even if you bring your dog inside, 4th of July is a busy time in most households, with people coming and going from the house a lot. If your dog were to slip out, make sure that someone can help him find his way back.

Keep Your Dog in a Kennel/Crate

Another things to consider is keeping your dog in a kennel during firework shows. This can often provide a safe escape for dogs in high-anxiety situations, especially if it is an enclosed kennel versus an open crate. Make sure you have the appropriate size kennel for your dog. Your dog should be able to stand up and turn around completely in their kennel. Keeping a dog in a kennel that is too small can be dangerous to your pet.

Skip the Fireworks and Stay Home

If fireworks cause your dog to experience severe anxiety, another option is to celebrate with your family at home, without fireworks. Sometimes we as pet owners have to make sacrifices for the comfort and safety of our dogs. We may not be able to control our neighbors when it comes to fireworks, but we can do our best to provide a safe environment for dogs in our own home.

However you choose to celebrate your freedom this year, be mindful of your four-legged friends as well as others in your neighborhood. Utilize some of these tips to keep your dog safe from the dangers of fireworks, and keep an eye out for your neighbor’s furry friends as well.

What Every Pet Lover Should Know About National Pet First Aid Month

Do you have a first aid kit in your home? Do you have another one in your car? Do you have pet first aid supplies in it too?

It’s a good to be prepared. Some supplies can be used for both pets and people but not all.

What’s In Your Pet First Aid Kit?

Bandages, phone numbers and your awareness are three important components.

You’ll want the phone numbers of your vet, the nearest emergency vet and the poison control center. A common hazard for pets is poisoning. Pets either get into household products like Clorox or antifreeze or they eat a food that makes them sick.

For example, if you chew sugarless gum or eat sugarless mints, keep them out of reach of your pet. Many years ago, we heard of a woman whose dog went into her purse, found the gum and chewed it up. Her pet started having seizures, vomited multiple times and she rushed him to the vet where he had life-saving surgery. Xylitol is the sweetening agent in many of these sugar free mints and gum and it’s highly toxic to dogs.

Here’s the Animal Poison Control Hotline for emergencies– 888.426.4435.  They do charge a consultation fee to cover their costs.

Your Pet First Aid Checklist

  • Copies of your pet’s vet paperwork. If you have to go to a different vet, they’ll want to make sure your pet is up-to-date on shots and if there are any special conditions to be aware of.
  • Phone numbers of your vet, emergency vet and Poison Control.
  • Muzzle in case your pet is panicking and biting (Don’t use this if your pet is vomiting or choking)
  • Extra leash
  • Self-sticking bandage (Available at some pet stores)
  • Gauze pads in case of bleeding
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Hydrogen peroxide (in case you need to induce vomiting – best to do this under guidance of a veterinarian or other pet medical professional)
  • Sterile saline solution
  • Tweezers
  • Emergency blanket
  • Disposable gloves
  • Pet carrier
  • Thermometer
  • Petroleum Jelly
  • Syringe
  • Flashlight
  • Over the counter antibiotic ointment

Of course you should also have any specialty medications or items your vet recommends. Special needs pets may need different items.

Some veterinarians and shelters offer occasional pet first aid classes if you want to know more.

What’s in your pet’s first aid kit?

Make Everyday Earth Day with Your Pets

You don’t have to be a Birkenstock wearing, tree-hugging hippie to appreciate Earth Day. We all enjoy clean water, fresh air and litter free streets, and Earth Day is a chance to show our appreciation.

Here’s how you can minimize your pet’s carbon footprint with “green” toys and accessories.

“Green” Toys and Accessories

Make Your Own – It doesn’t get much greener than that! From cardboard paper towel tubes to single mittens repurposing things around your home is the ultimate in recycling. For tips on “make-it-yourself” pet toys, see this post. (with a link to the recent post.)

Choose Toys Made of Eco-Friendly materials – some companies make pet toys out of recycled plastic bottles and milk jugs which not only help keep thousands of bottles out of the landfill but also make durable toys.

Imagine if your pet’s favorite chew toy was made with enough recycled plastic to also power your laptop for a month! Now that’s streamlining!

No matter what toys your pet likes best—balls, squeaker toys or rope tugs there’s something eco-friendly to chew on for everybody.

Go Organic

Organic cotton collars, leashes and bedding can reduce your pet’s exposure to harsh chemicals. The reason this matters is that traditional cotton may be treated with pesticides. Some pets develop skin irritants like red, itchy spots that you can see. Others aren’t as sensitive, but some scientists think long-term exposure to pesticides like these can raise dogs’ risk of cancer.

Protect your pet with organic cotton in stylish patterns.

Buy Large

Larger bags and cans of food mean less packaging waste and less energy spent producing said packaging. Buy larger containers when you can and recycle the packaging for a lighter footprint. Of course, you want to make sure the food inside is good for your pet too. Choose foods with plenty of vegetables and a named protein source like beef or fish.

How will you be green this Earth Day?

Ask Wellness March 2015

Q. Do you have a special dry food for cats prone to getting UTIs? My cat dislikes the prescription diet.

A. We’re sorry to hear that your cat has been experiencing urinary issues. Please know that we do not offer prescription diets, however, our Complete Health recipes contain a cranberry blend that may promote healthy urine PH. Another way to help cats maintain urinary health is by keeping them well hydrated. If your cat does not drink water regularly, you can help him get more hydration by supplementing his dry food with one of our Complete Health wet foods. We recommend that you discuss your cat’s nutrition options with your vet before making any changes. Best of luck!

National Animal Poison Prevention Week

For over 50 years, the third week in March has been celebrated as National Animal Poison Prevention Week. This week is all about bringing knowledge and awareness to all pet owners regarding the many poisonous hazards in and around one’s own home, and what to do if you know or suspect that your pet has ingested something that is potentially harmful. Let’s go room by room and talk about the potential poison hazards so that you can protect your furry friend from harmful substances. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way, and in this case, it could save your pet’s life!


We are starting with the kitchen because we believe it is one of the most important rooms when it comes to poison prevention. People often make the mistake of thinking that if a given food is safe for them that it is safe for their pet, but this could not be more wrong. We all want to treat our pets to something scrumptious from time to time, but people need to be educated regarding certain foods that can be toxic to animals. The following foods have been shown to be potentially harmful to pets –

  • Chocolate – especially dark chocolate, coffee, caffeine
  • Raisons and grapes
  • Yeast dough
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Raw or undercooked meat
  • Table salt
  • Garlic, onion and chives
  • Avocado

These are just some of the most common foods that can be hazardous to your pet. It is always recommended that you don’t give your pet any table foods unless approved by your pet’s veterinarian. Besides, if you have your pets on the Wellness diet, then they are already getting all of the delicious nutrition that they need!


Let’s talk about medications. Human medications are a big cause of pet poisoning occurrences. First things first, all medications should be stored in a secure place at all times to avoid any accidental ingestion by your curious pet. It wouldn’t take long for some pets to chew right through a medication bottle, totally unaware of its harmful contents.

  • It is a good idea to store your own medications separately from your pet’s medications to avoid any confusion.
  • Always check the bottle before giving your pet any medication to verify it is the correct one, especially if you have multiple pets.
  • All human medications, whether OTC or prescription, should be deemed unsafe for your pet, unless otherwise advised by your veterinarian.

Cleaning supplies is another culprit. The chemicals can be very harmful to your pets. Keep them in a safe place and keep your pets away while you are cleaning with them to avoid any harmful contact.

Living Room

Household plants are a popular topic when it comes to poison prevention for our pets. There are some household plants that can be toxic and even potentially fatal to your pets. If you are a pet owner and you are in the market for some plants to display in your home, be sure that you do your research to be sure that they aren’t poisonous to your pet. Here is a list of 17 poisonous plants that can be harmful to your pet. Knowledge is power!

Miscellaneous Household Items That Can Be Toxic to Your Pet

  • Batteries
  • Potpourri
  • Insecticides
  • Rodenticides
  • Plant fertilizer/plant food
  • Antifreeze
  • Yarn, rubber bands, dental floss

How to Handle an Emergency

If you know that your pet has ingested something poisonous, or if you are suspicious due to your pet displaying signs and symptoms such as – fever, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle tremors and/or lack of coordination – contact your emergency veterinary service immediately. You can also call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a possible fee of $65 per case.

National Animal Poison Prevention Week is a great time to educate ourselves on how to keep our pets safe from potentially harmful materials that can be found right inside our own homes. The moral of the story? Curiosity really can kill the cat – or dog, if we aren’t careful! Keep your pet safe!

National Puppy Day

Since 2006, March 23rd has been celebrated as National Puppy Day. This day was founded not only as a celebration of the unconditional love that puppies bring into our lives, but also as a day to save the lives of homeless puppies sitting in animals shelters and to bring awareness to the horrific reality of puppy mills across the globe. Here are some ways that you can celebrate the true meaning behind National Puppy Day!

10 Ways to Celebrate National Puppy Day

1. Adopt – If you have been teetering on the edge of the decision to bring a new puppy into your home, this would be the perfect day to take the plunge! Adopting from your local shelter has become much easier with the help of social media. Most shelters use social media sites such as Facebook to post photos of all of their animals that are currently up for adoption. Adopt from your local shelter or animal rescue.

2. Donate to the Cause – Maybe you already have the perfect puppy in your life and you get to celebrate that unconditional love day in and day out – great! Another way that you can celebrate the meaning of National Puppy Day is to DONATE!

  • Donate your time by volunteering at a local shelter
  • Donate money and/or supplies to a local shelter
  • Make a donation to an animal welfare organization that fights to end puppy mill cruelty

3. Spread the Knowledge – Not everyone is aware of the dangers and cruelty involved with puppy mills. What is a puppy mill? Do your research and share the knowledge to bring awareness to this important issue.

4. Share the Puppy Love – We get to experience the unconditional love from our puppies each day, so National Puppy Day is a great opportunity for us to share that love with others. Take your puppy to a local elderly community to visit with the residents and put a big smile on all of their faces – your puppy will be smiling too from all of the extra love and attention.

5. Capture the Moment – They don’t stay puppies forever! Hire a photographer to take some photos of you and your puppy to savor the sweetness of the puppy phase. You will love looking back on those in the years to come!

6. Puppy Training 101 – Sign you and your puppy up for an obedience training course to get a jumpstart on the basics. You will be well on your way to having the smartest puppy on the block!

7. Puppy’s Day Out – Plan a special outing for you and your puppy. Whether it is a trip to the Dog Park or “Bring Your Puppy to Work Day,” introducing your puppy to new social environments is one of the best things you can do for them.

8. Take Action – Write to your congressman to ask that he or she support the ban of puppy mills in your state.

9. Get a Healthy Start – It’s never too soon for your puppy to get a healthy start. Make sure that you are giving your puppy food and treats that are made with all natural ingredients and vow to give him the proper daily exercise to keep him healthy and happy!

10. Be Present for your Puppy – The puppy phase will be over before you know it! Spend as much quality time with your puppy as you can, not only today, but every day. Raising a puppy is a big responsibility and the decisions that you make now will shape them into the dog that they will grow up to be.

National Puppy Day is a great time to celebrate the unconditional love that our furry friends bring to our lives and have fun while doing it! However, this day is also about shedding some light on some of the harsh realities of the world that some of the more unfortunate puppies are forced to live in. Choose to take some time today to help bring awareness to the importance of adopting shelter puppies as well as the fight against puppy mills – be the voice for puppies everywhere!

New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make with Your Pet

Around this time of year, we often start looking for ways to better ourselves: cutting out bad habits, adding healthier practices, and even adjusting our outlook on life. While the New Year rings in new resolutions for our own lives, the start of a fresh year is an opportunity to make some resolutions to better the lives of your pets as well. Luckily, what’s good for you is usually also good for your buddy, and with these suggestions, you’ll both be on the road to a longer life and a happier 2015.

Get Moving

When the clock strikes midnight on January first, sure there may be champagne celebrations and general merriment. But for many, this marks the occasion of the start of a new health or fitness regimen. OK, maybe it doesn’t start instantly, but there’s a reason that gym memberships are added in droves in January. The sad fact, though, is that by March, a good number of those folks have abandoned their good intentions. Studies (and logic) show that if you enjoy your means of exercise, you’re far more likely to engage in it regularly. So the real question is, what are your plans for movement this year, and how can you get your dog involved if he or she isn’t the most athletic pup?



Running and Walking: It’s the oldest (and least expensive) way to get moving, and it’s easy to incorporate Fido into the routine. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a sturdy leash, and you’re ready to roll. For maximum effect, pick up a pedometer to get an accurate snapshot of your progress, and set goals for yourself each week. The longest journey starts with a single step, and before you know it, you’ll have logged several miles. Be aware of your pet’s status throughout the route. Don’t expect a full sprint from a pooch who’s been dormant all winter, and know that some dogs may require footwear to protect delicate paws. It’s best to consider the weather when preparing for your run!



Pet-Friendly Yoga: Yes, this is a thing, (it’s actually called Dogya) and thanks to many pet-friendly communities, many yoga studios and community programs offer yoga for you and your canine companions. Of course they aren’t going to completely follow the routine, but it is called downward-facing dog for a reason–dogs love to stretch! If nothing else, this gives you a good stretch and strengthening time, while also inviting your buddy to a fun activity outside the house.


• Swimming: One minute of swimming is equivalent to four minutes of running for dogs. In addition to it being good exercise, water movement provides excellent benefits for dogs with joint and mobility issues. And swimming is also great for you! Not only does this give quality time for and your pooch, but water itself has been proven time and time again to provide healing for the mood and spirit.


Hey! What’s in that Food?



You may have noticed new human health trends popping up which place a heavy focus on ingredients. Many people are equally interested in knowing that they are feeding their pets high-quality, healthy ingredients. Our bodies function based on how we nourish them, so it’s plain logic that the better ingredients you eat, the better your body will respond. The same can be true for our pets’ diets, and don’t you want the best for your whole family?


• Live-Active Probiotics: A healthy intestinal tract and overall digestive system is imperative for good health, and this is true for both pets and people. Adding probiotics to our diets gives our systems an extra dose of the ‘good germs,’ which may help strengthen immunity.


• Add your Omegas: Fat isn’t always a bad thing, especially when we’re talking about fatty acids, like Omega 3 and 6. These are essential to cellular function, and promote healthy skin and hair for both you and your pet.


• Vitamins and Minerals: Remember as a kid taking a vitamin each day? Bring that habit back by making sure your food has the right vitamins and minerals. If it doesn’t add a supplement! In most cases, feeding your pet a high-quality, natural pet food will provide all of the essential vitamins and minerals they need. Certain pets may benefit from added supplements, but it’s always best to confirm with your veterinarian first.


• Protein: High-protein diets promote health and wellness, adding energy and endurance. Check the ingredients on your grocery list to make sure you are eating enough lean meats, like fish and chicken, and do the same for your pet’s food.

• Fruits and Veggies:
An apple a day keeps the…well, you know. But it’s a truth that has stood the test of time. This year, make it a goal to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Choose carrot sticks and apple slices over chips or candy, and in addition to giving your dog healthy treats, add some fresh foods. You’ll be surprised that your pets love the crunchy fun that cold veggies can provide—they won’t even know they’re eating healthier!


• Read the Bag: This is true for your food and your pets. Always read the ingredients and research unfamiliar terms. Some will turn out to be scientific words for everyday ingredients, while others maybe preservatives, additives and fillers. Be informed!

Rest, Peace and General Life-Loving


Happy New Year to you, and to your pet! 2015 can be the year you refocus on your whole family’s health. Making even small changes can make all the difference in the healthfulness and longevity of your pets and loved ones. And at the end of each day, find time to spend together and rediscover the importance of rest, peace and a general sense of loving the life you live. That makes all the difference.

How to Prevent Pet Diabetes

It’s National Pet Diabetes Month!

Diabetes isn’t just a human disease. It’s on the rise in our pets, affecting thousands of dogs and cats every year. According to Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK) diabetes more often affects cats than dogs. Diabetes typically develops in older pets, however, since diabetes is largely a lifestyle related disease, it is preventable.

Key Triggers

In both dogs and cats, diabetes is tied to obesity and age. If your pet is over 10 years old and weighs too much, he or she is at a higher risk for diabetes. To decrease this risk, you can work with your veterinarian to increase your pet’s exercise level and decrease his or her caloric intake.

Just like with people, if pets consume more calories than they exert, they will gain weight. However, not all calories are created equal. It’s best to choose higher protein foods, and many pet parents find that a grain-free pet food with natural ingredients helps prevent their pets from gaining weight. Wellness CORE recipes for cats and dogs are grain-free and provide high-quality protein sources. Because a higher-protein diet can be more nutrient dense (as well as calorie dense), you may need to speak with your vet about decreasing your pet’s portion size when you transition foods.

Some vets say that a higher protein, lower carbohydrate diet may help prevent diabetes.

What is Diabetes Anyway?

You probably know diabetes has something to do with insulin. Insulin is a hormone that processes blood sugar (glucose) so your body has energy. When your body can’t process the glucose properly, sugar builds up in the blood and urine.

This leads to an imbalance that affects the whole body, and can become very serious if untreated.

Symptoms of Diabetes in Cats and Dogs

Although cats and dogs handle diabetes differently, they can exhibit similar symptoms of the disease:

-Increased thirst/increase in water consumption

-Weight loss



-Change in appetite

Many of the symptoms of diabetes in pets can mimic other diseases, so if your pet exhibits any unusual behavior, it’s best to take him or her to the vet promptly.

Although a serious disease, if the vet determines that your pet has diabetes, it can be treated effectively with medication, diet & lifestyle changes.

Ask Wellness: November 2014

What would you recommend for dogs with tear stains?
There are many reasons for tear stains around the eyes. Diet does not seem to play a role. Some breeds (short nosed breeds) have a higher incidence of stain around the eyes. Irritation (infection, long hair touching the eye, dust and dirt etc…) can cause excessive tearing, clogged tear ducts, eyelids that turn inward are a few of the causes.
It is always best to have your veterinarian check your pup and determine the cause so an effective resolution can be determines.

Q. What do you recommend for dogs with tear stains?

A. There are many reasons that dogs have tear stains around the eyes, however, diet does not seem to play a role. Some breeds (short-nosed breeds in particular) have a higher incidence of stain around the eyes. Irritation, infection, long hair touching the eyes, dust and dirt in the eyes can all contribute to excessive tearing, clogged tear ducts and, in turn, tear stains. We recommend that you have your dog examined by your veterinarian to narrow down the cause of the tear stains and determine an effective resolution to the issue.