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E D I TO R 'S L ETTER

Pet Valu

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ummer is here. For many of you, with dogs that love the park, the beach and the water, it couldn’t arrive soon enough. Eddie and Awesome – my spunky young cats – were recently seen sitting by the window screen after dark, ears madly twitching at a strange noise. Coyotes were howling (and whining and making all sorts of racket) in the distance. It's a summer sound that completely intrigues them. The cats love the windows being open again. It was a long winter. This issue of the Pet Valu Companion magazine is packed with fun summer content. Think fresh veggies – and why are they in your pet’s food? And there’s a lot to consider when traveling this summer, including the safety of your pets. If you’re staying home and romping through meadows and forests, be prepared to deal with a tick catching a free ride on your dog or cat. You'll also find an extra puzzle page - our first crossword - to honor the lazier days of summer. Most importantly, this issue says Thank You to our loyal and generous customers for helping us to raise more than $250,000 in cash and product to donate to worthy pet shelters and rescues. It was the first year Pet Valu hosted a fundraiser across all locations and we were blown away by our bighearted customers. We thank you, and I’m sure the pets say thank you too. If we don’t run into you at the local pool, then we’ll see you at your Pet Valu store. Happy Summer!

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p

Aging Pets

Libbi Hood editor

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Hamster Facts

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4 p6 Tick Season!

Fruit , Veg & Pets!

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12

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Cat Litter Lowdown

2 Companion - Summer 2011

Your Pet. Your Life. Your Store

EDITOR Libbi Hood DESIGN Daniel Cullen CONTRIBUTORS Lora Kee David Summers, Ph.D. Julie Johnston CONTACT US AT: Petvalu Companion 130 Royal Crest Court, Markham, ON L3R 0A1

Email: companion@petvalu.com

Product availability will vary by store location. Products may not be exactly as shown. Not responsible for typographical errors. Prices listed are in effect until Aug 15, 2011 and thereafter are subject to change without notice. Please note that the suggested retail prices referenced in Companion magazine are merely suggestions and may differ in stores. ©2011 PET VALU

CANADIAN EDITION

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In this issue New in Store

From plush puzzles to holistic treats

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The other blood-sucker after your pet

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Find out what a LifeSource Bit is…

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Fruits and Veggies in pet food

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Why compromise on pet safety?

Tick Season is Here Introducing Blue Buffalo Salad for Dinner Travel Smart with Kurgo

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Dock Dogs, Hot Weather Safety and more…

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How many types of litter do you know?

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Our pets are living longer than ever before

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A double-dose of fun for lazy summer days

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Funny and poignant pet quotes

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Hamsters and fish brains in the spotlight

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Dog Whisperer products for training or fun

Summer Round-Up The Litter Lowdown Aging Pets Puzzle Madness Never a Truer Word Small Pet Corner Cesar Millan Products

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Win Great Stuff!

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Thank-you to our Customers

You could win products featured in Companion First annual PAW Event was a Success

®™ Trademarks used under license.

N E W I N S TOR E

Innovative New Solutions

NUMMY TUM TUM

Turtle Puzzle Puzzles and toys designed to mentally stimulate your dog are becoming very popular because dogs love a challenge. In the Turtle Puzzle the babies are hidden under their mother’s shell, waiting for your dog to find and remove them. The sturdy construction of the toy, like all plush toys from Kyjen, means the turtles will be long-lasting fun for your dog. Once they’re out, simply replace the babies under the shell and start the ‘hunt’ all over again! Increasing mental stimulation can help engage your dog at home, and leave her satisfied when she solves the puzzle and gains the prize – in this case, the baby turtles. Kyjen’s website states “Owners attest to the fact that dogs enjoy the challenge of retrieveing the plush animals from their cozy hiding place. Dogs truly seem to celebrate.” • Turtle Puzzle 52539 - $19.99

FREEZES

FOR A SWEET SUMMER

TREAT!

EDITOR'S

PICK!

Get Naked Chews

Who can resist a brand name like Nummy Tum Tum? Pure Pumpkin or Pure Sweet Potato supplements support digestive health, and most importantly, dogs love them. Both supplements are an excellent source of dietary fiber, one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy gastrointestinal tract. They’re both 100% organic and made in the U.S.A., too. Keep a can or two of these supplements in your pantry as they’ll help soothe an upset stomach. Or feed as an everyday supplement. Suggested serving size is one tablespoon per ten pounds of body weight. You can feed both pumpkin and sweet potato puree on top of dry or wet food or as a treat on its own. • Nummy Tum Tum Pumpkin 78951 - $2.99 Sweet Potato 78952 - $2.99

NEWUCT PROSDTORE IN- OW N

Four new dental chews that do even more than remove plaque and tartar while freshening breath. The Puppy Health formula contains calcium for healthy teeth and bones, plus DHA Omega 3 fatty acids from algae to support cognitive development. They’re designed for the delicate teeth of puppies. Chewing them helps relieve tooth and gum pain associated with teething. The Super Antioxidant chews are made with a natural blend of fruits and vegetables to support immune health. “Superfoods” are rich sources of antioxidants that help mitigate cell damage caused by oxidation. The Joint Health chews are formulated to help relieve joint pain and inflammation. They contain Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM that are sourced from the United States. The Low Calorie chew has fewer calories than the others, plus fiber to help your dog feel full, supporting maintenance of a healthy weight. These treats are ‘naked’ – with no wheat, corn, soy or gluten. All the best ingredients, with none of the unnecessary dressing!

• Get Naked Dental Chews 64263, 64238, 64269, 64232 - All flavors $7.99

Summer 2011 - Companion 3

TI C K S!

Tricky

Ticky

F

lea and tick season is at its worst in late summer. Often fleas get all the attention when it comes to your pet’s health, but an active dog or an outdoor cat could come into contact with ticks just as easily. Ticks carry diseases and because they may be attached to your pet for a long time before you notice, there is a high risk of transferring disease. Different types of ticks are found throughout Canada and the United States. They are usually found in wooded, bushy areas or tall grasses. Your dog or cat, or yourself for that matter, could pick up a tick just walking through tall grass. A female tick (after feeding and dropping off her host animal) lays hundreds of eggs in one place. Once they hatch, they can migrate to bushes or nearby grasses, and wait for their own blood host. A tick is an obligate parasite, which means it requires a blood meal from a host (such as your dog!) to live. To get that blood meal, the tick will imbed itself in skin. The biggest concern with ticks is that they carry several diseases. It’s unlikely that the blood-sucking will cause an issue on its own, but other tick secretions transmit disease. The best way to prevent the spread of disease from ticks is to check your pet for ticks each time they come in from a bushy or tall-grass area. Ticks could attach themselves anywhere on your pet but they’re most common around the neck and head (including ears) or on feet. It takes several hours for a tick to fully attach itself to your pet, and it’s uncommon for any disease to be transmitted immediately. This means you have time to find and remove the tick without any adverse effects – as long as you check for them regularly. There are also several products at your local store which help prevent against both fleas and ticks, protecting your pet from harm.

REMEMBER Whether you remove the whole tick or not, watch the bite area for inflammation (redness, swelling, etc.) over the following week. If the area becomes inflamed, visit your vet for evaluation.

• The Tick Key 45237 - $6.99

4 Companion - Summer 2011

How to Remove THIS Stage 1 - Stay calm and don’t rush. Once you’ve spotted a tick for removal, you need to approach the situation (and your pet) calmly to avoid mishap. First, disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol. Then, using a pair of tweezers, or a specially designed tick remover, grab the tick as close to your pet’s skin as possible and using steady pressure, pull straight up in a smooth motion. Don’t twist when you remove the tick and avoid jerking. If possible, have a second person hold your pet steady to increase the chances of a smooth removal. Wear gloves to avoid direct contact with the tick, and if possible, don’t let the tick or any secretions come into contact with your pet during removal.

Stage 2 - Once removed, place the tick in a container of soapy water or alcohol. Simply throwing it in the garbage or flushing it will not kill it, and you shouldn’t squish it as that can potentially expose you to disease. It’s important to make sure the tick is disposed of properly so it doesn’t reattach itself to your pet. Be sure to discard or wash your gloves, and wash your hands with soap and water after removing a tick. Stage 3 - Sometimes you will fail to remove the whole tick, leaving its ‘head’ imbedded in your pet, even if you follow these instructions. Don’t panic! Simply disinfect the area again with alcohol, and try a warm compress to see if your pet’s body will naturally expel the section still attached. Don’t try to remove that section separately with tweezers. It’s safer to leave it alone. Check with your veterinarian if you’re worried.

N E W F OOD

Blue Buffalo has a devoted following of health-conscious pet parents – and here’s why: Blue Buffalo believes in using only the finest natural ingredients to provide your pets with superior nutrition. Like people, dogs require a balanced diet that’s a combination of six classes of nutrients – proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water. Of equal importance is the quality of the ingredients from which these nutrients are derived. For example, real chicken meat is a higher quality protein source than chicken or poultry by-product meals. Chicken fat is considered a higher quality source of essential fatty acids than generic animal fats. It’s these subtle – but important – differences that are evidence of Blue Buffalo’s attention to detail and quality. Read on to learn more about the Blue formulations.

 High Quality Protein Sources Proteins are the basic building blocks for cells, tissues, organs, enzymes, hormones and antibodies – and are essential for growth, maintenance, repair and energy. Blue recipes always feature high-quality proteins as the first ingredients – deboned chicken, lamb or fish. That means there is more of that ingredient (measured by weight) than any other in each Blue formula.

INTRODUCING

Blue Buffalo This dog food starts with high-quality ingredients and adds exclusive LifeSource Bits to every formula to provide your dog with optimal nutrition. by JULIE JOHNSTON

Exclusive LifeSource Bits

 Fats The most concentrated form of food energy, fats provide more than twice the energy of protein or carbohydrates. They’re also necessary for absorption and utilization of fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D and E. Fats supply fatty acids, which, among other things, help to provide a healthy skin and coat and help reduce inflammation. Blue uses only the best sources of fats – wholesome vegetable oils like sunflower and flax seed, and quality fish oils from herring and salmon. Chicken fat is also a key ingredient in most products.

 Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are a key source of energy. Blue only uses quality whole grains, not the less expensive and less nutritious fractions of grains found in some pet food (such as Brewer’s rice). Blue never uses corn, wheat, or soy, which are considered by many pet parents to be lower quality and lower cost ingredients included as fillers. They’re also associated with food allergies in some dogs. Blue adds wholesome fruits and vegetables, which provide essential phytonutrients (natural compounds found in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grain products and legumes that have beneficial effects, antioxidants and enzymes, plus natural vitamins, minerals and fiber, which have been shown to promote health and wellness.

 Vitamins and Minerals Vitamins and minerals work together with your dog’s natural enzymes to help with digestion, reproduction and muscle and bone growth. They’re also essential for healthy skin and coat, and support immune system health, too. But because minerals can be hard for dogs to absorb, it’s important their food be supplemented with chelated minerals. A chelated mineral is one that is attached to easily absorbed amino acids, which means they will get into your pet’s bloodstream more effectively. Now you know that Blue uses only the finest natural ingredients but almost equally important is what is not found in Blue Buffalo’s formulations:

NEED MORE INFO?

Blue Buffalo formulations all include their patented LifeSource Bits – and they’re one of the most important ways Blue distinguishes itself from other pet food brands. LifeSource Bits are cold-formed to preserve the potency of the added vitamins and minerals so that your dog enjoys the full benefit of all vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which can deteriorate when cooked. LifeSource Bits contain a very precise blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants selected by holistic veterinarians and animal nutritionists. These include ingredients that have been shown to help strengthen your dog's immune system, support his specific life stage requirements and protect him from the negative impact of environmental toxins.

For more information about Blue Buffalo pet foods, speak to a pet expert at your local store or visit www.bluebuff.com.

〉〉 No chicken or poultry by-product meals 〉〉 No artificial flavors, colors or preservatives 〉〉 No corn, wheat or soy, as they have been linked to allergic reactions in some dogs Summer 2011 - Companion 5

P E T N U TR ITIO N

Salad for Pets

What are fruits and vegetables doing in your pet’s food? by DAVID SUMMERS, PH.D.

D

ogs and cats are carnivores, so have you ever wondered why some pet foods contain fruits, vegetables and even herbs? Well, it is all part of trying to achieve the best possible health for your pet in a natural way through better nutrition. This includes eating foods that have additional, and often hidden, health benefits. One hidden health benefit found in both fruits and vegetables is fiber, and fiber is important. There was a time when fiber was considered an unneeded filler in pet food, but now we know better. There are many different types of fiber and having the proper blend is very important to the health of the digestive system, which in turn affects the overall body health. Fiber is needed to help control the proper movement and absorption of food in the digestive system. Even more importantly, fiber supports the growth of a healthy population of bacteria in the intestines that benefits the health of the digestive system. When added to a pet food, fruits and vegetables provide the different types of fiber that contribute to both. Antioxidants are another nutritional benefit provided by fruits and vegetables, as well as by herbs and spices. Antioxidants are the natural defense against free-radicals, which are a negative by-product of normal cell metabolism for all animals including people and pets. Antioxidants neutralize free-radicals to limit damage. Ingesting a wide variety of antioxidants is the best way to ensure all the different parts of the body benefit from them. Many of us are familiar with Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are the antioxidant vitamins. In addition, many fruits, vegetables and herbs are natural sources of other antioxidants. Examples are proanthocyanins from blueberries, beta-carotene from carrots, and quinones from rosemary. Some antioxidants are known for functions that benefit specific body parts, such as lutein (from dark, leafy vegetables and marigolds) which helps protect eyes from ultra-violet light. More often, antioxidants work throughout the body, as opposed to in one specific location. The color in many fruits and vegetables is often a reflection of the antioxidants present in them. Similarly, the aroma of many different herbs is a reflection of the antioxidants contained in the herb. Another new area of research is natural anti-inflammatories. Inflammation is something we tend to be concerned about only when we feel or see it, such as a sunburn on your skin, a hot spot on your pet, or swelling and pain in a bone joint. Inflammation also occurs internally throughout the body and in most cases the symptoms are not visible: coronary disease, diabetes, arthritis, cognitive decline, and even obesity. In Latin, the word flamma means flame or fire and like a fire, inflammation keeps going until something puts it out. In the body, 'putting out the fire'

In Latin, the word flamma means flame or fire and like a fire, inflammation keeps going until something puts it out.

6 Companion - Summer 2011

P E T N U T R I T I ON

SAFETY FIRST • Remember, garlic shouldn't be fed to cats

is the job of anti-inflammatories. Many foods contain anti-inflammatories – one of the best is the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenioc acid (DHA). Other well known sources of anti-inflammatories are acai-berries, pomegranates, green tea extract, tomatoes (lycopene), turmeric (curcumin), ginger, apples (quercetin) and folic acid. While anti-inflammatories are beneficial to health, you may not have heard much about them. Most anti-inflammatories work deep within the body and therefore are invisible to us. Often we are hesitant to invest in something if we can’t physically see a result. Not surprisingly, the majority of anti-inflammatory supplements for humans are directed towards reducing bone joint inflammation, where the benefit is decreased pain or swelling. Fortunately, pets can benefit from the natural health-enhancing fruits, vegetables, herbs and other ingredients we add to pet foods. However, you won’t read much about the benefits on pet food packaging as health claims can only be made on products registered as a drug. This is true whether products are meant for people or animals. The research on natural anti-inflammatories and antioxidants continues, and we are learning more about which ones provide the best results. It’s most likely that we will find consuming a wide variety of health enhancing foods will achieve the best result.

Although fruits and vegetables are extremely healthy, they aren’t all appropriate for dogs and cats. For example, grapes are very high in antioxidants (responsible for the health benefits in red wine) but grapes are also toxic to dogs. Garlic is a powerful antioxidant found in dog foods, but it shouldn’t be fed to cats. Always conduct thorough research before feeding ‘people’ food to your pet.

• Grapes are toxic to pets, even though they are high in antioxidants

Summer 2010 - Companion 7

CHUCKIT! SELF RIGHTING

AMPHIBIOUS TOYS

STAND UPRIGHT FOR HIGH VISIBILITY ON

WATER W WA ATER & LAND ATER

CHUCKIT! COMPATIBLE www.chuckit.com

info@chuckit.com

p.425.251.4004

f.425.251.4020

800.660.9033

KU RG O

Travel Smart with

Always pay attention to pet safety while traveling. by LIBBI HOOD

R

emember when we rode in the back of open pick-up trucks or thought nothing of four in the front and six in the back with no seatbelts. What were we thinking? Our approach to safety has definitely changed for the better. So why do we let our pets ride like it’s 1975?

 How real is the risk? According to a survey conducted by KURGO and the American Automobile Association (AAA), one out of three dog owners admit to being distracted by their dog while driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that every year, distracted drivers cause more than 1.5 million car accidents! While distractions such as cell phones and eating receive more media attention, animals have the potential to be a bigger problem because they’re unpredictable. Eighty percent of dog owners bring their dogs in the car,* but the KURGO/AAA survey found only

17% of drivers use a restraint system. Car accidents happen every day, all around us, and it’s time we made sure our pets are secure in case of accident. One particularly tragic occurrence is when your unrestrained dog becomes a projectile during an crash. For example, an unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph (80 km/h) will exert roughly 500 pounds of force, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph (50 km/h) will exert approximately 2400 pounds of force. That amount of force could severely injure any people in the car in addition to your dog. Of the 17% of drivers who use a pet restraint system, pet parents are more likely to use it on a day trip with their dog and less likely to use if for a short trip, such as to the local dog park. This action is opposite to the statistics that tell us the majority of collisions happen within two miles (three kilometers) of home (NHTSA).

• The KURGO TruFit Smart harness is designed for regular walks as well as travel.

What’s the Solution? KURGO travel and safety products provide a wide range of options to ensure you’re guarding the safety of your dog as carefully the rest of your family.

 Zip Line & TruFit Smart Harness The Zip Line is a well-designed restraint system that’s easy to use, comfortable for your dog and is KURGO’s most flexible safety product. A nylon webbed line attaches between two rear seatbelts, or overhead handles, or any two points in the rear of a minivan. Then you attach your dog in his TruFit Smart Harness and he’s safely restrained, while having full mobility to walk back and forth, sit or lie down. The Zip Line, inspired by the concept of a dog run, allows much more freedom than a standard seatbelt harness. Freedom • Zip Line (76081) $21.99 keeps your dog • Harness (75981-9) $26.99-$32.99 much happier.

 Cargo Cover

Scary Thoughts… Unrestrained pets are 14 times more likely to receive spinal damage or four times more likely to be fatally injured (NHTSA).  Similar to a young child, the front airbag system in a vehicle can be deadly to a dog during a crash if sitting in the front seat, even if restrained, and 26% of dog owners place their dogs in the front.

• Cargo Cover (76007) $64.99

• Safety first!

*American Pet Products Association’s 2009-2010 National Pet Owner’s Survey

This multitasking Cargo Cover protects the interior of your cargo space, provides extra storage and a comfortable spot for your dog. The bumper flap protects your car from scratches. It’s machine washable, waterproof and measures 52” x 62”.

Beyond safety, KURGO also does travel comfort and convenience products such as travel bowls, the Wander Travel Bed that rolls up like a sleeping bag for easy transport and a wide range of car seat covers for both bench seats and bucket seats. Summer 2011 - Companion 9

n u F r e m m Su SU M M E R F UN

 There are three colourful boxes on this swing & each box comes pre-filled with a different surprise - seagrass, palm fiber & confetti paper.

ve it it’s hard to belie r, te in w f o d ea In the d ally has, arm. Well it fin w ill ever get w ! ly and Pigs w ill F by LIBBI HOOD

Flying Pig A fun twist on a summer game of fetch! This thumbrelease slingshot toy has a bungee neck that launches up to 100 feet. Available in two sizes to suit big and small dogs.  52561-2 $12.99-$17.99

Doggie Water Bottle Hydration is key to keeping your dog healthy during summer activities. With the H2O 4K9 water bottles, carrying and providing water just got easier. The stainless steel bottles are BPA-free. The deep lids are designed to function as a small travel bowl, allowing your dog to drink naturally. They’re available in two sizes – 9.5 oz and 25 oz – and multiple colors. The unique lids are wide enough to use as bowls. The NeoSling, sold separately, makes it easy to transport water and keep your hand free. The adjustable strap fits comfortably over your shoulder while the soft, stretchy neoprene provides extra insulation to keep your dog’s water cool. Bottles are available in black, blue, pink, red and stainless steel silver. Carriers are black, pink or red.  25 oz bottle 75790-4 $19.99  9.5 oz bottle 75800-4 $17.99  Carrier 75795-7-$14.99

RECOGNIZE THIS?

Yup, it’s the Stanley Cup – made from Performatrin Ultra pet food and dog bowls. Summer fun? The winning team sure thinks so!

For the Birds Piñatas are great summer fun, hung from tree branches, swaying in the breeze. But this piñata is for the birds. Hilarious “Pete the Parrot” can be filled with bird treats to encourage natural foraging. He’s made of different textures and colors for chewing variety and visual excitement.  41436 - $11.99 (Pinata)  41433 - $9.99 (Surprise Box Swing)

SUMMER FUN

Dock Diving A growing phenomenon, dock diving is a sport in which dogs compete in jumping for distance or height of their jump from a dock into water. DockDogs is the independent governing body for regional, national and international dock diving events. In 2010, DockDogs held more than 150 events in four countries: United States, Canada, U.K. and Australia.

1.Summer Safety It’s important to remember your pets when the weather gets hot-hot-hot! For backyard dogs, make sure there’s a shady spot for your dog to take cover. Never leave any animal in a parked car on a hot, sunny day. Even if it doesn’t feel particularly hot, in the summer months your closed car will heat up FAST! Don’t ever take a chance. Plenty of fresh, cool water is imperative in the summer. Dogs and cats can overheat with all that fur. On the other hand, don’t leave your dog unattended in a pool or lake. Some dogs are naturals when it comes to swimming and some don’t like the water. Don’t force your dog by throwing her in the water, and keep watch for when she’s tired. Swimming is hard work! Any kind of exercise in the heat of summer can be tiring. Ease up on your dog, especially on the hottest days or if your dog’s not accustomed to strenuous exercise. When you are out walking, be mindful of hot asphalt which can burn your dog’s paws. Grassy parks, woodland trails and even sidewalks are better than asphalt.

2.Can you Recognize Heatstroke?

Why is dock diving so popular? It combines high-action competition with our love of our dogs and summer. It’s a perfect blend of excitement and entertainment. Plus, at DockDogs events, anyone can bring their dog (at least six months old) and register to compete. Their website specifies: “DockDogs events are not limited to certain breeds; any dogs, from as small as a Chihuahua to as large as a Great Dane, are welcome at a DockDogs event. There is 0% discrimination and 100% FUN at every event.”

If your dog is panting heavier than usual, breathing rapidly or drooling excessively, he may be overcome by heat. Watch whether he’s struggling to keep his balance as well – another early sign of heatstroke. If you miss those signs, he could progress to being sluggish or refusing to move. He could lose control of his bladder or bowels and have labored, noisy breathing. In early stages, try to cool your dog with a small amount of water, applying ice packs (especially to his undercarriage) and gently hosing him down. If your dog is in an advanced stage of heatstroke, try to cool him down on the way to your local emergency vet. Interestingly, short-nosed dogs such as Bulldogs and Pugs do not pant as efficiently as longer-nosed dogs, and therefore have to work harder to cool themselves . If your dog is short-nosed, be particularly aware of the heat.

3.Beaching It? If you’ve confirmed that your beach allows dogs, then head for the sand and surf. What could be more fun than walking or running on the beach or playing fetch into the waves? Sounds great. Keep in mind for comfort and safety: A beach umbrella provides shade for your dog. Running on sand is extra hard work. Sunburn affects dogs too – especially smooth-coated dogs. If you’re at the ocean, no drinking salt water!

EMERGENCY SERVICES

Do you know where your nearest emergency veterinary clinic is? Is there a 24-hour clinic in your area? If you don’t know, now is an excellent time to find out. Post the information on your fridge or add it to your cellphone. Just don’t wait until you have an emergency to look for the nearest services. A recent study by Veterinary Pet Insurance found that Mondays, or days after holidays, had the highest numbers of pets treated for accidents. It’s suspected that the high rate on Mondays includes weekend injuries that are left until Monday for treatment. Poor pets!

C AT L I T TER

The Litter Lowdown There might be more to cat litter than you think. by LORA KEE

T

here are so many advantages to having a pet cat. They keep themselves clean, provide cuddles and purring, and you don’t need to rush home to walk them to prevent surprises left for you on the rug. Of course, that last benefit comes with a trade-off: The dreaded kitty litter. But don’t worry. Kitty litter isn’t the smelly mound of sand it once was. Sure, it seems like a pile of dirt, but there have been many advances in the efficiency, odor control and environmental impact of litter, and now there are many options on the market that are sure to please both you and your cat.

A Litter of Options With all the different types of litter, which one do you choose? Ultimately, your cat will make that decision for you. If you end up with one she doesn’t like, she just won’t use it and there’s virtually nothing you can do to change her mind. Some cats aren’t picky at all, others will only use one type. Most cats can be convinced that the litter you like is best for them, but you’ll have to make the transition slowly. Start with the old litter mixed with a tiny bit of the new litter. Over a couple of weeks, gradually increase the amount of the new litter until your cat is using only the new litter.

The Different Types of Litter ➜ CLAY This is the original kitty litter and it’s what most cats are comfortable using. Clay is absorbent and cats like the texture because it’s good for digging and burying droppings. Cleanup is easy with clumping clay litters, and even the non-clumping varieties will do a good job of controlling odor. The disadvantage of this litter is that it produces a lot of waste and doesn’t decompose. Some types can create dust too. ➜ PINE/CORN/WHEAT Newer varieties of clumping litter, these alternative litters are considered more natural than clay. They are often made from by-products of other industries, meaning your litter is preventing waste of wheat that’s not fit for human consumption, or pine that is leftover from pulp and paper mills. These types of litter are very absorbent and control odors better than clay. They are often flushable, depending on your sewage system, and also decompose naturally in compost. This can help keep litter out of landfills. These litters are more expensive than clay, but because 12 Companion - Summer 2011

C AT L I T T E R

Perfect Litter Mat

they’re more absorbent, they can last longer. Many cats will easily transition to a pine, corn or wheat litter from clay, especially if the transition is made gradually. Some cats stay true to their stubborn selves and never warm up to the texture of alternative litters. ➜ NEWSPRINT LITTER Another eco-friendly litter option is recycled newsprint. This type of litter is made of pellets of recycled newspaper. The pellets are larger, so they won’t stick to your cat’s feed and end up all over the place. Newsprint litter works like sponges to absorb urine odors, and a scoop with larger holes will let you remove waste easily. Unfortunately, the size of the litter makes it a more difficult transition from clay, but if you take your time, your cat will likely adjust. ➜ SILICA Litter made of silica crystals is another low maintenance solution. The silica pellets absorb urine, and you scoop out the poop to keep the box smelling fresh (or as fresh as it can be). The pellets change color when they’ve absorbed all they can, so it’s easy to see when the box needs changing. Usually, a package of silica litter will last one month for one cat. When it’s turned yellow, simply bag it up and throw it in the trash! Like clay, the heavy silica crystals are better at staying in the box, but some cats won’t like the texture because the pieces are larger and harder to dig in.

Living with Litter A cat’s nose is about 14 times more sensitive than a human’s, so if you think the litter box stinks, imagine how bad it must smell to your cat! It’s important to scoop and clean litter regularly. You don’t want to give your cat any reason not to use his litter, because he will find somewhere else to go. A clean box in a quiet location will help him feel comfortable and secure when he does his business. You should try to have one more litter box than you have cats (3 boxes for 2 cats) and make sure they’re on all levels of your home, and not grouped together (cats will look at two boxes side by side as one giant box).

This new product will help keep litter from tracking all over your house. These large mats are comfortable for cats to walk on and are a bit sticky to pull any litter off your cat’s feet. The mat holds on to litter and can be swept or vacuumed clean. • Perfect Litter Mat 58305 〉〉 $19.99

Big Mouth Litter Scoop This efficient new litter scoop is designed to gather more waste while picking up less litter. The unique handle keeps your hand from touching the litter too. • Big Mouth Litter Scoop 51851, 51852 〉〉 $7.99

The Cat Kit Litter boxes aren’t just big plastic tubs anymore. New designs have come out to make cleaning easier. Hooded boxes keep litter from ending up all over the place, which is great if your cat’s an aggressive digger. Not all cats like being enclosed, but some seem to like the privacy a covered box gives them. Sifting and rolling boxes make cleanup a breeze. Rolling pans, such as the Omega Paw Roll 'N Clean (58373) are covered boxes that can be cleaned just with a single roll that runs the litter through a basket. The basket is then removed with all the clumps and waste. Sifting boxes, such as those from Van Ness (58290, 58338) can be covered or uncovered. They’re made up of three pans: two solid ones and one that sifts the litter. Store the sifter between the two solid pans while the box is in use. To clean, pour the litter from the top pan into the sifter, lift the sifter out with the clumps and waste, leaving the litter in the bottom pan. Empty the sifter and stack the pans back up, and voila, your litter is scooped!

Litter Locker II The Litter Locker is a good way to reduce litter odors without having to take out the trash every day. The idea is the same as many diaper disposal units. Scoop the litter into the Locker, turn the crank, and the litter and its smells are sealed away. • Litter Locker II 52705 〉〉 $22.99 Summer 2011 - Companion 13

F E ATU R E STO RY

Aging

Pets

Longer to love them means longer to develop problems. Know what to look for. by LIBBI HOOD

O

ur pets are living longer than ever, thanks in great part to loving care and improved nutrition. While we’re blessed to have more time with our animal companions, it’s also important that pet parents know how to take proper care of aging pets.

 Signs of Aging While you can count the birthdays and determine that your large breed Golden Retriever is getting close to senior status at six years, the term senior is relative. Large breeds like a Goldens get there quicker than small dogs and cats, which might not be considered senior until 10 years old. But as they say, you’re only as old as you feel. You can’t assume your pet is slowing down with age, but you can observe the signs. As with people, you will see your dog or cat physically slowing down. More frequent and longer cat naps and less frequent bursts of energy will be noticeable. Your dog might tire more easily when you play fetch, and sleep longer afterwards to recover. And just like people, older pets often gain weight due to their slowing metabolism and declining activity levels. And they might go gray around their mouth too! There are also signs that are less obvious. As your pet ages, he is more likely to have dental problems. This can be as plain as your dog’s terrible breath or less obvious like when he eats his kibble more slowly because it hurts to chew. The best dental care is preventative, so start all your pets on a regular routine of brushing, dental supplements and even cleanings at the vet. Dental problems in senior pets should be addressed by a veterinarian to ensure your old guy maintains his quality of life – and that he can eat his dinner. Joint soreness, including arthritis, could set in as your pet ages. Depending on severity, this might be easily spotted, but dogs and cats are masters at masking their pain so you may not be aware until there is a serious problem. In the wild, animals are easy targets for predators when they show any weakness so they hide it for as long as they can. Your pet’s senses will also decline as she ages. A decrease in sense of smell can lead to picky eaters as smell and taste are closely linked. Sight and hearing loss can make it more difficult for your dog or cat to navigate new places, and if the decline is really severe, she might be walking around your house from memory as opposed to vision. This is more common with geriatric pets. See the sidebar on p.15 for the average length of life stages. Older pets are also more likely to develop diseases, including heart, liver or kidney disease, the aforementioned arthritis, diabetes or cancer. Even if 100% healthy, your pet’s internal organs will begin to function less efficiently in the senior years. For most, there won’t be a visible sign. However, some dogs and cats will feel the need to urinate more frequently which can lead to accidents. You may need to accommodate a more frequent bathroom schedule by arranging for a midday dog walker or train your dog to use puppy pads or an indoor dog potty during the day. Even if you were able to leave your dog all day without accidents when he was younger, these steps may become a 14 Companion - Summer 2011

WATCH FOR THE WARNING SIGNS FOR PETS OF ANY AGE, THESE ARE SIGNS OF A POTENTIALLY SERIOUS PROBLEM Sudden weight loss or gain Significant decrease in appetite Significant increase in water consumption or urination Failure to eat for more than two days Difficulty urinating or defecating Collapse or muscle weakness Rapid breathing while at rest Blood in urine or stool Excessive panting

necessity for your older dog. For cats you may need to add an extra litter box, move it closer to where your cat spends most of her time, or create a ramp to make it easier to get into. It’s also important to visit the veterinarian regularly, as inappropriate elimination could be due to kidney disease or diabetes and treatment may be available. Maintain regular health check-ups rather than assuming everything is just a sign of ‘getting old.’

 What to Feed For many years, senior dogs and cats were thought to need a low protein diet to better care for declining kidney function. That belief has now been disproven. Unless your pet has been diagnosed with kidney disease, there is no reason to decrease her protein intake. In fact, it’s a great time to ensure she’s eating a highquality food because her body is less efficient at absorbing nutrients in the senior years. Also consider a food with a higher protein level as more protein is needed to maintain their muscle mass. Most importantly, don’t overfeed your senior pet. With her slowing metabolism, she’ll require less food as she ages. Being overweight can cause as many or more problems than being older, so measure food intake and keep your dog or cat slim. In the pet food aisles you’ll find plenty of life stage pet foods that offer senior formulas for older pets. Talk to the experts at your

FE AT U RE S TORY

Life Stages 〉〉 Use these ages as guidelines to when your

pet will be transitioning through life stages.

local store to determine if a senior formula is right for your pet, or whether a food formulated for all life stages is better. Talk to them about supplements too, as joint care supplements like glucosamine and chondroitin could help provide relief from aching joints. As your cat moves from the senior years to the geriatric stage, he will likely lose weight due to eating less and absorbing even less. A cat’s metabolism doesn’t slow as much as a dog’s does late in life,

Pet

Puppy/Kitten

Adult

Senior

Geriatric

Small Dog

Up to 10 months

up to 10 years

10-14 years

Older than 14 years

Cat/ Medium-sized Dog

Up to 1 year

up to 8 years

8-12 years

Older than 12 years

Large Dog

Up to 18 months

up to 6-7 years

7-10 years

Older than 10 years

so eating less food leads to trouble keeping weight on. For both dogs and cats, in this final stage of life it’s best to stick to routines for the comfort of your pet. Maintain the same food your pet always loved, but consider adding nutrition with a liquid nutritional supplement. Resist the urge to move your furniture as this is the stage where pets use their memory more than their senses to navigate. Your geriatric cat may sleep all the time and your geriatric dog may do the same.

A cutting edge trio of super food pet supplements! URINARY TRACT The most potent, organic cranberry supplement on the market, used widely by holistic vets. Helps prevent recurrent Urinary Tract Infections, and with added dental and cardiac health benefits. ANTIOXIDANT A potent burst of disease fighting antioxidant extracts from organic cranberry, raspberry and blueberry, three of the world’s healthiest fruits, to help prevent chronic degenerative disease. DETOXIFICATION A detoxification supplement delivering a synergy of cranberry and organic spirulina phytonutrients with added DHA Omega 3. Supports optimal kidney, liver, brain, skin and eye health. Samples available in store or email info@cranimal.com Learn more at www.cranimal.com

Either one may feel the need to follow you from room to room for comfort. Treat your best friend gently at this stage… he’s given you a lot of great years.

F U N r e Summ

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www.facebook.com/petvalu 16 Companion - Summer 2011

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Summer 2011 - Companion 17

F E ATU R E STO RY

Never a truer word! Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read. GROUCHO MARX, COMEDIAN

Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.

Companionship These quotes are evidence that we love our pets. They make us laugh, they make us think. We identify with them, and in the case of cats, we apparently do their bidding! For all these reasons, perhaps it’s not surprising that we sometimes take better care of our pets than we do ourselves. A poll by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) earlier this year suggests that 16 percent of dog parents and 13 percent of cat parents would prioritize their pet’s medical treatment ahead of their own. That’s certainly the extreme end of loving our pets.

ANN LANDERS, COLUMNIST

The dog was created especially for children. He is the God of frolic. HENRY WARD BEECHER, 19TH CENTURY CLERGYMAN

Do not make the mistake of treating your dogs like humans or they will treat you like dogs. MARTHA SCOTT, ACTOR

A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere. GROUCHO MARX, COMEDIAN

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. MAX EASTMAN, WRITER

I was a dog in a past life. Really. I’ll be walking down the street and dogs will do a sort of double take. Like, Hey, I know him. WILLIAM H. MACY, ACTOR

Dogs have owners, cats have staff. ANONYMOUS

18 Companion - Summer 2011

Pet parents cite companionship and love as reasons they put priority on their pets and continue to spend more money on them, despite the tough economic times faced by some. Dog parents are also enjoying the stress relief their dogs bring, along with the added exercise of walking or jogging with their canine workout buddy. Of course, dogs and cats aren’t the only great pets. Fish are stress relievers too! The poll also revealed that reptiles are both quiet and fun to have around. A great big THANKS to those fun reptiles, sweet fishes and furry pets of all kinds. You give us a great reason to get up in the morning… even if sometimes it’s because you jumped on our heads.

S M A LL P E T COR N E R

Corner

Hamster Hamsters are adorable little creatures, and fascinating too.

〉〉 In the wild, hamsters will search for food after dark, running several miles each night. Essentially, hamsters are running machines and really benefit from a running wheel in their cage.

〉〉 The word ‘hamster’ is related to the German word ‘hamstern’ which means hoard. This makes sense since hamsters do hoard food. They also transport food in their cheek pouches . To remove it, they’ll use their forepaws to physically push it out from the back.

〉〉 Hamsters are thought to have poor eyesight, but they make up for it with their sense of smell. They recognize each other by smell, and they can even recognize their pet parents scent. This means they can also smell food, so it’s a good idea to wash your hands before picking up your hamster to avoid any nips. If you’ve had a snack, they’ll smell the residue and want a bite. 〉〉 Hamsters go into a type of hibernation when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahernheit (less than 5 degrees Celsius). Their body temperature and heart rate both drop. They sleep for approximately a week at a time and wake up to eat and drink. Pet hamsters enjoy the consistent, warm environment of their indoor homes and therefore they don’t need to hibernate.

Tidy Feeder

What does your goldfish remember? More than you might think! It’s a myth that fish have extremely short memories. Ten seconds or less? Not even close. Several scientific studies have proven that fish are smart and their memories can last several months. Just like small animals, several species of fish including minnows and guppies can be trained to find their way through a maze or to recognize other fish. Fish will thrive with clean water. One way to help keep their water clean is to feed them less food while feeding them more often. Goldfish have no stomach, so they can only eat a small amount of food at a time. Uneaten food will break down in the water, reducing water quality.

GROWN & PACKED IN CANADA

A “Neat” Solution

BY CANADIAN HAY FARMERS

W

hen it comes to feeding hay to your small pet, a better solution has arrived! No more messy loose hay, or plastic bags in the garbage. Tidy Feeder is filled with premium Timothy hay for adults, or a blend of Timothy and Alfalfa for weaning. Great hay has a rich color, a sweet pleasant scent and good leaf retention. Your senses will tell you that Tidy Feeder is high quality hay. Made of a non-toxic cardboard and 100% vegetable dyes, the carton is safe for chewing and burrowing. It easily attaches to the side of a cage using the built-in hanger.

FISH TALES

Two sizes to suit every cage

Try Tidy Feeder – You’ll love it as much as your pet!

Available in 12 oz for $6.99 & 24 oz* for $9.99 Tidy Feeder is convenient, safe & FUN! *Availability of large size will vary by store. Summer 2011 - Companion 19

C E SA R M IL L AN

Cesar Milla

n

Exclusives

The Cesar Millan bra he reache s out to he nd continues to gro w lp between p eople and foster better relati as o by LIBBI HOO t nships h e ir dogs. D

20 Companion - Summer 2011

C E S A R MI L L AN

Coming in Late July Cesar Millan Dog Toys Cesar Millan wants to help people create healthy relationships with their dogs. His products are an extension of that goal. This Cesar Millan Pack Power line of toys will give you tools to help your dog become a well-adjusted, calm submissive member of your pack. Cesar teaches that dogs need to be calm before beginning a play session. All interactions with your dog need rules, boundaries and limitations, and play time is no different. In a December 2010 interview, Cesar explained: “When a dog is calm, you bring him a toy and he plays with it, but if you catch him in an excited state of mind, and then you start with a squeaky toy, you’re going to send them through the roof!” Overexcited is opposite to the calm, submissive state Cesar promotes.

Pack-Tested Before putting his name on any products, Cesar makes sure they are pack tested. “We don’t test them in laboratories, we test them in nature. The beach, the mountains, the lakes, everything,” he explained. First, his pack will determine durability in a second. Then Cesar looks for how his pack members interact with the toys to make sure they’re not over-stimulated – he calls it ‘prey drive.’ “We don’t want to make a dog go into prey drive,” Cesar said. “We just want to keep them in a play drive, so I am very sensitive to the knowledge that dogs are predators.” Colors, textures, sounds – everything is evaluated to ensure happy, healthy dogs. While you’ll see other Cesar Millan toys, these particular toys can be found exclusively at the Pet Valu family of stores, including Paulmac’s, Bosley’s and Berrys stores.

The Illusion Collar™

As seen on The Dog Whisperer on National Geographic channel, the Illusion collar was designed by Cesar Millan to help all pack leaders to ‘master the walk.’

“By mastering the walk, you have the ability to truly bond with your dog as her pack leader. The walk is the foundation of your relationship.” – Cesar Millan

STEP 1 STEP 2

Properly controlling your dog during a walk makes it a much better experience for both of you. Having a tool designed for exactly your purpose will make it easier to achieve maximum control during walks.

 How does it work? Most collars slip down to the bottom of your dog’s neck, which is the strongest part. This allows your dog leverage to pull you around, controlling the walk and being their own leader. The Illusion collar is different. Because it has two collars that are attached, the slip collar stays at the top of your dog’s neck, allowing you more effective control during the walk. Easier control means better communication with your dog about what you expect. The Illusion Collar is available in three sizes. To choose a size, measure the circumference of your dog’s neck (at the bottom). Small size is 13” to 15”, Medium is 16” to 19”, Large is 20”to 23”. NOTE: The Illusion Collar is not meant for puppies under one year, dogs smaller than 18 pounds or with necks less than 13”. Any dogs susceptible to trachea injuries, such as Pomeranians, breathing difficulties such as Bulldogs, Bulldogs or elongated necks such as Greyhounds should NOT use the Illusion Collar.

STEP 3

Available in store! Previously the Illusion Collar was only available online, but now you can buy it exclusively at the Pet Valu family of stores, including Paulmac’s, Bosley’s and Berrys stores. 73203 sm- $49.99 73201 md - $49.99 73202 lg - $49.99

 Cozy Critters Adorable soft toys with squeakers. 53206-9 $12.99

 Pawsitive Excellent for tossing & tugging. 53204 $11.99

 Give ‘N Go Ball Throw it, tug it, squeaks it. A strong toy with multiple options will keep play time fun. 53211 $14.99  Chuck Ducks Durable ducks with squeaker are great for fetch. Retrievers are naturals at collecting ducks and returning them to their pack leader! 53212 - $14.99

 Woof Bone Soft, plush bone with a roughtextured middle, plus squeaker. 53202-3 $9.99

 Big Nose Buddy - Does your dog like a soft pal to relax with after vigorous exercise? Try Big Nose Buddy. 53201 $7.99 Summer 2011 - Companion 21

W I N WI N W IN

these Featured Products ONE LUCKY READER WILL WIN THESE CANINE PRODUCTS – ALL FEATURED IN COMPANION MAGAZINE. To enter, fill in the Companion Magazine Contest Ballot at petvalu.com/companioncontest – or follow the link from the homepage.

Contest opens July 4 and closes August 29th at 5:00pm. One winner will be randomly drawn. Entrants must be a Canadian or U.S. resident over the age of majority in their province or state of residence, excluding Quebec, Hawaii and Alaska. One entry per person. For full contest rules, email companion@ petvalu.com. Mathematical skill-testing question to be correctly answered to win. Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received. No purchase necessary.

22 Companion - Summer 2011

T H E PAW E VE N T

THANK Y U FOR MAKING IT GREAT!

First Annual PAW Event raised more than

,000 250 in cash and supplies for $

homeless pets.

Pet Valu’s first annual PAW Event was a great success, and it’s all thanks to our customers and our stores. Customers bought PAWS for a dollar (and sometimes significantly more than one dollar). They also donated dog and cat food, cat litter and even toys to make the lives of shelter pets just a little better. Through the PAW Event, we are donating to more than 100 pet shelters and charities.

At Pet Valu, we are truly in awe of the generosity of our customers.

PetAppreciation Weekend

Summer 2011 - Companion 23

THANK-Y U PetAppreciation Weekend

You made a difference in an animal's life

Spring 2011 - Pet Valu Companion 23


Pet Valu Companion - Summer 2011