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friendly zone! p18 Crates!

Not just a 'crate' idea it's a way of life for dogs. p8

Pet Valu

»Spring 2010

Your Pet. Your Life. Your Store


»True Story:


One Woman's Heartwarming Dog Rescue. p16

Learning social skills is crucial

Pet Food Primer: Holistic, Grain-Free, Multiple Meat Proteins & more… what does it all mean for your pet?

10 Dogs Top

Who made the Cut?


Fashion for Day & Night

Tanks & PJs

Is Your Dog a Performer?

Teach him to Take a Bow!

Why is your cat so finicky? We’ve got the answer

Fabulous Flea Facts Adorable dog toys Why do cats purr?


Pet Valu

Your Pet. Your Life. Your Store


elcome to the first issue of the Pet Valu Companion, the magazine about life with pets. At Pet Valu, we know how much you love your pets because we feel the same way. There is nothing like the unconditional love of a dog, or the well-earned love of a cat. But cats and dogs are very different pets. Late last year a New Scientist study compared cats and dogs on 11 traits to determine the superior pet. The winner was dogs, with a 6-5 count. So are dogs a better pet? Of course not. To you, your pet is the best pet in the world, and that’s all that matters. We’ve posted a link to the full Cats vs. Dogs article on our Facebook page: Personally, I’m hoping to adopt my own perfect new pet this spring. Wish me luck! But first, check-out why dogs and cats behave the way they do at dinnertime. Plus crate training, pet food philosophies, top 10 dog breeds and spring fashion (in stores later in April). Enjoy your pets, and enjoy your new Companion. We’ll see you in your Pet Valu store.

Editor DESIGN Contributors

Libbi Hood Daniel Cullen Leah Piltz Dave Summers, Ph.D. Julie Johnston

contact us at: Pet Valu Companion 130 Royal Crest Court Markham, ON L3R 0A1

Email: 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 May 30, 2010 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. ©2010 PET VALU

In this issue Libbi Hood editor

n Why Cats & Dogs eat the way they do

n New Addition to the Family?



New Toys 3 Super-Soft or Super-Strong, your choice

Top 10 Dog Breeds 4 The AKC released their new list

Special Puppy Section 6 Things to remember with your new pup

Puppy Socialization 7 Being social finally gets its due

Training 8 ForCrate puppies or adult dogs, crates rule! Pet Food Primer 10 Nutrition terminology defined Eating Behavior of Dogs & Cats 12 Tracing your pet’s behavior back to their roots



What to do 14 IfFleas? they weren’t gross, fleas would be cool Spring Fashion 15 Tanks and pajamas for your fashionista True Pet Story 16 Meet Rosie and the woman who rescued her Pet Notes 17 Fun and facts Kids! Teach a Trick 18 Your dog can learn to Take a Bow Kids! Word Search 19 You know what to do

f Hug your pet? find out why

2 Companion - Spring 2010



®Registered Trademark of Pet Valu Canada Inc.


Your New Companion Toys 48818 – $11.99

When only the best will do Organic and natural materials are an important trend in not only children’s toys, but pet products, too. And it makes sense that you’d want only the best for your new pup. Visit your local Pet Valu store for a selection of Simply Fido plush cotton dog toys made of certified organic cotton. While all of our toys are carefully selected with your pets’ safety in mind, these truly are ‘best in breed.’ Simply Fido toys aren’t just made of organic cotton, they’re stuffed with organic fibers, too. You’ll never see these irresistible characters in any vivid shades because the organic cotton is dyed using only vegetable and mineral dyes – producing soft, pastel colors. Fabric is treated with soy milk to enhance color saturation and deepen the pastel shades. The newest member in the Simply Fido family is Wally. With four squeakers, floppy arms and legs that your pup will love to shake and a sturdy ring body, Wally’s the perfect addition to your family.

f Adorable “Wally” is dyed blue with vegetable and mineral dyes. He’s available now at Pet Valu. $22.99 [49995]

48819 – $19.99

48817 – $19.99


Dog Toys

These new Mighty Dog tough plush dog toys are designed to hold up to a lot of play!  Don’t underestimate these cute, cuddly plush toys – they’re made with two bonded layers of flexible fabrics that bend with your dog’s teeth instead of tearing. Four rows of stitching and reinforced seams help save the duck, penguin, dolphin, giraffe and whale to play another day. Because they don’t have any hard edges, Mighty Dog toys don’t encourage chewing, but dogs will be dogs, and you can rest assured these toys are mighty strong! Why not choose a plush toy with added value?

Spring 2010 - Companion 3

top ten

Top 10

1. Labrador Retriever

Dog Breeds Is your favorite breed one of the top dogs?

10. shih Tzu

by Leah Piltz


very year the American Kennel Club (AKC) releases their ranking of dog breeds. While some breeds are perennial top tens, there is some change each year. Whether it’s the movies (Dalmatians increase in popularity any time a 101 Dalmatians movie is released) or changing lifestyles (smaller dogs are more popular now that more people live in condos), top breeds are reflective of our lives. So what makes these breeds so popular? Plenty of fascinating characteristics that make them ideal pets!

〉〉 1. Labrador Retriever Labrador Retrievers, or ‘Labs’ as they are lovingly known, are the quintessential family dog, which is why they’ve held top spot on the AKC dog breed list for 19 years in a row! The popularity of Labs as a family pet comes from their mellow temperament, loyalty, intelligence, and gentle nature with kids. These traits make them popular as working dogs too. Seeing-eye/ assistance dogs, search and rescue dogs, detection dogs and more are regularly Labs. They’re movie stars too – did you see the recent hit Marley & Me? Originally from Newfoundland, Labs come in three different colors: yellow, black, and chocolate (brown). They can also be a red colour, called ‘fox-red’, which is technically still a yellow lab. 4 Companion - Spring 2010

〉〉 2. German Shepherd

〉〉 4. Golden Retriever

German Shepherds have long been popular dogs, and were even the #1 dog breed throughout the 1920s, reportedly due to their starring roles in Hollywood (as characters such as Rin Tin Tin). Bred as herding dogs, they originated in the 19th century – in Germany, of course! They are large-sized dogs, most commonly tan & black or red & black varieties. They are known for their loyalty and protective nature, which makes them an ideal choice for a family pet. German Shepherds are considered the third-smartest dog breed, behind Border Collies and Poodles. Due to their high intelligence, they are also the number one choice for police, guard, and military dogs in the world.

Many people believe Golden Retrievers are part of the Labrador Retrievers breed. It’s easy to see why: like Labs, Golden Retrievers are dogs bred originally for retrieving that make great family pets due to their friendly temperament. They’re a similar color too. But Golden Retrievers are a completely separate breed, with different origins (they’re from Scotland!), a stockier build and a longer, shaggier coat. Golden Retrievers are a good breed for agility and obedience training. They are too friendly to be guard dogs, but their intelligence makes them well-suited for search and rescue. These sweet dogs are even used by zoos as surrogate mothers to babies of different species, due to their kind, nurturing temperament.

〉〉 3. Yorkshire Terrier Celebrities often carry pet Yorkies around in their purses, contributing to their popularity! Famous fans include: Britney Spears, Tara Reid, Venus Williams, Kelly Rowland, and even Joan Rivers. Yorkies originate from Yorkshire, England. They have glossy, straight hair and are black and tan in color. Intelligent, attention-loving dogs, they're affectionate and protective to their owners. While these ‘toy’ dogs don’t intimidate with their size, they have a ferocious bark to make up for it! They're also known for their bravery – one Yorkie named Smoky fought in 12 combat missions and won eight battle stars for her service in the US Air Force.

〉〉 5. Beagle Beagles are small-to-medium sized dogs that were developed as scent hounds for hunting. Beagle-type dogs have had a long history in literature and art, and have been favorite dogs of royalty. But no beagle can compare to the most famous one of all: Snoopy! Beagles are popular as pets because they have a ‘merry’ temperament and enjoy spending time with their family. In the working world, they are often used as detection dogs in airports, sniffing out contraband food and other items in luggage.

2. German Shepherd

DID YOU KNOW A German Shepherd guide dog, named Orient, led her blind hiker the entire 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail. Average size of a German Shepherd litter is 8 puppies. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, which originally utilized white German Shepherds in their breeding and training program, now consider the breed unsuitable because "white hairs don't go well on dark blue pants and they make too good a target at night." The proper English name for this breed is German Shepherd Dog but they are usually informally referred to as German Shepherds, Alsatians (commonly used in the UK) or Schäfer(hund).

top ten

〉〉 6. Boxer Like most of the dog breeds listed so far, Boxers make great family pets. They're a medium-sized dog that are playful, energetic and great with children. Boxers are also good guard dogs due to their alertness and strength. Boxers have short, smooth hair and are usually fawn or brindle in color, sometimes with black and white accents. White boxers, though much rarer, also exist. The breed was developed in Germany from the English bulldog and the now extinct Bullenbeisser.

〉〉 7. Bulldog Chances are you either love Bulldogs or you hate ’em. But enough people love these unique-looking dogs to make them number 7! When people picture Bulldogs, they are usually thinking of the English (or British) variety. Two other breeds exist: the American Bulldog and the French Bulldog. American Bulldogs are larger and less stocky than the English version, while French Bulldogs are much smaller – similar in size to a Boston Terrier. British Bulldogs were bred at least as early as the 16th century. Known for their stubborn nature, Bulldogs are also friendly and very loyal to their family. The Bulldog is a national animal of the United Kingdom and is also a popular mascot of the U.S. Marine Corps!

〉〉 8. Dachshund The word ‘dachshund’ is German, literally translated as ‘badger dog’ since this breed was originally bred to hunt badgers and small prey animals. You might know this dog better as a ‘wiener’ or ‘sausage’ dog, due to their unique look – a long body with short, stubby legs. Dachshunds are usually small to miniature-sized dogs. They have three different kinds of coats: smooth, long-hair, and wired. Dachshunds are known for being devoted and loyal dogs, though they

typically make better pets for older children due to their stubborn temperament. Dachshunds, like a lot of small dogs, tend to have a personality much larger than their size, and will often bark at unfamiliar dogs or people. Sometimes they need to be carried up and down stairs too!

8. dachshund

9. poodle

〉〉 9. Poodle You probably know poodles for their traditional poufy haircuts. Despite their sometimes goofy appearance, they are one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs, and one that has been around for centuries. They come in four sizes: standard (large), medium, miniature and toy. Since Poodles are such smart dogs, they do very well in agility and obedience training. They were originally bred as retrievers, so they also love water and water sports. They're easy to train and are good with children, so they make great family pets. Plus, they have curly coats that don't shed.

5. beagle

〉〉 10. Shih Tzu The Shih Tzu is one of the most ancient dog breeds in the world, originating in China (or possibly Tibet), where the name literally means ‘lion dog.’ Shih Tzu were considered holy dogs in ancient times, and were treated as sacred companion dogs by Chinese royalty. They are small dogs with long, soft coats that come in a variety of mixed and solid colors. Since Shih Tzu have a long history of being companion dogs, they are excellent family pets. They are friendly and playful and are known as lap dogs. Like the Yorkie, you probably have seen Shih Tzu being carried around in dog purses, and they are also a popular breed to outfit in the latest fashion trends. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Leah Piltz is "mom" to two adorable rabbits: Mad Cow, a Polish dwarf (who can be seen on our Health Diet rabbit food packaging), and Finnegan, a Holland lop.

6. Boxer

A 12 lb Yorkshire Terrier named Oliver once defended an elderly woman from an 80 lb Akita. The woman escaped to safety and the Yorkie survived with only nine stitches. 7. Bulldog

3. yorkshire Terrier

4. Golden Retriever Spring 2010 - Companion 5

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One Pup, Two Pup,

Your Pup, New Pup! First Things First!

Puppy proofing your environment is crucial for when your new pup moves in. Even if you’re crate-training your little guy or gal, you’ll need to ensure your whole home is safe. Look for (and remove!) access to hazardous materials, sharp objects and items that would be dangerous if chewed – like electrical cords. Get down low and think like a dog… to ensure the safety of yours.

What’s in a Name?

Give your pup’s name some thought. Choose one that doesn’t rhyme with any basic commands you’ll be using. Don’t name your dog Sway, and then wonder why he can’t learn to Stay! And choose a positive name, as it will put you in the right frame of mind every time you say it. Cutesy names like Dumb Dog are just asking for trouble. Try for a more unique name too, especially if you’re planning trips to the dog parks!

No People Food Please

It will make your life easier if you stick to appropriate dog food and treats. First, some people foods are toxic for your sweet pup. Most people know not to feed chocolate, but do you know not to throw your dog a grape or two? They can be severely toxic for dogs. Make it easy on yourself by keeping a selection of dog biscuits and treats so your puppy can have a treat when you do – just not the same type. On top of the potential danger, sharing your food is a bad habit that can lead to begging whenever you’re eating.

He Will Grow. A Lot.

Speaking of bad habits… be consistent from the start. Don’t let your puppy do anything you won’t allow when he’s full grown. If you don’t want an 80 lb dog on the couch, don’t let the adorable puppy on the couch. It will only confuse your dog, which isn’t fair. He just wants to please you!

And Finally

The last and best advice is to show your puppy lots of patience and love. After all, who’s cuter than your puppy?

For tips on the guidance and gear you’ll need, check out our Puppy Guide at 6 Companion - Spring 2010

try holistic Choose the very best dog food you can for your new pup, and gradually make the transition from the food he’s already eating to your new brand. Feeding Performatrin Ultra puppy food is a holistic choice you can feel good about.

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Vital first steps The first four months are the most crucial development period in your pup’s life. by LIBBI HOOD

is it too late?


f you’ve not had a new puppy for many years, you might not be familiar with the term socialization. It’s not really a new concept, but it is one of the most important things you can do for your new puppy. Socialization means the process of learning interpersonal and interactional skills that are acceptable in society. Translation: it’s when your puppy learns how to behave. Properly socialized dogs are accepting of new situations, people and animals. They are much less likely to become aggressive or fearful dogs. They are easier to board at a kennel, take to the vet or introduce to children. And it really has to be your puppy, because the window for proper socialization is incredibly small. The most effective socialization takes place before 16 weeks of age. From the time you bring your puppy home, to the age of 16 weeks, you have a lot of fun work to do.

Many New Experiences Collect as many new experiences for your puppy as you can and work hard to make them positive and enjoyable.

People Invite many different people to meet your puppy. Aim for a wide mix of ages, from children to grandmas, as well as both men and women, and different ethnic backgrounds. Start with individuals and increase to the point that your pup is comfortable with large groups.

Animals It’s crucial that your young puppy meet other animals, but just as crucial that those animals be healthy and fully vaccinated. Friends with dogs that are non-aggressive are a great start. Try to introduce cats and wild birds too.

Loud Noises How many dogs have you known that are afraid of thunderstorms? It’s quite common, but many dogs might be saved from this fear with proper socialization. What can you do? Unless pups are born in the summer, and experience thunderstorms within their first 12-16 months, they miss the crucial socialization period. Try exposing your pup to other loud noises, such as airplanes, motorcycles or other machinery.

Experiences Go for a car ride! Yes, most dogs seem to love car rides (while many cats detest them), but why take a chance that your pup’s a natural? Drive around for short trips and progress to longer rides. Combine your car trips with other new experiences. Drop in on a friend. Visit your Pet Valu store. Drive to a park with dirt paths if your pup is used to concrete sidewalks.

Adopting an adult dog? Or your puppy is now 10 months old and this is the first you’ve ever heard of socialization? Don’t panic. Older dogs can still learn new behaviors and adjust to new experiences. If you’re consistent and patient, you can still get your adult dog, into that canoe!

Find an elevator to ride if you live in a house. You get the idea! Remember to introduce regular dog activities. Brush your pup, clip his nails and even bathe him. He’ll be used to these normal events when he’s older and they’ll be easy, enjoyable activities.

Think ahead Try to picture your future and everything your pup will be exposed to in adulthood. For example, if you know you’re a camping family and your dog will be canoeing with you, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get your dog into a canoe, on water, within the first four months of her life. Now get going and have fun with your puppy! (Pretty easy, huh?) ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Libbi Hood grew up with a Terrier mutt, Candy. Back then, nobody talked about proper socialization of puppies!

is it safe? Depending on who you ask or what you read, you will hear two schools of thought. First Socialization is key and puppies need to meet people and animals before 16 weeks of age. SeconD Puppies should not interact with other dogs or go to public places before they have all their vaccinations (around 16 weeks, after the best socialization period). You have to decide for yourself, but generally it seems widely accepted to enroll in reputable puppy classes and arrange play with familiar, non-aggressive dogs that you know are healthy and fully vaccinated. Skip the dog park until your puppy is older, fully vaccinated and well-trained to your commands.

Spring 2010 - Companion 7

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Follow these six easy steps to crate training

Set your puppy up for success.

1 Purchase a sturdy plastic or wire crate.

by julie johnston


rate training your puppy is the first and best lesson in his life. It forms a solid foundation for all other training and sets you both up for success. In the wild, dogs live in dens which provide protection and psychological well-being. In our homes, dogs love predictability. Establishing a crate as a safe shelter to call his own is extremely comforting, especially for a new puppy in a new home, with his new ‘pack.’ When a puppy is left alone, it’s natural for him to experience some degree of separation anxiety. Being placed in a crate is not punishment; in fact, it allows him to feel safe so he can sleep and chew and relax and wait until you come home. Left home alone outside the safety of a crate, he won’t be able to relax and destructive behaviors can result: chewing, crying, barking, soiling or digging. Crate training works because it takes advantage of your puppy’s natural instinct to keep his home clean – he’ll try to ‘hold it’ for as long as he can until you take him outside. The smallest puppies can’t ‘hold it’ for long though, so don’t leave a puppy under eight weeks in a crate for more than an hour. Just be sure to take him outside regularly and frequently when he’s youngest, to make it a positive experience for both of you.

It should have just enough room for your pup to comfortably sit, stand and lie down. If you’re buying a crate which will house him as an adult, you will need to either use a divider (for wire crates) or place a box inside a plastic crate to limit the available space. This ensures that he doesn’t designate some of the extra room as his ‘bathroom.’

2 Introduce your puppy to his new home. Encourage him to go in on his own. Entice him to check out his crate by placing a treat inside. Expect that he’ll probably come back out quickly, but that’s OK – he’s just checking things out.

3 Extend and reward his stay. Once he’s comfortably wandering in and out, get him to pause for a while inside his crate by putting your hand in front of the door, pet him and hold him inside gently. Give him lots of praise and a treat when he settles down. Do this repeatedly and encourage him to stay in the crate for increasingly longer periods of time. Keep showering him with praise and treats! Getting him comfortable with staying inside the crate can take a few hours or a few days.

4 Closing the door and going away. Now that your puppy feels safe in his crate, try closing the door and praising his accepting behaviour as you move farther and farther away – and then out of the room. Eventually he’ll be able to sit quietly and sleep with the door closed.

5 Establish predictable elimination habits. Small puppies need to ‘go’ about every two to four hours. Ensure you are letting him out at regular intervals – first thing in the morning, after each meal and before bedtime – showing him the route to the door and out into the yard where you want him to eliminate. As he gets older (four to six months), he’ll be able to ‘hold it’ longer and will be able to, if necessary, stay in his crate all day by himself.

// MidWest Lifestages Double Door Crates These double door, wire crates offer convenience and easy access. The ‘fold and carry’ collapsible feature makes these kennels easy to store or transport. Two doors allow front or side access and versatility in placement. All crates come with a plastic floor pan and divider panel. Available in six sizes to fit pets up to 31” tall [65808; 75931-5; $64.99 – $179.99]. A larger size, single door crate is also available at select stores or by special order, which fits pets up to 43” tall [Starter Series 1154; 65962; $299.99]. 8 Companion - Spring 2010

6 What’s the best reason

to crate train your puppy?

Because he’ll love it! Having a special, private place of his own in your bustling household will go a long way toward a wonderful pet experience.

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You can teach an old dog new tricks!

// Petmate Vari-Kennel Ultra. These neutral-toned ‘bleached linen’ crates are made of heavy duty plastic and feature sturdy wire vents and doors. Available in four sizes for pets up to 28” tall [64965-9; $59.99 – $169.99]. A larger size model is available at select stores or by special order for pets up to 43” tall [Vari-Kennel 700; 65310; $279.99].

With plenty of time and lots of treats, it is possible to crate train an adult dog. Whether you’re adopting from a shelter or want to introduce a crate to your current full-grown dog, you just need to be patient and consistent.

Helpful Hints  Start crate training right away. It will immediately establish you as the ‘alpha’ dog and set a solid foundation for future training. Make his home a comfortable and happy den.  Provide him with a soft, machine washable bed and keep his crate clean. Provide supervision outside of the crate. It’s impor tant to ensure positive behavior is also reinforced when your pup is out of his crate. Know that occasionally accidents will happen. No  punishment is needed – soiling his nest is already a bad experience. Clean up with a neutral demeanor, preferably while he’s outside and let him return to a clean crate.

Avoid These Pitfalls Don’t yell at him to go inside or force him into the  crate. A properly crate trained dog will happily run into his home when he knows you’re leaving. Don’t make a prison out of the crate by using it as  punishment. Positive reinforcement is the key to successful crate training. Don’t remove him when he’s crying or acting up.  Wait until he has settled down to open the crate. Julie Johnston is the proud parent of Sparky Parker Birdston, a precocious Quaker Parrot and Stewart, a laid-back lop-eared bunny. Growing up, family dogs were crate trained – a Rough Collie as an adult and the next, a Bichon Frise, as a puppy.  As a result, Julie’s a firm believer in the benefits of crate training.

Don’t make a fuss when letting your puppy out  of the crate. Just calmly open the door and take him outside – and praise him for being the great dog he is! Spring 2010 - Companion 9

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Pet Food

Primer An introduction to the terminology you’ll see on your favorite bags of food. by LIBBI HOOD


et Nutrition can be complicated. Pet food companies develop foods to make it easier for you to feed your pet complete and balanced nutrition without earning a Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition. But companies build foods based on different beliefs. What’s right for your pet is ultimately up to you. Here are explanations of some of the different approaches to pet food, to help you make an informed decision.

Specific Life Stage Formulas Foods for puppies, adults and senior pets are developed to address the specific nutritional needs of dogs or cats at different stages of life. Puppy food is more nutritionally dense as growing puppies need more calories and nutrients to grow up healthy and strong. However, it’s also crucial that puppies not grow too fast as that can lead to joints and bones that haven’t had time to develop properly. Senior dogs and cats need less energy from their food, but likely also benefit from lower levels of some minerals which may cause unnecessary stress on the internal organs (such as the effect of sodium on the kidneys). Although not technically a ‘stage of life,’ weight control foods have traditionally also been one of the life stage formulas included in a line-up of foods. 10 Companion - Spring 2010

Breed Specific Foods Many dog food brands are available in small and large breed formulas, to address the different nutritional needs of small dogs like Chihuahuas and large dogs like Labrador Retrievers. Small dogs are typically very active and require quite a lot of energy packed into their daily allotment. Large breeds need the right calorie level in a food that will satisfy their larger stomachs without leading to weight gain. One pet food company, Royal Canin, has gone as far as developing dry foods for specific breeds, like Bulldogs, German Shepherds, Siamese, Maine Coons and more.

All Life Stage Formulas On the other hand, many foods are available that are suitable for your healthy pet no matter what their age. With the nutritional knowledge scientists and nutritionists have, they can create a single food that meets the needs of puppies or kittens as well as full-grown pets. The extra nutrition needed by growing pets is found by increasing the amount of food, rather than changing the type of food fed. 〉〉 NOTE: Foods formulated for All Life Stages meet or exceed the recommended nutrient levels recognized in the pet food industry. Look for the AAFCO statement, indicating the food is complete and balanced for all life stages.

what is

AAFCO? The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an advisory group that recommends nutrient profiles for pet nutrition. These profiles have been widely accepted as standards throughout the pet food industry. You’ll find an ‘AAFCO statement’ on most dog and cat foods, stating that the food meets the AAFCO nutrient profiles, which in turn allows manufacturers to label their food as complete and balanced. You want to feed pet foods that are complete and balanced to ensure all the nutrition needs your pet has are met.

Limited Meat Protein Formulas When a dog gets a food allergy, it is almost always in response to a protein in its food. It is suspected that repeated exposure to the same ingredient protein can lead to the development of a food allergy in some dogs. In other dogs, an allergy follows an upset or illness (even a mild one) in which the immune system gets tricked into thinking the food ‘protein’ was the cause and reacts to it often showing as red itchy skin or teary eyes. Food allergies can occur with any food ingredient protein be it animal or vegetable. The solution is to remove that protein from the pet’s diet, but when it occurs on a food made from a variety of meat, grain or vegetable ingredients, it is difficult to identify the culprit. That’s one of the reasons some dog foods were developed with limited sources of protein-containing ingredients: to eliminate exposure to potential allergens. Lamb and Rice-based foods were first developed as an alternative to the traditional chicken and cornbased formulas. Unique proteins such as venison or duck have also been introduced to vary a dog’s diet, hopefully keeping protein allergies at bay, or providing relief for dogs that are allergic to more standard diets.

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〉〉 NOTE: Many pet parents don’t want to feed their pet only one type of protein every day for years. If you’re concerned about this, consider rotating your pet’s diet by purchasing different single-meat source foods, either from the same brand or completely different, each time you buy a new food. With some pets it’s important to transition slowly between different foods by adding a bit of the new to the last few servings of the previous food, so the digestive system can adjust. Otherwise, there’s no reason you can’t rotate different foods into your pet’s diet to help avoid the development of allergies and ensure you’re providing all the varied nutrients your dog requires for optimal health.

Multiple Meat Protein Formulas Dogs and cats are carnivores and love the taste of meat. Adding multiple animal protein sources, such as chicken, turkey, duck and fish in the same food, helps increase palatability - the great taste that keeps your pet coming back for more. 〉〉 NOTE: It’s logical that a pet food with four or five different animalprotein sources will contain less of each one than a single-meat-source food. However, an allergy could develop to even a small amount of protein. If that happens, it will be difficult to identify the offending protein, and also fewer ‘unique’ proteins to switch to after feeding so many all at once.

Holistic Holistic pet foods usually start with whole and preferably fresh ingredients, including meat, fruits and vegetables. Using ingredients as close to their natural state as possible is part of the holistic approach. On the flip side, avoiding ingredients that are not wholesome and natural, like by-products, artificial colors and preservatives, or even refined sugar, is also part of the holistic approach to pet food. 〉〉 NOTE: Most grain-free and organic pet foods are also holistic foods. Many holistic foods are made with whole grains such as whole brown rice, in response to the belief that the nutrients and fiber in whole grains are worthy ingredients and beneficial to your pet.

feeding grain-free foods, monitor your pet’s weight and food intake to avoid overfeeding, and the many health problems associated with overweight pets.

Organic Organic foods, including organic pet foods, are made of ingredients that are grown or raised without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, hormones or antibiotics. Choosing organic pet food is a personal choice for your pet, as it is for yourself and your human family. 〉〉 NOTE: There are different levels of organic certification, whether a product such as a pet food is completely organic or only partially organic.

Grain Free Grain-free foods are made in response to the belief that because dogs and cats were unlikely to eat grain in ‘the wild,’ their food should not include any in the modern age. While grain-free canned foods have been available for some time, grain-free dry foods are increasing in popularity and many pet parents report great results. Pets love the taste of these foods - possibly because most are made with multiple meat proteins. 〉〉 NOTE: Some grain-free foods are often higher in protein and calories than traditional foods that include grains such as rice or wheat. When


Libbi Hood has been researching and writing about pet nutrition for almost six years. She’s learned enough to know that there’s a lot more to learn. Talk to the specialists at Pet Valu about any pet nutrition questions you have. Spring 2010 - Companion 11

n u trition wit h doc

wolf 'puppy'

Eating Behavior

Cute! Yes, but beware! At seven months old, this young European wolf will look almost like an adult wolf. Around this time, they will begin hunting with the rest of the pack for dinner!

of Dogs & Cats

Pet owners know: dogs will eat almost anything but cats are a little more finicky. The question is… why? by DAVE SUMMERS, Ph. D.

➜ Mackenzie Valley Wolf


ogs and cats belong to the Carnivora family which also includes hyenas, bears, seals, and weasels. Some animals in this family, such as bears, are omnivores, eating both plant and animal food. Other animals such as cats and seals require meat for survival. Dogs are in the middle of this spectrum.

How Dogs Eat The dog’s jaws and teeth, while adapted for hunting animals, are hinged in a way that also allows for prolonged chewing of plant or bone material. The taste buds of dogs respond to amino acids and other compounds characteristic of flesh (meat), but they also respond to “fruity or sweet” compounds found in plants.

DID YOU KNOW Wolves can eat every 5-6 hours when there is plenty of food available, or they can fast and live on scraps for 2 weeks when there is less food around.

Big Meals

➜ Shetland Sheepdog

12 Companion - Spring 2010

Similar to the wolf, dogs can consume large meals at a single sitting. Presumably this trait adapted from eating large prey, while competing with other pack members. A number of modern dog breeds still retain the desire to gorge and are more likely to overeat. These include breeds like Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels and Shetland Sheepdogs. If that sounds like your dog, you need to monitor meal times and measure portions to avoid unhealthy weight gain or regurgitation of unchewed food. The long history of the dog’s domestication has lead to a wide diversity of eating habits and there are other breeds such as Greyhounds,

Fox Terriers, Boxers and Salukis, that don’t gorge as much and therefore it's easier to control their food consumption.

Same or Different: All Fine Dogs are much more willing to try a wide variety of “new” foods, than are most other species including the cat. Dogs are also unlikely to develop an aversion to foods that have made them ill in the past. Basically, dogs are preprogrammed to eat a wide variety of foods, but they will still be content to eat the same food every day. It’s fine to feed the same food to your dog every day, or you can add new flavors to their diet by rotating to different flavors (usually meat sources) of food. You can spice up their diet with treats too – just not too many! ➜ Cocker Spaniel

n utrition wit h doc

The range of food flavors the cat can taste is quite narrow, reflecting the narrow range of animals they hunted and consumed

How Cats Eat The domestic cat is a descendant of the African wildcat, Felis lybica, and was a more specialized predator than the wolf. The cat was a solitary hunter, not a co-operative hunter. The cat’s jaws and teeth are designed for small prey, especially small mammals. During their evolution, cats become adapted to eating many small meals in a day. If allowed to eat free choice, most cats will still eat many small meals during the day and limit their food consumption so they don’t over eat.

Must Eat Meat The cat is an obligatory carnivore, meaning through thousands of years of evolution the cat has lost the ability to adapt to a diet that doesn’t contain (or mimic) meat or fish. The cat’s higher requirement for protein and niacin, and its requirement for the amino acids taurine and arginine, reflect its strict carnivore past. The cat cannot manufacture taurine in its body, unlike dogs and people, because the cat has eaten taurine-rich meat for millennia and historically didn’t need to manufacture it. The range of food flavors the cat can taste is quite narrow, reflecting the narrow range of animals they hunted and consumed. The cat’s taste system is unresponsive to both sugars and salt, but they are highly responsive to amino acids, nucleotides and other compounds

characteristic of specific meats and fish. Cats in the wild rely on instinct and past experience to tell them which foods are ‘safe’ and nutritious to eat. The cat is preprogrammed to eat a wide variety of foods from within the narrow range of foods that have the tastes they recognized as having meaty flavors.

New is Good Too This preference to eat ‘new’ foods is probably a built-in genetic adaptation to avoid a nutritional deficiency. Sometimes called the ‘novelty effect,’ if given a choice between two foods, cats will eat the ‘new food’ if the smell, and taste, agrees with their preprogrammed instinct telling them that food is ‘safe.’ With dry cat foods, natural flavors are added to give the kibble a wide variety of meaty tastes or ‘notes.’ This is why you can feed the same dry food for an extended period of time without your cat rejecting it. With canned foods, this trait of wanting different tastes is satisfied by having a variety of different meat flavors. You just buy different types of food and rotate them. Unlike dogs, cats can form a rapid aversion to a food that has made them ill. This can be a problem for domestic cat parents due to food association: when an illness closely follows the consumption of a food, even if the food was not the cause of the illness, the cat may develop an aversion to that particular food.

Bengal Cat

Food association and the novelty effect are important facts to remember when your cat has suddenly quit eating their favorite brand of food. Often the food gets blamed, when in most cases it is a cat just being a cat. Kittens will strongly identify with the food their mother was consuming, but with time they have a strong desire to seek out new foods. This means kittens will readily wean onto the same food their mother eats, but later they can be easily changed to a different food. All this evolutionary and scientific proof to tell you something you already knew; dogs eat almost anything, but cats are finicky. ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Reference: The Waltham International Symposium 2005 J.W.S. Bradshaw. Dr. Dave Summers, Pet Valu Nutritionist, holds a Ph.D. in Animal Nutrition from the University of Edmonton. “Doc” has worked in the pet industry for 25 years, developing innovative pet foods and consulting about pet nutrition. As a Nutritionist and also as a pet parent to 1-year-old Bailey, pets come first to Doc.


Breeding with 'Wild Cats' in the 21st Century! The Bengal cat is a distinct, unique breed of spotted domestic cat derived from the ancestral crossing of a domestic cat such as an Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Burmese or Egyptian Mau with an Asian Leopard Cat. Due to this breeding, the domestic Bengal inherited an exotic and stunningly wild spotted marking. From approximately 3 weeks of age until about 16 weeks, kittens display a fuzziness and graying that blurs their markings as a protective camouflage as they would in the wild. These markings can take up to a year to develop into a rich colored coat. The main credit for this breed is given to Jean Sudgen of the USA. Jean Sudgen crossed a black shorthaired domestic cat with a female Asian Leopard Cat in 1963.


'Original' African Wildcat

Spring 2010 - Companion 13




Actual Size

If they weren’t gross, blood-sucking parasites, fleas would be fascinating! by LIBBI HOOD


iny, brown, wingless, parasitic insects that feed on blood – yours or your pet’s. Yuck! Fleas are only 1 to 4 millimeters long, but their hind legs are so powerful they can jump up to 20 cm vertically and 40 cm horizontally. That’s something like a six foot tall man jumping 2400 feet (close to half a mile)! Amazing. Perhaps that why fleas made such good circus performers!

Can You Imagine? Flea circuses were real entertainment in the early-to-mid 1900s. Fleas were ‘trained’ to perform as circus and carnival attractions. This training apparently included putting fleas in jars until they were trained not to jump, then harnassing them with thin wire and attaching props.

did you know Larvae spin cocoons in which they change into the shape of adult fleas (called the pupal stage). They emerge as adult fleas only under ideal conditions (humidity; presence of a ‘host’ animal). Fleas can remain cocooned for months, waiting for ideal conditions. Pupae are the most protected from flea control products.

14 Companion - Spring 2010

The super-strong hind legs of the fleas would allow them to propel objects much larger than themselves. Sometimes flea repellants were placed on lightweight balls to encourage fleas to kick them away. Add a few more fleas and the ‘kicking away’ becomes a soccer flea soccer game! Flea circuses declined around the 1960s, apparently due to our increasing hygiene and therefore a dwindling population of ‘performers’ to choose from. Perhaps also due to changing tastes in entertainment? We can hope! Fleas can be entertaining… as long as you’re reading about their amazing jumping prowess and showbiz background as opposed to witnessing it first hand on your pet. What do you do if your dog or cat brings home some fleas this summer?

Easy Three-Step Process You can find effective and economical flea and tick control products at your Pet Valu store. Talk to the pet specialists there about the products you need, then follow these three steps to rid your pet and home of an infestation.

STEP 1 - Treat Your Pet Your first step is to provide immediate relief for your pet. Eliminate existing fleas with products like sprays, powder and shampoo that kill fleas on contact.

STEP 2 - Treat Your Home More importantly, more than 90% of a flea infestation is NOT on your pet. It’s made up of eggs, larvae and pupae that are in your pet’s immediate environment. Flea eggs can lay dormant for months, so treating your home is critical. Treat all carpet, upholstered furniture, pet bedding and your pet’s favorite resting areas with premise sprays, powders and foggers. It’s important to treat areas like underneath furniture and in closets, even if a pet has not been in the exact spot as the larvae that hatch will seek out dark, hidden places. Replace any pet bedding (or wash in HOT water), and throw away that vac­uum bag. Just sucking up a flea does­n’t necessarily kill it, and the bag is an ideal location to form a cocoon. The protective cocoon of the pupal flea allows it to survive some home treatments. In order to be killed, fleas must first emerge from their cocoons and come in direct contact with the spray. It usually takes about one to two weeks for pupal fleas to emerge from cocoons so it’s not unusual to continue to see fleas for approximately 2-3 weeks after treating a pet and home.

STEP 3 - Maintenance Choose a product with a residual effect for ongoing flea prevention, such as a topical ‘spot’ treatment or a collar. Products that contain Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) are proven effective at killing adult fleas and also interrupting the growth cycle by killing eggs and larvae.

I need a look

that says...

Spring! FouFou Dog developed these tanks and PJs exclusively for the Pet Valu family of stores. Dogs can look great while they strut their stuff in these machine washable, 92% cotton and 8% Spandex designs. Sweet pink ruffles say ‘I’m such an angel…really!’ A hot trend in pet accessories is personalization and our ‘Hello, my name is’ tanks let your pet express himself. PJs tell everyone your pup is as pampered as they come! But seriously, they’re great year round items - perfect for drafty homes or dogs that shed a lot.

Add Your Dog's Name Here

Tank Tops XS to LG, $14.99 Hello! Boy Tank [62157-60] Hello! Girl Tank [62161-4] Pink Ruffles Tank [62165-8] Pajamas Boy Pajama Girl Pajama

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‘Rain don’t h y days a v e to be hair d ays w it bad h o ur w a te r - r ep e lling, reflec tive P VC r ain s licker ’ Also available

Yellow Rain Slicker XS to XXL, $39.99 [62183-88]

Spring 2010 - Companion 15



Pet Stories Nobody loves their pets more than Pet Valu customers

Mandy & Rosie Toronto Pet Valu customer Mandy adopted Rosie in crazy circumstances, but with outstanding results. More than three years ago, while working on a St. Croix beach in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Mandy spotted a skinny, sickly-looking stray dog. The worn spot around her neck suggested a previous life as somebody’s pet, but this dog was clearly on its own. With food, water and kind words, the gentle dog soon to be named “Rosie” was easy to connect with. Veterinary care at a local clinic soon had Rosie’s infections clearing up, and the risky heartworm treatment was difficult, but made easier with peanut butter! What followed was six weeks together on the island while Mandy

// Now healthy, happy and full of life, Rosie still loves the beach.

researched nesting sea turtles, and then a triumphant move home with a fully vaccinated, spayed and healthy Rosie. She was welcomed into the family and loves long walks and play time with neighborhood dogs. Playing in the snow was a particularly thrilling ‘new’ experience for this island dog. “Rosie is remarkable,” says Mandy. “Everyday I marvel at this amazing creature and feel grateful that we found each other. Despite a history that includes a few scars, a broken toe and mothering at least one litter of puppies, she is a trusting and wonderful dog.” Whether on an island far away or at the shelter in your neighborhood, there are innumerable dogs and cats looking for homes. Consider adoption for your next pet, and you could have a happy ending like Mandy and Rosie.

Your Pet Valu. Now LIVE Visit us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube! Fun facts, store events, customer pics and more.

DID YOU KNOW How Many Emails Are Sent Each Day? According to a study conducted by the Radicati Group in August 2008, the number is estimated to be around 210 billion emails per day. This equates to about 2.5 million emails every second.

Do you have a heartwarming or funny story about how your pet came to be your pet? Email us at With your permission, we’d love to feature your pet on our website or in Companion magazine. 16 Companion - Spring 2010

f un facts

Healing Powers Hug Your Pet Today

Research shows that having pets is good for your health. Pet ownership has been linked to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced loneliness, increased exercise and better coping with stress. It may be that the physical touch leads to some of the biggest benefits. Within minutes of petting a dog or cat, both your system and your pets release beneficial, ‘feel-good’ hormones. Chances are you already know your pet is a benefit to you – now you have another reason to hug your dog or cat today!

By the Numbers 〉〉 Do you believe this? According to the internet, close to a million American dogs have been named as the primary beneficiaries in their owner’s will. Wow!

〉〉 Yuck! In 30 days, a single flea can multiply to 250,000 fleas. Now there’s a reason to pick-up preventative treatments at Pet Valu!

〉〉 Snoopy is 60! It was October 2, 1950 that the Peanuts gang made their debut in seven U.S. newspapers. Charlie Brown appeared in the very first strip, but Snoopy – hands down the most famous comic strip dog – didn’t appear until October 4th.

〉〉 Can you smell that? A bloodhound’s sense of smell is up to 100 million times more sensitive than yours, according to Scientific American.

Self-healing Cats Purring is associated with a happy, healthy cat, but cats also purr when they are in pain, distress or scared. This is sometimes attributed to purring being a biological response in cats that has little significance. However, according to, “Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing.” So perhaps a cat’s purr is actually their secret weapon for health and healing.

Spring 2010 - Companion 17

K I D 'Z O N E


A Trick

k. The first is to get her to make tric a g do r you ch tea to ys wa sic There are 2 ba make her n reward her. You can’t physically the move the way you want, and the or both. ve using treats or encouragement mo to her ce vin con to e hav you move, step toward the right movement. Plus you have to reward each tiny already makes, and join it with a dog r you ent vem mo a use to is y The other wa thod to teach your dog to Take a Bow! voice command. Try this easier me

w o B a e Tak is front leg

s are

s w h en h “bowing” is head, but his back leg Your dog is e to ith h


The Take a B ow position is al so your dog’ natural pose s for showing fr iendliness an inviting someo d ne to play. Onc e your dog can Take a Bow on cue, you ca n us e this trick to make new people or pets you meet feel comfortable with your dog. Neat trick!


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p i T g ainin

ks -  s for tr ic d n a m unique. r co m are all ur e y o u s e k a M wn w n, , Lie Do our dog to Lie Do r y a t S , y ch ll he like Sit you tea ent to te if r , fe e c if n d s ta e nd For ins  to mak that sou ord Off a w or d w d e. e e c e th n n e y y ou . Tr if fer e co uch ut the d o th f e f r o u t g e e to fi y on to g ur d o g n d e v er r for yo rents a a p r u it easie o y ing the ke sure g ar e u s o d A nd ma r r u o o ur p o o un d y r wise y e else aro th O . ds to do! o mm an s am e c w w h at o n k ’t n do g w o

18 Companion - Spring 2010




t a h t puppy training tricks paws shake

rollover crate speak brush food

water dish leash bone coll ar obedience







W G O R A H R O L L O V E R P O C K K V H M R A R L C A find the answers at Spring 2010 - Companion 19

Pet Valu Companion Magazine - Spring 2010