} Getting A Bird? What You Need To Know P.6
YOU Have a question? We'll find the answer p.3
Spring/Summer I 2012
Flea vs. Tick Insect Showdown Adopting
& Caring For Your Guinea Pig
➳ The Big Question:
Your Pet. Your Life. Your Store
Bathing, Brushing, Ears & Nails
4 breeds are in the hot seat
We'll Help You Make the Right Choice 〉 p.8
Something new for your Cat
Find out more 〉 p.10
Spring Cleaning Fun With Fashion Getting Your Pet Road Trip Ready
In this issue 3
New in Store & Ask the Pet Experts We want to hear from you! Fido Files Investigating 4 popular breeds. How to Choose the Right Bird A pet bird may be the perfect pet for your family. Cat or Kitten? Questions to ask yourself before you adopt! Puppy & Kitten Checklist All your essentials for your newest family member. The Birds are Back Wild bird seed for every bird & budget! Litter Box Envy? Litter that is healthy for your cat & the environment.
elcome to the 10th issue of the Companion – and my 1st issue! Spring is a time for a fresh start and new challenges, for me this meant a new career. For you, it may mean you have chosen to adopt a new pet. Whether cat, kitten, guinea pig or lovebird, we have it covered in this issue. How about a fresh start for the pets you already have? Consider trying a new eco-friendly litter this spring or transitioning your pet to a healthier food. The nice weather means more outings, road trips and additional visits to the dog park. It also means muddy paws, our dogs discovering puddles and flea & tick season. In this issue we have tips, tricks, products and information to help you. New to the Companion is "Ask the Pet Experts". Email us your pet questions and perhaps in the next issue you may see the answer to your question in print! Also look for the Lucy Loves icon, as these products are tried, tested by my own yellow labrador. I am excited to be part of the Companion team and thrilled to share my pet stories and pet experiences with you.
vs. Tick 14 Flea Wait until you see who wins our showdown!
Top 4 Grooming Essentials 15 Spruce up your dog this spring
with these helpful tips & tricks.
Road Trip 16 Travel tips for you and your pet.
Fat Cat Syndrome 17 How to keep cats slim in a multi-cat household. Oh Guinea Pig, My Guinea Pig 18 Discovering why guinea pigs are fantastic pets!
with Fashion 20 Fun Spring clothes have arrived,
check out the latest styles.
Spring Cleaning 21 Spring cleaning made easy for us pet owners.
Ingredients & 22 Dog Park Etiquette
Information about pet food ingredients and dog park etiquette.
Puzzles & More 23 Challenge yourself with these fun activities!
p.15 Bath Day!
®™ Trademarks used under license.
Editor DESIGN Contributors
Kellie McCutcheon Daniel Cullen David Summers, Ph.D. Candace Eberts Tera Cashen
Kellie McCutcheon, Pet Valu Companion, 130 Royal Crest Court, Markham, ON, L3R 0A1
For advertising opportunities e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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 31, 2012 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. ©2012 PET VALU
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A s k t h e pe rt s ! Pet Ex
rden? g up your ga from diggin g x? do bo r ur te yo lit e • Can’t stop op using th st ly n held? en he dd w y t su g get panick pi • Did your ca ea in gu adopted r • Does your le to help ou on being ab s ve TS el R E rs ou XP ur PET E we pride problems. O At Pet Valu, fety pet related e health, sa ith w th t s er ou ab om ns cust tio es qu to answer would love pet. ing of your be lel w and m with your @petvalu.co on and ni ns pa m tio co veral ques Email us at ill feature se w . e on w ni d pa an question e of the Com our next issu answers in
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swered. ed will be an ll be publish wi . at ce th en ns sid re Only questio e and city of de your nam Please inclu
My Labrador, Lu cy, has tried a lot of pet prod her life. Workin ucts in g in the pet ind us try means that toys to treats, from she has put th em all to the te Of course, Lucy st. and I both have our favourites we want to shar and e with you our mo st loved pet pr Look for the Lu oducts. cy Loves circle throughout this issue for my pe rsonal recomm endations from one pet owner to another.
s Chuckit! L auncher
49184 - MEdium
2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 3
s e l i F o d i F dog breeds
Let's investigate some of our ines. favourite can
breed was came from and what the Knowing where your dog ight into how you some wonderful ins primarily bred for will give does. These he y y he may behave the wa your dog thinks and wh ds and were oun kgr bac e from different 4 popular breeds all com factors affect se tho of All s. son different rea originally bred for very m bored during our Why does my boxer see how they behave today. lk with his nose to gle spend his entire wa walks? Why will my bea what we discover. see and e these breeds the ground? Let’s examin
ie r r e T " rs e g in F o w T " Te rry
WANTED: Yorkshire Terrier, better known as “Yorkie”. SUSPECT DESCRIPTION: Small, belongs in the terrier group, hypoallergenic, minimum shedding, silky coat. Makes a wonderful pet. M.O.: Originally bred to catch rats in clothing mills, today they make great companion dogs. RELEVANT FAMILY HISTORY: Prone to dental issues, Yorkies need regular dental hygiene to promote healthy gums and fresh breath. LAST SEEN: At the groomer! Yorkies need to be regularly groomed, especially if their hair is kept long. Their hair (as opposed to fur) can get greasy if left too long between grooming appointments.
WANTED: Beagle, small to me dium hound dog with an excellent sense of smell. SUSPECT DESCRIPTION: Lar ge appetite, very friendly, able to track a scent extrem ely well. Distinctive “white tip” on their tails so they can be seen when they are tracking a scent. M.O.: An established huntin g hound, beagles are driven by their noses and their sto machs! A way to a beagle’s heart is through food and rew ard training. RELEVANT FAMILY HISTO RY: A preferred breed by British Royalty, the beagle wo n the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Showdog sho w. LAST SEEN: Playing hide and seek! Beagles can be kept busy by playing games like hide-and-seek with treats or by being allowed to sniff and dig out their toys in a sandbox after you've bur ied them.
4 Companion SPRING/SUMMER 2012
le g a e B " s le g n u B " y Bo b b
WANTED: Boxer, a headstron g German working dog with an incredible amount of energy. SUSPECT DESCRIPTION: A distinctive underbite, smart, energetic, playful and good with children. M.O.: The boxer is an extrem ely hard-working dog. They were originally bred to seize large prey, protect it and hold onto it until the hun ters arrived. Boxers were also a valuable messenger dog , pack-carrier, attack dog, and guard dog during World War 1. RELEVANT FAMILY HISTO RY: The boxer is a distant relative of the Old English Bul ldog. LAST SEEN: Playing! To kee p your boxer from getting bored (and therefore getting into trouble!) you must stimulate the working side of the toys, games like fetch, compan ir brain with durable ionship with humans and other dogs, as well as regula r exercise.
r e x o B " y o B ig B " r Ba xt e German Shepherd
p h e rd e h S " ll a b m u G " n a m Ge r
WANTED: German Shepherd, a large breed dog that is fiercely loyal and protective of its owners. SUSPECT DESCRIPTION: Most often tan & black or red & black, the German Shepherd has a double coat which means they shed all year long. German Shepherds are longer than they are tall, very muscular and possess a very noble and dignified, appearance. M.O.: The German Shepherd was originally bred to herd and guard sheep, but because of its muscle, brainpower and training ability, the German Shepherd is used as a military and police dog all around the world. RELEVANT FAMILY HISTORY: They have a love of show business! German Shepherds have been featured in a variety of hits such as Rin Tin Tin, I Am Legend and The Littlest Hobo. LAST SEEN: Working! German Shepherds are the leading choice for police, guard and military dogs. Their ability to learn and perform a new command is astonishing. They are used to track scents, give warnings of danger and lead search and rescue teams.
2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 5
How to Choose
They may have tiny voices, but budgies can become very good talkers!
Right Bird Canaries
by candace eberts
omestic birds make fantastic companions. With such a variety of shapes, colors and personalities, finding the right bird is essential to having a happy and healthy relationship with your new pet. The following questions should be taken into consideration before purchasing a feathered companion. What size bird is best for you? All birds have different behaviours and temperaments, which one suits your household? Nutrition and maintenance are important elements in bird ownership, how much do you know? Budget and finances should be taken into consideration as well as your commitment level – some birds can live for quite a long time, some for 50 years or more! Below are some helpful pieces of information to help you plan for a great new friend.
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Female canaries don’t sing so if you want a singer, make sure your canary is male!
Big Bird or Tweety Bird When choosing a pet bird, consider what size of bird you can handle. Large birds make amazing pets, however they require more care and a bigger commitment than smaller birds. As larger birds are messier, more demanding and often louder than smaller birds, it is recommended to start small as a first time bird owner. Smaller breeds, such as parakeets, budgies or cockatiels are smart, loving and easy to tame.
Small Pets with Big Personalities With so many birds to choose from, it is wise to consider the behaviours and temperaments of each species before making a decision. Some birds, like lovebirds, adore companionship while others prefer to be seen and not touched, such as finches. Others sing beautifully while some birds squawk and screech! If you are looking to add a bird to a family with children, a gentle child will do well with a budgie. If your children are too young to handle a bird, choose one a bird that prefers to stay in its cage such as a finch or canary. It is important to note that different birds exhibit different behaviour patterns and dispositions so do your research before you bring one home!
Polly and her Crackers Bird nutrition is very important. Each bird species has nutritional requirements that should be researched and understood thoroughly by the pet owner before purchasing. Pellet diets are among the most popular way to feed your bird as pellets are nutritionally complete. Feeding a pellet diet with lots of snacks for variety is a great way to keep your bird interested in its food. Along with seeds, you should offer your bird a calcium and mineral source to snack on, such as a cuttle bone or mineral block. Birds love them and they are fantastic for their beaks.
Well-raised lovebirds enjoy being handled and carried.
6 Companion SPRING/SUMMER 2012
Birds & Budgets Birds can be expensive pets. The expense is largely determined by the type of bird involved. Some birds have a high purchase price before general cages and accessories are factored in. Annual veterinary check-ups are required, as is the case with all pets. Birds can also
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Cockatiels can be great talkers, but are even better whistlers!
be very budget-friendly compared to other pets. Their grooming needs are minimal and they are inexpensive to feed. Toys and cage accessories require frequent replacements to keep your pet happy and healthy, but bird toys and accessories are not in the habit of breaking the bank. These should all be taken into consideration so that you end up with an affordable pet.
Quick! There is a Bird in my House! Some bird species require daily exercise, lots of interaction and time outside of their cages. That being said, they do not require a large space to stretch their wings, which makes them a perfect pet for anyone in a smaller home, apartment or condo. Supervision is mandatory when your bird is out of his cage as most birds are quite curious and will investigate everything from the wiring of your stereo system to the pot of boiling water on the stove. Birds can become very attached to their owner, and will often choose to stay perched on your shoulder, even as you do your outdoor spring cleaning! Birds are wonderful pets and can provide a long, loyal friendship to those who are willing to meet their needs. Each type of bird, whether they are small, medium or large in size has specific requirements, temperaments and commitments to consider. Do your research to carefully select the best bird for your lifestyle, personality and budget requirements. Once you make a decision, you will thoroughly enjoy having a bird as a companion.
domestic birds 1. Parakeet & Budgies 2. Cockatiels 3. Finches & Canaries 4. Lovebirds 5. African Greys
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Look for these Nutritional Lafeber’s products at your favorite PetValu store. Two Generations of Veterinarians Caring and Working for the Health of Birds TM ®
2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 7
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by Kellie McCutcheon
Adopting a new cat is very exciting but before you go and pick up your new pet you need to decide if you want an older cat or a kitten. Both are loving, wonderful pets but they have different needs based on their age and maturity level. Let’s look at the key differences between the two so you can make a well-informed decision.
Ball of Energy Kittens have energy to burn. They bring life into a house with their constant running, chasing and playing. Kittens will have you laughing as they chase their tails for hours. They are bundles of fun to play with. Kittens can be mischievous though, so they need to be properly supervised to avoid breaking anything in your home or injuring themselves. If you prefer a quieter house, an older cat is a better option for you. Older cats are calmer, quieter and not as rambunctious. An older cat will adjust more easily to his new home, will often be more affectionate and will love to sit on your lap for hours. If you have small children in your home, an older cat may not want to play as much as your children do and may have less patience. You need to determine what works best for your family and for your new pet.
try t h is
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try t h is
8 Companion SPRING/SUMMER 2012
Financial Impact Both older cats and kittens need certain items – such as a litter box, litter, collar, toys, treats and food. Just make sure you buy toys, treats and food that are suitable for your cat's age and lifestyle. For example, while kittens love a toy that they can bat around and chase, older cats need a little more enticement to play, so a catnip toy would be appropriate. Either way, you will need to purchase some essentials for your new pet. Another factor that will affect your wallet is veterinary bills. While a kitten can be given a clean bill of health, there are still expenses that will come up in the first few years of your kitten’s life, such as vaccinations and spaying/neutering. Once those vaccinations are complete, the financial commitment decreases significantly with a new kitten. With older cats the initial monetary commitment can be much less. Most often they are already up to date in vaccinations, spayed or neutered and sometimes declawed. Down the road there are potential health concerns with older cats, such as bad gums or diabetes, but you can help prevent some health issues with certain foods and regular exercise. In both cases, for kittens and older cats, prevention is the key to keeping them healthy and the veterinary bills to a minimum. Keeping up to date with vaccinations and annual veterinary appointments is a great way to prevent any future health issues and ensure your cat lives a long, healthy life.
Simplicity Litter Pan Starter Kit 58231 • $10.99
Wherefore Art Thou Litter Box? Older cats are often already trained to use a litter box. While the type of litter you use may be different than what they are used to, they know that their business should be done inside a litter box. When adopting your mature cat, be sure to ask what type of litter they are used to (clay? clumping? wheat? scented?) and slowly transition your cat to whatever litter you will be buying. Kittens will most likely need to be trained to use the litter box. Initially, when you bring your kitten home, immediately take her to the litter box. If she does not start digging in the litter, help her move her little paws in a digging motion. Cats instinctively will bury their waste so simulating digging will let her know that this is where you want her to do her business. Some kittens pick up on it right away and some kittens take a few weeks; try to be patient as this is something completely new to your kitten. If your kitten is taking a little longer, it may be smart to pick up some Stain & Odor Remover! Both older cats and kittens benefit from their litter box being placed in a safe, quiet and private place, but you also want it to be accessible for both you and your cat. Try not to place it near your cat's food and water bowls and don’t forget to scoop it out frequently. Make use of these tips and you and your cat are on your way to litter box success!
Making New Friends If you already have a pet, whether it is a cat or a dog, bringing home a new family member could be stressful to your resident pet. Be patient with your existing pets; they may take a while to adjust to a new cat or kitten in their home. Eventually the pets will learn how to cohabitate and hopefully become lifelong friends. A new, adopted older cat can hold its "personal space" when learning how to adjust to other household animals and your new older cat may end up being the ‘dominant’ one of the household. Bringing home a new kitten may not impress your resident pets initially, especially if they are significantly older. The key is to introduce slowly and show your new kitten and existing pets equal attention. The kitten should have his own food and water bowl, and litter box. A kitten is always up for playing, so once the pets are relatively adjusted, try to play games with them that they can all play together. Teach them that their new housemate is fun to be around and a great new playmate.
Tall, Dark & Handsome Do you have your heart set on a grey and white cat with blue eyes? Or an orange cat with green eyes? You would not be alone, most people are partial to what colour and size cat they want. With older cats, you know what you are getting. Older cats have already grown into their looks, size and personality. Want a cat that is quiet and keeps to himself? Older cats already have distinct personalities so you have a better idea of who you will be sharing your home with. Like human beings, the older they get the more they are set in their ways; the benefit of older cats is that you can pick a cat that fits into your lifestyle and matches the kind of pet you want. Kittens can be unpredictable in many ways, including their physical appearance! Your once blue-eyed kitten can turn into a brown-eyed cat. The runt of the litter may not turn into the most petite adult. Some of the fun in watching kittens grow is that you get to see them physically mature as well as develop their own, unique personalities. If you have the chance to observe your kitten with its littermates, you will probably be able to distinguish differences its personalities already but the real enjoyment comes from watching its character grow with your family. There is no guarantee that a kitten's personality won’t change again, and the most outgoing kitten could turn out to be a reserved adult cat. Whether you adopt an older cat or a young kitten, you will love its individual personality and know that it’s what makes them such a special pet.
Whether you choose an adorable, spritely new kitten or a beautiful, mature cat, you will discover that the love they give is equally unconditional. Enjoy your new family member. 2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 9
T h e Ba s ics
Dog & Puppy ❑ Food bowl/water bowl ❑ Dental care/toothbrush ❑ Collar ❑ Leash ❑ Bed ❑ Chew toys ❑ Flea and tick care ❑ Treats/training rewards ❑ Travel carrier ❑ Brush/comb ❑ Shampoo/conditioner ❑ Nail clippers ❑ Poop bags ❑ Puppy training pads or crate
Hou se brea kin g a ne w pu ppy is m uch m ore enjoy able (fo r both of you !) wh en th e weat he r is nice!
10 Companion SPRING/SUMMER 2012
Congratulations on your new fa mily member! Spring is a wonderful time to adopt a new pet. Whether puppy, kitten, dog or cat, your newest family member will need some items to help keep him happy and healthy. Here are some suggested items you will need to welcome your new pet, make the transition into your family as easy as possible and ensure your new furry friend is properly cared for.
T h e Ba sics
Cat & Kitten
❑ Food bowl/water bowl ❑ Dental care/toothbrush ❑ Collar ❑ Litter box, scoop & liners ❑ Litter ❑ Bed ❑ Flea and tick care ❑ Treats ❑ Travel carrier ❑ Brush/comb ❑ Shampoo/conditioner ❑ Scratching post
Cats enjoy the nice weath er too! Co nsi de r lea sh tra ini ng you r cat wit h a lightweig ht ha rne ss an d lea sh.
Cut out & keep
The Birds are Back The birds are back! Don’t forget to pick up bird seed the next time you are at Pet Valu. Solesca Woods has four seed blends to enhance your bird feeding experience.
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❉ Solesca Woods Shell-Free Love to feed the birds but hate a messy yard? Shell-Free bird seed is ideal for decks, patio areas, and in feeders over flower beds – no messy clean up, or germinating seeds in the spring. Birds love this blend because it contains just the “meat” of the seed - no weed seeds, no shells. Solesca Woods Shell-Free is made with sunflower chips, millet and peanuts.
❉ Solesca Woods Waste-Free Waste-Free bird seed contains sunflower and peanuts that have had their hulls removed, similar to Shell-Free. The difference is it does contain whole millet with its fine hull intact and some corn, making this a more economical blend with most of the same benefits. Almost too good to be true!
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❉ Solesca Woods Woodland
12193-4 US 13 lb $17.99 • 24 lb $29.99
Woodland blend contains a blend of the top 3 preferred seeds and nuts by the majority of wild birds making this a favorite among wild birds. It also contains a small amount of safflower seed, which is particularly liked by cardinals. And the bonus? It’s loved by birds and disliked by squirrels!
❉ Solesca Woods Finch Solesca Woods Finch dishes out a range of premium seeds to attract and nourish finches and similar birds. Finches are not picky about the kind of feeder they eat from, but we've found that the the fine-textured seeds in this finch formula work best with tubular finch feeders.
12174-5 US 10 lb $13.99 • 20 lb $24.99
We asked our twitter followers what they like most about spring and wild birds were mentioned regularly! @charmedchickJG The best part of spring is when the birds come back, my cats love to chat with them. It’s a day full of lively meows & chirps!
@StarrChayce Our cats love watching the birds and squirrels playing outside, and our bunnies can’t wait for the first nibbles of fresh clovers.
@Emmaleewalpole Our cats love watching the birds flying through the yard and of course they get excited when they see the rabbits in the yard too! 2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 11
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Does your cat suffer from litter box envy?
Make Your Cat’s Litter Box Sparkle Cats are clean by nature. As cat owners, we need to do our part in keeping their litter box clean. To prevent accidents and unwanted surprises, here are some tips to help keep your cat’s bathroom as fresh as possible:
by Kellie McCutcheon
ood news. Fresh4Life has enhanced its look and formula to keep up with the needs of all cats at every stage. Fresh4Life has raised the bar with its clay litter formulas by including the ODOR PROTECTOR SHIELD in all of the fragrance-free options. Their Eco-friendly litter line is the perfect partner to their traditional litter, offering environmentally friendly options for every cat and household. Eco-friendly litters are great for families that are looking for their bag of litter to last longer than it normally does. Eco-friendly litter is gentle on paws and the environment. Fresh4Life uses different natural resources, such as pine (great natural scent!), paper, corn and wheat, to make litter that cats and owners love. Silica, the newest evolution to the Fresh4Life line-up, is non-toxic, safe and has highest absorbency of any litter. Silica can absorb an extremely large quantity of liquid, which is great for smaller houses that have litter boxes. The most common litter is clay litter. It is convenient, economical and readily available. If your cat prefers clay litter, Fresh4Life has an assortment for you to choose from including Clumping, Scented and MultiCat. Fresh4Life Clumping litter is available fragrance-free or lavender scented. Clumping litter is extremely cost-effective, as you only have to remove solid clumps and the remaining litter stays in the box. The popular Multi-Cat formula has double the deodorizing agents as standard
litter, perfect for households whose litter boxes are frequented by more than one furry friend. Sharing a home with a cat is wonderful but sometimes sharing that same home with their litter box can be trying. Fresh4Life knows that with their family of litter products, you will be able to find a product that works for you and your cat, so you can spend less time worrying about the litter box and more time petting, cuddling and playing.
• No additives • No chemicals or toxins • Locks away moisture • Naturally controls odors • Low tracking formulas
“A cat is the only domestic animal I know who toilet trains itself and does a…impressive job of it.” - joseph epstein
Scoop your cat’s litter box daily. Empty and clean the litter box every 1-2 weeks (more frequently if you have multiple cats). After cleaning the litter box, let it dry completely before refilling with litter, especially clumping litter! Cats have a very sensitive sense of smell, so avoid cleaning the litter box with harsh cleaning chemicals. Strong odors can deter a cat from using their litter box. Hot, soapy water and a thorough rinse works perfectly. Although cleaning your cat's litter box is not a glamorous job, it is a great way to keep tabs on your pet’s health. If you notice changes in consistency, smell, or quality of waste, call your vet for advice.
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2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 13
health & nutrition
K C I T . s v A E L F ate Insect Showdown
differences are? but do you know what the p, ou gr me sa the o int d you are trying mbine depending on what insect s Fleas and ticks are often co rie va t en atm tre the as they differ w they fare! It’s important to know how a versus tick – let’s see ho fle it's So of. me ho d an t to rid your pe Ticks od. When t feed on your pet’s blo Ticks are arachnoids tha are s ks Tic Flea s. sin rai r all you sm the size of that feed on ernal insects Fleas are wingless, ext tiny that they are almost so are pet’s blood. They l without food for severa invisible. They can live , the uce rod rep lay eggs and months but in order to . female flea needs to eat
engorged, can be can spread our pets because they especially dangerous to ks thrive in Tic . bite y the en wh iva disease through their sal ss. damp and have tall gra areas that are wooded,
EA ER: toxFicL WINsN eases to our dis can spread
The fact that tick . ar winner in round one pets makes fleas a cle
g, itchy, constantly scratchin If your pet is extremely has he nce cha a is re fur, the can chewing and licking his you t tha t sure, a great tes wet fleas. If you still are not of ce pie a Rub t. tes paper d, if do at home is the white she fini en Wh your pet’s fur. es) white paper towel over fec a (fle es flak d -re ish brown s. on that paper there are flea has pet r certain that you then you can almost be
breeding osed to areas that are If your pet has been exp e when you’re home to brush sur grounds for ticks, make does not ck for ticks. If your dog r dogs your pet carefully to che you l fee tly ligh d an d ved han ears, the like a brush, use a glo ind beh nd ks tend to be fou pits. If arm skin for any bumps. Tic ir the in d an n chi er the the nape of the neck, und , part the hair and see what it is. use you feel a protrusion, pa
ick NER:ectt WINeas as they are ier to det Ticks are ners. more visible to pet ow
s immediately. Treat all pet Upon confirmation, treat that oo mp sha or ay spr flea in your household with d including their eggs an immediately kills fleas, der. pow d an ay spr h se wit larvae. Treat your hou r you in ric launder all fab Vacuum all floors and er a sid con s, flea to e tibl cep home. If your dog is sus the preventative to reduce flea collar or a topical . tion odds of another infesta
ice. rs or a tick removal dev Remove ticks with tweeze entirety. it's in tick the e ov you rem mpoo, Be patient; make sure r dog for ticks with a sha contact. Once removed, treat you on s tick ing ain rem y an l kill spray or cream that wil sider a as that ticks inhabit, con repel ticks. If you are often in are ally tinu con to lar col & tick regular topical or flea
! e n o n s i e r e h t it. t : WINNER necessary evil. The only way to avoid it is to prevk enfree. a home flea & tic Treating fleas & ticks is keep your pet and your to er mm su s thi s ive Use preventat 2
/SUMMER 201 14 Companion SPRING
The top four grooming essentials for a happy, healthy & handsome pet! by candace eberts Grooming is an important part of pet care. Dogs and cats require regular grooming to keep them healthy in their domestic environments. One of the major benefits of regular grooming is that you become familiar with your pet’s body, allowing you to quickly recognize any health problems. Grooming is a fantastic way to bond with your pet, and a great way to spend quality time with your loyal companion. Bathing, brushing, ear cleaning and nail trimming are all important steps in maintaining a happy, healthy and handsome pet.
FURminator Nail Clipper
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Bathing can be quite an adventure for pets and it is a great way to rid your pet’s coat of any dirt, dander and debris. Before a bath, brush your pet’s fur to help loosen tangles and stimulate the skin. Always use a shampoo that is designed especially for your animal. Shampoo for humans is not made to properly care for our beloved companions. It can be harmful to their skin and destroy its natural oils, resulting in itchy, flaky, irritated skin. It’s important to use the correct shampoo to make bath time a fun and enjoyable experience. Once you’ve pre-rinsed your pet, lather him up with your pet-friendly shampoo. Make sure to save your pet's face for last and use a damp cloth to clean around the eyes, ears and nose. After a thorough scrub, make sure you rinse your pet really well, as soap residue can cause skin irritations. Be prepared with lots of towels! Rub your pet down with a towel to absorb any excess water and finish him off with a good brushing.
Brushing is another common grooming routine that should be done on a regular basis. Brushing is essential to the health of your pet’s skin and coat, as it removes dead hair and skin, prevents odors and spreads the natural oils in their coats. It is one of the simplest routines, yet most necessary. Brushes are available in a wide variety to accommodate different types of pets and coats. Check out your local Pet Valu for brushes that best suit your pets needs and ask one of our Pet Experts for excellent product recommendations. Remember: the more often you brush your pet, the less often you have to bathe them!
Ears are places that can collect dirt and are a prime place for infection. Keeping your pet's ears clean is a great way to keep him healthy and prevent illness. Do regular ear checks at home by looking inside your pet's ears. Take note of the color. The inside of your pets ears should be a healthy pink. Wipe the outer ear using pet ear wipes and be careful not to touch what you cannot easily see when cleaning the inside of the ears. Symptoms of poor ear conditions include sensitivity to touch, brown, black or yellow discharge, shaking or continuous head tilting and foul odor. These symptoms should be treated immediately by your veterinarian.
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Grooming is a fun and healthy activity for both pets and owners. Remember to praise your furry friend during your grooming routine to establish a positive experience. Treats are always welcome afterwards as a tasty reward! Enjoy the quality time spent together and remember that a clean pet is a happy, healthy & handsome pet!
Nail trimming is important for both cats and dogs as lengthy nails can put unnecessary pressure on your pet’s feet. It is important to play with your pet’s paws to get them used to the feel of having their paws handled. It is important to use nail clippers designed especially for animals. Cats have brittle nails that can easily shatter so it is best to use a nail clipper suited for cats. Dogs have stronger nails so a stronger nail clipper is necessary. An alternative to a nail clipper for dogs is to use a nail grinder. This may take some getting used to but a grinder will leave a smooth finish, which is great on hardwood floors! Here’s an excellent strategy for the finicky pet: trim your pet’s nails over the course of a few days. There’s no rule that says it has to be done all at once. This will help reduce stress levels for both you and your pet.
2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 15
tips & tricks
Travelling with your pet this summer? Whether it is a road trip or a lengthy vacation, we love to bring our pets with us. Taking a trip with your pet requires some additional packing and planning, but with the right preparation you can have a fun and adventurous trip that includes your furry family member!
Get There Safely
Getting to your destination is the first part of your trip. Everyone needs to buckle up, including your pet. Keeping your pet secure in your vehicle not only protects them, but protects other people in the car should you make a sudden stop. Make sure, before heading out on that road trip, that your pet can be properly secured in your car. Be sure to take plenty of bathroom breaks, give everyone the opportunity to stretch their legs and grab a drink of water. Not sure if your pet gets carsick? Don’t find out the hard way. If your pet has a sensitive stomach, avoid large meals before you get in the car. Kurgo Travel Bed 76086 • $59.99
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Regardless if it is a campsite, a family friendly cottage or a hotel, prior to packing up your pet, call and confirm your accommodations are pet friendly. Once you arrive at your destination, set up your pet’s food and water bowls in a spot where they can easily be found. Do a quick check to make sure the space is “pet proofed”. Don’t forget to bring along your pet’s regular bed, as they will appreciate the familiarity of it in a new environment.
Change is Good
Skybox Booster Seat
Kurgo Harness & Zip Line
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Visit your local Pet Valu to see the complete Kurgo line
Change of scenery is great for everyone, including our pets. While on vacation though, we do not suggest changing their food and treats. Changing their diet can sometimes cause digestive upset, which can prove to be messy. Something you do not want to worry about on your trip. As well, for pets with sensitive stomachs, we suggest bringing water from home as water can vary from place to place. Don’t forget to pack any medication or vitamins that you give to your pets. Travelling with your pet is a lot of fun; it is exciting to watch them discover new places along with your family. Pets can be wonderful travel companions and the more you bring them along, the easier it gets. We wish you, your pets and your family safe travelling this summer! 16 Companion SPRING/SUMMER 2012
Fat Cat Syndrome by david summers, Ph.d.
Feeding a Multi-Cat Household Way back in my rookie years, I had a telephone call from a customer who was complaining that our weight loss cat food wasn’t working for their cat. After three months the cat still hadn’t lost any weight. I started to explain that changing the food alone may not achieve weight loss for all cats, and that the amount of food that they feed may have to be reduced for their cat. She responded with “Well if I do that he will just eat the other cat’s food.” “Other cats? what other cats?” “I have three cats, two are OK, and one is overweight. The overweight cat finishes his food and then goes and eats the other cat’s food.” I have had many stories of similar situations repeated to me over the years, and because of the first incident I started referring to the situation as Fat Cat Syndrome. It involves a multi-cat household where one cat is overweight. For some reason, it often involves a household with three cats. The problem is how to control the food consumption of an overweight cat when there are other cats in the house. The natural eating habits of cats are significantly different than dogs. Dogs evolved eating in packs, where there was competition for food, so even with all the alterations in their genetics most dogs still eat their food rapidly, at one meal. Cats evolved as solitary hunters eating many small meals in a day. To use animal feeding behaviour terms, dogs are meal eaters, and cats are nibblers. In today’s cat population, the majority of cats nibble at their food if it is left out during the day. However, at least a third of all cats meal feed. The problem in a multi-cat household is free-feeding the food, which works for the nibblers, but it does not work if one or more of the cats are meal eaters. The meal eater, especially if he is dominant, will gladly eat everyone’s leftover food.
What to do? No more free-feeding your cats. The nibblers will need to learn to meal feed. If your cats have had a communal feeding dish, the first step is to get separate dishes. A feeding schedule has to be established where every cat has their own dish and their own space. With some cats it is best if they can be fed in separate rooms. Most often, the cats can still be fed in the same area, but don’t line their dishes up all together. To separate the dishes you may need to get a partition, like a baby gate. If you have an aggressive-overweight cat, you can try a feeding crate, where the entrance is small enough so the overweight cat can’t get into the crate or box. You could also go vertical. Most cats love to climb and will feel quite at home feeding in an elevated spot. Initially you will have to supervise their entire feeding, but your cats will soon learn when and where to eat. Start by having the food available for 30 minutes and then pick up any uneaten food. As your cats learn to meal feed, pick up their dishes after they walk away, don’t leave the food down.
Slow it down To slow down your fast meal eating cat, try using a bigger dish where the kibble is only one to two layers deep. This will make it harder to pick up the kibble and therefore force him to eat more slowly. If you are feeding wet food, add some water to the food to slow down their consumption, but not so much that they turn away from their food. Sometimes separate rooms, partitions, or elevated dishes are not practical or possible. There are foods which can help in these situations, because the same food can be fed to all cats. The most common are multicat foods, which have carnitine which helps burn more fat in an
overweight cat and is still very healthy for your other cats. Recent research has shown cats fed lower carbohydrate foods are better at controlling their appetite, much like the Atkins diet for humans. The carbohydrate level is not something you will see mentioned on the label of a cat food. However, what you can find is the guaranteed protein level. For almost all foods there is an inverse relationship between the level of protein in the food and the level of carbohydrates. Therefore, higher protein cat foods typically have less carbohydrates. High protein foods often also have higher fat levels, which may seem counter intuitive to what we normally think of for a weight loss food. The amount of the food fed has to be less than for a weight loss food, but because the carbohydrate level is lower, the appetite is suppressed. For this reason many cat parents have had success in feeding or supplementing with wet foods that have high meat protein and moderate fat content. There are also dry cat foods which also have higher protein levels. Look for the ones that are high in protein and low in fat. The Performatrin Ultra Slim Care is a weight loss food that is formulated to be lower in carbohydrate to help reduce appetite. In addition there is a blend of fast and slowly absorbed carbohydrates to stave off a spike in blood glucose after eating. To help the overweight cat burn more calories, included in the recipe is Carnitine and green tea extract.
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2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 17
Oh Guinea Pig, My Guinea Pig by tera cashen
uinea pigs are amazing creatures. Though not the most popular pets for children, they are one of the best pets you will have, as their sociability and activity level make for hours of fun. Guinea pigs are members of the rodent family. They are extremely social and live in large groups in the wild of South America. When the Spanish conquerors came to South America, guinea pigs quickly became domesticated as pets and were brought to Europe. They are easy to tame, quite captivating and very smart.
GUINEA FACTS • Baby guinea pigs look like miniature versions of their parents. They are born completely furred and can eat pellet food from birth. • Because guinea pigs shed their fur, children can sometimes become allergic to them. It is best to keep them out of a child’s bedroom to avoid allergies from developing.
Home Sweet Guinea Pig The most important factor in owning a guinea pig is its home. Plastic cages with very good ventilation are the best for a guinea pig, as cages with wire floors can harm their paw pads. The size of the cage should be determined on the basis of how many guinea pigs there are; each should have enough space to sleep by themselves in a clean area, as well as room for food, toys and hide-aways. Guinea pigs have a tendency to stand in their dishes so a water bottle attached to the cage is the most practical for keeping them hydrated. Bedding is very important as well. The best bedding does not contain harsh oils, a great example being aspen softwood. Pine softwood is also suitable in a wellventilated cage. The bedding should be a couple of inches thick to provide enough comfort during sleeping and to absorb their waste. Waste can be scooped every day, or the bedding changed every three to four days. The best location for guinea pigs is on a small table away from direct sunlight, drafts, and the pesky noses of other pets. Extremes in temperature can be harmful, so moderate temperatures are best.
Diet A healthy diet is very important to your guinea pig as there is one particular dietary need that guinea pigs must receive - Vitamin C. They cannot produce Vitamin C themselves, so their food must include an appropriate amount of Vitamin C. Pellets are best as these ensure that guinea pigs are getting the proper nutrition. If using a seed mix, make sure that there are pellets in the mix and that the guinea pigs are eating them. If needed, Vitamin C can be added to the food. Hay should be given daily. It gives them fiber and helps them to wear down their teeth, because rodents’ teeth are constantly growing. You can also give them carrots, broccoli or other green leafy vegetables. Give only a few treats per day alongside the hay, as too many can cause digestive upsets.
Grooming Like cats, guinea pigs shed their fur, so they groom themselves frequently. If they suddenly stop or their fur becomes matted, then it could be a sign of illness and they should be taken to the vet. Once they become acquainted with you, they should be groomed with a soft-bristle brush. This helps to maintain their coats' shine and keep their cage clean of shedded hair. With long-haired guinea pigs, it is doubly important to brush them as they cannot reach all of their hair to clean it. Toenails should also be trimmed frequently to prevent overgrowth. 18 Companion SPRING/SUMMER 2012
Saying ‘Hello’ Bringing home a guinea pig can be exciting, but it can also be stressful for the guinea pig. Because they are prey animals, they are prone to be quite nervous. Keep children away from the guinea pig for a few days, and keep loud noises to a minimum. It is always best to keep guinea pigs in pairs, especially with another from the same litter. Their stress decreases when they are together and interaction with each other will keep them from being bored, so consider adopting two! Guinea pigs have very good memories, and will learn to recognize their owners’ voices and scents. Win their trust by speaking to them soothingly and offering them treats. When the guinea pig willingly comes up to accept a treat, pat them gently. Soon, you will be able to tempt them out of their cage. Hold and pet them every day, and in time they’ll be ready for cuddling.
GUINEA FACTS • To pick up a guinea pig, place one hand under the chest and one hand under the rear. • They love dandelion greens, but don’t give too many as these treats contain a lot of calcium and protein.
Caution: Guinea Pig at Play As with any animal, activity is important with guinea pigs. It keeps them fit, healthy and alert. Chew toys are an excellent way to provide stimulation as chewing helps to keep their teeth filed down and exercises their mind. The best way to provide activity is to have an indoor or outdoor enclosure for them that has lots of activities. Using an exercise playpen, an enclosure can be made to let them roam around indoors or brought outside. Guinea pigs can run through mazes to find treats, or run in and out of hollow logs. Challenge your guinea pigs to reach their treats by suspending a food ball from the top of the cage, or make a chew tree with different-sized branches containing various treats. If you decide to let your guinea pigs roam around indoors without a playpen, ensure that they have supervision, and block off access to electrical cords, poisonous plants or small openings. A heavy plastic sheet can be laid down to protect the floors from droppings.
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‘Pop-Corning’ and Other Tales As social animals, guinea pigs use body language and vocal sounds to communicate. Learning these signals will help you to better understand them. When frightened, guinea pigs freeze. This helps them to evade the attention of a predator and to assess the situation. Young guinea pigs often jump straight into the air, which is called “pop-corning”, and is a way for them to stretch their muscles and express excitement. Guinea pigs can be quite vocal, once they get used to their owners they will often squeak. Squeaking is also a sign that they want food or treats, and if you are a well-trained owner, these are readily given. When exploring, they make softer squeaks, like ‘chutting’. They also coo or purr when excited or seeking physical contact.
Variations on a Guinea Pig
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There are a few types of guinea pigs, mainly grouped into length of hair. Smooth-haired guinea pigs have shorter hair and don’t require as much grooming. Long-haired guinea pigs can look like little mops, and need more attention paid to their fur as they cannot groom their lengths out themselves. Abyssinian guinea pigs can have short or long fur, but the fur is whorled like rosettes, so the hair goes in different directions. An Abyssinian can have one rosette or many, and attention should be paid to grooming in the direction of the fur. Partially hairless guinea pigs, also called skinny pigs, have tufts on their heads or bodies. Completely hairless guinea pigs are dubbed Baldwins, and look like little hippopotamuses. Both varieties of hairless guinea pigs need more temperature control, and they must eat more to sustain a suitable body temperature. 2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 19
Fashion Fun with
The warm weather is here! If you thought pets only needed clothing in the cold weather, think again. Here are 4 great reasons for having lighter pieces in your pet's wardrobe.
PRODU IN STOCTS RE
Prevent a Sunburn
Dogs with light fur or little to no hair are vulnerable to getting sunburnt. Protect your dog with a light piece of clothing, like a t-shirt, to ward off the sun and keep your dog cool. Do not worry about the clothing making it too hot for your dog. Your pup does not release heat through his skin, but rather through his mouth when he pants.
It is always best to bring your dog into the store and try the clothing on. This will ensure the clothes fit properly and that your dog has full mobility once he is wearing the clothes. Store staff can also show you the easiest way to put on and do up the clothing. If you are not able to bring your dog into the store, take their measurements at home. Measure the length of your dog from the base of their neck, approximately where their collar sits, to the base of their tail. That length is the measurement most clothing uses. If you have a male dog, and the clothing does not have a cut-out underneath, shorten this measurement slightly to decrease the likelihood of your dog urinating on the underside of his clothes.
Spring is Wet
While your dog may have fun playing in the puddles, cleaning up after a muddy dog is not as enjoyable. A spring t-shirt or slicker helps keep your dog dry and your home clean. If your dog has longer hair that is prone to matting, consider putting a piece of clothing on her, to prevent her hair from getting wet and tangled.
Get Dressed Up
Spring and summer means BBQ's, trips to the park and socializing with friends – all with your dog. Putting a new accessory on your dog for these events, such as a bandana, is a great way to show off his personality and dress him up for all the dog friendly occasions you will be attending. You want to look your best, don’t you? So does your dog!
Prevent Skin Allergies
Consider using spring clothing to help protect your dog from coming in contact with common allergens. In the nice weather, our dogs are exposed to weed killer, fertilizer and insecticides – all of which they can be allergic to. Spring clothing will physically prevent your dog from making contact with the above list and many other common allergens. NEW Spring Apparel from $9.99
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20 Companion SPRING/SUMMER 2012
How to fit your dog for clothing
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Spring Cleaning A
s the warm weather approaches, so do thoughts of cleaning up our house and yard. We all want a fresh start for spring, but as pet owners our priorities are a little different compared to those without animals. A season's worth of shedding, dingy carpet and a yard full of poop makes for unpleasant spring cleaning for pet owners. Even though we cannot do the work for you, here are some tips to help get through this spring, and perhaps give you some ideas to reduce the cleaning for next year!
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✿ Lather, Rinse, Repeat Your home, that is! This is a must for us pet owners. Fabric gathers plenty of dust and grime over the winter months and as much as we vacuum, our rugs need a good scrub. Upholstery and rugs can also lock in odors so if you find you cannot get rid of that “pet smell” in your house, a good carpet & upholstery cleaning might be exactly what your home needs. Carpet cleaners are available to rent or purchase and you will find many of the cleaning solutions that you put in the machines have a cleaner specifically for pets. Open your windows to help the carpets dry faster!
✿ Tumbleweeds of Pet Hair Every spring, pets shed their winter coats for their lighter, spring coat. This makes spring cleaning even more important as your home is likely to be filled with pet hair this time of year. Vacuuming more regularly is key, including getting all of those hard to reach places, like under furniture. While you cannot stop the shedding, you can make clean-up easier on yourself with regular brushing and grooming. When the weather is nice, brush your dog outside to keep the loose hair out of your home. Taking your pet to a grooming salon is also helpful as groomers are great at removing the winter coat and dead hair in your pet’s fur.
✿ Extra Large Load
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A reminder to wash your pets' blankets, beds and anything else they sleep on. All winter your pets' beds and blankets have gathered dirt and grease from their skin and fur. No better time than spring to throw everything in the wash to clean and freshen them up. Dog bed isn’t washable? Next time you're shopping for a pet bed, try to look for something with a removable cover for easy washing.
✿ Poop Be Gone! It’s spring. The snow is gone and all that’s left is…poop. Lots of poop. Cleaning up the poop is a dreaded job, but it must be done. There are a variety of heavy duty scoops available to help you clean up after your dog, all with different features, including one with a bag dispenser built right in! If the smell doesn’t get you outside cleaning, then remember that if left alone, pet feces is a health hazard. Some pets also tend to eat their own poop (coprophagia) which is not only extremely unhealthy, but stomachturning to watch!
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Cleaning up after our pets is part of being a responsible pet owner. It is something that the entire family can help out with – from gathering our pet's blankets to vacuuming under the couch. Here is hoping some of these ideas inspire you and your family to have a fresh, clean home and yard this spring!
2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 21
tips & tricks
Ingredients The nice weather is here and with nice weather comes increased trips to the dog park. Here are some DO’s and DON’Ts to make your dog park experience great for you and your pet.
DO ✓ DO bring poop bags. Even though you are in a fenced off area, you still need to scoop. It’s always nice to bring a few extras and leave them there, in case someone else forgets to bring a bag.
✓ DO bring lots of water for your dog. With all that playing, they get thirsty
quickly. Pack an extra bottle in case your dog meets a new friend and happily shares his drink!
✓ DO supervise your dog at all times. Sometimes dogs take a little longer to warm up to other dogs and it's best to keep a watch out for questionable behaviour.
✓ DO take an active role in their exercise by bringing a frisbee or ball to play and interact with your pet. Use this time to strengthen your bond between you and your pet (try to avoid bringing your smartphone!).
✓ DO use the dog park as an area to observe other breeds if you are looking to adopt another dog. It’s a great environment to watch other dogs and determine their energy level and how they play and socialize with each other.
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DON’T bring a dog with behaviour issues to the park. Start by socializing
DON’T bring a new puppy to the park, as much as you may want to. Dogs
DON’T worry if your dog does not automatically run off and play with other
DON’T wear your fanciest clothes to the dog park, as you are bound
DON’T bring very small children or older adults to the dog park, as they
your dog in a smaller, more controlled environment such as a backyard. Once your dog is comfortable with other dogs, start bringing him to the park during off hours when there are not as many dogs around to ease him into it and observe his temperament.
Good to know!
Our Ingredients column shines a light on your pet’s food and helps you read and make sense of the label, ultimately make the best decision for your animal. Below are some of the items you WANT to see in the ingredient list on the back of your pet’s food. Fresh & Whole Vegetables An indicator that your pets are not getting the leftovers from human food production. Having fresh & whole fruits & vegetables means the food includes natural vitamins, minerals and fiber. Protein Your pet's digestive systems are designed to eat meat, so make sure meat is high on the ingredient list of their food. Protein such as chicken or turkey is a vital part of your pet’s diet. Protein can also be found in fish, eggs and soybeans. High Quality Grains (GRAIN DIETS) If your pet requires a diet with grains, try to find a food with multiple high quality grain sources such as brown rice, oatmeal and barley. These grains are carbohydrates and all carbohydrates are digested differently. Each carbohydrate provides your pet with unique benefits. Fat In moderation of course, fat provides the number one source of energy for your pet and helps with the absorption of many vitamins. Fatty acids are important in decreasing inflammation in your pet’s body. Of course, fat content needs to be monitored and, if properly regulated can be extremely beneficial to your pet's overall health. Vitamins & Minerals Our animals need certain vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Make sure your food is a complete and balanced diet, meaning that it contains everything essential to your pet's health. Supplements and preventative vitamins can be added to your pet's food for specific reasons, but only do so under advice from your veterinarian.
should have all their vaccinations before being exposed to so many other pets.
dogs. Some personalities and breeds prefer to walk or run by themselves or play a game of fetch with their owner. to get dirty. Even if your dog does not jump, there is no guarantee another dog won’t try to greet you face-to-face! can be knocked down and hurt accidentally by running dogs. There are often seats or benches on the other side of the fence where they can safely observe the dogs playing and avoid injuries.
22 Companion SPRING/SUMMER 2012
Kid Zone: Find the answers at
Connect the Dots
K I D Z O NE
Don't Get Lost! Start!
You made it!
Word Jumble U n s c r a m ble
t h e s e p et e s s
WEHC SYTO _ _ _ _ OOAPHSM _ _ _ _ _ TTHOOBHURS _ _ _ LOALCR _ _ _ _ _ _ EDB _ _ _ ETSRTA _ _ _ _ _ _ ODOF WLBO _ _ _ _ ASELH _ _ _ _ _ RUBHS _ _ _ _ _ RTEAC _ _ _ _ _
e nt ia ls, u s in g
a ll lette rs p ro
____ __ _______
v ide d .
This is not the answer!
re u n sc ra m bled, a ds or w ll a ce n O le d letters to a rra n ge th e ci rc ! so lve th e p uzz le
All pets need this!
_____ _____ 2012 SPRING/SUMMER Companion 23
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